Press Reports for Winter Season 2021-22



Week Ending Fri 19 November 2021


Ageing Gracefully in St Lawrence

Age is no barrier for 92 year old Dave Toe of St Lawrence Table Tennis Club fame.  He was part of this week’s derby match in St Lawrence that saw the A team record a handsome 9-1 score over their very own B team to help them leapfrog Burnham A into 3rd place in Division 4 of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League.  The A team’s Davis Siggins and player of the match Karen Braney both recorded 3 wins on the night.  Woodham D had a comfortable win over Maldon F – with Mitch Davies recording his second hat-trick in a row, a great way to celebrate becoming a grandfather!  Captain Mike Burton also hit 3, and Joe Cooke chipped in with a brace for the 9-1 victory that sees them edge further ahead at the top of the Division.  Roger Warren kept up his fine form as he went unbeaten for his Maldon F side against second placed Burnham A as they notched a 7-3 win.  In the other local derby this week the alphabetical dominance continued as Blackwater B secured an 8-2 triumph over their C side, with Roger Slade maintaining his 100% win record for the season.

The tricky Peter Lucraft was the star of the show as Cold Norton D held Division 3 league leaders Blackwater A to a 5-5 draw.  Lucraft won all his singles and paired up with the defensive ace Gordon Gatheral to win the all important doubles.  At 3-5 down Blackwater rallied well to win the final 2 matches to secure the draw – with Captain Alan Scammell defeating Gatheral in the final match for a share of the spoils.  Title challengers Woodham C had a mixed week – early on they defeated West Maldon B 7-3 in a match that included a Luca Bailey hat-trick including a 5 set victory over the excellent Dave Razzell.  But by the end of the week they succumbed to their first defeat of the season to a Pater Chastin inspired Stow Maries D team.  This was also Stow D’s first win of the season as Chastin recorded an unbeaten set of singles, and then paired up with his mum, Jean Chasmer, to win a hard fought 5 set doubles that ultimately gave them the 6-4 victory.  The rarely phased Chris Crooks was the best of the Woodham players with 2 wins on the night, but the final match of the night had all the drama as Woodham’s Luca Bailey went 2-0 up against Stow supremo Dave Goody and it looked like the draw was a certainty, but the Lovable Goody fought back to take the match to 10-10 in the deciding leg and then somehow kept his nerve to secure a most unexpected win for himself and his team.  Victory tastes sweet!  Maldon D amassed some much needed points this week with a comfortable 8-2 win over the Knights of Stow Maries C team.  Maldon’s Alan Billings was the best player on show winning all his singles and doubles matches including a 15-13 in the fifth win over the very difficult David Porter.

In Division 2 Stow Maries B maintained their unbeaten status and overtook Woodham A to go into second place and close the gap on the leaders Woodham B.  Gareth Davies led Stow to a dramatic 8-2 victory as he remained unbeaten all evening.  However as can often be the case the scoreline doesn’t really reflect how tight this match was as the Stow team won 4 out of the 5 matches that went to a deciding set.  The loopy Neil Freeman was on great form for West Maldon A as he beat all the Woodham A players and teamed up with Victor Chan to win the doubles too.  A great night’s work for Freeman but it wasn’t enough for the victory as Woodham A dug in and managed enough singles points to lock in the draw – with both Gus Heath and Alan Burgess winning 2.  A fully loaded Maldon C trio managed to keep the lid on Mapledene B’s title hopes as they secured a 5-5 draw with 2 wins a piece for Colin Barrell and Steve Aspland, but neither of them could overcome Mapledene’s Barrie Delf who returned to action with his customary hat-trick of wins.


Things are heating up at the top of Division 1.  An extremely strong Cold Norton A team were able to record a 10-0 whitewash over their unfortunate C team – with player of the match Duncan Taylor recording 3 straight 3-0 wins, and then repeating that scoreline in the doubles with partner Matt Stringer.  The C team’s Kim Shead came closest to any points as he took Stringer to a deciding set but alas the cigar box remained firmly shut.  This result, combined with an 8-2 victory for Fambridge over league leaders Cold Norton B sees the top 3 teams separated by just 2 points but Fambridge having played one less game.  Fambridge fielded arguably their strongest team for the top-of-the-table showdown clash, but so did Cold Norton B – these are the matches the pundits love.  Fambridge’s ever young John Poysden, fresh from his recent VETTS gold medal performance, was simply unbeatable on the night.  Cold Norton’s Ian Wall did remarkably well to record wins over the returning Mark Stones, and Keith Adams – both 11-9 in the deciding set.  But Stones and Adams bounced back to combine for a 3 leg doubles victory over Eric Green and Chris Ballard.


