writes Peter Florence :
JLM Cavaliers overcame their stable-mates JLM Troopers in the final of the knockout cup. Father and son combination Steve and Joe Cull, together with Ed Sommers, accumulated 356 points during open play to give them a lead of 85 over their opponents. The handicap adjustment reduced this by just four, thereby enabling Cavaliers to claim the trophy by a healthy margin. It was a unique double for Joe Cull who was part of the JLM Falcons team which won the cup last year.
Troopers gained some consolation when they brought the curtain down upon the 2018-19 league campaign by playing the final fixture at Ashorne. Requiring eight points to secure runners up position in Division 2 Troopers raced to an early 6-0 lead, with the pick of the games Piotr Penczkowski’s victory over hosts’ captain Roger Pye. After losing the first two ends, and trailing 8-2 in the third, the contest seemed to have slipped away but Penczkowski dug deep to turn the tide and claim the set 13-11. Although Pye made him run in every direction and return balls from all angles he rose to the task and went on to win the decider by another 13-11 score. Jim Clarke also defeated Mark Bridgeman over the full distance, despite securing four points less than his opponent over the course of their encounter. Both Jim and his son George went home with hard earned trebles with Penczkowski adding a brace. Bridgeman got on the card for Ashorne, as well as successfully partnering Steve Bolton in the doubles, but Troopers did just enough to claim the 8-2 victory they required.
During the season the 14 teams competing in the Stratford league were represented by a total of 82 players. Whilst many enjoyed a high level of success notable performances were produced by Awais Muhammed, who won all 33 of his contests for the two Shottery teams, and Alan Cotton who was unbeaten in 18 for Snitterfield. Several young players made their debuts, which bodes well for the future, with 12 year old Nathaniel Saunders claiming 17 wins from 21 games. Three teams competed for the first time and all will have been pleased with their achievements as Colebridge Bulldogs finished fourth in Division 1 and the two new JLM teams contested the cup final.
Players are reminded that the league AGM will be held at 7.30 pm on 12th June at FISSC.