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Stratford Table Tennis League returns after 18-month hiatus

IT was all change when the Stratford Table Tennis League resumed after an 18-month hiatus, reports Peter Florence.

Phil Paine and John Price, of Snitterfield, with their opponents Nigel Payne and Tim Fell of Henley.
Phil Paine and John Price, of Snitterfield, with their opponents Nigel Payne and Tim Fell of Henley.

In an attempt to stimulate participation the two player ‘fast format’ has been adopted, whilst points are awarded for each set won thereby providing some reward for a narrow defeat.

As nine of the 12 teams are now based at Meon Vale Leisure Centre four matches took place simultaneously, with many players making their debuts and several others having transferred allegiances during the enforced break.

Closest encounter was Snitterfield’s 11-9 victory over Henley where the hosts’ captain John Price registered two successes, both over four sets.

Phil Paine added a further win in a similar manner but was unable to get the better of Nigel Payne.

The concluding doubles went the full distance, with Payne and former Shottery stalwart Tim Fell earning Henley an early two-set lead before finally clinching the contest in the decider.

Shottery will again be in the mix for honours after long-standing regulars Gary Stewart and Stephen Foster gave them a 15-2 victory against FISSC.

The Farmers were represented by Robert Bartkowski, who had previously enjoyed success with Stratford TTC, and Henry Lu whose previous league experience was a decade ago with Snitterfield.

Steve Proctor earned a brace without reply as Stratford Romeos overcame their stablemates Stratford Prosperos. Richard Bennett secured a further victory but, despite taking an early lead, lost out to the impressive Archie Mathers.

Former Blazing Paddles’ captain Nello Mauri joined Proctor in the doubles to ensure Romeos finished 13-3 winners.

Alistair Francis led the way for Stratford Othellos who overcame Stratford Eagles 14-5.

He was unbeaten, conceding just a single end, with Simon King adding to their tally before narrowly missing out 12-10 in the decider to Piotr Lewczuk.

Ashorne began their campaign with victory over Stratford Montagues as Steve Bolton and Andy Coonan each recorded successes without reply.

Coonan looked on course to maintain his fine start after earning an initial two-set lead against Michael Klein, only for his opponent to take their contest the full distance and clinch the final end 11-9.

However, the Villagers claimed the concluding doubles to go home with a favourable 11-6 result.

The final action of the week saw Stratford Capulets take maximum points against Stratford Hamlets, with Debbie Barrow and Kannan Nithi each recording two wins, without the loss of a set, to join Shottery as the early pacesetters.

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