Week Ending Fri 12 November 2021

Woodham's Piglet brings home the Bacon

Well he huffed and he puffed and eventually Woodham A’s captain Daniel Piglet blew away the challenge from Division 2 league leaders Woodham B in an epic hat-trick that secured the A team’s 6-4 victory and reversed the result from earlier on in the season.  It could have been worse for Woodham B if it hadn’t been for a couple of 5 set victories, including a 12-10 triumph in the deciding set for Trevor Collin having been 2 sets down to the impressive Gus Heath.  Woodham’s Piglet., of the A team, was heard after the match telling his team-mates that ‘he loves it when a plan comes together’.  Elsewhere in Division 2, Stow B kept up their unbeaten run with a fine 6-4 win over Mapledene B including 3 wins for Dave Marsh who didn’t drop a set all evening – a very impressive display indeed.  The two man team from Maldon C managed to secure a 6-4 victory despite giving away a 3-0 start to opponents West Maldon A – Colin Barrell won all of his games, and Steve Aspland won 2, just losing out to West Maldon’s Victor Chan in the 5th end.



In the top division this week there were decisive wins for both Cold Norton A and Mapledene A pushing both teams that bit close to leaders Cold Norton B.  Mapledene A recorded a 10-0 whitewash against Stow Maries A – but the scoreline doesn’t really reflect the evenings sporting endeavours as the Stow team battled hard and lost out in 3 five setters, and took a set off their opponents in at least 4 of the other matches.  Mapledene’s Paul Brown was the statistical player-of-the-match and he was ably supported by team-mates Steve Muth and Keith Willet.  Cold Norton A pulled out an impressive trio of players for their match against Maldon A and were able to secure an 8-2 victory.  Cold Norton’s Kevin Read was on fine form to win all his singles and then combine with Sam Lowman for the doubles.


Blackwater A powered their way to the summit of Division 3 with a comprehensive 10-0 victory over the hard-working Maldon D side.  Captain Alan Scammell kept up his fine season with another hat-trick and was more than backed up by his team of Denis Balic and Mervyn Perriman.  The closest game of the night saw Shirley Carroll push Perriman all the way to back end of the deciding 5th leg.  The other match in this division was the much anticipated Stow Derby betwixt the Stow C and D teams.  Banter had been flying all week and the local bragging rights were up for grabs.  Stow D’s talisman Peter Chastin set out his stall with a hat-trick of singles wins including a fifth set victory over Ken Sheard having been 7-1 down in the final set, but unfortunately his team-mates fell foul to the honed skills of Stow C’s Tim Pulham and Ken Sheard, who each won 2 singles, and Sheard combined with Martin Knights for the all-important doubles victory that kept those bragging rights firmly locked away.


Division 4 is shaping up to be a real battle this year with some extremely powerful players spread around the teams.  Woodham D stay top for now courtesy of a tight 6-4 victory over Burnham A.  The key game saw Woodham’s Mitch Davies and Burnham’s Michael Pratley go head to head in an epic encounter that saw Pratley take a comfortable 2-0 lead before Woodham’s Dark Horse threw off his reins and let loose with those forehand winners to bring the game even at 2-2, and of course the deciding leg went to deuce at 10-10 before Davies blasted the final two points to win by the shortest of noses.  It’s not very often that Mr Pratley doesn’t win all his singles so that’s a great win for both Davies and the Woodham team.  Pratley did go on the beat the Woodham’s Mike Burton in the final match and relieved Burton of his 100% win rate so far this season.  Blackwater B continued their rapid ascent up the table with a convincing 9-1 win over At Lawrence A – hat-tricks for Blackwater’s Roger Slade and David Smith, but a big mention to St Lawrence’s Karen Braney who held her nerve to secure her team’s only point with a nail-biting 12-10 victory in the final set against Phil West.  Maldon F secured a draw against Blackwater C despite being a player down – great work by Roger Warren to win all his singles and then team up with Kym Eames to take the doubles.  Ross Wheeler was the in-form player in Maldon E’s 6-4 turnover of St Lawrence B.  Wheeler won all his singles with team mates Robin Sach and Denis Eraut pitching in with two and one wins a piece respectively to round off the scoring.


