TABLE Tennis players from England and France battled it out in the annual sporting exchange between Basingstoke and Alencon club L’Etoile Alenconaisse, writes Sean Pickin.

This was the 44th annual sporting exchange between the two towns in an event which is a legacy of the Festival of Sport, which was initiated in 1969.

The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Councillor Dan Putty, attended the competition, which saw the Basingstoke team win all four events.

The Basingstoke A team, made up of Sean Pickin, Alan Palaczky and Patrick Garlick, had a narrow 5-4 win over an Alencon team that saw Guillieme Lindet excel with an unbeaten display.

Lindet took the scalps of Pickin (12-10, 10-12, 13-11, 6-11, 10-12) and Palaczky in another five-set battle for his maximum.

Pickin and Palaczky both enjoyed two wins and Garlick added the extra point for the overall victory as he beat Sebastian Herveau 12-10 in the fourth set.

The Basingstoke B team of Steve Rollason, Steve Armstrong and Sue Tompsett won 6-4, with Rollason unbeaten in his singles matches, and sealed the team’s win with a three-set victory over Philippe Devaux.

The Basingstoke C team of Sarah Whithorn, Terri Allison, Mark Every and Bill Bavister were dominant, coasting to a 10-2 victory in their match.

The Basingstoke D team fielded three young players in William Phoon, Kamil Nowak and Daniel Rivett, who played with veteran Martin Dawson. The Basingstoke team came out 11-3 winners.

Nowak had a notable five-set win over Laurent Gautier, going two sets up, only for Gautier to come back and take the match to a fifth, in which Nowak held his nerve, taking it 11-8.

Alan Palaczky beat Terri Allison in the one-point challenge competition final.

The fun event saw all the Alencon and Basingstoke players play in a one point knock-out competition.

The two Basingstoke players were the more consistent and made it through to the final, but there were many shocks on the way, with lower ranked players using the risk factor of the event to their advantage.

The Alencon team were hosted in the homes of the Basingstoke families for three nights and were entertained with guitar music from Jared Binner during a skittles evening at the Northbrook Arms.

There was also a game of croquet hosted by the Basingstoke Croquet Club, and a Le Mans two-hour go karting race at Absolutely Karting as well as a visit to the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

The Basingstoke team now look forward to the visit to Alencon next year for the 45th year of sporting competition in Le Jumelage.