Stratford Herald Week Beginning March 5th
The clash between Henley A and FISSC, two teams in the lower reaches of the league, produced a thrilling evening of competitive table tennis. The villagers finished 8-2 winners, although their visitors will have considered themselves unfortunate after losing two five setters despite earning more points than their opponents over the course of each game. Mark Jones appeared on track for victory after winning the first seven points, before the impressive Dave Hatcher got into his stride to claim the close contest with three 12-10 successes. Henley's captain Geoff Shephard gained a two set lead over Peter Florence, but was then taken to a finale where he regained the impetus to secure it 14-12. However the two farmers gained some reward in the reverse clashes which also went to the wire, with Jones earning their team’s first success by narrowly overcoming Shephard. In a reversal of fortune from his previous game Florence then took the first two sets only for Hatcher take the clash to a decider. The farmer looked to have this in the bag after racing to a 10-3 lead, but Hatcher launched an amazing comeback to level at deuce. In a thrilling climax Florence eventually claimed the honours by the narrowest of margins 16-14. Meanwhile Peter Quince delivered an excellent performance for Henley A conceding just two sets in a hard earned treble which enabled his team to finish worthy winners of a keenly fought fixture.
When Colebridge Pasties travelled to Shottery B they were only able to field two players which included a rare appearance for Dean Hicks. He defeated Tim Fell over four ends, and then gained a two set lead over Gareth Hepworth only to be taken to a decider before achieving victory. However Hicks had no answer to the spin of Awais Muhammed and, with Mike Evetts for once being unable to get on the card, Shottery B enjoyed a comfortable 8-2 win.
Tanworth Taipans gave a debut to Riz Akbar against high flying Shottery A but, far from being a baptism of fire, he rewarded them with a brace after victories over Steve Foster and Graham Poole. Despite pushing Gary Stewart close, Akbar wasn’t able to mark his first appearance in the Stratford league with a perfect performance and, with the Taipans unable to add to his haul, this was yet another match to finish 8-2.
Author: via Stratford-upon-Avon Table Tennis League
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