IT has been a difficult, injury-hit season for Ash H in Division Four of the Aldershot Table Tennis League, yet they fought their way into the final of the Handicap Cup.
Dave Brown, substituting for captain Darren Milstead, joined Ben Carr and Brian Lunn for the final against Division One high-flyers Central A, who used the trusty trio of Peter Millard, Paul Baker and Phil Snelson.
All starts for Ash were 25 except in the first match which Brown lost by a single point to Millard.
But this did not deter Ash who won the next four matches: Carr against Baker, Lunn against Snelson, Brown/Carr against Millard/Baker, and Carr against Millard.
All the time, Ash were building a large points lead to guard against a 6-6 deadlock at the end. Central desperately needed a win and Snelson started well against Brown, taking the first set 11-0. But Brown fought back and managed to square the match.
Baker did beat Lunn to give Central an opportunity, but the second doubles, Brown/Lunn against Millard/Snelson, featured several nets for the Ash pair and their ultimate victory probably sealed the match.
Snelson beat Carr, but Lunn had enough points to spare against Millard to retain the trophy for Ash.
Tennis A, last year’s Knockout Cup winners, failed to retain the trophy when they met a very determined Bentley A outfit who were going for the league and cup double.
Bentley won easily, 5-0, thanks to the fine play of Richard Seymour, Andy Mudie and Micky Lang.
Bentley duly completed the double when they thrashed Ash B 9-1 to clinch the Division?One title. Mudie and Graham Diplock both secured trebles and Lang won twice.
At the other end of the table, Tennis D gave themselves a chance of avoiding the drop with an emphatic 7-3 win over Ash B. Michael Kwan led the way with a maximum and David Jarvis supported with a double. Paul Rumble won two for Ash.
Tennis F are the Division Three champions after two late successes. Initially, they beat Ash E 6-4, with Peter Killick winning three and Graham Marshall two (Ash’s Jo Bartlett also won twice). Tennis then beat Fleet B 9-1, thanks to trebles from Marshall and Paul Jarvis and two for Killick.
Cody D stormed into second place with an 8-2 victory over their E team. Dean Hewitt and Bob Fenner were both unbeaten and Fan Lei backed them up with a double.
Tennis A 9 Tennis C 1, Ash B 3 Tennis D 7, Bentley A 9 Ash B 1, Tennis D 2 Central B 8
Fleet B 1 Tennis F 9, Ash E 4 Tennis F 6, Ash E 4 Cody C 6, Cody E 2 Cody D 8
Div I Cup
Tennis A 0 Bentley A 5
Ash H 6.5 Central A 3.5
* Frimley C beat Bentley B 7-2 in the Division Two Cup final (Peter Farrelly 3, Andy Griffiths 3).
* Frimley E beat Crawley Ridge B 6-3 in the Division Four Cup final (Dennis Smith 3, Steve Bridle 2; Phil Garrett 2 for Crawley).
* Old Woking have secured the second promotion place in Division Two.