Lillington teams struggle amid stiff competition

Lillington's Junior British League boys' and girls' trios. Picture submitted
Lillington's Junior British League boys' and girls' trios. Picture submitted

Lillington’s boys’ and girls’ teams both finished bottom of their respective divisions in the 2018/19 Junior British League at the Derby Arena.

After the opening weekend, NS Optimum Lillington Boys were sat in fifth place in Division 2A, level on points with bottom-club Sussex Blades.

In their opening match, the trio of Ricardo Bolanos, Jack Green and Nikit Sajiv went down 5-1 to London-based Greenhouse Sports, although three of the six games went the distance.

Green’s win over Josh Amanor was their sole consolation.

A second successive 5-1 defeat followed against Middlesbrough-based leaders Ormesby B.

Bolanos pushed Ben Piggott all the way but could not quite get over the line, leaving it to Sajiv to stave off the whitewash with a fine win over Adam Webster.

Saturday’s last match brought some relief, with Lillington securing a 3-3 draw against St Mary’s Tigers.

Ché Goulbourne was in imperious form for the Hull outfit and did not concede a single set but Bolanos, Green and Sajiv all contributed to secure the point.

Bolanos beat Rowan Jones 3-1, with Green and Sajiv both putting paid to Eshan Jawadi.

Sunday brought with it two matches to finish the season, with a strong Cardiff City trio of Joseph Roberts, Martin Johnson and Benedict Watson steamrollering them 6-0.

The curtain came down with a fixture against Sussex Blades to determine who would avoid the wooden spoon.

The Blades held a one-point advantage going into the game but that was immediately cancelled out by Green thanks to a five-set win over Owen Brown, including a stunning comeback in the fifth and deciding set.

Bolanos was unable to find a way past the tricky long-pimpled Charlie Graham-Adams, but Sajiv restored the lead by overcoming Will Mitchell.

Bolanos fought hard against Brown, but lost a tight game in the fifth, after which Green stepped up to comfortably defeat Mitchell 3-0.

This left Sajiv needing to beat Graham-Adams to secure the win but he was unable to find an answer to his unorthodox opponent and the match ended in a draw.

Lillington Girls started their second weekend of competition at the foot of Division Three, a point behind Byng Hall, after managing two draws on day one.

Wensum were the first opponents and Milly Green almost got them off to a perfect start against the deceptively effective Victoria Coll, pushing her all the way before just missing out in the decider.

Emily Beasley then stepped up for her own five-setter, showing good determination to beat Natasha Johnson 3-2.

Beasley completed a fine double when she beat Coll 3-2 and Ciara Hancox secured the draw after another clash that went to five.

Woodfield then inflicted a 5-1 defeat on Lillington, with Beasley and Hancox on the wrong end of a couple of matches which went all the way. Beasley did manage to stave off the whitewash by overcoming Ruby Bennett.

Mid-table Bishop’s Auckland also handed out a 5-1 drubbing as their number one Pravesha Ravi cruised through her games.

Hancox missed out in five against Amy Mold but Green picked up a fine win against Ebony Hempsell.

On Sunday, Beasley, Green and Hancox all came through deciding sets to beat Byng Hall 4-2 in the battle of the bottom two.

Beasley beat Nicola Dawson and Green and Hancox put paid to Isabel Webb. The fourth point was taken by Hancox, beating Dawson.

The season concluded with a match against Ormesby, which the northern side won 4-2.

Green took one of the points with a great win against Reem Raseem and Beasley the other, also against Raseem.

It was not enough to overhaul Byng Hall, however, with Lillington finishing a point adrift at the foot of the table.