After an absence of six years, Cippenham boys team made a welcome return to Junior British League action – and they acquitted themselves commendably.
The team’s results left them tied on five points with three other teams in a congested Division 4B.
Londoner Mihnea Dascalu was drafted into the side as a late replacement for the injured William Fricker, and turned out to be Cippenham’s most successful player, winning eight of his 10 singles matches.
Cippenham’s No.1 seed, Shae Thakker, celebrated his call up to the British para table tennis team for the Spanish Open by winning six of his matches.
Played at the imposing Derby Arena, Cippenham were quickly into their stride with a 4-2 win over Fusion 3.
Thakker and Dascalu secured two wins apiece while Pranav Gudipati can consider himself unfortunate not to have picked up another victory having been 2-1 to the good against Daniel Nzekwe.
Saturday finished with defeats to Halton 2 (4-2) and Mid Ulster (5-1).
Dascalu and Thakker had put Cippenham 2-0 up against Widnes-based Halton before their opponents took charge.
Dascalu was also Cippenham’s only winner against Mid Ulster, beating Daniel Urwin easily with Thakker and Gudipati suffering fifth game losses in close
Results improved after a good night’s rest, with bottom team Colebridge B dispatched 5-1, with narrow victories for Dascalu and Gudipati over Jake Crawshaw and Henry Belcher over five games.
The weekend concluded with a 3-3 draw with BATTS B, with Dascalu’s deciding game win over Fin Cameron-Prior getting the club off to a perfect start.
Thakker beat Ray Jiang Yan 3-0 and Dascalu’s victory over Charlie Read handed Gudipati the chance to claim victory, but he went down to a narrow defeat against Yan.
Cippenham’s Shae Thakker has been included in the British Para Table Tennis team for the PTT Spanish Open in Almeria.
Great Britain are taking a squad of nine players for the competition, which starts today (Thursday) and runs through to Sunday.
Thakker, a regular member of the Cippenham junior and senior sides, will be joined in Spain by Martin Perry and Billy Shilton of Paisley and Stonehouse clubs in Sheffield.
Both narrowly missed out on qualification for this year’s World Championships.
Commonwealth bronze medallist Josh Stacey, a gold medal winner in the Czech Open in September, is also in the team alongside Thakker – one of GB’s British Pathway and Development athletes.
SportsAble’s Lucie Bouron, from Bracknell, will also travel to Spain for the tournament.