[For the first time, this week's report is on the most recent matches, unlike previous reports, which have been a week behind. This is possible now that nearly all scorecards are sent electronically so Peter Taylor is able to update the website immediately. For this to continue could I ask all captains to keep up the good work and make sure the results are with Pete at least by the weekend. Many thanks. Ron]
As befits the top two, Rayne A and Liberal A produced a humdinger of a match in the Braintree Table Tennis League.
It featured three of last season’s men’s singles semi-finalists plus the previous season’s winner.
None of them remained undefeated – two losing their unbeaten records in the process - but no one went home empty-handed.
After five sets went the full five games, it ended, fittingly, in a draw.
Liberal’s Brandon Crouchman, top of the individual averages for the past two years, was made to work the hardest. All three of his sets went to five games but he only emerged successful from his encounter with Lee McHugh, 11-8 in the fifth game.
Both Steve Pennell and Adam Buxton downed him 11-9 in the fifth.
McHugh, with nine wins out of nine behind him, also lost to Peter Hayden but Hayden, with eight wins out of eight, failed to win his other two.
Pennell and Buxton for Rayne and Simon Webber for Liberal won two each.
The fourth men’s singles semi-finalist, and eventual winner, Paul Davison turned out for the first time this season and helped Netts B to beat Netts A 7-3.
Not only do Netts’ B team remain above their A team, but the C team have climbed above them as well after a 7-3 win over Black Notley A, in which Alistair Hill was unbeaten.
Liberal B climb to fourth after a 10-0 success against Notley B while Rayne B are nestled in seventh after their 8-2 win over their own C team.
In division two, Netts D asserted their right to the top spot by beating the previous incumbents Liberal C 7-3.
Roy Hooper remained unbeaten but Jan Fuller lost her first set of the season at the hands of Garry Fryatt.
A 10-0 win over Felsted RBL A has left Notley C only one point off the top, quite a remarkable achievement considering they had to concede one match 10-0.
Notley D tasted defeat for the first time 6-4 at Rayne E’s hands, while Ken Lewis’s presence helped Nomads to draw with Rayne D.
The top two in division three both won 9-1, Notley F over Netts F and Rayne F over Rayne H.
Shirley Carroll’s three singles helped Rayne H beat their own I team 6-4 while Peter Pond was unbeaten in Notley I’s draw with their own G team.
In the team knockout cup the most striking result was a 5-3 win for Notley A over a full-strength Netts B team, five places and 19 points above them in the league table.
Chris Parr was unbeaten in both his singles and the one doubles he played in.
Netts B came past their own C team 5-2 with Chris Buer unbeaten, Nomads beat Felsted A 6-3 (Ken Lewis unbeaten) and a two-man Liberal A won the five sets played against Rayne D.
Notley B and Liberal C, who had a tight battle for last year’s division two title, ran each other close again, Notley emerging just the right side of a 5-4 scoreline.
Gordon Fairchild was unbeaten in singles and doubles.
The closest match in the restricted cup was Rayne H’s 5-4 win over Notley H, which was decided on the final doubles. Ian Rubens and Steve Willis both won their two singles.
Rayne F dropped only one set in putting out their own H team while Notley E won all nine against their own G team and Netts E declared at 5-0 against Rayne I.