Sage & Bush – a Recipe for Success
Woodham C continue to dominate proceedings in the second division of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League as they remain the only team across the whole league with a 100% win rate. Whilst in Division 3 David Sage and Jason Bush cooked up a fine win for Blackwater E as they ‘got one up’ on their very own C Team.
The developing story of Division 2 this season is whether any opponent will be able to beat the dynamic Woodham C team. Woodham C are firmly lodged at the top of the table with an impeccable 8 wins from 8 matches – and only one of those has been anywhere near a close encounter. This week they travelled the short distance to Cold Norton D and came away with another 9-1 victory. Adi Kamma was the player of the match with his hat-trick but was ably supported by Graham Briggs who was also unbeaten, and David Meah with 2 wins as he just lost out to the wily and unconventional style of Gordon Gatheral. Woodham D didn’t fare so well despite Gus Heath’s phenomenal hat-trick against Maldon C – alas they were his team’s only points as the Maldon trio of Colin Barrell, Steve Aspland and Garry Eames each won their remaining singles and as per norm Aspland and Barrell won the doubles. The remaining Division 2 matches were closely fought derbies. Blackwater A and Blackwater B fought out a tight draw with the B team’s Louis Gunn and Noah Sage winning the last 2 singles of the night to come back from 3-5 down to square things up and frustrate the A Team. Neil Freeman was on fine form for the A Team as he won all his matches including a hard-fought 5 setter with Gunn. In the Stow derby the C team hosted the B team, but it seems the C team had given up before they started as they were a player short. Invigorated by the underdog status the C Team’s Pete Layzell was inspired to a superb hat-trick of wins to keep the score more than respectable as they finally went down 4-6.
Division 3 saw all 3 Blackwater teams in action as they compete for the runner-up position – by the end of the week’s competition only 2 points separate the 3 teams with the D Team in the ascendency. Blackwater C will rue their missed opportunity as they were humbled by their very own E team in a humiliating 8-2 reverse. This one will be talked about for years to come down at the West Maldon Community Centre. The C team lost out in three 5 setters as the E Team’s Jason Bush and David Sage completed their hat-tricks. The E team’s third player was the fabled and much respected Norman Hayes who somehow defied human and medical logic to play out all of his matches to deciding fifth sets and two of those went to deuce and beyond – with one win and two defeats, but what an effort. Hayes benevolently left the doubles to Messrs Sage and Bush (if only they ran a local horticultural business!) to complete the 8-2 landslide. Meanwhile Blackwater D travelled to the depths of Mayland to take on the runaway league Leaders St Lawrence. The Blackwater trio all came away with points as they secured an unexpected but very welcome draw, with David Benstead winning the final match of the night for Blackwater. For St Lawrence the experienced duo of David Siggins and Mick Robinson each won two singles and combined to just about take the doubles 14-12 in the decider against Benstead and Jacqui Treacy. Treacy and Chris Rolison took two singles each for the delighted Blackwater team.
In Division 1 Cold Norton A’s streak of good form was halted in dramatic fashion as they succumbed to a very strong Mapledene B side. Cold Norton’s Duncan Taylor was unstoppable as he dominated all of his matches – but unfortunately that was it for Cold Norton on the night as they failed to win another single set as Mapledene ran out 6-4 winners with 2 wins a piece for David and Simon Jacob and Kieran Skeggs. Whilst the Mapledene B side were admirably thwarting the Cold Norton A advance their A team took full advantage to strengthen their position at the head of the table with a comfortable 8-2 victory at home to Cold Norton C. Mapledene’s captain Reece Seddon doing the most damage with a hat-trick of wins with Cold Norton’s in form Kim Shead providing the most resistance as he was able to record excellent wins over Steve Muth and Peter Barrett. In the final match of the week Maldon A were able to muster some decent pointage from their 7-3 win over Stow Maries A which will undoubtedly help their cause come the relegation reckoning. Both Harrison Hill and Derek Balding won all their singles to ensure the healthy winning margin.
Top of page – The mighty Duncan Taylor – another hat trick in Burnham this week.
Pic 1 – Action from the Double Derby at Blackwater – as Norman Hayes holds court whilst Neil Freeman and Alan Scammell discuss doubles tactics on the court behind.
Pic 2 – A frustrated Blackwater A – Alan Scammell in action with Neil Freeman and Merv Perriman waiting in the wings
Pic 3 – The infamous Blackwater chefs – Jason Bush & David Sage
Pic 4 – Woodham C’s Graham Briggs in winning action against Terry Hyland this week.