The third weekend of the Senior British League consisted of a single day of play on Sunday 11th December, with each side playing twice. Lillington’s side of Lee Dorning, Timmy Cooper, Sam Weaving, Sam Wiggins and Tom Brocklehurst started the weekend in third place with work to be done to try and catch the top two.
Dorning got things off to a flying start against XLNT Sports Draycott V, making light work of chopper Gareth Hickling and blowing him away 11-3, 11-5, 11-3 with a powerful display. Cooper took the first leg against Malcolm Truman, before Truman’s canny blocking and use of the angles swung proceedings in his favour. At 2-1 down, Cooper rallied to level things up but in a hard fought decider it was Truman who prevailed 12-10 to level the match score.
Weaving was next to step up for Lillington and he faced the short pimples of David Greaves. Weaving displayed little trouble in an efficient 11-5 opening leg, before following up with an 11-7. Greaves, though, made some adjustment and out-positioned Weaving well to create chances which he put away well to catapult him back in to the game at 2-2. Having lost the fourth leg 11-4, the momentum was against Weaving but he kept composed at the business end and won the fifth 11-8.
It was another tight game when Wiggins took on young left-hander, Jack Finney, with Wiggins edging the first 17-15. Finney started covering the wide angles better and took the next two legs, which was followed by another one for Wiggins. The deciding leg, as with the first, went to the wire but it was Finney who triumphed 12-10 and drag Draycott level in the match once again.
The doubles often prove crucial in these matches and when Dorning and Cooper found themselves 2-0 down to Truman and Finney, both legs in deuce, things looked ominous. The two Lillington players, though, have proved to be a strong combination over the years and managed to stem the tide to run out 3-2 winners. Wiggins and Weaving then faced the long/short pimple combination of Hickling and Greaves. With the game tied at 1-1, it was Wiggins and Weaving who won a deuce leg to edge in front and then duly completed a 3-1 win and move Lillington two points clear for the first time in the match.
Six points are required to guarantee the match and with it two precious league points and Dorning and Weaving secured them for Lillington in the next two matches. Both players took four legs to do it, with Dorning beating Truman and Weaving getting the better of Hickling. Cooper and Wiggins were unable to add to the total, dipping out against Finney and Greaves respectively, but the win was secured.
The afternoon’s match was always going to be the crucial one, with Lillington due to face second placed Halton. Halton had dropped a point in the morning with an unexpected draw against Mount, which meant that a win against them would move Lillington level rather than just a point behind.
It was Dorning, again, who opened for Lillington and faced Beth Farnworth. Dorning won a fairly comfortable opener, but that was not a sign of things to come. The second way also went Dorning’s way, but this time by the narrowest of margins 11-9. Farnworth was growing into the game and her strength when blocking in the quick rallies was added to with perfectly timed counters and she found herself back level at 2-2. The deciding leg was a tense affair before Dorning finally managed to pull away at the end to win 11-7.
The good start, unfortunately, did not continue as Halton put the hammer down to win the next three games in a row. Cooper lost in four to Ryan Lunn, Weaving also lost in four to Michael Lunn and Wiggins couldn’t find a way to stop Jake Shaw’s forehand and lost three-straight.
At 3-1 down, winning both doubles became imperative and Dorning and Cooper saw off the two Lunns in four. Wiggins and Weaving had a good start in their doubles, moving 2-0 ahead before Shaw and Farnworth pegged them back. With their tactics sorted, the Halton pair duly completed a five set win 11-4.
This meant that Lillington required four successive games to win the match, but in the event it was Halton who made it a five-game winning run to take the match 8-2. Dorning lost in five to Ryan Lunn, Weaving and Cooper lost 3-0 to Farnworth and Shaw respectively, with Wiggins managing a little better in taking a leg off Michael Lunn before losing 3-1.
With one weekend remaining, due to be played in March, the top two and promotion now looks out of the question, barring a lot of shock results. Drumchapel Glasgow and Halton are tied at the top on 17 points and will battle for the title. Lillington’s challenge now looks to be to pip Ormesby to third. The two sides are level on points, but Ormesby hold third by virtue of a better sets ratio.
Lillington would like to extend their continued thanks to Fulcro, a Bidford-on-Avon based engineering company, for their sponsorship. 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 – Timmy Cooper (L) and Lee Dorning won both their doubles games during the weekend.