Victor Chan produced the win of his career and the shock of the season in the Braintree Table Tennis League when he beat reigning men’s singles champion Brandon Crouchman.
This is only Chan’s second full season in division one. He played a handful of sets in 2015-16 after three seasons in division two and was plying his trade in division three as recently as 2011-12.
Yet he rose to the occasion magnificently against Crouchman to take him down in three straight games 11-9, 11-8, 12-10.
Peter Hayden and Simon Webber showed their teammate how it should be done, enabling league leaders Liberal A to chalk up a 9-1 win over Black Notley A.
Netts A also won 9-1 after giving a debut to their new signing Robert Wood.
Wood, like teammate Andy Holmes a recruit from the Ipswich League, must have thought life in Braintree was going to be quite comfortable when he beat Rayne D’s Dave Miller with little difficulty and then crunched Paul Wellington 11-1 in the first game and 11-5 in the second game of his next set.
But after that Wellington’s all-or-nothing style had more of the former than the latter and he took the next three games to claim Rayne D’s only point of the night.
Second-placed Rayne A slipped back a couple of points when they were restricted to a 7-3 win over Netts B.
Netts’ recent signing Gus Heath was responsible for his side’s two singles wins – James Hicks and Steve Buer also won the doubles – but he was denied a hat-trick by the narrowest of margins, Adam Buxton creeping home at 15-13 in the fifth game.
Rayne C also had a new signing on view. Peter Windley scored a good win over Jon Hill on his debut but three singles each from Ian Whiteside and Ryan Pitt gave Rayne B a 6-4 win.
Nikki Davison was unbeaten in Netts C’s 6-4 victory over Liberal B, their second success in a row after failing to win any of their first five.
Notley B and Liberal C continue to match each other virtually stride for stride at the top of division two, with Rayne E still cruising along nicely in their wake.
Notley and Liberal recorded the same result for the second week running – and there was only one point difference the previous week.
With Dave Parker sidelined for a while Notley showed the strength of their reserves when they called up Paul Nicol for the first time and he obliged with two wins in their 8-2 win over Notley C while Jon Fieldsend’s three sets enabled Liberal C to match that score against Notley D.
Rayne E had Dean Andrews among their number again and again he proved too hard to handle in their 7-3 win over Rayne F.
Netts D scored their first win of the season when an unbeaten Max Plumridge led them to an 8-2 win over their own E team.