Netts C’s first season in division three of the Braintree Table Tennis League has been largely a learning experience with some gallant but largely unrewarded performances from their four players, all new to competitive table tennis.
But after nine consecutive defeats, they notched up only their second win of the season (apart from a walkover) when they overcame Black Notley H.
The rapidly improving Kierlan Richards was largely responsible. He took his three singles without being stretched to a fifth game.
Jack Gooden, who had not picked up a bat since mid January, also impressed with a deuce-in-the-fifth win over Jim Davy and joined Richards in another five-game win in the doubles.
Slim Hardy picked up the other win to make it 6-4.
Netts stay at the foot of the table, but they closed the gap a bit as all four teams immediately above them lost.
Notley I went down 8-2 to Felsted RBL B. Steve Baines took two for Notley but could not get past Dave Swash.
Swash’s tightest set was against Patrick Bugg, fresh from gaining the most promising boy trophy at the individual tournament. He took Swash all the way to 14-12 in the fifth.
Rayne’s I and H teams lost 9-1 and 7-3 to Notley’s F and G teams respectively but Felsted C put up a fight before succumbing to league leaders Rayne G.
After 10-0 and 9-1 defeats in their previous two meetings, they stretched it this time to 6-4.
After their 8-2 win over leaders Sible Hedingham, Liberal C might have been harbouring thoughts of a late title challenge, but that dissipated somewhat when they were held to a draw by Notley D, despite three wins from Gareth Davies.
Notley B maintained their challenge with a 9-1 win over Hedingham Lions, a straightforward victory except that they managed to lose the doubles.
Nomads’ Barrie Applegate produced the individual performance of the week when he beat Notley C’s Matt Wallace, high up in the division’s averages.
He also registered a comfortable straight-games win over Barry Evans and came within a whisker of a treble when he pushed Oliver Hicks all the way to 13-11 in the fifth.
The match was drawn.
Rayne’s E and F teams have been shadowing each other in mid-table most of the season and after their latest encounter, have now won one each and drawn the other.
It was the F team’s turn to win this time by 6-4, Dave Marsh taking his three singles in straight games.
In division one, Liberal’s B team gave their A team a helping hand in the title chase by taking three sets off Netts A
Mike Johnston beat John Cleasby and Adrian Pitt overcame Andy Holmes, but perhaps the performance of the evening was a doubles win for Pitt and Robin Armstrong over Cleasby and Paul Davison. .
Liberal A, in a rearranged match, won 8-2 against Rayne D.
It was a storming and almost stunning night for Rayne D’s Hector Rogers. He had excellent wins over Scott Dowsett and Ian Hayden and was only denied his hat-trick by Peter Hayden’s win at 14-12 in the fifth.
Guy McKenzie notched up his first unbeaten evening of the season in Notley A’s 7-3 win over Rayne C.
Paul Lombardi, playing up from division three, will be pleased with his win over Chris Parr.
Richard Whiteside was another one playing above his station, in his case from the C team to the B team. And he did not let his teammates down, taking his three singles in their 9-1 win over Rayne D.
Rogers’ win over Peter Hance was the one that got away.
Nothing got away from Rayne A. They beat Felsted A 10-0.