We continue with the Handicap league this week were every point counts. Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) C (+94) in Div One hosted their team mates from the A team and lost 386-438 with Tony Sweet collecting maximum points for the A team along with Glyn Price obtaining 149 points only losing one end to stand-in John Stueart 24-25.
In Div Two the match between Lee Mill and Woodland Fort B saw the Millers start with only a 7 point handicap so this was almost a straight race to accumulate the most points. Most of the matches were quite evenly balanced except for Richard Smaridge almost destroying Fort’s Richard Searle 25-3 and 25-7. There were no maximums for either team but Smaridge did come away as the top player securing 135 points for his team. The final score of 381-362 showed how close most of the matches were.
Astor D (+19) took on a weakened Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) E who had to call on Mike Chapple to play up from Div Three. Chaddy’s John Dodd changed tactics and played more defensive and it proved a plus for him securing 140 points but it was Astor’s Andy Watmore with 146 points was the best player on the night. One match saw Astor’s Steve Harvey lose the first end 19-25 to Andrew Courtney only for the score to be reversed in the second end but even so Astor ran out 433-375 winners.
None of the four matches played in Div Three turned out to be that close showing that the Handicap system cannot compensate for players having a good or bad match, or even a team only having two players which was the case for Woodland Fort D when the played Ivybridge. Despite Fort only having the two players Nigel Aston secured 145 points and was the top player on the night followed closely by Ivy’s Alan Spencer on 144. The match between the two of them saw Spencer win the first end 25-20 and then lose 19-25 with the total points favouring Aston 45-44.
With Chapple now playing for his own team of Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) G he won 142 points along with his team mate Adam Forshaw, followed by 127 points for John Chadwick giving them a 434-347 over Woodland Fort C. With Fort’s Ken Chambers gaining 137 points and Pete Andrews 125 the difference between the two teams was Dave Brown only winning 85 points.
Unfortunately Astor F turned up with only two players due to illness and even called on a newcomer Glenn Delaney who played his first ever match in the Plymouth & District League. Delaney’s had a baptism of fire in his first match coming up against Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) F’s unbeaten Ralph Stone but lost 25-15, 25-15. However, when facing Ian Lindsay, Delaney managed to beat him 25-16, 25-16. In his final match he faced pen-holder Barry Oliver and lost 25-20, 25-16 for a respectable first ever result of winning 116 points. With only two players the result was really over before it started with Chaddy winning 432-281.
The Horrabridge team of Crispin Jordan 150, Dave Vanstone 149 and David Wilson 145 only just failed to secure maximum points by only 6 points and beat visitors Crafthole C 444-376. The match of the evening saw the points shared between Vanstone and Sam Bacon both walking away with 49 points each (24-25, 25-24).
Shopfitting By SWS C (Colin Mitchell, Steve Foster and Bryn Ford) had to travel to Crafthole A (Iain Oxenham, Shirley Luckhurst and Mike Cookson) in Div One this week and had to give them a handicap of just 9 points but found out that all of the Crafthole players were performing really well including Oxenham who lost some form in the last weeks. Oxenham started the evening drawing with Mitchell 25-20, 20-25 but then turned on the style taking maximum points off Ford 25-11, 25-13 and Foster 25-22, 22-11. Luckhurst was the top player securing 148 from a possible 150 points for the evening helping Crafthole win quite convincingly 438 to 351.
Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) D (Steve Hill, Shaun Gilbert and Russ Keith) had a 20 point handicap when playing Shopfitting By SWS B (John Palmer, Gary West and Mike Briggs) but this was never enough as Briggs took a maximum for Shopfitting By SWS and West securing 140 points only losing to Keith 25-19, 25-21 and recovering from being well behind to Hill and coming out the victor 25-19, 25-15. As old friends and club mates, this match was played in great spirits and everyone enjoyed the evening.
Despite giving Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) B (Dan Kayes, Jan Walaszkowski and Darbz Allen) a 77 handicap it already looks ominous for other teams chasing Shopfitting By SWS A (Martin Parnell, Mark Weymouth and Jacob Kodicek) as they still managed to defeat Chaddy by a 51 point margin. A maximum 150 points from Kodicek and 149 from Weymouth proved the difference with Chaddy’s most points coming from Walaszkowski, but, he only scored 115 points showing the gulf between the teams.
In Div Two Jake Neilson, Andrew Courtney and John Dodd of Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) E (+89) took on one of the top teams Woodland Fort A who had Jon Goodfield and Brian Luscombe winning 149 and 144 points respectively. Goodfield’s single end loss 24-25 came against Chaddy’s top player of the evening Courtney (129). Despite a brave effort to claw back the handicap given to Chaddy the handicap just proved too much with Chaddy winning 448-408.
