Fourteen-year-old Kierlan Richards made his mark as one of the players to watch with a superb performance in the Braintree Table Tennis League.
In his first season of league table tennis, Richards started slowly but has now won seven of his last nine sets and recorded the first hat-trick of his career for Netts C against Black Notley G in division three.
It was his most impressive performance to date.
Included among his victims were Adam Clift, currently tenth in the division’s individual averages with a 72 per cent win record, and Mike Pitt, who won 70 per cent in his last full season in division three two years ago.
Richards beat Pitt in four games and Clift in three straight.
Notley G needed a win in the doubles to sneak home 6-4.
At the top of the division there was a second defeat for leaders Rayne G, but like the first it came when neither Tony Stredder nor Charles Wilkinson was available.
Notley H knocked them down 6-4 but the surprise was that it was the two reserves, Barry Mouser and Ian Rubens, who took the four sets between them.
Second-placed Felsted RBL B moved closer with an 8-2 win over Rayne H, where Chris Butler was unbeaten.
Felsted’s C team could not follow suit and went down 8-2 to Notley F, while in the battle of their clubs’ lowest-ranked teams, Notley I beat Rayne I 6-4 with the help of three sets from Declan Baines.
In division one, the top two continue to steam away, Netts A taking all ten from Felsted A while Liberal A lost only the doubles against their own B team.
The performance of the week in this division came from Netts B’s Graham Farmer.
With only one win in nine behind him, he clicked into gear against Notley A and won all three, the first time for many moons that he has won more sets in an evening than teammate James Hicks, who was beaten by Andrew Huckson.
Paul Lombardi also made his mark. Restarting his career in division three after a period out of the game, he was given a chance to prove he belonged higher up the ladder when he recorded Rayne C’s only singles win against Rayne D, and an excellent one against Hector Rogers, a player with a 66 per cent win record in division one last season.
In the other division one match, Ian Whiteside and John Andrews were unbeaten in Rayne A’s 7-3 win over Rayne B.