As Braintree Table Tennis League players put their feet up for the New Year break, all three divisions continue to have two teams fighting it out for honours.
In the final tables of 2014, the first division has a gap of one point, although Liberal A have a match in hand, the second division seven points and while the third division has a gap of 11, Felsted RBL B have a match in hand which will enable them to get much closer.
It is rare to reach more or less the halfway stage of the season with two teams in the same division remaining unbeaten. But that is the case in division one where leaders Netts A and champions Liberal A drew their first encounter and have won all the rest.
Their second meeting on January 21 is awaited with much anticipation.
While Liberal have shown remarkable consistency in dropping only 20 points so far, Netts have just signed highly rated Suffolk star Andy Holmes and if he plays in tandem with men’s singles champion Paul Davison and Chelmsford veterans champion Kevin Gowlett, the odds could swing in their favour.
But with Peter Hayden unbeaten, and both Scott Dowsett and Ian Hayden in good form, the champions will be no pushover.
In division two, Sible Hedingham, relegated last year, appear on course to return. With Richard Jennings now available more regularly, they ought to be able to hold off the challenge of Black Notley B, who led the table for much of the season but may find that seven-point gap too big to bridge.
Liberal C, second last season, are by no means out of the running, and it is good to see Notley C’s teenage stars sustaining a push for a place in the upper echelons.
Rayne G, also relegated last year, are clearly the team to beat in division three and would have been further ahead had it not been for difficulties in turning out their full team on occasions.
Now that Chris Butler has moved to a new job in Wales, Felsted RBL B’s chances of closing the gap may be slimmer, but they are fortunate in having an excellent replacement in Dave Swash, who steps up from the C team, and could still have a say.