3 Masters teams at 2016 National Finals

Three Avon teams had qualified for the finals, held at Stoke Mandeville Arena last weekend, by winning their age group in the South West League, with all three teams having remained unbeaten. At National level however the competition is tougher.


The over 55 squad had the best performance of the weekend, although they lost their semi-final on Saturday against Lancashire with a 3-9 score with Dave and Ian winnng both of their men’s doubles and Dave and Shirley taking their mixed. Their Sunday 3 / 4 play-off was a nail biter right to the end. With Dave and Ian winning one of their men’s doubles and both ladies pairs, Judy and Debbie and Dot and Shirley each winning a ladies doubles they still did not look likely winners, however three pairs went on to win their mixed doubles, Ian and Judy, Dave and Shirley and Gary and Debbie so a 6-6 result. With the winners being decided on the first mixed Avon over 55’s clinched the third place over Worcestershire. Players were Dave Gribble, Ian Nicholls, Gary Priday, Nigel Birkitt, Judy White, Debbie Burrell, Shirley Green, Dot Barrett.


The over 60’s team also struggled in their semi-final against Essex on Saturday. The match score was a loss 10-2 with Cathy and Penny winning a ladies doubles and Derek and Penny taking a mixed doubles. Their final on Sunday against Leicestershire, with a losing score of 9-3, does not tell the whole story, with both ladies pairs, Cathy and Penny and Moira and Ann winning a rubber and Derek and Penny again winning their mixed doubles and four other rubbers going to 3, this was actually a close contest. Team was Derek Simmons, Mike Cox, Colin Lawry, Mike Chapman, Penny Shears, Cathy Alexander, Ann Lawry and Moira Roberts.


The over 65’s played their semi-final against Yorkshire on Saturday, winning 2 ladies doubles rubbers but struggling at both men’s and mixed doubles, the match score was 7-2.  On Sunday in the 3 / 4 play-off against Surrey the games were all closer, the ladies won all 3 but again despite some tight games both at men’s and mixed, these were the only wins losing the match 6-3. Sadly, the most memorable thing about both days were the conditions on the courts they were playing on and as teams stayed on the same courts both days the players felt that, having qualified to play in a National Final, they deserved better facilities to allow them to perform at their top level. Team was Bob Hammersley, Zia Haque, Colin Hunt, Joanna Elson, Val O’Neill and Linda Pasley.

The Alternative Masters Event!!  A very enjoyable evening for us all.

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