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Cippenham Junior Girls settle for runners-up medal after draw against St Neots hands title to rivals

Before all table tennis activity was suspended due to coronavirus, Cippenham’s Junior Girls team travelled to Derby for the conclusion of their British League Division 3 season.

The side travelled hoping to overturn a two-point deficit to leaders St Neots.

However, a draw from their final match meant they had to settle for a runners-up medal.

It was a disappointing end to a generally encouraging first season in the division.

Hannah Wilcock, who hails from Jersey, led the way, winning all but one of her matches across the weekend, while local players Rachael Iles and Anna Piercey also chipped in with some impressive performances and victories.

They began with a 4-2 win over Lillington, Silcock comfortably winning both of her matches to add to victories from Iles and Piercey.

Ipswich-based side Britannia were the next to feel the force of the trio, losing 5-1, with Silcock suffering her sole defeat to blemish an otherwise perfect record.

Bottom side Halton 2nds were swept aside 6-0, while the side was buoyed to learn that leaders St Neots had dropped points following a 3-3 draw with Ackworth.

Going into the final day, Cippenham trailed by just a point and their optimism will have increased after dispatching of Ackworth

5-1 with Silcock and Piercey both winning twice. It set up a grand stand finish against St Neots and a win from the final game would have handed the title to Cippenham.

However, they were always playing catch up in the 3-3. Iles lost to Stefania Pope before Silcock levelled matters with a win over Chloe Pryke.

Aditi Dhillon defeated Piercey leaving Cippenham needing to win all three remaining sets to take the divisional title. Hopes were kept alive by Silcock, who recovered from two games down to beat Popa 14-12 in the deciding fifth game. Iles then beat Dillon 3-1, meaning the title came down to the final game between Piercey and Pryke.

Unfortunately it was not to be for the Cippenham player as she went down to a 3-0 defeat.

Cippenham finished with the best games for/against record, with 45-15 to 43-17 for St Neots.

Unfortunately they came up just short in the only tally that really mattered, taking 17 points to St Neots’ 18.

Just one day’s play took place in the third weekend of the Senior British League, where an under-strength Cippenham team fell to consecutive defeats.

Missing stalwart Rob Hansell, they picked up no points from their Division B4 matches and dropped two places to sixth.

Anything other than a calamity, when matches are resumed hopefully at the end of April, should keep them clear of the relegation places.

Despite the defeats there were three match wins for team captain Martin Adams, including one in tandem with Shae Thakker.

There was also a solitary victory for Steve Munson, but it wasn’t enough to earn any points as Horsham Spinners ran out 5-4 victors.

Adams and Thakker both beat Mark Collins while Thakker also beat Daniel Pound.

All of the above matches took place before the Government issued stricter guide-lines on social distancing across the UK.

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