Dave Bateman versus Mitch Davies - Nov 21
Burnham's Dave Bateman succumbs to Woodham's Dark Horse - Sir Mitch Davies





Week Ending Fri 29 October 2021



Cold Norton’s Wall of Destruction



It was all change again at the top end of the Burnham & District Table Tennis Winter League, as Cold Norton B made it 5 wins out of 5 as they powered through 9-1 against Stow Maries A team and took their place back atop the leadership board.  In Ian Wall and Eric Green, Cold Norton B have two of the remaining unbeaten players and they combined to win all their singles and then the doubles to secure this emphatic victory.  Stow’s Gary Brignall pushed Green all the way to a fifth end, and won his team’s only point with a 4 leg victory over Dan Anderson.  Elsewhere in Division 1 the matches were much closer.  Cold Norton C had Kim Shead to thank for their first triumph of the season as they overcame Maldon A 6-4 with Shead winning all his singles on the night.   Cold Norton A were unable to make it a clean sweep for the Cold Norton teams as they succumbed 6-4 to the power of Mapledene A.  Sam Lowman was unbeatable for Cold Norton but teamwork prevailed for the Mapledene trio of Steve Muth, Colin Chatfield, & David Jacob as they each won 2 singles to secure the win.


The two South Woodham teams are sitting pretty at the top of Division 2 but the gap continues to widen as the surprise package that is Woodham B scored another high margin victory when they overturned Maldon B 8-2 with another hat-trick for Sanjay Saptarshi who is top of the averages charts with 17/18 wins so far this season.  He was supported by Gus Heath with his own 3 wins and Trevor Collin who chipped in with 2 wins on the night.  Woodham A were 6-4 winners over Maldon C with Captain Dan Piglet on fine form with a hat-trick of 3-0 wins, and he was supported by the busiest player of the week Gus Heath who also won 3 singles, and that now locks him into the A team going forward.  Stow Maries B came out 7-3 winners against an under resourced West Maldon A side on a night when every player won at least one match, and the 3 forfeits clearly swung the match in favour of the Stow side.  Stow’s Peter Hance did exceptionally well to defeat the unbeaten Neil Freeman in 5 sets in the final match of the evening.


It is really tight at the top of Division 3 with the top 3 sides separated by just a single point.  Blackwater A had a good team effort as they beat Stow D 7-3, with each of their players winning 2 matches and Alan Scammell and Merv Perriman combining for the doubles.  It was, however, Roger Slade, Blackwater’s 3rd player who was player of the match on countback.  Those 7 points brought Blackwater level with Woodham C in top spot.  Cold Norton D are just that point behind following their 6-4 victory over the hard-working Maldon D team.  All of the Cold Norton players contributed singles points but it was the tricky Peter Lucraft and the hard hitting Dave Hancox who combined for the all-important doubles win.  Stow C had the deadly duo of Rod Maclennan and Ken Sheard to thank for their 6-4 win against West Maldon B as the pair won all their singles.  However, despite their roaring success in the singles, they were undone in the doubles 3-0 by the West Maldon duo of Tim Huxtable and Andrea Alleyne – a great doubles win. 

There were only two matches this week in Division 4 but Woodham D’s resounding 8-2 turnover of Maldon F has opened up a gap at the top of the league standings.  Woodham’s Mike Burton and Joe Cooke both won all their singles and then combined for a tricky 5 set doubles victory.  These wins see Burton on top of the divisional averages with his 100% win rate intact.  Michael Pratley and his Burnham A team kept up the pressure on Woodham with a hard fought 6-4 win over St Lawrence B – Pratley with his customary hat-trick ably supported by Dave Bateman with 2 wins of his own.



