County Championship Veterans 2B

Sussex Veterans 2nd team shone in this seasons County Championships Division 2b and took the title at a canter when the division was played out over three Saturdays, one before Christmas and two afterwards.

Sussex started their campaign at John O’Gaunts School, Trowbridge with two solid wins as they beat Wiltshire 1st team 7-3 followed by a thumping 9-1 win over Herefordshire 1st team with Paul Barry, David Butler, Nick Standen and Sheila King representing their county with Berry and King undefeated in singles play.

The second round of matches took place at Horsham and saw Sussex field the same four players and in their opening match they were stretched by Middlesex No 2 in an encounter which ended as a draw.

It was Middlesex who started the brighter and took the first two ends which saw wins for Steve Buck and John McCance over Butler and Standen respectively but, once more Berry and King produced solid performances to ease their side back into the match to lead 5-4. However, a last mixed doubles win by Radovan Zivkovic and Sally Reymond over Standen and King 3-2 (11-3, 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7) saw Middlesex grasp a well deserved draw.

Normal service was resumed for Sussex with a 7-3 win over Wiltshire seconds which once again saw Berry and King unbeaten in singles play as Sussex completed the second phase of fixtures on seven points from a possible eight.

The final round of matches were held at Cippenham with each county playing their remaining three fixtures but this proved a victory parade for Sussex and on this occasion Gary Bonner replaced Standen for Sussex.

Buckinghamshire were the first up for Sussex and were quickly despatched 8-2, which saw Bery, King and Bonner undefeated in singles play, while the Isle of Wight were walloped 9-1 with only Lee Orton picking up one end for the islanders. His win over the returning Nick Standen 3-1 (2-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5) was the only respite for IOW as Sussex continued their relentless march to the title.

The final match for the already crowned champions was against Surrey’s third team and resulted in a 7-3 victory for Sussex. Bonner once again replaced Standen while Paul Berry was the star of the show as he completed the match and the season undefeated for his team.

Whilst the outcome of the division was never in doubt from early in the campaign there was a real scrap for the runners-up place with no team winning more than three matches with plenty of draws recorded. All the chasing teams seemed to be intent in taking points off each other allowing Sussex to keep winning and take the title by a clear four points from runners-up Wiltshire firsts who emerged as runners-up by a point from third place Surrey thirds.

For the full table click here

Barry Snowden

County Championship Committee