Thursday, 14 December 2017

Henley improve after an influx of players

DESPITE being one of the smaller clubs in the region, Henley managed to be one of just two clubs to

DESPITE being one of the smaller clubs in the region, Henley managed to be one of just two clubs to field four teams in the Oxfordshire League.

Henley 1sts lost a few players at the start of the season while captain Simon Street was injured. At the halfway point Henley lay in bottom place in Oxfordshire’s top division, having only won one match out of seven.

However, captain Street returned from injury prematurely to help out and recruited Matthew Baynes and Andy Lewis to the club.

These additions, together with Rick Weatherall’s return to the side and the consistent performance of Adrian Richmond, paid immediate dividends as Henley beat every team in the league to win all of their matches in the second half.

This impressive run of form helped the side finish third overall. Notable performances came from Stefan Stanton, who won five out of seven matches, Matthew Baynes who won six out of nine and Adrian Richmond who won eight out of 11.

The first team player of the season award went to Weatherall who won eight out nine games at first string. His only defeat came against former world top 10 player Mark Cairns from Abingdon.

Having been relegated from Division 2 at Christmas, Henley 2nds had another difficult season and ended up being relegated from Division 3.

The problems came in the first part of the season, as players were needed to support the first team. By the end of the first half, the second team had only won one match against fellow strugglers Park Wheatley and were lying in last place.

Whilst the side enjoyed a better second half of the season, securing four wins from seven, it was not enough to avoid dropping a division.

In a difficult season captain Roger Booker awarded the player of the season to James Knight, who recorded three wins from four appearances at first string.

Henley 3rds had a consistent season and recorded eight wins and four defeats, which resulted in them finishing second in Division 6 and promoted to Division 5 next season.

Henley were able to include junior players in every round of the matches. Jonathan Betts put in some outstanding performances at first string and recorded four victories from five matches. James Little also returned to the team after a year long lay-off due to injury to win all three of his matches.

The stand out player of the season was Richie Hopkins who won 10 out of 11 matches.

The juniors were supported by captain Richard Griffiths and Peter Hopkins and other established players. Griffiths recorded impressive statistics of winning nine matches from 11 appearances.

Henley 4ths started the season with the simple goal of avoiding the wooden spoon in Division 7. Two victories in the first two weeks even gave some hope that promotion might be a possibility, but then reality set in and only two more wins (plus one walkover) were achieved over the remainder of the season.

Nevertheless, the team finished fourth, an improvement on the three previous winter seasons, when they finished last or next-to-last each time.

Henley gave match experience to 15 players throughout the season. Notable performances were Matt Blagg who won four matches from five appearances and Kristof Kunzmann with three victories from five matches.

Team captain and club chairman Duncan Nightingale awarded the player-of-the-season award to Paul Ireland for his four victories from seven appearances.

Anyone interested in joining the club should visit www.henleysquash.co.uk

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