Something had to give when two teams with hundred per cent win records came face to face in division three of the Braintree Table Tennis League.
And it was Felsted RBL C who proved that they were not just temporarily keeping the seat warm by beating Rayne G 6-4.
The evening was a personal triumph for 15-year-old Matthew Laws, who showed just how much improvement he has made over the last couple of seasons.
This time last year, in his first full season in the game, he had won just three sets out of 21.
This season he has won 11 out of 12, and he was the difference between the two sides against Rayne G.
He beat Tim Gowers in three straight games, Tony Stredder at 11-5 in the fifth game and just edged out Charles Wilkinson at 11-9 in the fifth.
Felsted’s new signing Mike Pitt chimed in with a couple of wins and joined Laws in the doubles to bring about Rayne’s first defeat.
Felsted have a match in hand and for the moment sit behind Rayne G and also Black Notley E, who moved to the top spot with an 8-2 win over their own G team.
The G team’s Liam Ebbs, in his first competitive season, showed how quickly he has settled to the game by scoring excellent wins over Helen Barnett and Jill Canning.
After losing three of their first four matches, two successive 8-2 wins have pushed Rayne H up to fourth place.
The latest of these came against Notley I, with Shirley Carroll and Tim Townsend unbeaten.
Notley H scored their first win of the season, 8-2 over Netts D, with Steve Baines unbeaten, while Notley F looked on course for 10-0 against Rayne I, but found that the doubles somehow eluded them – in three straight games too.
Notley C’s reign at the top of division two ended when they lost their first match of the season.
Curiously, it was Rayne F’s first win of the season, but Dave Marsh and Dave Moles, in tandem for the first time, are a handful for anyone.
Marsh won three, Moles two and Marsh combined with Brian How in the doubles to give Rayne a 6-4 victory.
As a result, Notley B moved back to the top with a 10-0 win over their own D team.
The next three teams are covered by just one point.
Nomads are two points behind Notley C after their 7-3 win over Hedingham Lions while Rayne E had a win by the same score over Felsted A.
Ian Butler lost his unbeaten record in the latter match, downed by both Dave Miller, who won his three sets, and Dave Punt.
Liberal C moved up to join Rayne E on 40 points with a 10-0 win over Felsted B.
Division one is proving unusually well matched this season, with a proliferation of draws and 6-4s.
Of 19 matches played, there have been six draws, five 6-4s and one 5-4 (when both teams had two players).
The top teams are bunched closely as a result with only eight points separating first from sixth.
Liberal A crept up to the top with a 6-4 win over Netts C, for whom Maria Boulton was unbeaten.
They edge out Rayne B, who are level on points but have won fewer matches.
Rayne B drew with Netts B in a match where all six players won at least one and lost at least one.
The match had a fair sprinkling of deuce games, including four in the set between Lee McHugh and James Hicks, which McHugh won 10-12, 12-14, 14-12, 14-12, 11-9.
Three wins for Paul Davison, two for James Mullane and the doubles between them gave Netts A a 6-4 win over Liberal B, while Steve Kerns was unbeaten in Notley A’s draw with Rayne D.
Victor Chan moved from Notley to Rayne to get first division experience and showed he is not out of place when he scored an excellent win over Jon Hill in Rayne C’s 9-1 defeat by their A team.