League leaders Liberal A have lost their unbeaten record in the Braintree Table Tennis League division one.
In a tight contest, it was Netts C who got the better of them by 7-3.
Andy Holmes was Netts’ mainstay. He took his three singles, though he was stretched to five games by both Ian Hayden and Simon Webber.
Holmes’ win over Hayden came at 11-9 in the fifth, the same score by which Maria Boulton beat Scott Dowsett.
Boulton also beat Hayden, in three this time, and with John Cleasby getting the better of Hayden and Webber - both in four games - Liberal were grateful for a win in the doubles to restrict the damage.
But the blow was softened when their B team came to their aid by beating their main title rivals Netts A 6-4.
Paul Davison took his customary three sets for Netts but a good team effort by the Liberal forces enabled them to finish with their noses in front.
It was tight. Four of Liberal’s wins were decided in the fifth game, one at 11-7, two at 11-8 and one at 11-9.
Two other games in the top division also went against the form book.
Netts B were seven points ahead of Rayne B, but lost 6-4 while Rayne D led Black Notley A by six points, with a match in hand, but lost by the same score.
James Hicks won his three singles for Netts B while Steve Kerns made the difference for Notley.
The only match in the division that produced a predictable result if not a predictable scoreline was Rayne A’s win over their own C team. A win would have been expected, but 10-0 may not have been. It was their first of the season.
It was not just in division one where the leaders found life difficult.
Notley C have established a strong lead in division two but tumbled at Liberal C 7-3. Their consolation came in the form of new signing Remy De Lynen, who took all three singles, including a marathon against Gareth Davies, which he won 10-12, 8-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-8.
Liberal are only three points behind the two teams sharing second place, and have a match in hand.
Notley B rejoined Rayne E in the runners-up berth with a 7-3 win over a two-man Hedingham Lions while Rayne E were held to a draw by their own F team for the second time this season.
Paul Mitchell was unbeaten for Rayne F.
Nomads are one point behind Liberal C after an 8-2 win over Felsted RBL A, in which Ken Lewis and Kevin Saunders were unbeaten while at the bottom, Notley D pretty much banished any relegation fears with a 9-1 win over Felsted B.
Keith Flowers, Peter Foster and Bruce Wickham were all unbeaten but the doubles somehow slipped away.
With the top two in division three not in action, Notley I and Rayne H consolidated their third and fourth places with 6-4 wins.
Notley I beat their own G team, despite three wins from Liam Ebbs, while Rayne H overcame Notley F, for whom Patrick Bugg picked up his first win of the season.
In a two-a-side match, Notley H beat Rayne I 6-3, Declan Baines winning both his sets for Notley.