In the Stamford and Rutland Table Tennis League, Stamford School have reached Christmas in top spot of Division One.
Evening commitments have meant that the school’s strongest team has rarely played together, but new and returning players have ensured a competitive first half of the season.
They secured top spot with a 7-3 win over Uffington CC ‘A’, but, with Richard Henry winning all three of his matches in five sets, the result could easily have been reversed.
Fifteen-year-old Ryan Chung also won twice to show how much he has improved from September. This improvement was highlighted in the School’s 8-2 loss to Archway. He earned both points, including a dramatic four-set win over the experienced Shaun Murray.
l Stamford Free Church top Division Two, and John Chambers has been their most successful player in the more recent matches. He was unbeaten in both the 7-3 victory against Braunston ‘B’ and the 8-2 win over Bourne TTC ‘C’. Vic Hoffman only lost one singles encounter during these matches and that was an epic five-setter with Braunston’s Dave Webb which lasted 45 minutes.
Bourne ‘B’ are second, with two matches in hand. With both Joe Orford and Stephen Smith unbeaten thus far, the team must be considered favourites for the title. Christopher Holland joined Joe and Stephen in inflicting a 10-0 defeat on Uffington CC ‘B’, and the players of Tallington also struggled with a 3-7 reverse.
Braunston ‘B’ and Tallington enjoyed a more competitive encounter, with Tallington finishing as 6-4 victors. Nick McDowall was the only undefeated player on the night, although Kevin Toomey supported him well with a brace of victories. Dave Webb won twice for the hosts and also picked up a five-set win in the doubles with David Smart.
A busy few weeks for Braunston ‘B’ also saw 8-2 wins against Bourne TTC ‘A’ and ‘C’ teams. David Webb was unbeaten against the ‘A’ team, and David Smart unbeaten against the ‘C’ team. With Matthew Pape contributing two wins to each match, Braunston are also likely to be in the hunt for honours come season’s end.
Paul Stark and Ian Lines played well for the Bourne sides and each picked up two points.
The final match of this section of the season saw Nick McDowall and Richard Allen unbeaten in a 7-3 win at Bourne ‘C’.