The battle of the Woodland Fort teams in Div Three had the C team (Pete Andrews, Ken Chambers and Dave Brown) giving a 39 handicap to their D club mates (Keith Phillips, John Cobbledick and Nigel Aston). Despite Aston taking maximum points and having a strange game against Brown beating him 25-21 and then 25-4 the C team won 390-357 with Chambers getting 139 points and Andrews 135 points they now lead the league at this very early stage.
The Plymouth & District Table Tennis Club move into a new era with their first ever Team Handicap League and the idea is to level the playing field between the top and the bottom teams with lesser teams having a handicap whilst playing better teams. The matches consist of 9 matches of singles playing two ends of 25 points and all team players play each other where every single point played and won goes towards their League points.
In Div One the top team of Shopfitting By SWS A had to give their B team mates a 74 handicap and the final score was 430-407 to the A team but the match wasn’t without surprises with Mike Briggs of the B team beating Martin Parnell 25-8, 25-22 and then just losing to Mark Weymouth 24-25, 24-25.
Shopfitting By SWS C only had to give Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) C a 9 point advantage due to their previous close league standings and most of the damage was done by Chaddy’s defensive player Steve Hugh beating Foster 25-13, 25-12 and Bryn Ford 25-15, 25-3. However Colin Mitchell did beat Hugh overall winning 46-42 for both games. The final score saw Chaddy win 406-357.
Unfortunately Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) B started their match against visitors Crafthole A (+120) with only two players and were hoping their third player would arrive on time but after playing all the available games had to concede three matches 50-0 as they were still without their third player. Crafthole did have Anthony Shapland stepping up from Div Two and he didn’t disappoint only just losing to Dan Kayes 25-23 in the first game. With Chaddy only having two players they eventually lost 298-414.
In Div Two the handicap proved to be about right with Lee Mill starting with +40 over Astor C and the final score only being a difference of 5 points in favour of the Millers 398-393, with Richard Smaridge taking a maximum 150 points. Astor did have Steve Harvey playing up and he managed to defeat Wendy Roberts 25-15, 25-21 and also took an end off Mark Chapman 25-22.
At the battle of Woodland Fort A met B with the B team receiving a 43 point start. Jon Goldfield of the A team secured a maximum 150 points and Brian Luscombe 136 points which happened to be the same points gained by Fort B’s Abel Hernandez. Also with Fort A’s Norman Hall securing 126 points they eventually ran out 416-379 winners.
Crafthole C (+80) of Div Three hosted Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) F (Ralph Stone and Barry Oliver 150pts each) and with just a few low scoring ends lost 386-408 in a close scoring match hopefully proving the handicap was about right.
The battle of the bridges saw Ivybridge and Horrabridge start level but it was Ivybridge who battled to a victory winning 412-344 with Alan Spencer scoring 145pts. Woodland Fort D had Nigel Aston securing a maximum thus helping his team to a 405-338 victory despite Paul Moore, Bob Steele and Dave Harding all beating Forts John Cobbledick with maximum points.
Mike Perry of Astor F (+119) could have done without suffering an elbow injury and having to concede his last match as his team already were up against it playing Woodland Fort C (Pete Andrews, Ken Chambers and Dave Brown) who didn’t lose a game and secured a maximum 450 points to only 293 points.
This was the final week in the Standard League before the team start on the new Handicap League. In Div One despite Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) A whitewashing their D team mates Shopfitting By SWS A (Mark Weymouth, Jacob Kodicek and Martin Parnell) also whitewashed two player Astor A to win the League by 20 points. Congratulations also go to Weymouth and Kodicek who remained unbeaten all season. However in this match it was Garry Reed who became the ‘comeback king’ when looking certain to lose to Steve Hill won a terrific match 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9.
Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) B did their utmost to try and secure third spot with a 9-1 victory over their C team mates but with Shopfitting By SWS B defeating Crafthole A 8-2 found themselves finishing 3 points behind SWS. Chaddy C’s only point came from Chris Dyson who played some superb attacking table tennis pipping Dan Kayes in a match that ebbed and flowed to the very end 11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 6-11, 11-8.
Astor B finished the season without winning or drawing a match and this week lost 2-8 to Shopfitting By SWS C with the points coming from Les Cole playing some astonishing table tennis in probably his last game in this division.
Division Two has yet to be decided due to some teams having to rearrange their fixtures and any of the existing three top teams (Woodland Fort A, Astor C or Crafthole B) could still win the league. Both Astor C and D turned up with only two players and bottom team Astor D failed to win a match all season after losing 3-6 to their team mates. It also looks like Astor C have all but lost their challenge for the top and second spot in the league as they are now only one point ahead of Crafthole B who have a game in hand.
Crafthole B now find themselves 10 points behind the leaders after Lee Mill turned on the burners in a 7-3 victory and although they still have a game in hand one of the final matches will decide the league as they have to play current leaders Woodland Fort A. Lee Mill’s Richard Smaridge and Mark Chapman came away unbeaten despite Smaridge having a tough game against Rui Barreto just winning 11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7.
