Times & Directory Match Report: “A” Team In Cup Final For Second Year Running
The New Milton A table tennis team booked their place in the final of the Times and Directory Handicap Cup for the second year running, but this time they did it the hard way as they were a player short.
Phil Handy was unable to play in their semi-final against Div 5 leaders Ringwood C because of work commitments, and the tournament rules do not permit calling on reserves for the semi-finals and the final. And so it was down to captain Brian Vibert and Steve Hemmings to carry out “mission impossible” as they started off three games down and with large handicap differentials. The Ringwood trio (Steve Heap, Dennis Elkins and Phil Smith) were all playing off +20 (up to 31) and they only needed to win two games to go through to the final.
Hemmings and Vibert were playing off +6 and +4 respectively which reflected their Premier status, and Hemmings literally got the ball rolling by beating Heap 31-25, 31-29. Vibert heaped on the pressure by beating Elkins 31-24, 31-27, then Hemmings beat Smith 31-27, 31-26 to level things off at 3-3. Vibert took Milton ahead as he got the better of Heap 31-26, 31-22 and Hemmings secured victory by beating Elkins 31-30, 31-28. At 5-3, Milton had not dropped a single set and Vibert proved that this was no fluke as he beat Smith 31-24, 31-27 in the sixth although this was academic by then.
In the other semi-final, the Premier’s Kinson B beat Div 1’s Lynwood B 6-0, so it will be an all Premier final between New Milton A and Kinson B. The final will take place at the Merton Club, Southbourne on Tuesday 20th March. Milton lost last year’s final to the youngsters of Bournemouth Sports S so are hoping to have a full side for their second bite of the cherry.