Warwickshire O60s report – by Malcolm Macfarlane

Warwickshire Over 60’s 1st team have finished runners up in  County Championships Division 1A for the second season running following their recent final two matches at Halifax, and in doing so have narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier Division as only the top side get promoted.

In their first match at Halifax, Warwickshire 1 overcame a strong challenge from third placed Yorkshire 2 to emerge 7-3 winners after coming out on top in four out of six deciding set encounters. Diane St. Ledger’s contribution was again crucial for Warwickshire, winning her singles against Sandra Rider convincingly and also partnering Alan Cotton and Steve Taylor to closely fought mixed doubles victories. Cotton also won both of his singles against Keith Powell and Geoff Dunne to cap a fine unbeaten performance, whilst Taylor and Ron Vose added a vital singles win apiece, with Taylor doing particularly well to recover from two sets down to triumph in five sets against Doug Bartle. This result meant that Warwickshire 1 went into their final match against title favourites Lancashire needing a draw to finish as Division 1A champions, with Lancashire having unexpectedly dropped points in a previous match against Cheshire 2 . However, Lancashire lived up to their billing with a full strength team which included former England no.1  Over 50 Keith Williams to score a convincing 7-3 victory to become champions despite Warwickshire’s best efforts. Ron Vose  put Warwickshire 1-0 ahead with a fine straight sets win over Lancashire no.2 Phil Bowen, but Lancashire won the next four games to take firm control of the match. Diane St. Ledger then reduced the arrears to 2-4 with an excellent straight sets win against Brenda Bouey,, but Lancashire then won the next three games to put the match beyond doubt before St. Ledger teamed up with Alan Cotton to win the second mixed doubles..  

Warwickshire 2 have also competed in Division 1A this season, and left it right to their final match at Halifax to bag their first win when eclipsing fellow strugglers Cheshire 3 6-4 and thus avoid the wooden spoon. Paul Calloway and John Ludford both excelled in this match for Warwickshire, each winning two singles and  also taking it in turn to partner Linda Clempson to two decisive mixed doubles successes. Earlier, Warwickshire 2 lost out 3-7 to mid table Cheshire 2 in a very closely fought encounter which saw Calloway gain a fine win over opposing no.1 Dave Roberts and Clempson produce one of her best performances at this level in overcoming Sue Burgess 11-9 in the deciding fifth set.  John Taylor was unfortunate to lose both his singles against Roberts and John Hope in five sets, but Calloway and Clempson combined successfully for a late consolation in the final mixed doubles.