Last week saw a break from league competition as the focus turned to the battle for semi-final places in the knockout cup. However, with three teams having decided not to enter and two more receiving a bye, the action was limited to just two fixtures.
First on the table were Henley B who, after a closely fought match, eventually emerged victorious over their visitors Ashorne. The hosts' captain Robert McCluskey got them off to a great start by defeating John Hunt 21-7 in the first game of the evening, only for his opponent to then raise his performance and clinch the second. That set the tone for the tie as all six players fought hard to gain maximum points in the knowledge that the final outcome would inevitably be close. There was more than the usual share of nets and edges, but this did not spoil was what an enjoyable evening's table tennis. Ashorne, who were without the holidaying George Mudie, were led by Hunt who accumulated an advantage of 28 points. Mark Kingham and Brian Marston both battled hard to finish only just short of parity, and so the outcome at the end of play was very close with Ashorne ahead by a mere 15 points. However, when the envelope was opened, this was found to be insufficient as the Henley team of McCluskey, Gordon Trinder and Dave Hatcher were awarded a combined handicap adjustment of 38 which was enough to see them through to the last four by a margin of 23 points.
Henley's A team were also in cup action when they took on Royal Mail. The Postmen's Wilf Chan was the only player to win all six of his games and acquired an advantage of 30 points in the process. With Nello Mauri and Malcolm Heritage adding to the total their team finished 67 ahead before application of the handicaps. Initially that proved more difficult than anticipated as Henley's newcomer Don McAdam had not been allocated a score. However, once that had been ascertained and added, it still left the village team 57 points short of the Postmen's total.
The draw for the semi finals has paired FISSC against Shottery B while Royal Mail will host Henley B. The matches are due to be played in the week commencing February 7th.