Stratford Herald Week Beginning April 30th

The 2017-18 season reached a thrilling finale with Shottery A overcoming Snitterfield in a ‘double header’ to clinch the league title. As both their earlier scheduled clashes had been postponed the teams agreed to contest the two matches simultaneously on adjacent tables at Alderminster. At the commencement of play newcomers JLM Falcons, having completed their programme, headed the table, and were hoping that the results would go their way enabling them to add league honours to the knockout cup already in their trophy cabinet. Whilst Snitterfield still had a mathematical chance of the title, realistically Falcons were in a two-horse race with Shottery A who needed to acquire a further twelve points to claim the championship.


Shottery A maintained their policy of utilising Craig Witheford in selected fixtures, and he proved the undoubted player of the match by delivering an unbeaten performance. Witheford conceded just three sets in his six singles games, as well as successfully partnering Gary Stewart in both doubles. However his perfect evening looked in doubt when, in the first of the doubles, the Shottery pair found themselves two sets down, and trailing 9-5 in the third, before a dramatic turnaround saw them finally clinch it in the decider. Stewart added four wins, with Stephen Foster earning a further three to ensure their team exceeded their required points tally by finishing 15-5 to the good. Alan Cotton was the pick of the Snitterfield team with four successes, while Clive Irwin provided their other score. The individual results of the two matches were identical, other than the contests between Foster and Irwin where the latter took the first, in the only singles to go the full distance, with Foster turning the tables to win their second clash.


The outcome ensured that Shottery A finished the campaign with 180 points, four ahead of JLM Falcons. Snitterfield are on 159 but still have to contest the only remaining league fixture against Henley B although, regardless of that result, they cannot now improve upon third place. Last season’s joint title holders Colebridge Pasties take fourth spot ahead of Henley B and Shottery B.


Henley B imposed the whitewash upon Tanworth Taipans with Andy Rowland, Robert McCluskey and Dave Milton all achieving maximums. However Mick Welsh almost secured some consolation for the hosts after recording a two set advantage over Milton, but the Henley player turned it round to win over the distance. In the only other game to go to the wire McCluskey raced to an early two set lead against Dennis Kynaston before being taken to a decider.


The final league positions reveal that the most improved team are Ashorne who were bottom of the table in 2017 but finished two places higher this year after increasing their points tally by 60%.


Players are reminded that the league AGM will be held at FISSC on Wednesday 6th June.
Author: via Stratford-upon-Avon Table Tennis League
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