Stratford Herald Week Beginning April 9th
After pivotal encounters against their two closest rivals JLM Falcons are still within reach of a remarkable double in their debut season as members of the Stratford league.
However, defeat initially looked likely when they visited Shottery A, as the team found themselves 4-1 down at the break. The hosts commenced proceedings by calling the doubles, where Gary Stewart and Craig Witheford overturned loss of the opener to claim first blood. Witheford quickly followed up that success with two straight sets wins, and Stewart earned a further victory to add to Shottery's early haul. Although Witheford was able to mark the occasion by producing a treble with something to spare, the second half of the fixture belonged to the visitors who fought back valiantly to earn a share of the spoils. The turning point was the clash between the two captains where, in the only five setter of the evening, Luke Moffat eventually overcame Stewart. Falcons went on to secure the final three games as Moffat and Jack Davis finished with braces, while Steve Cull added their crucial fifth win.
In their next outing Falcons were dominant against a strong Snitterfield team. Moffat gave them a perfect start before partnering Davis in the doubles. The pair lost a nail-biting first set 18-16 to Clive Irwin and Alan Cotton, and the game seemed beyond them when the second also went the way of the villagers. However a brilliant comeback saw the Falcons take that encounter to a decider where they narrowly edged home 13-11. In the only other contest to go the full distance Cull was twice at a disadvantage before claiming the honours against Irwin. With the first four games taking 90 minutes to complete a long evening was in prospect, but Falcons stepped up the pace conceding just a single end thereafter. Although the hosts played their part in a series of hard fought contests and produced some high quality table tennis, they were unable to gain suitable reward for their efforts by making the breakthrough.
As the season enters its final stages Falcons hold a lead of four points over Shottery A who remain in the driving seat with a match in hand, although still have tough home and away fixtures with third placed Snitterfield.
However, with the final of the knockout competition against Tanworth Taipans yet to be contested, JLM Falcons retain the chance of ending their first Stratford campaign by lifting both the league and cup trophies.
Author: via Stratford-upon-Avon Table Tennis League
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