Weekend 4 concluded the 2016/17 Senior British League campaign for the debutant side from Lillington comprising five home-grown players in Lee Dorning, Timmy Cooper, Sam Weaving, Sam Wiggins and Tom Brocklehurst. With only a string of unlikely results enabling the side to finish in the medal positions, the focus of the side was on the battle for 3rd and 4th with the final match of the weekend against Ormesby likely to be the deciding fixture.
Before that, though, three other fixtures needed negotiating with table-topping Drumchapel first up. Without their number 1 for the final weekend, on paper the task didn’t look as daunting as it could have. However, the young side from Glasgow continue to improve at an impressive rate and it proved to be far from an easy task.
Cooper came close to getting Lillington off to a winning start, but succumbed to Zaid Khalid 17-15 in the deciding leg, leaving Dorning to level the match with a four leg win over Thomas Cairns. Danny Bajwa defeated Wiggins in straight legs and James Forrest took out Weaving in four. When Dorning and Cooper were blown away 3-0 in the first doubles by Khalid and Bajwa, things looked ominous.
Wiggins and Weaving did well to win their doubles against Cairns and Forrest but although Weaving beat Cairns for a third point, Dorning, Cooper and Wiggins were unable to add to the tally and Drumchapel took a 7-3 victory.
Saturday afternoon’s match was against Bromley and Lillington knew that they could not afford any more slip ups – only wins would be good enough from now on if they were to finish third. Dorning and Cooper were in no mood to hang around and got things off to a good start with wins against Peter Canavan and Jamie Cartwright respectively.
Wiggins then slipped to a four leg defeat at the hands of Mark Nicholls and when Brocklehurst, coming into the side for Weaving, got pegged back by James Johnson in five the match sat level at 2-2.
Dorning and Cooper made their doubles win over Cartwright and Johnson look simple with a quick 3-0 win to put Lillington back in the lead. Wiggins and Brocklehurst then found themselves 2-1 down against Nicholls and Canavan but took the game to a deciding fifth leg. In that leg, they recovered from 9-4 down to pull off a 13-11 win and move the side into a 4-2 lead.
From that point, the match was relatively uneventful for Lillington. Dorning and Wiggins beat Cartwright and Canavan respectively in four legs, before Cooper accounted for Johnson in straight legs and Brocklehurst wrapped up an 8-2 win in similar fashion against Nicholls.
Sunday started with a match against rock bottom Wood Green, with Lillington sat in 4th place. 3rd placed Ormesby faced off against Mount on the adjacent table with a win for Ormesby enough to guarantee them 3rd.
Lillington’s focus was on their own match, though, and they rattled through the first four games with the loss of just one leg. Weaving, Dorning, Brocklehurst and Wiggins rolled through Luke Gittins, Anil Patel, Paresh Patel and Harpal Juttla respectively.
Dorning teamed up with Brocklehurst for the first doubles, against Gittins and Anil Patel and promptly took the game 3-0. Weaving and Wiggins then had a trouble-free encounter with Paresh Patel and Juttla to continue the trend and secure the vital winning point.
Dorning, Weaving and Wiggins all completed their second singles wins, with Brocklehurst falling to the pimples of Juttla which gave a final result of 9-1.
On the table next to them, an epic encounter was going on between Ormesby and Mount. With Mount the underdogs, Lillington were pleased to see them tied at 3-3 after the doubles but although one further win was likely, that wouldn’t be enough to stop Ormesby securing 3rd place. Mount, though, stunned their opponents by reeling off the next three points as they took an unlikely 6-4 win!
With that result, the final match of the season was between Lillington and Ormesby. With the title already decided, the two sides contested another hard fought battle with the last few games being played out after all the other sides had finished and gone home!
Dorning led Lillington out with a comprehensive win over defender Carl White, but the match was turned in favour of Ormesby when David Ashwell came from 2-0 down to beat Cooper 9 in the 5th and Michael Young put paid to Weaving.
Wiggins let a 2-0 lead slip against Peter Wilkinson, but in the deciding leg he dug deep and produced some excellent forehands to win 11-9 and level the match at 2-2.
When Lillington lost both the doubles, it left them 4-2 down and needing to win the remaining four games to win the match and steal 3rd place.
In a nip and tuck encounter, Dorning finally got the better of Ashwell in five legs to pull back the first point. Weaving then faced White and after struggling to cope with the defender in the first leg, completed an exceptional performance to win the next three and level the match.
Cooper got off to a shaky start against Wilkinson having to win two tight legs to take it to a decider, but stayed strong at the business end to win the fifth leg and put Lillington 5-4 ahead.
Wiggins faced the pressure game, needing to beat Young for the victory and 3rd place. Unfortunately, he found Young in inspired form and although he battled valiantly to the end he had no answer to Young’s powerful, short-pimpled backhand and Ormesby grabbed the draw they needed to hold on the 3rd place in the table.
In their debut season at this level, Lillington will be satisfied with a reasonable performance over the course of the year but will have a tinge of regret that they weren’t quite able to stay in the hunt for the medals by taking points off the top two sides. Halton topped the table on 25 points, from Drumchapel on 23. Ormesby took 3rd on countback from Lillington (both 18 points), followed by Mount (14), XLNT Draycott V (9), Bromey (5) and Wood Green II (0).
Lillington’s participation in the Senior British League for the 2016/17 season was greatly assisted by Fulcro, a Bidford-on-Avon based engineering company, who kindly sponsored the side. Fulcro are an innovative, creative engineering team who provide Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Virtual Design and Construction services. Further information is available on their website: http://www.fulcro.co.uk/
Photo – The Lillington FC TTC SBL 2016/17 Team, (L-R) Sam Wiggins, Timmy Cooper, Tom Brocklehurst, Sam Weaving and Lee Dorning.