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Doubles delight for Ware and Goodacre as experienced pair hold their nerve

With the Stamford and Rutland League matches almost completed, the end-of-season tier tournaments have begun.

This week the higher ranked players competed in the Tier One tournament at Northborough Village Hall and some excellent matches were played.

Players were divided into four groups for the singles competition with the top two from each group progressing to quarter-finals and the knock-out stage of the event.

Singles finalists Joe Cox (left) and Leigh Ware. (8621463)
Singles finalists Joe Cox (left) and Leigh Ware. (8621463)

The semi-finals pitted Stamford School’s Leigh Ware against the league’s highest ranked player Dave Needham of MTTG and top cadet Joe Cox of Bourne A against Harringworth’s Dave Harvey in what was a repeat of last season’s Division Two final.

In the first of these, Ware won the first two legs quite comfortably, but he trailed badly in the third before a fortunate net and edge changed the complexion of the game and he took advantage to close out 12-10.

In the second, Cox won the first two legs with similar ease before dropping the third 11-13. However, with plenty of highly competitive National Cadet League experience this season, he won the fourth 11-4 to reach the final.

Both finalists like to attack and there were many high quality rallies. Perhaps inevitably, a fifth leg was required and Cox retained full focus and consistency to win his first Tier One title.

The doubles competition had few established pairings, making MTTG’s Denise Jacobi and Dave Needham favourites.

However, they were surprisingly beaten in three straight sets by Joe Cox and Dave Harvey in the first semi-final.

Doubles finalists Joe Cox, Dave Harvey, Andy Goodacre and Leigh Ware. (8621466)
Doubles finalists Joe Cox, Dave Harvey, Andy Goodacre and Leigh Ware. (8621466)

In the second semi-final, Leigh Ware and MTTG’s Andy Goodacre progressed in four games following a brief scare against Richard Henry and Nick McDowall.

This scare might have focused Ware and Goodacre, for they began the final strongly and took the opening two legs.

At 5-1 up in the third, the win seemed assured, but one surprisingly missed shot provided hope for Cox and Harvey and they survived match points to take the end.

They survived a further match point before taking the match into a fifth and final leg. Following three deuce games, it was the more experienced pairing of Ware and Goodacre who held their nerve to earn the title and applause following an excellent match.

Although Joe Cox didn’t quite manage wins in both tournaments, the evening provided evidence of his continuing improvement and development.

He has represented Corby Smash A in the National Cadet League this season and led them to the Division One title, topping the player averages as well.

Jamie Anderson, who represents Stamford School, represented Corby Smash B in Division Two of the National Cadet League and he won the majority of his matches to help his team to their title.

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