A curious quirk has led to the draw for the quarter finals of the Braintree Table Tennis League restricted knockout cup producing a set of perfect pairs.
Two teams from each of Rayne, Black Notley and Felsted RBL, plus two clubs with only one team have reached the last eight and the draw has managed to match them up perfectly.
Rayne H play Rayne F, Notley E face Notley G, Felsted C entertain their B team while Hedingham Lions play Nomads.
Rayne H and Rayne F received byes in the first round while Lions had a walkover. The others had to fight their way there.
Felsted B had the greatest struggle. They had to win the final doubles to knock out Notley H after two singles wins from Helen Barnett had put the home side in with a chance of progress.
But Andy Laws and Dean Wood beat Jill Canning and Jamie Brooks in straight games to reach the next round.
Felsted’s C team also did not have things entirely their own way. Netts C took three sets, with two wins from Peter Hardy and a doubles, but two from Matthew Laws and one each from Arthur Geen and Nicholas Butler saw Felsted C through.
The two Notley teams had the most straightforward passages. The E team overcame Notley I 9-0 with little difficulty while the G team faced only two players and beat Rayne I 8-1.
Nomads, the holders, held back their big guns against Notley F. Vernon King had good wins over Lorraine Burgess and Arthur Wilson, but two wins from Barrie Applegate led Nomads to a 7-2 victory.
The draw for the team knockout cup by contrast has kept all club teams apart.
Rayne have three teams through to the last eight. The A team beat Rayne E 9-0, the D team beat Felsted A 8-1 while the C team had a bye.
Ashley Butler notched up his first division one scalp when he beat the D team’s Rob Stannard in three straight games.
Netts A had little difficulty beating Rayne B 8-1 while Notley A beat their own B team 6-2, Gordon Fairchild picking up the B team’s two wins.
In an all-division two clash, Liberal C came past Notley D 6-2 and are rewarded with another division two team, Notley C, in the second round draw.
In the league division one there were wins for Liberal A, 9-1 over Felsted A, Netts A, who beat Rayne B 8-2 and Netts B, who took all ten against Rayne C.
Ian Butler racked up Felsted’s one win when he overcame Robin Armstrong by the slightly strange scores 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 1-11, 11-6.
The tightest set in Netts B’s win was Alistair Hill’s victory over Keith Martin at 12-10 in the fifth after losing the first two games.
Also noteworthy was the success of reserve Paul Lombardi, making a comeback to the game in division three, in taking a game off both Maria Boulton and James Mullane.
In the other division one match, Liberal B overcame Notley A 6-4 with the help of three singles from Mike Johnson.