The game of seesaw at the top of division two of the Braintree Table Tennis League continues.
Liberal C were knocked off the top spot after a defeat in their first encounter with Netts D, regained it, lost it, shared it, regained it again, then lost it two weeks ago after a second defeat to Netts D.
Last week their 7-3 win over Felsted RBL B took them back to the top, ahead of Netts D, who lost 6-4 at Nomads.
Netts came up against Ken Lewis, who took everything as he usually does – only Jarek Pietraszuk has beaten him this season – although Roy Hooper took him to the wire, 12-10 in the fifth game.
They also encountered a top-form Richard Kemp, who won twice and shared the doubles with Lewis.
While Netts will be unhappy at their defeat, Liberal C will also be disappointed at not getting a better result out of Felsted B, who are well adrift at the bottom of the table.
Instead Ashley Butler and Nick Butler scored good wins over Jon Fieldsend and Dave Hardy respectively and took the doubles between them.
The two teams are now tied on points but Liberal take over the lead by virtue of winning more matches.
Rayne D and Black Notley C are seven and nine points behind them with a match in hand.
It would be neat to say that 7-3 and 9-1 wins in their outstanding matches would have all four teams level at the top, but that won’t happen: their outstanding match is against each other.
Nonetheless the top two will continue to look over their shoulder, particularly if Notley C can run up any more 9-1 wins like last week’s against Rayne E.
Rayne D meanwhile hit the buffer that is Sean Clift, who beat all of them in their 7-3 win over Notley D.
In the other match in the division, Richard Baxter was unbeaten as Felsted A beat Notley E 6-4.
In division one, Liberal A have tightened their grip on the leadership after a surprise slip-up by Rayne A at Notley A.
Rayne had the double disadvantage of having only two players and finding Steve Kerns in the opposition line-up. Lee McHugh and Steve Pennell won twice each but had to give second best to Kerns, and also to Kerns and Chris Parr in the doubles.
Liberal A had a comfortable win over Rayne B, where only one set was stretched beyond three games. That was the doubles which Scott Dowsett and Brandon Crouchman won 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6.
Rayne C have climbed off the bottom and if they can keep calling on Ian Whiteside, who made his debut for them in their match against Netts A, they are likely to stay there.
Whiteside won his three singles in the 7-3 defeat while Notley B, who were level with Rayne C at the start of the week, tumbled 10-0 to Netts B.
· Netts have been crowned champions of division 5b of the Women’s British Table Tennis League.
The Earls Colne-based club clinched the title at Wolverhampton after the closest of battles.
Netts knew they were going to have to be on top of their game when their No.1 Lucy Wang, unbeaten during the first stage, was unavailable.
But Gracie Edwards, Maria Boulton and Nikki Davison made a statement in their first game that they were not going to let Wang's absence put them off their stride with a 5-1 win against KIngfisher (Reading).
They followed this up with another 5-1 win against Sutton At Hone and a 6-0 triumph over Ormesby 2 (Middlesborough).
This final match of the Saturday, however, was closer than the 6-0 scoreline suggests, as it included five-game victories by both Boulton and Davison, the latter coming back from 10-6 down in the fifth end to win 6-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-8 ,13-11.
The improving junior players of the Glenburn Irish Ladies II were in top form the following day and inflicted Netts’ first defeat of the competition, 5-1, with Boulton picking up the only win.
That result meant Netts needed a draw against Drumchapel in the final round to be sure of the title without relying on countback, and they duly managed a 3-3 scoreline, clinched when Edwards put them 3-1 ahead by defeating Alisa Khalid 11-8, 6-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-7.
That result gave Edwards the most wins in the division, 17 out of 20. Boulton finished on 66.7 per cent and Davison on 62.5.
Netts also won the overall Team of the Weekend accolade, following in the footsteps of the 2009/10 team (which included Davison), who won division 3 that season.