Woodland Fort C of Div Three threw away the league title this week as they unexpectedly lost to mid table Horrabridge 3-7 with both the ‘Averages’ players Pete Andrews and Ken Chambers only winning a single match each. It was Horrabridge’s David Wilson who stole the show winning a maximum despite two of his three games being won in five ends.
Not knowing how many points Fort C obtained it was down to Astor E to do their very best against bottom team Astor F who haven’t won a match all season and with their 8-2 victory won the division by a solitary point. It was Astor F’s Joe White who nearly upset their celebrations with a brace beating Bob Steel and Paul Moore in straight games.
Ralph Stone of Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) F remained unbeaten all season and with another maximum and the doubles with Barrie Oliver pulled off a 6-4 win over Ivybridge with newcomer Tom Pearson taking a brace for Ivybridge. Pearson had a bit of luck in defeating Oliver with three tie break wins 7-11, 12-10, 14-12, 12-10.
Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) G had Mike Chapple and Adam Forshaw both taking maximums in the 7-3 win of lowly Crafthole C. Chaddy’s Chris Hemmings was unlucky to only get a single point after losing in five ends both to Mike Kinger and Sam Bacon.
It’s the penultimate week in the standard league season and still some divisional winners are still undecided. However with a week still to go Shopfitting By SWS A (Mark Weymouth, Jacob Kodicek and Martin Parnell) of Div One have already secured the title with their opponents Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) D having to concede 7-nil due to players having Covid.
Runners up will be Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) A who beat Shopfitting By SWS C 8-2 with only Garry Reed losing his matches to Colin Mitchel (11-13 in the fifth) and Steve Foster. The wooden spoon goes to Astor B after not winning a match all season so far and this week they lost 1-9 to Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) B with Les Cole narrowly managing to defeat Dan Kayes 5-11, 5-11, 14-12, 11-8, 15-13.
Mike Briggs once again secured a maximum for Shopfitting By SWS B helping his team to a 7-3 victory over Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) C where Chris Dyson unfortunately was white-washed only just losing to Gary West 11-8, 10-12, 1-11, 11-9, 9-11.
Crafthole A (Shirley Luckhurst 3) and Astor A shared the points despite Crafthole winning their first encounter 9-1. The match of the brothers saw Astor’s Stephen Cookson just beat Mike in a fifth end tie-break and what was a very close match 8-11, 11-66, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10.
Div Two is yet to be decided with current leaders Woodland Fort A just beating third placed Astor C 6-4 with no single player picking up a maximum. Astor Trevor Mole found himself 2 nil (6-11, 9-11) down against Jon Goldfield but came back to win the next three ends 11-6, 11-8, 11-8.
Crafthole B, second in the league and with a strong team of Rui Baretto 3, Martin Hynes 3 and Martin Wilcox 3 helped their push for the top spot with their second 9-1 victory over bottom club Astor D. There might have been a ‘first’ in the Plymouth & District Table Tennis League as Baretto, who originates from Portugal, streamed his first game live to his friend actually in Portugal.
Div Two will probably be decided when Woodland Fort A host Crafthole A but their match is awaiting a new fixture date due to player unavailability.
Abel Hernandez of Woodland Fort B claimed a perfect maximum winning all his matches in straight games and then partnered Mike Willis in the doubles to secure a 6-4 victory over a resilient Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) E.
In Div Three Woodland Fort C will now require 7 points from their last game of the season to be sure of the title as they fell short against Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) F losing 4-6. The damage was done with maximums from unbeaten Ralph Stone helped with Barrie Oliver’s third maximum of the season. This was a good result for Chaddy as Fort had Ken Chambers placed third in the Averages and Pete Andrews fourth.
Jeremy Willcox suffered a rare duck for Ivybridge in their 4-6 defeat at the hands of Crafthole C but it was his partner Alan Davis whole stole the show with an almost perfect maximum.
Despite Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) turning up to play Woodland Fort D with only two players, Mike Chapple and Chris Hemmings both took braces but lost to Nigel Aston winning his fourth straight maximum. With the doubles all to play for, Aston and Keith Phillips proved too much for the duo beating them 11-5, 11-2, 11-7 to win the match 6-4.
Second placed Astor E did their title hopes no harm beating Horrabridge 8-2 with a maximum from Robbie Jenkins and a fourth straight maximum from Paul Moore especially after Moore found himself 2 nil down against Crispin Jordan to recover perfectly 9-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-6.
This week saw the Second Round of the Handicap Cup with 16 teams taking part across all three Divisions.
Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) E of Div Two (John Dodd, Andrew Courtney and Jake Neilson) were drawn against their divisional counterparts Astor D (Steve Harvey, Nick may and Andy Watmore), and after both league encounters ended all square this was on the cards to be an extremely close encounter. Astor were given only a slight handicap of 15 points but after the eighth set the match was completely level at 353 points a-piece. Dodd then played May in the finals singles match and won 25-15 only for May to win the next end 25-17, thus giving Chaddy the slimmest 2 point lead going into the final doubles match. Dodd partnered Neilson and beat Harvey and Watmore 25-22 setting up a tense final end. Harvey and Watmore, in a tense final end, had then to stop the Chaddy pair from winning 20 points and duly did this by winning 25-14 leaving the final score 440-434 in favour of Astor.
Div Three Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) G (Chris Hemmings, Mike Chapple and John Chadwick) +183 had to face Div One Astor A (Steve Garlick, John Sherlock and Joe White) with White playing up from Div Three. Surprisingly Chapple manage to take an end off Injured Sherlock 25-15 and this might have turned out to be the complete difference between winning and losing as the final score favoured Chaddy by those 10 points despite this being a team game with every point being important. Chaddy just managed to win 498-488.
When Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) D (Russ Keith, Shaun Gilbert and Steve Hill) came up against their club mates from the B team (Darbz Allen , Dan Kayes and Jan Walaszkowski) they had to give their B team a 7 point handicap as they were slightly better off in their league position after a good first half of the season. With Chaddy B playing some brilliant table tennis this was always going to be a struggle for the D team and as expected they found themselves behind right from the first match and they eventually conceded the match after the eighth set with the score being 391-308 to Chaddy B.
Leaders of Div One Shopfitting By SWS A (Mark Weymouth, Martin Parnell and Jacob Kodicek) had to give the leaders of Div Two Woodland Fort B (Brian Luscombe, Jon Goodfield and Norman Hall) a 124 point Handicap. Everything almost went the way of SWS except for Goodfield taking and end off Parnell beating him 25-17. The rest of the matches all benefitted SWS who ran away with a 442-377 win without having to play the final doubles match.
In an all Div One encounter Shopfitting By SWS B (Mike Briggs, Gary West and John Palmer) gave Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) C (Steve Hugh, Chris Dunn and Chris Dyson) a 39 point handicap but after only two matches SWS were leading 100-96. Dyson then beat Palmer 25-17 and 25-19 to resume the lead 146-136. West and Briggs then went on to win their matches and improve their lead to 236-206. Despite Palmer suffering two more defeats 47-48 and 40-48 SWS won convincingly 472-416 to move into the Quarter Finals.
Div One Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) A won all their matches against Div Two Astor C (+118) with the final score being 450 to 371.
Lee Mill of Div two visited Div Three Horrabridge and overcame a 118 Handicap to move into the next round.
Shopfitting By SWS A (Jacob Kodicek, Mark Weymouth and Martin Parnell), are now very much odds on favourites to win the league. They have a 14 points lead and a game in hand, with only two weeks of the season left, over there only rivals Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) A who turned up for their match with only two players and lost 9-1 with Garry Reed taking the only point for Chaddy beating Parnell in straight games.
Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) B beat Shopfitting By SWS C also by 9-1 but the score might have been a little closer than the actual score-line as Chaddy won 7 of the 10 tie-breaks played during the evening. It was a great match, once again played in great spirits, but unfortunately SWS’s Bryn Ford could not maintain his recent run of form, and came away with the wrong maximum. Colin Mitchell salvaged the point for SWS with a hard fought battle against Tau Manonge taking the 5th set 17-15, and saving the whitewash.
Joe White played up from Div 3 and helped out his club mates Astor A and managed a straight games win over Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) C’s Chris Dyson and helped White’s hopes of playing permanently in Div 1 a lot of good. Chaddy’s defensive player Steve Hugh took a perfect maximum despite being taken to tie-breaks in two of his matches.
Shaun Gilbert returned from illness to feature for Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) D and as if nothing had happened took a maximum despite the great efforts of Crafthole’s Shirley Luckhurst and Mike Cookson. Luckhurst found herself 2-1 up but lost the next two ends 11-6, 11-6 in an defensive match whereas the match against Cookson saw Gilbert defending with his some unbelievable returns from the vicious forehand and backhand top spin from Cookson. The match ended 6-4 in favour of Chaddy.
Another 6-4 result saw two player Shopfitting By SWS B (Mike Briggs 3) beat bottom team Astor B leaving Astor still without a win all season.
Astor D of Div 2 are also without a win all season after their 2-8 defeat by Lee Mill who had Richard Smaridge and Mark Chapman taking maximums. The surprise of the evening saw Astor’s Steve Harvey relinquish a 2 game to nil lead over Wendy Roberts to lose the next three ends 11-8, 11-6, 11-7.
In Div 3 second placed Astor E lost some ground trying to chase the top spot losing to Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) F who again had to thank Ralph Stone for continuing his unbeaten run for the season.
