Table Tennis by Paul Myers
The First Round of the Handicap Cup saw some tense and dramatic matches in the Aldershot and District Table Tennis League. It would be fair to say of the ten matches played there were three easy wins, three comfortable wins and four that went to the wire.
There were easy wins for Division One sides Ash B, Frimley A and Broadmoor A. Ash B in the top five of Division One had to give away nine maximum 36 pt starts to Ash K who are bottom of Division Four. This looked like a tough ask for Ash B but they sailed through winning 6-3. Martin Gilbey was the man of the match grabbing a hat-trick which included a win over his wife Sarah which may not have gone down to well in the Gilbey household!!! Division One's Frimley A had an easy 5-4 win against Tennis G of the Third Division. Frimley got off to a flying start winning four of the first five sets and then won one of the next two to win 5-2. Tennis G bagged the last two dead rubbers to make the score respectable with Paul Shakespeare of Tennis completing his full-house. Robert Hawes (2wins), Graham Diplock (2wins) and Andrew Davies (1win) caused the damage for Frimley. The other easy win was Broadmoor A's 8-1 defeat of fellow Division One side Cody A. Broadmoor won the first five sets to settle the match very quickly and then won three of the last four dead rubbers. Barry Morton and Clive Banham were both in hat-trick form with John Millward claiming a double.
There were comfortable wins for Division Three's Frimley C and Ash G as well as Division Four's Tennis H. Frimley C beat Cody B of Division Two 6-3 with Tony Harrison bagging a treble and Barry Baxter two. Frimley led 2-0 only for Cody B to fight back to 2-2, then Frimley won four out of the next five to finish the job in hand. Ash G stormed to a 4-1 lead against Division Two's Tennis B, then Tennis won the next two sets to close the gap to 4-3. Ron Davies (Ash G) getting a healthy 31 points start from Graham Dickson was beaten 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 and 11-9 but that was enough to see him win 51-44 and seal the match for Ash G. Fleet CC A of Division Two got off to the worst possible start against Tennis H and were soon 4-0 down. A brief rally with Dave Joyce winning two and Ron Bartlett a single for Fleet saw them close to 4-3 but Paul Stearnes put the nail in the coffin beating Roy Chittenden to grab the victory for Tennis H.
The remaining four ties had many twists and turns which is what makes the competition so fascinating. Kingfisher B (Div Three) were hosting Tennis A (Div One) and Tennis A stormed into a commanding 4-1 lead. The match looked all over at this stage with the Tennis men needing one more set for the victory. Kingfisher B however were in no mood to lie down and won the next three sets to level the match at 4-4. The final game was between Karim Lawji (Kingfisher B) who was recieving a 3 points start from Dave Jarvis (Tennis A). Both players started nervously with Jarvis winning the first game 11-7 to wipe out the handicap start he gave. Lawji though settled well and won the next three games 11-8, 13-11 and 12-10 to win 46-40 and give Kingfisher B an amazing comeback win. Ken Thompson (2 wins) and Sheila Magee (2wins) were the other stars for Kingfisher. Division One's Farnham Central B were also in action against Division Four's Cody E. Central B had to give the maximum 36 points start away in all nine sets and it looked a tough ask against the wily trio of George Brown, Norrie Short and John Warburton. Cody E got off to a great start and built up an early 3-1 lead with Central B fighting back to win the next couple to level the match. Graham Watts then beat John Warburton 11-1, 11-1, 11-1 and 11-0 to win 44-39 and give Central the lead and needing one more set for the match. Norrie Short then beat Central's Peter Millard 57-44 to level the match once again and go into a final set decider. The final set was won by Central's Paul Myers who beat George Brown 11-1, 11-2, 11-2 and 11-2 for a narrow 44-43 win which saw Central B scrape through to the second round. Cody C also won a thriller against Kingfisher C coming back from 4-3 down to grab the last two sets for a 5-4 win. Dave Hewitt (2wins) beat Graham Ranola 44-32 in the final set to snatch the victory with team-mates Bruce McPherson grabbing a double and Tony McDowell a single, in reply John Saville recorded a maximum for the losing side. Kingfisher A also let a commanding 4-1 lead slip losing 5-4 to Tennis D. With one set needed Kingfisher A looked nailed on for the win only for Tennis to make an incredible recovery winning the last four sets and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Neil Print (2wins), Graham Streets (2wins) and Andy Murdock winner of the decider were the top dogs for Tennis D.