Gill Smith
Gill Smith - Comedy Writer & Performer

Reading Evening Post

An example of my weekly column, as it appeared in the Reading Evening Post of Thursday December 18th 2003. Carefully picked as my then club didn't get a mention, so I couldn't be in trouble with them. My two current clubs play each other. Ah well, the best laid plans!

Cotswold B took over at the top of the mixed division 4A, after cruising to a 6-3 victory over third-placed Oasis C. Sue Armstead and David Johnson and Georgina Alexander and Steve Austin remained undefeated. Three days earlier, Oasis C had enjoyed 5½ - 3½ win over North Reading B, thanks to the efforts of Claire Ollerton and Cyril Oke. Even so, the result was not enough to move North Reading B off the foot of the table. North Reading A had better success in 3A. In another close match, they beat Crescent C 5-4, with pairs Kath Penny and Vic Fry and Kim Fry and Dave Lee each scoring 2½ to help hoist their side up to third place. Lanes C travelled to Wallingford, and although Carol Ball and Kenny Morrison refused to give up it was the home side who came out on top 6½ - 2½. Meanwhile in Division 2A, John Lewis moved up two places despite of a 5-4 defeat at the hands of Cotswold A, who finally start their season. Their success moves them up off the bottom of the table.

It was a busy week in Division 2B where Wargrave crashed to an 8½ -½ defeat at home to Downshire A, with Jennie and Steve Eels and Caroline Badcock and Robert Eels all remaining undefeated. Wargrave were at home again a week later, this time against Ufton B. And although they fared a little better, it was still Ufton who clinched a 6-3 win thanks to 2½ rubbers from Cath Egerton and Trevor Last. Downshire A hit the road for another away fixture - but found this harder work. They were level at 4-4 against Whiteknights with just one rubber to play. And last year's best mixed pair, Michelle and Stuart Whitehouse, pulled out all the stops, taking the last two games 15-3 and 15-4to give Knights a 5-4 win. Downshire's efforts over the week saw them climb two places to third in 2B. British Rail B faced a tough test against Carlile A in Division 1A, but they came out on top 7½ - 1½, thanks to the efforts of Lucy Dawe and Mike Childs and Helen Apsey and Dean Hindry. Dawe and Childs repeated their unbeaten performance at British Rail B's next match against Prospect, who held them to 6½ - 2½, but couldn't stop the home team's rise to top of the table.

Chiltern Edge A were busy in Division 1B. They entertained Maidenhead and slumped to a 9-0 defeat at the hands of Alison Brown and Chris Woods, Jane Glass and Chris Chew, Gill Ballantyne and Brian Canderton. Chiltern Edge A, again at home, fared better against Reading and Country B, who could only muster two pairs. However, one of those pairs - Wendy McLaren and James Press - refused to give up a game, leading their team to a 5-4 victory, and two places up the table to second. Premier Division pair Val Clark and Martin Graham remained undefeated for Ufton A, who beat home team Malvern A 7-2, liftin Ufton up two places in the table. A close match between Prospect A and Hawley saw Jo McGill and Sam Armadrass win 2½ rubbers for visitors Hawley. Penny Shildrick and Iain Adams managed the same for Prospect A, but it was Hawley who came away with a 5½ - 3½ win.

It was a quieter week for the Men's League, although Crescent B and Wargrave battled out a 4½ - 4½ draw in Division 4. There was no change in the table for these teams, who are currently lying second and third. In Division 3A, home pair John Bennet and Andrew McDonald of Lanes B won 2½ of their rubbers, although their efforts were matched by visitors Philip Wren and Tom Godson for Emmbrook. Eventually home advantage gave Lanes B a 5-4 victory, but Emmbrook can celebrate moving off the foot of the table. Silver Fox A enjoyed a confident win over North Reading in Division 2A, with Marcus Hope and Paul Hickson refusing to give up a game as Fox jumped into top spot.

Meanwhile in 2B, Silver Fox B had to work hard in their home match against British Rail C. Rail's Mike Childs and Ian Stock won all their games, but it was Fox who snatched a 5-4 victory to go second.

Downshire enjoyed a clear victory in Ladies Division 4, beating home team Chiltern Edge A 7½ - 1½. Caroline Badcock and Jennie Eels remained unbeaten for Downshire. The Division 1 clash between home side British Rail B and Hawley was closer, thanks to visiting pair Joyce Hood and Wendy Forster, who refused to give up a game. However, the rest of their team struggled, leading to a 6-3 victory for British Rail B, who move up to second in the division.

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