John Chadwick, Mike Chapple and Adam Foreshaw all took braces for Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) G but none of them could defeat White who returned to his own division after his excursion into the top flight. Astor’s Jewel Vittle continues to play every week and must be commended for trying to win her first match of the season. With the 7-3 victory Chaddy look like they will secure third place in the division.
Depleated Woodland Fort D only had two players for their long visit to Crafthole C but with Nigel Aston securing a perfect maximum and Keith Phillips obtaining a brace along with a brilliant and close doubles match won 6-4. All Games in the doubles ended in tie-breaks with Phillips and Aston beating Mike Kinger and Trevor Luckhurst 13-11, 14-12, 10-12, 12-10.
It was back to league play this week and in Div 1 the Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) teams all faced each other. The A team had Tony Sweet on form beating all his B club mates in straight games but his team mate Glyn Price suffered a rare double defeat losing crucial tie-breaks to Tau Manonge 11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-8, 13-15 and Darbz Allen 11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 16-18, 6-11. Manonge also managed to defeat Garry Reed 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 4-11, 11-5 but he still ended up on the losing side suffering a 3-7 loss to the current league leaders.
Chaddy C managed to revenge their first half 3-7 defeat at the hands of their club mates Chaddy D winning 6-4 with Steve Hugh undefeated. The first half score could have been completely reversed at one stage with Hugh and Chris Dyson 2 ends up in the doubles 11-8, 11-8 only to capitulate losing the next three ends 5-11, 3-11, 5-11.
Another club pairing saw Shopfitting By SWS B defeat their C team mates with Mike Briggs and Gary West taking maximums but unfortunately John Palmer lost all his matches to Bryn Ford, Colin Mitchell and Steve Foster. The luck was certainly with West but it deserted Mitchell in their match as all three games were won by West in tie-breaks 15-13, 13-11, 12-10. West also had the fortune to win a game against Foster in another tie-break 19-17.
Chasing the leaders with two matches in hand, Shopfitting By SWS A travelled to Crafthole and came away with a 9-1 victory with Shirley Luckhurst claiming Crafthole solitary point defeating Martin Parnell 11-9, 3-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7. Mark Weymouth and Jacob Kodicek both won straight game maximums although Luckhurst did take Kodicek to a 10-12 tie-break. This result leaves SWS only three points behind the current leaders.
In Div 2 despite Crafthole B beating Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) E 8-2 in the first half of the season they came up against a more resilient team this time as the spoils were shared. Crafthole’s Rui Barreto claimed a maximum but it was Chaddy’s Jake Neilson who showed some great determination beating Anthony Shapland 4-11, 11-4, 6-11, 13-11, 11-9 and then defeating Martin Hynes in a very close match despite losing two tie-breaks 11-6, 10-12, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9.
The match must have taken it out of Neilson as his team played again later in the week and unfortunately he suffered a whitewash against Astor C with Trevor Mole taking a maximum followed up with Bob Vella and Steve Harvey (playing up) taking braces. Andrew Courtney did find himself 2-1 up against Mole but with a bit more experience Mole took the final two end 11-9, 11-7 to inflict the defeat on Courtney. The final score saw Astor win 8-2.
Top of the table Woodland Fort C in Div 3 faced two player Crafthole C but Pete Nicholson shocked the leaders by winning the first match against Dave Brown 7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9. Unfortunately this was the visitors only point of the evening.
Astor D keep up a slim chance of catching the leaders with a 9-1 victory at Ivybridge with Robbie Jenkins and Paul Moore taking maximums followed by a brace from Bob Steele who only lost to Jeremy Willcox. There was a rare duck for Ivybridge’s Alan Davis and his closest match saw him lose to Moore 12-10, 6-11, 11-55, 8-11, 11-8.
David Wilson was the star of the match for Horrabridge taking his second maximum of the season and the doubles with John Cook in their match against visiting Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) G and thus helped his team secure a 7-3 win. Horrabridge’s Crispin Jordan came from two games down to defeat John Chadwick 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8
This week was all about the new format of the Handicap Cup. Instead of the usual format of the first team winning 6 sets it has been reorganised to make this more of a team game where handicaps are set for the whole team and the game consists of a maximum of 500 playable points, so in effect the game finishes when one team cannot be caught for points. The game consists of two ends and finishes when one player reaches 25 points, so fifty points is the maximum a player can actually win.
A close battle was fought between Astor A from Div 1 and Woodland Fort B (+88) from Div 2, with Astor chasing the handicap all evening. Although Astor A’s Steve Garlick and Steve Cookson were both pulling their opponents slowly back into reach over the course of the night, after 7 sets it was still looking likely to go Fort's way, until Cookson beat Richard Searle 25-6, 25-7 to put Astor ahead. With just the doubles remaining, Astor were a single point ahead. Unfortunately, with one of the Fort players feeling unwell and unable to play the doubles Fort conceded and the match ended at this point.
