Su­pe­rior Rocky team wins back the holy grail

The Morning Bulletin - - SPORT - AL­LAN CLARKE

TA­BLE TEN­NIS: A group of lo­cal play­ers made amends for the loss of the Cree Shield to Bund­aberg in 2016 with an em­phatic vic­tory at the Le­ich­hardt Park play­ing cen­tre last Satur­day.

For more than 45 years the Rock­hamp­ton and Bund­aberg clubs have en­gaged in an in­ter­city clash on an an­nual ba­sis and the cur­rent tro­phy, the Eric Cree Shield, was won by Bundy late in 2016 af­ter hang­ing on a wall in the Rocky club house for the pre­vi­ous seven years in a row.

The two clubs take it in turns to travel and this year it was Bund­aberg’s turn for a road trip. How­ever, the lo­cals were very keen to win back the shield that has be­come the holy grail, as far as tro­phies are con­cerned, be­tween these two ci­ties.

Over­all, the re­sult looks quite one-sided but a lot of the in­di­vid­ual clashes were closer than the fi­nal re­sult in­di­cates. The shield was re­turned to Rock­hamp­ton with a re­sound­ing five matches to one vic­tory.

In di­vi­sion one Ray­den Smith, Dane Cough­lan and Matthew Pet­tett lined up against the best heavy-hit­ters Bundy could muster for the trip in young Sam Free­man along with veter­ans Peter Sprat­ley and Andrew McCur­ley.

Sprat­ley ex­celled when he blasted Cough­lan in a straight sets en­counter to level at one apiece af­ter Smith beat Free­man in the first round. Af­ter that Rock­hamp­ton took con­trol though Bund­aberg were un­lucky not to post a win when Free­man went down to Cough­lan 13-11 in the fifth set de­cider, and Sprat­ley stole a game from both Pet­tett and Smith and McCur­ley did like­wise when pit­ted against Smith.

A sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion de­vel­oped in di­vi­sion two with the vis­it­ing cap­tain Dave Del­pratt pre­vail­ing over Ann-Louise Ste­wart in ap­par­ent easy fash­ion and de­spite some ti­tanic bat­tles Rocky won the court com­fort­ably, ac­cord­ing to the score sheet. James O’Sul­li­van was prob­a­bly lucky to edge out Jeff Loughran 12-10 in the de­cider and Ste­wart crept home over Pi­eter Pold­er­vaart 11-9 in the de­cid­ing game. O’Sul­li­van won a tight con­test over Del­pratt and Ste­wart con­jured a good win over Loughran in four. Gary Walm­s­ley was too solid for the vic­tors and didn’t lose a set in his sin­gles rounds and both dou­bles ties were close en­coun­ters.

Jeff Green, Dave Hock­ings and im­prov­ing ju­nior Matthew St­ef­fen had too much fire­power for Andrew Udal, Travis Mc­Der­mid and Sammy Wil­liam in the show­down in the third sec­tion while Linda O’Sul­li­van, Craig Ot­t­away and Paula Hock­ings com­bined well in fourth di­vi­sion to cre­ate a solid vic­tory. Jim But­ling, Deleece McDon­ald and Nev Ne­witt put on a bold chal­lenge for the vis­i­tors.

In fifth di­vi­sion Pa­tri­cia Green, Dave Mil­ver­ton and Brent Rodgers had too many an­swers for the young side of Kye Meuli, Matt Udal and Kain Chan­tarat. Bund­aberg’s win came in the sixth sec­tion with Meg Free­man edg­ing out Nick Green 13-11, 4-11, 8-11,11-8, 11-8 in the de­cid­ing rub­ber when the match was tied at five rub­bers apiece.

Green and fel­low ju­niors Emily Ste­wart, Rachael Headon and Dy­lan Row­ley fell at the last hur­dle with Free­man, Tayla Scott and Pat Rodgers sur­viv­ing some tough clashes to set up the skinny win.

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