WITH only one league match left to play, the final positions in another hard fought and exciting league season have now been decided.
The expected last week shoot-out between Park District and Budmouth B did not materialise due to illness in the Budmouth B camp.
However, Park did play Budmouth A that night in a crucial tie and suffered an unexpectedly heavy 25-15 defeat.
In a match of superb quality, Park got off to a good start with John Ryan (7) beating Moses Lewis (7) 3-1 in a really close encounter and Ray Cody (6) beating Ben Graham (6) 3-0 in three really tight legs.
But that was the last success achieved by Park as Budmouth won the remaining eight matches although four of them went the full distance.
Tom Cherry (9), the star performer on the night, came from 2-0 down to beat John Ryan taking the fourth and fifth legs 12-10 and then Ryan was again beaten 12-10 in the deciding leg by Graham.
Lewis saw off the dangerous Cody and Cherry staged another wonderful recovery from 2-0 to beat Cody 11-4 in the fifth leg.
The doubles also produced some scintillating play but the Budmouth boys showed their resilience taking the deciding leg 11-8 to complete the double over their opponents.
This result left Budmouth B needing 22 points from their postponed match against Budmouth C to seal the Division One title.
This was accomplished with relative ease in a 30-7 win with Jamie Blair, Will Jolliffe and Ethan Gear all securing maximums.
A Budmouth team last won the Division One title back in the 2005/06 season but never before with three youngsters in their mid-teens.
Blair also finished top of the division’s averages having lost just one match all season, ironically to Park’s Cody, who finished runner-up.
Budmouth A finished a good season in third and our best wishes go out to Cherry, Graham and Burroughs, who will hopefully continue their table tennis wherever they end up at university.
Springfield B finished bottom and look as if they will play next season in Division Two.
Shipton Gorge B finished as Division Two champions having lost just the once this season (to All Saints) but were pushed all the way by the youngsters of the aforementioned All Saints.
Graham Albertella, Derek Wheeler and Brian Cammell all had very good averages for Shipton and deserved their title.
Preston A finished in third with Pilgrims A just behind them in fourth.
Pilgrims A’s Tim Scott had a great season in finishing top of the averages in the division, again only losing one match all season, against Shipton Gorge C’s Joachim Wood.
Colliton C managed just the one win all season, against Wyke D, and finished bottom of the division.
Preston C finished second bottom but do have the handicap cup final to look forward to against double chasing, Division One champions, Budmouth B.
Division Three was decided a few weeks ago with undefeated STEPS taking the title with a perfect record of 18 wins from 18 matches. Springfield D finished as runners-up with their Dave Moth finishing top of the division averages, just beating the champions’ Paul Hammond.
A very young Budmouth D finished in third with the emerging Jed Brackenbridge and Ben Howe both featuring in the top 10 of the averages.
In their inaugural season in the league, the all-ladies team of Preston D finished bottom of the division having won only a couple of games but have played with a passion and attitude that will stand them in good stead for next season’s campaign.