Another close battle involved Div 1 Astor B against their club mates from Div 3 Astor E (+142). It was E’s Robbie Jenkins who managed to win games against Les Cole and Tony Powlesland which saw his team only trailing by 7 points going into the final doubles match but despite winning the first end 25-23 they lost the second end 25-19 and the overall final score favouring Astor 477-466.
The closest match of the first round saw Div 3 Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) F (+232) take on their D club mates from Div 1. It started badly for the Div 1 team when Ralph Stone, unbeaten in Div 3, managing to take an end off Steve Hill 25-15 thus increasing their advantage. The rest of the matches went in favour of the Div 1 side as you would expect but they had to make up ground quickly. Hill then managed to beat Ian Lindsay 25-2 with Russ Keith also beating Lindsay 25-1 to claw back the match. With doubles all to play for Chaddy D won by three points 490-487.
Top of Div 1 Shopfitting By SWS A played bottom of Div 3 Astor F (Joe White, Mike Perry and Cecil Downing) and they had to give them the biggest handicap of all, a massive 360 points. Needless to say martin Parnell, Mark Weymouth and Jacob Kodicek didn’t lose and ends but the Div 3 team but up a brave fight until Perry suffered and elbow injury and had to concede his remaining two matches. The final score being 500-451.
An all Div 1 clash saw Shopfitting By SWS C (+9) Steve Foster, Colin Mitchell and Bryn Ford take on Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) B Darbz Allen, Jan Walaszkowski and Dan Kayes. With such a small handicap the match was played in the style of a league game but with each player vying for every point. Foster did however manage to take an end of each of the opposition but with a mountain to climb in the final doubles match Chaddy ran out winners 454-424.
Div 2 Crafthole B (+28) -v- Div 1 Crafthole A (Score 327-434)
Div 2 Astor C -v- Div 3 Crafthole C (+218) (Score 498-467)
Div 3 Woodland Fort C (+219) -v- Div 1 Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) A (Score 444-500)
Div 3 Horrabridge (+22) -v- Ivybridge (Score 452-380)
Div 3 Woodland Fort D -v- Div 2 Lee Mill (walk over for Lee Mill)
Just before we enter the Christmas and New Year break the current leaders of Div One, Shopfitting By SWS A swept aside Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) C with a whitewash albeit Chaddy’s Chris Dunn put up a brave fight losing both to Martin Parnell and Mike Briggs (playing up) in fifth ends and all the other sets were won in straight games.
Second placed Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) A managed a 9-1 victory over Crafthole A with only four of their games being won in straight games showing it was a tough match for Chaddy. Shirley Luckhurst claimed the solitary point for Crafthole defeating Garry Reed 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7. Reed came close to losing to Mike Cookson after Cookson won the fourth game tie-break 17-15 but then managed to record the win with a 11-9 final game.
Bottom club Astor B had to call on a club mate to play up again this week due to the on-going injury to John Turner and Martin Fowler stepped into the breach and with his first match managed to defeat Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) D’s Steve Hill (2). Fowler raced into a 2 nil lead 11-8, 11-8 but Hill levelled the game 3-11, 5-11 and seemed to have the measure of Fowler only to come unstuck 11-8. The man of the match saw Shaun Gilbert winning all his matches in straight games and helping his team to a 9-1 victory keeping his teams hopes up for a top four finish.
Unfortunately Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) B could only field two players against Shopfitting By SWS B and both Dan Kayes and Jan Walaszkowski only managed to defeat John Palmer although Kayes had to come from 2-1 down in his match. Maximums from Shopfitting By SWS’s Mike Briggs (undefeated in eight weeks) and Gary West secured an 8-2 victory.
After a lengthy discussion between Colin Mitchell of Shopfitting By SWS C and the match secretary about Covid restrictions Mitchell did turn up for the match against Astor A and almost took a maximum just losing out to Steve Cookson (2) who came back from 8-10 down to take it 13-11 in the fifth end. There were no maximums in a fairly close fought match, with 5 sets going to 5 ends and a 5-5 end result with the match not finishing until 11pm despite starting ten minutes early. Steve Foster played well to edge out Cookson 11-9 in the 5th end and was looking good for a maximum but was stopped by Steve Garlick.
Woodland Fort A now lead Div Two but really struggled only winning 6-4 against bottom team Astor D who had Andy Watmore to thank for a fantastic first maximum of the season. Watmore’s maximum was well earnt and started with a five game match against Norman Hall (1) winning 12-10 in the final end. He then defeated both of the ‘Averages’ players (a person with a win percentage greater than 75%) Brian Luscombe (2) and Jonathan Goodfield (2) but again required five ends to achieve it. Watmore did find himself 2-nil down against Goodfield only to recover well 8-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6.
