The weekend of 10th/11th September saw Lillington Free Church Table Tennis Club compete in the Senior British League, the top team competition in the country, for the first time in their history.
Last year’s silver medal winning trio in the Junior British League, Timmy Cooper, Lee Dorning and Sam Weaving, have been joined by club-mates Sam Wiggins and Tom Brocklehurst and will enter the Senior British League in Division C-3, playing their matches over four weekends throughout the season at Draycott & Long Eaton Table Tennis Club.
The side has been fortunate enough to secure a generous sponsorship deal from Bidford-on-Avon based engineering company, Fulcro, for the 2016/17 season.
Fulcro is an innovative, creative engineering team. They offer a bespoke service that includes Building Information Modelling (BIM) and 3D/4D digital prototype and design detailing, also known as Virtual Design and Construction.
Working closely with their clients, they combine data and technology to provide detailed plans based on accurate timelines. In this way they are able to add value and efficiency to building and construction projects, and reduce risk.
Their team has a wealth of experience, having worked in the UK and abroad on award-winning green public buildings, multi-use developments, historical architecture and listed buildings. They have also collaborated on complex and time-critical projects, including the 2012 Olympic Stadium and the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station.
Fulcro are currently looking for apprentices across the business and anyone interested should contact the HR department at the Wixford office on +44 (0)1789 490000.
The Lillington team got off to a solid start on the first day of the weekend, facing Newcastle-based side, Mount, in their debut fixture and running out 7-3 winners. Lee Dorning got them off to a flying start with a 3-0 win against defender, Duncain Wraight, before Sam Weaving and Sam Wiggins extended the lead with wins over brothers Lee and Dean Eadington respectively.
Mount got on the scoreboard when Peter Smallcombe beat Tom Brocklehurst in five close sets before the match progressed to two games of doubles which were shared between the two sides.
In the four remaining singles, Dorning and Weaving both won their second games of the match against Lee Eadington and Smallcombe, and Brocklehurst notched his first against Dean Eddington, with Wiggins just failing to find a way past Wraight.
Match number two was against one of the host club’s teams, XLNT Draycott V. Draycott got off to a fast start as the wily Malcolm Truman baffled Weaving for two legs before completing a closer third to put Draycott 1-0 up.
The next two games were shared. Dorning recovering from a first set loss to hit back against chopper, Gareth Hickling, and Brocklehurst losing out to Jack Finney. Lillington then went of a run of four unanswered points to move from 1-2 down to 5-1 up. Wiggins beat Lauren Evans and combined with Brocklehurst to take a doubles against Evans and Finney. Weaving and Dorning registered another doubles win, which was followed up by a Dorning singles win over Truman.
Left-hander, Finney, picked up his second win of the match by beating Weaving, before Wiggins (coming from 1-2 down to win in 5) beat Hicking and Brocklehurst wrapped up another 7-3 win with a straight sets victory over Evans.
Day two saw Timmy Cooper join the quartet and he got off to a good start against Halton III, beating Anthony Whelan in five sets, which put Lillington 2-0 up as Dorning had previously beaten Ryan Lunn in four.
Proceedings then took a downward turn for Lillington, losing five consecutive games as Brocklehurst and Weaving lost singles to Olivier Barthelemy and Bethany Farnworth, both doubles slipped away, and Lunn beat Cooper.
Dorning stopped the rot with a confident win over Barthelemy and Weaving recovered from an opening set loss to beat Whelan in four. Unfortunately, Brocklehurst was unable to capitalise on a first set win against Farnworth and Lillington lost the match 4-6.
The final match of the weekend was against Drumchapel Glasgow III and Lillington were once more on the wrong end of a close 6-4 match. Scot, Keir Morton, was in imperious form and won both his singles against Cooper and Dorning with some accurate, powerful play despite being tested by both.
Cooper and Dorning both won their other singles, though, against Zaid Khalid and Danny Bajwa, but lost the tightest of doubles 12-10 in the fifth.
Weaving and Wiggins fared better in their doubles, again in five sets, but this time Lillington took the important decider comfortably. Weaving picked up a singles win against Zaid Khalid for Lillington’s fourth and final point of the match.
Lillington ended the weekend in fourth place in the table, with four points from their two wins and two draws, a point behind Ormesby IV, three behind Drumchapel III and four behind Halton III. With ten matches still to play over the rest of the season, they will hope to make inroads into those leads and put themselves in a position to challenge for the top two slots by the end of the second weekend, taking place on 12th/13th November.
Photo – Lillington SBL squad members, Sam Wiggins (R) and Timmy Cooper presenting a team shirt, signed by England No.1, Kelly Sibley, to Neil Nickless, CDS & BIM Team Leader, of Fulcro, Lillington TTC SBL 2016/17 Team Sponsors.