writes Peter Florence :
Shottery A took an early 3-0 lead when they entertained fellow front-runners Snitterfield, only for their opponents to turn the tide by winning six of the remaining games. The hosts’ captain Gary Stewart opened the action by overcoming his opposite number John Price before successfully partnering Stephen Foster in the doubles. Martyn Langston, making his debut for Shottery after last playing in the Stratford league 35 years ago, marked the occasion with a victory to give his team the ideal start. However Alan Cotton led the visitors’ recovery by producing a treble, while Price added a brace and Alison Stewart their crucial sixth point. The result of the match hinged on the final encounter where Cotton ensured Snitterfield’s first ever win over their close rivals after a game of high quality table tennis against Gary Stewart.
Meanwhile, on the adjacent table, Colebridge Pasties extended their lead at the top of the table to nine points with an 8-2 victory over Blazing Paddles. John Taylor led the way with a perfect performance for Pasties although, in the only game to go the full distance, he was made to work hard by Nello Mauri. Mike Evetts and Mike Credland each contributed braces although neither could get the better of Mauri who earned both Paddles’ scores.
Colebridge’s other team Bulldogs made it a great week for the club by inflicting the first defeat of the campaign upon JLM Cavaliers. Mahroof Hussain was their match winner after posting a treble but opponents’ captain Steve Cull would have been disappointed to have lost out after having scored two points more than Hussain over the course of their five set game. Chris Welsh notched two wins for Bulldogs with John Swinburne earning the decisive sixth. Steve Cull went home with a brace for Cavaliers, while his son Joe added their other singles and the pair were also victorious in the doubles.
Nigel Payne notched both Henley A’s wins in their home defeat by JLM Troopers but he was prevented from making it a night to remember by his namesake Doug Payne who chalked up a treble without the loss of a set. Jim and Henry Clarke each added braces for Troopers, although the latter’s contest with Dave Hatcher went down to the wire. In the only other game to go to a decider the two Clarke’s finally clinched the concluding doubles 11-9.
Henley B enjoyed a 9-1 win over Tanworth Taipans. Richard Grover and Martin Clayton were both untroubled with Andy Rowland gaining their other two successes but, despite taking an early lead, he lost a five set encounter to Mick Welsh who thereby gained Taipans’ only consolation.
Shottery B went one better as their trio of Tim Fell, Steve Smith and Tony Remes imposed the whitewash upon Veterans.