Fowler now playing for his own team Astor C could only take a brace after Woodland Fort B’s Abel Hernandez took a perfect maximum winning all his team’s points in straight games. However despite his achievements the match was drawn when Hernandez and Richard Searle (1) lost the doubles to Fowler and Trevor Mole (1). Both these teams are now in joint second place in the league along with Crafthole B.
Only one match was recorded in Div Three and with Horrabridge originally turning up at the wrong venue, they eventually found their way to play Woodland Fort D to find Fort only had two players for the match. Thankfully Fort’s ‘Averages’ player, Nigel Aston was on hand to take a maximum and the doubles with Keith Phillips (1) to save the draw.
Martin Parnell, Mark Weymouth and Jacob Kodicek of Shopfitting By SWS A made very light work of whitewashing Astor B for the second time this season showing the gulf between the top and bottom of Div One. However it was Trevor Mole playing up for Astor that took the solitary game for his team beating Mark Weymouth 11-9 or else this would have been the ‘perfect’ maximum were a team didn’t concede a game.
Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) B are now level on points with their D club mates after beating Astor A 6-4 thanks to a maximum from Jan Walaszkowski who has found a bit of form eventually. His team mate Dan Kayes was unlucky not to also take a maximum but after being 2-1 up against Steve Cookson (2) lost his rhythm and lost the last two remaining games 7-11, 2-11.
Shopfitting By SWS C and Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) D drew their first encounter together but this match swung towards Chaddy with a maximum from Shaun Gilbert who only dropped one game all night to Colin Mitchell (1). The match was played in great spirits due to the rivalry of ex-club mates and friends squaring up in a very late finished match with only two matches won in straight games. Even the doubles match went all the way to five ends with Mitchell and Bryn Ford (2) taking a 2-1 lead over Gilbert and Russ Keith (2) but losing eventually 7-11, 14-12, 13-11, 8-11, 7-11.
Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) C had to thank Steve Hugh for his brace beating Crafthole A’s Iain Oxenham (2) and Mike Cookson (2) and winning the doubles with Chris Dunn for their teams 3 points. However the strangest match of the evening saw Chaddy’s Chris Dyson lose his first end 0-11 to Shirley Luckhurst (3) only to win the next end 22-20 in an epic tie-break game which had the teams playing on the other tables listening to the score line.
In Div Two Crafthole B managed to avenge their only defeat of the season to Woodland Fort B despite being without the injured "star man" Bob Hallett. There was a clinical maximum by Rui Barreto but the set of the evening undoubtedly went to the contest between Anthony Shapland (1) and Abel Hernandez (2). With Hernandez smashing Shapland all over the room in the first game, had it been a boxing match the towel would've been thrown in by the home corner. However, coming off the ropes Shapland demonstrated his own hitting power by recovering well to lead the match 2-1 and 10-7. Hernandez somehow hung in there, albeit with a couple of net shots, to take it 15-13 and go on to win the deciding end 11-9.
A maximum 10 nil for Astor E (Bob Steele, Paul Moore and Rob Jenkins) over lowly Crafthole C in Div Three helped their push for top spot and they are only 8 points behind the current leaders. What looked to be the closest match of the evening saw Jenkins lose his first game to Trevor Luckhurst on a 10-12 tie-break. Jenkins then won the next convincingly 11-3 only to lose the next to another 10-12 tie-break. Then his fortune changed by getting his own back winning the next tie-breal 12-10 and the final end 11-4.
Mike Chapple of Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) G started the evening beating Alan Spencer of Ivybridge in straight games but then injured himself during the fourth set against Alan Davis (2) to the extent that he could not continue for the rest of the evening. Chris Hemmings picked up a well-deserved first maximum of the season helping his team to a 7-3 victory keeping the pressure on Ivybridge as they drew level with them in the table.
Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) A, Tony Sweet, Glyn Price and Garry Reed take over the leadership of Div One albeit having played two more matches than their closest rivals, whitewashing their C team mates, Steve Hugh, Chris Dyson and Chris Dunn however Price and Reed were taken to the fifth end by Dyson and Dunn respectively.
Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) D have hit a bad patch at present and although they drew with their B team mates in the first half of the season fell short losing 2-8 to some ferocious shooting form the forehand of Jan Walaszkowski (3) and the backhand of Dan Kayes (3). Putting these two players together would make an unstoppable smashing force. Despite the score line four of the matches went to the fifth end. Firstly Walaszkowski got the better of Shaun Gilbert beating him 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6 and then Kayes beating Gilbert in a fifth end tie-break 10-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 12-10.
Mike Briggs of Shopfitting By SWS B is unbeaten in seven matches now and continued this run but only just as Astor A’s Steve Cookson took him all the way to the fifth end with three of the ends ending in tie-breaks. Briggs lost two of them 11-13 but won the decisive fifth end 14-12. The whole evening saw eight tie breaks played and thus the 4-6 final score in favour of SWS was justified with this being a very close match.
