The second weekend of the county championship Veterans Premier Division took place at Draycott TTC. The weekend started with Hertfordshire leading the way after three matches. They had a slight advantage over reigning champions Nottinghamshire on a superior games advantage after three wins apiece.
Kent were one point behind the leading two on five points having drawn one of their matches against Sussex in the first round of fixtures at Ashford before Christmas.
Nottinghamshire (pictured above) strengthened their hand after the first round of matches with a 9-1 thumping of Sussex. At the same time Kent leapfrogged Hertfordshire as they beat their rivals in a 6-4 thriller.
The second round of matches saw Nottinghamshire further strengthen their position but were pushed all the way by Kent before recording a 6-4 victory. Hertfordshire maintained their challenge with 7-3 victory over Yorkshire.
The next round of matches saw Nottinghamshire maintain their lead as they comprehensively beat Yorkshire 9-1. This performance was mirrored by Hertfordshire who beat Essex by the same score. Kent beat Cheshire 7-3 to maintain their challenge as all three counties approached the final round with a chance of a position in the top two.
The final round of matches saw Nottinghamshire face Hertfordshire. Despite Notts starting strongly and racing off to a 3-0 lead, Hertfordshire would not go away, and they caught their opponents at 3-3.
After the next three sets the match score stood at 5-4 to Nottinghamshire. In the final mixed doubles, Herts took the opening game as Eli Baraty & Sara Williams beat Mark & Sarah Short 11-5. But the reigning champions regrouped and reeled off the next three games 11, 8 and 7 to take the match 6-4 and the title for the eighth successive year.
With Hertfordshire losing, their points total did not improve and a hard fought 6-4 victory by Kent over Leicestershire saw them move ahead of Herts and take the runners-up spot behind Notts.
Notts were led by Jason Ramage who contributed by winning 12 of his 14 singles over the two weekends. He was well supported by John Taylor 11 from 13 and Mark Short 10 from 13. With performances like this they were always going to be tough to beat.
Although Kevin Dolder topped the averages with 10 wins from 10, he missed one session, but he did produce maximum singles performances again the top three counties.
Another notable singles performance worth mentioning on the men’s side was a 12 from 14 season from the evergreen Chris Rogers. This was a major reason for Leicestershire’s mid-table finish and not flirting with relegation – as was the case last season.
Sara Williams of Hertfordshire and Essex player Wanda Litynska Sydorenko were the pick of the ladies’ singles as they both produced six from seven performances.
Sadly, we say goodbyes to Cheshire and Essex who filled the bottom two places in this highly competitive division and were far from overpowered.
Thanks are due to the highly experienced Premier Weekend organiser Barry Snowden who steered the competing counties through the two weekends with his usual efficiency.