Times & Directory Match Report: The “A” Team’s Cup Plan Doesn’t Come Together (Again)
The New Milton Table Tennis Club A team lost the Times and Directory Cup Final for the second year running. This time they lost 3-5 to fellow Premier side Kinson B down at the neutral venue of Southbourne on Tuesday 20th March. In a most entertaining and thrilling final, Kinson B represented by Tom Stride (+12 handicap), Richard Davies (+7) and Darren Bellis (+12) overcame a strong New Milton A side featuring Brian Vibert (+4), Steve Hemmings (+6) and Philip Handy (+4).
Kinson got straight into their stride as Stride beat Hemmings, and Davies got the better of Milton’s captain Vibert giving Kinson a 2-0 lead before Handy pulled a game back to make it 2-1. In the fourth game, Davies attacked superbly against Hemmings’ defence and although Davies won 31-14 and 31-27 this did not reflect the tremendous rallies that took place between the two players. Davies had to work extremely hard with his forehand top-spin drives and drop-shots to beat Hemmings’ dogged defence. Handy then beat Stride which left Vibert to play Bellis. Vibert’s good all-round game eventually overcame a stubborn Bellis 30-31, 31-29 and 31-30, which made the match level at 3-3. The game of the evening then commenced between Davies and Handy who were both unbeaten so far. The match had it all, from two attacking players, with some outstanding fast controlled rallies and although Handy pegged back the handicap difference on many occasions, Davies finally won this enthralling game 31-29, 28-31 and 31-29. At 3-4 down, Milton had to win the next match to keep their cup hopes alive. It wasn’t to be however as Hemmings lost to Bellis to make the match score a 5-3 win to Kinson B. A most enthralling match, played in a friendly but competitive manner. Milton are hoping to make it third-time lucky next year!