The bottom two teams in Div Two played out a draw for the second time this season with Steve Harvey of Astor D getting a maximum but unfortunately he lost the doubles with Nick May (1) in straight games over Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) E’s John Dodd (1) and Jake Neilson (2).
With Richard Smaridge getting back on form and taking a maximum along with Mark Chapman Lee Mill ran out 7-3 winners over Woodland Fort B. Forts Mike Willis, Abel Hernandez and Richard Searle all managed to beat Wendy Richards.
Leaders in Div Three, Woodland Fort C, Dave Brown, Pete Andrews and Ken Chambers, lost only their second match of the season against mid table Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) G who had John Chadwick taking a hard fought maximum beating ‘averages players’ (players with a greater win rate of 75%) Andrews 5-11, 6-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-3 and then Chambers 6-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7. Surprisingly Andrews also lost to Adam Forshaw in straight games 11-4, 11-6, 15-13.
Second placed Ivybridge, Alan Davies (2)m Jeremy Willcox (2) and Alan Spencer (1) drew with Woodland Foprt D who had Nigel Aston to thank for his maximum and the doubles with Dave Backholer for saving the match. Aston almost had the perfect straight games maximum but only lost one game to Davies and that was a close 9-11. Backholer, on a run of three matches without a win lost out on his first win to Davies 9-11, 3-11, 11-6, 15-13, 10-12.
Joe White of bottom club Astor F is the only player at the moment taking points for his team and this time he managed a brace against Barry Oliver and Rob Batten of Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) F but against unbeaten and top of the Averages Ralph Stone had no answer losing the games 8, 8 and 7.
Second bottom Crafthole C lost 1-9 in the first half of the season to visitors Horrabridge but this time around did much better but still lost 4-6 with Dave Vanstone of Horrabridge securing his first ever maximum in the league.
The top two teams in Div One, Shopfitting By SWS A, Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) A both defeated their opponents Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) B and Astor A 8-2. Both Jacob Kodicek and Mark Weymouth of Shopfitting By SWS A are still unbeaten in the league but Martin Parnell suffered defeats to Dan Kayes and Jan Walaszkowski in fifth end tie-breaks. Tony Sweet of Chaddy A helped himself to a straight games maximum but his team mates Glyn Price and Garry Reed both lost to Steve Cookson again in fifth end tie-breaks.
Another team securing an 8-2 victory was Shopfitting By SWS B with Mike Briggs obtaining a maximum along with braces from John Palmer and Gary West over Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) D. Chaddy started the evening by winning the first two matches but then fell apart to some superb table tennis.
Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) C had a reasonably easy evening whitewashing Astor B with only the doubles going to the fifth end when Chris Dunn and Chris Dyson beat Tony Powlesland and Les Cole 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9.
Mike Cookson of Crafthole A found his form again and claimed a maximum in the drawn match against Shopfitting By SWS C. Cookson was consistent with his top spin attack and we all know he has some great backhand top spins but his performance was outstanding on this occasion. Bryn Ford of SWS surprisingly had a straight game victory over Shirley Luckhurst beating her 11-8, 11-7, 12-10.
Top of the table Woodland Fort A, Brian Luscombe, Jon Goodfield and Norman Hall in Div Two claimed a whitewash over lowly Chaddlewood E despite Chaddy winning 5 of the 6 tie-breaks played in this match. Unfortunately this was Chaddy’s first duck of the season.
Maximums from Abel Hernandez and super veteran Dave Wyatt secured Woodland Fort B’s 7-3 victory over Astor D and this was probably helped by Fort winning 6 of the 8 tie-breaks played. Wyatt found himself two games down against Nick May but recovered to win the next three ends 11-9, 11-8, 11-6. Andy Watmore and Steve Harvey both took points for Astor and then Watmore partnered May to win the doubles.
At the battle of the Fort in Div Three leaders Woodland Fort C beat their D team mates 6-4 with Pete Andrews taking a maximum and winning the doubles partnering Ken Chambers, who, unluckily had an off night only winning one match. Nigel Aston and Keith Phillips both won braces for the D team.
Ivybridge are still trying to keep up with the leaders but an 8-2 win over bottom side Astor F must have been disappointing. It was Astor’s Joe White who won both his teams points as his game has improved so much from the first encounter of these two teams. His shot confidence, speed and accuracy along with the ability to revert to a defensive steady game proved valuable as he took the scalps of Jeremy Willcox and Alan Spencer.
Astor E, another team hoping to stay up with the leaders, suffered a 4-6 defeat to the hands of Chaddlewood (Molyneux Assoc) G but no single player could claim a maximum. Chaddy had Adam Forshaw and Mike Chapple along with Robbie Jenkins of Astor all claiming braces in a tightly fought contest.