Duo help Sussex to national glory

Ritchie Venner played a starring role as Sussex won a national title. Picture courtesy Mick Lane
Ritchie Venner played a starring role as Sussex won a national title. Picture courtesy Mick Lane
  • Rainton & Venner help Sussex win Veterans’ Premier Division
  • Sussex clinch title by one set in very closely-fought competition
  • Venner wins all his six singles matches over season’s second weekend
  • Rainton triumphs in three of her four
  • Sussex won 18 matches over the two weekends in the fifth game

Two of the Hastings & District Table Tennis League’s leading lights helped their county win a national competition.

Rose Rainton (Hollington) and Ritchie Venner (Saints) were key figures in the Sussex first team which clinched the County Championships Veterans’ Premier Division title in dramatic fashion.

Sussex were in second place following two wins and one loss on the first weekend of competition, but four victories on the second weekend meant they pipped Yorkshire to the title by one set!

In their first match at Draycott TTC in Derbyshire, Sussex defeated Hertfordshire 7-3 with Venner winning both his singles matches.

Kent were then beaten 8-2. National veteran number five Venner again won his two singles, one of them against second-ranked Chris Bartram, while Rainton won her singles and both mixed doubles.

The next day yielded another win for Sussex, this time 7-3 against Lancashire. Rainton won her singles and one mixed doubles in partnership with Adrian Moore (ex-Bexhill).

In the last match of the campaign, Sussex achieved a 9-1 victory over Cheshire. Venner again won both his singles, the men’s doubles and a mixed with Rainton, who won her singles against Sue Collier, ranked no.2 to Rainton’s no.6, despite going 2-0 down. Rainton also won her other mixed doubles, this time in partnership with Peter Bartram (Brighton).

Venner won all six of his singles matches over the second weekend and Rainton won three out of four.

Over the two weekends of seven matches, Sussex won 18 in the fifth game. Had they lost any of these, they would not have won the division.