For the second week running one of the four players who entered 2017 unbeaten in the Braintree Table Tennis League has had his record taken away from him.
Last week it was Peter Hayden, this week Brian How.
Rayne H’s How had won all 25 sets in division three when he faced 16-year-old Jamie Brooks, whose own 26-set unbeaten run was ended in December.
Brooks, of Black Notley E, raced into a two-game lead before being pegged back to 2-2, but settled again in the final game to take the set and How’s record.
Curiously, it was Brooks’ only win of the evening. He just missed out against Charles Wilkinson at 12-10 in the fifth and Dave Allinson at 11-9 in the fifth.
His teammates, Matt Brooks and Jim Davy, however, beat both of them and a match in which seven sets went the full five games ended fittingly in a draw.
The result enabled Netts C to close the gap at the top to four points, with two matches in hand, after a 9-1 win over Notley I. Unexpectedly, it was Diane Pitt who won Notley’s only set with a commendable victory over Kierlan Richards.
For the second week running Rayne J introduced a new signing. Dave Whiting emulated Russell Forde in winning his three sets but his side went down 6-4 to Notley F.
Shirley Carroll made only her second appearance of the season but was unbeaten in helping Rayne I to a 7-3 win over Notley H while Netts D continued their climb up the table with an 8-2 win over Notley G.
In division two Liberal C restated their credentials as potential title winners with a crushing 9-1 win over leaders Notley C. Garry Fryatt and Gareth Davies were unbeaten but Gordon Fairchild salvaged a point for the home team by becoming only the second person this season to beat Jon Fieldsend.
Rayne E helped their own cause with a 7-3 win over Felsted RBL A, although no one could find a way past Matthew Laws.
At the other end of the table, Notley D picked up their first win of the season, 7-3 over Rayne G. Sean Clift was unbeaten.
An unbeaten evening by Nick Hasler helped Rayne D to a win by the same score against Felsted B.
The top two met in division one and, despite fielding a reserve, Liberal A came away 7-3 better off against Rayne A. Brandon Crouchman and Scott Dowsett won the seven between them.
Netts B’s hopes of supplanting Rayne in second place suffered a blow when they were beaten 7-3 by lowly Rayne C. Chris Buer won Netts’ three but Peter Hance, Keith Martin and Lee McHugh, in his first appearance of the season, took the rest.
Sible Hedingham eased themselves further away from the relegation zone by picking up four points from Rayne B while Notley’s two teams suffered more heavily, the A team 9-1 against Netts A and the B team 8-2 at Liberal B.