Published 09/04/2018 at 13:29:00 by David Wackrill.

Another triumphant campaign for the over 60s side in Division 1B of the County Championships with a 2nd place finish for the third year running. The remaining 5 fixtures of the calendar were postponed from a snowed off March date at Harlow to a rainy one last weekend at Cippenham. The change of dates meant that our regular lady player, Newport Pagnell’s Sue Lewis was unavailable and, I confess, that without Super Sue I rated our chances at zero. Her reluctant replacement, Susana Hansell from Wycombe, has yet to win a Singles set for the County but she certainly came good over the weekend with some vital Mixed Doubles wins playing with Michael Wilkins and me.
Hampshire were runaway winners of the Division after beating all opposition but the battle for runners-up spot developed into a straight fight between Beds and Bucks, who faced each other on Saturday night. A Bucks win would have given us a virtually uncatchable 3 point advantage with 2 matches remaining on Sunday. In a tense and exciting match, which was a joy to play in, we led 5-3 but wasted 7 match points in the final sets to finish off a durable Beds team. Firstly Michael dropped 2 match points when losing 17-15 in the 5th to John Alsop in a classic. Then Susana and Michael let slip another 5 in the final Mixed Doubles against Sandy Harper and Trevor Beard, which also went the distance. Our noisy neighbours vocal and tactile celebrations on clinching the draw were more befitting of a winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final than the friendly atmosphere of a Super Veterans match. But we had to grin and bear it like the troopers we all are.
Bucks started with a routine victory on Sunday over Berks, leaving us needing just a draw against Surrey in the final match to finish 2nd. However we made a dreadful start when Michael lost to Ajay Shah and Nick Hansell (Wycombe) went down to Tony Needham. But cometh the hour cometh the man and it was Gerald Ridgway who stepped up to the mark to beat Jonathan Chernett and save the scoreline from further deterioration. Later in the match Gerald, soaking up the pressure like a dry sponge taking on water, played his part in clinching victory by overcoming Ajay for a magnificent personal brace, which was twice as many singles wins as his 3 colleagues put together and possibly his best ever performance for the County! Well done Gerald but also many thanks, of course, to all my County colleagues.
Andy Smith and myself completed the 7 player Bucks squad for the season and finished with the best Singles averages with Andy 4 wins from 4 and me 9 from 12. Consistency pays handsome dividends at this level.  

Full year’s County results  –
6-4 v Cambridge
9-1 v Dorset
5-5 v Essex (2nds)
3-7 v Hampshire
7-3 v Kent (2nds)
6-4 v Herts (2nds)
5-5 v Beds
8-2 v Berks
6-4 v Surrey (2nds)