writes Peter Florence :
As the season draws to a close its a two horse race for the Division 1 title with the final outcome destined to be decided in the last match where the contenders meet one another in what could be a conclusive encounter.
Colebridge Pasties top the table after a narrow 6-4 win over current champions Shottery A for whom Awais Muhammed registered a treble, although his team were only able to add one further victory from Gary Stewart. Nathaniel Saunders and Tom Shortley produced braces for Pasties, as well as combining to claim the doubles. Their crucial sixth point was earned by Mike Credland who was put to the test by Graham Poole in the only game to go the full distance.
Snitterfield are just five points behind after an 8-2 victory over the visiting JLM Cavaliers. In the opening game the hosts’ Alan Cotton took on Joe Cull and claimed the first set, only for his opponent to seize the initiative by winning the next two before Cotton raised his performance to take the honours in the decider. They were followed on the table by Joe’s father Steve who levelled the score by narrowly defeating Alison Stewart in another contest to go down to the wire. Both Cotton and Clive Irwin produced excellent unbeaten displays, although, in a thrilling encounter, the latter benefitted from some timely nets and edges as he recovered from loss of the first two ends to pip Steve Cull at the post. Alison Stewart gained Snitterfield’s eighth win, with Dave Bevington recording Cavaliers' other point.
Colebridge Bulldogs came away with a 6-4 victory when they travelled to play JLM Hussars. Mahroof Hussain notched a treble, with Chris Welsh adding a brace and John Swinburne their sixth score. Harry Azima was Hussars’ form player with a brace, highlighted by his tussle with Welsh where he put aside loss of the first two ends to secure success in the fifth. Azima subsequently triumphed in the doubles with Michael Klein who also added a singles win.
Henley B have one hand on the Division 2 trophy after winning 6-4 at Veterans despite only being able to field two players. Andy Rowland was untroubled and well supported by Geoff Shepard, although in the only clash to go the full distance, he narrowly lost out to Peter Rodwell.
Nello Mauri delivered a perfect performance for Blazing Paddles when they took on Henley A, but he was made to work hard as three of his four encounters went to a fifth set. He lost the first two ends to Peter Quince before turning the tide, and subsequently only narrowly squeezed home 11-9 against Nigel Payne. In the concluding doubles Mauri and Chris Dickens earned an early two set lead only to be taken to a decider where they finally emerged victorious. Dickens added two singles wins for Paddles and Wilf Chan their seventh point, while Payne chalked up a brace for the villagers with Quince also getting on the card.