Week Ending Fri 22 October 2021

Mapledene Markers

In a busy week for the Burnham & District Table Tennis Winter League, the Mapledene Club sent out a clear message that they are back and firing on all cylinders, whilst the Woodham Club hold on to their 3 top spots, although some more decisively than others.


Mapledene A had an emphatic win over Cold Norton C, with Steve Muth dominant in the 8-2 turnover.  With games in hand, that result will push the Mapledeners into the mix once the games have evened out.   The season’s surprise package that is Cold Norton B created uproar at their Latchingdon stadium this week when they had the both the cheek and the nous to overturn their A team 6-4 with Ian Wall undefeated – enough they thought to keep them at the top of the division for this week.  The only possible mathematical outcome to jeopardise this would be a Fambridge whitewash of Stow A – and unfortunately for Cold Norton that is exactly what happened on the Thursday evening as the Fambridge trio of Gurj Bhambra, Bruce Kettle and Keith Adams romped their way through the evenings proceedings to settle themselves back on top of the table. 


Mapledene also caused a mighty stir in Division 2 this week as their B team outclassed the runaway league leaders Woodham B to record a 7-3 victory.  The Mapledene trio of John Tendler, Andy Seaman, and Mike Johnstone all won 2 singles – with Tendler being named player of the match.  Whilst Woodham remain well ahead on points this result will show other teams that the title race is just getting going!   Woodham A had captain Daniel Piglet to thank for their 5-5 draw with the hard-working Stow A team, as he recorded an untroubled hat-trick on the night.


In Division 3,  Woodham C remain on top thanks to a 6-4 victory over Stow C.  David Meah hit a fantastic hat-trick, and his captain Alan Dadswell bagged a brace including the bragging rights in the battle of the local league chairman as he defeated Dave Porter in 4 tight ends.  Slowly but surely the top end of the table is getting tighter as both Blackwater A, and Cold Norton D start to rack up points and close down the gap opened up by Woodham.   Blackwater A recorded a very healthy 7-3 turnover against West Maldon B with Captain and talisman Alan Scammell unbeaten in the singles, he was ably supported by Roger Slade and Denis Balic who both won 2 each.  Peter Lucraft was on fire for his Cold Norton D side against the wily trio from Stow D.  Lucraft recorded a hat-trick of singles wins and partnered up with Gordon Gatheral to secure the important doubles point in an emphatic 7-3 victory.


Only 6 points separate the top 5 teams in Division 4 and it is shaping up to be a fantastic competition.  Leaders St Lawrence A were caught this week as they were held to a 5-5 draw with Maldon F, despite Karen Braney’s hat-trick of singles wins.  Woodham D took full advantage of this as they defeated St Lawrence B 10-0 as captain Mike Burton maintained his 100% win rate for the season.  Burton was ably assisted by debutant Joe Cooke and the league’s dark horse Mitch Davies who both recorded undefeated evenings.  The Blackwater teams share 3rd spot and both had wins this week.  Blackwater B ran out 6-4 winners against Michael Pratley’s Burnham A side – a match notable as it pitched 2 of the ‘unbeatables’ against each other and it was Blackwater’s Roger Slade who came out on top in the match against the previously unbeaten Pratley.  Blackwater C scored a slightly higher margin in order to catch their stablemates with an impressive 8-2 win over Maldon E.  David Smith hit another hat-trick and he was well supported by Roger Warren and Brian Dixon who both scored 2 wins a piece, although they were unable to get passed Maldon’s Ross Wheeler on the night.

 Press Office - Burnham & District Table Tennis League   

Week ending 15 October 2021


Fambridge Express is Derailed by Cold Norton

Some decisive action this week in just round 3 of the Burnham & District Table Tennis Winter League. 

