Colebridge Pasties lead the way at Christmas break

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Andy Rowland, Martin Clayton, Robert McCluskey and Richard Grover of the Henley B team.

COLEBRIDGE Pasties hold a seven-point lead at the top of the Stratford and District Table Tennis Association table as the teams go into the Christmas break.

However, they have played one game more than their nearest rivals Snitterfield after winning a re-arranged fixture at Henley B 8-2.

In the opening game of the evening, Mike Credland put aside an initial deficit to defeat Richard Grover over the full distance and draw first blood for Pasties.

This began three similar losses for the unlucky Henley player who subsequently looked on course to take the honours when leading Mike Evetts 10-8 in the decider, only for his opponent to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by securing the next four points.

In the third encounter to go to a fifth set, Grover and his doubles partner Andy Rowland were ahead after three games but eventually lost out to Evetts and Riz Akbar.

It proved a successful return to his old stomping ground for Evetts who delivered a perfect performance, with Akbar and Credland adding braces.

Grover was rewarded for his hard work by earning one of Henley’s points, with Rowland also getting on the card.

Although not playing himself, the hosts’ captain Robert McCluskey was in attendance to bid farewell to his team-mates ahead of his impending move to Scotland.

McCluskey has been a stalwart of the Stratford league for the last 17 years, representing Royal Mail and Henley, and will be greatly missed by the many friends he has made during that time.

It was a good week for Colebridge as their Bulldogs were winners when they travelled to JLM Troopers.

The first action saw the hosts’ George Clarke give his team an early advantage after a five-set encounter with Mahroof Hussain.

Clarke was also involved in the only other contest to go the full distance where he narrowly overcame Chris Welsh, and it proved a good evening for the young Troopers’ player who went on to complete a treble.

However, Clarke’s successes were all his team could muster as Hussain, Welsh and John Swinburne notched braces, to which they added the doubles, to give Bulldogs a 7-3 win.

After their league victory, Pasties fielded the same trio for the cup match against JLM Hussars.

By the end of play they had accumulated 359 points, 62 ahead of their opponents.

However, the handicap adjustment heavily favoured Hussars and their team of Jonny Lyons, Chris Dyson and Harry Azima went into the semi-finals where they will meet the winners of the tie between JLM Cavaliers and Shottery B.

Also in the last four are JLM Troopers who overcame Veterans.

Jim Clarke, George Clarke and Piotr Penczkowski finished on 357 points to Veterans’ 298 and, with the adjustment just 19, they won by a margin of 40.

They will compete for a place in the final with Blazing Paddles who are through at the expense of Tanworth Taipans.

In the closest of the three ties, Chris Dickens, Dave Fordham and Wilf Chan trailed by nine points at the conclusion of play, but the handicap saw them progress by just 18.