It was all change at the top of the pile as league leaders Fambridge fell to their first defeat of the season to a very strong Cold Norton A side led by their points king Duncan Taylor who led from the front dispatching each of his opponents in 4 legs to be named player of the match.  Taylor was very ably supported in the 7-3 victory by the returning Kevin Read who also won all of his singles.  The match was of the highest quality and both teams are expected to be in the reckoning come the business end of the season.   Whilst Cold Norton A were putting the brakes on the Fambridge Express, their stablemates Cold Norton B doggedly defeated their C team in an 8-2 scoreline that doesn’t really reflect the closeness of the match in which the B team won 3 out of the 4 five setters, and only one of the singles was finished in straight sets.  Eric Green starred on the night with three singles victories and partnered team-mate Babul McLeod for the doubles too.  With such a commanding victory and the associated points tally Cold Norton B now leapfrog Fambridge into top spot – but can they sustain their good form?  Next week’s clash with the A team will be a major tell for the championship runners and riders.

In Division 2 the early pace setters Woodham B were at it again with a comprehensive 8-2 victory over a Victor Chan led West Maldon A with hat-tricks for both team captain Eamonn Hall, and the continuously impressive Sanjay Saptarshi.  Stow Maries B opened their account with a close fought 6-4 conquest over Maldon courtesy of a hat-trick from Tony Forster and a brace of wins from Dave Marsh.  To take the win Forster ad Marsh combined to win the doubles for the all-important 6th victory.

Woodham C remain top dogs in Division 3 but were kept to a draw this week by a hard-working Blackwater A side.  In a match where styles played a major role with every player winning at least one singles it was up to Woodham’s young starlet Luca Bailey to overcome the odds and the years to triumph over Mervyn Perriman to secure the draw and maintain Woodham’s unbeaten status.  Rumours of the 5 set match between Ian Cranstone and Denis Balic taking over an hour have now been confirmed by an official from the Guinness Book of Records.  Stow D and Maldon D also played out a 5-5 draw, although the Stow team had to win the final 2 singles to avoid defeat.  Match of the night saw Peter Chastin come from 2-0 down against the fast hitting Bryn Thomas to claw his way back into contention and eventually take the match 3-2.  The most decisive match of the week saw the bold Cold Norton trio overcome West Maldon B by a 9-1 scoreline.  It sounds easy but the match was still going after 10.30pm, and West Maldon were unlucky to be on the end of three 5 set defeats.  Peter Lucraft and Roy Gandy were both unbeaten for Cold Norton on the night.  In Division 4, an impressive 9-1 win for St Lawrence A against Maldon E has catapulted David Siggins and his team to top of the leaderboard.  Siggins and Steve King both went unbeaten for the whole evening, whilst the canny Ross Wheeler nicked Maldon’s only win in a fluctuating 5-setter against Jacqui Treacy.


Week Ending Fri 8th October 2021


Woodham You Believe it ! 

We have now had 2 rounds of competitive matches in the newly constituted Burnham & District Table Tennis Winter League and South Woodham currently sit at the top of 3 of the 4 Divisions – sadly with no team in Division 1 they are unable to complete the quadruple.  That position is currently occupied by the bookies favourite Fambridge who have come out of lockdown with all guns firing. 

In Division 4, although Woodham D are indeed top, they share that podium with both Blackwater B and Burnham A.   It’s no surprise then that the 3 top teams have dominant players all on 100% win rates for the season so far.  Roger Slade was dominant and unbeaten again in Blackwater B’s close 6-4 victory over St Lawrence B,  Burnham’s Michael Pratley racked up another hat-trick in his team’s 6-4 win over St Lawrence A, and Woodham D’s Mike Burton was again the unbeaten player of the match in the emphatic 8-2 triumph against Blackwater C. 


With just one match played in Division 3 it allowed a very strong Woodham C team to take a commanding lead at the top of the division with a strong 7-3 victory over Cold Norton D.  Woodham’s Gus Heath was unbeaten in the singles and partnered up with Ian Cranstone to secure the doubles. 

Honours were even in the Division 2 Maldon shoot out betwixt Maldon B and West Maldon A.  The western half of Maldon had the most dominant player in Victor Chan who won all his singles but was unable to add the doubles as he and his partner Neil Freeman were outwitted by the left-right Maldon combo of Colin Napper and Ciaran Whelan.  In the final match of the night Colin Napper had to wait deep into the fifth and final leg before eventually overcoming the very loopy Neil Freeman to square off the match.  There is no stopping the Saptarshi Express at the moment as Sanjay Saptarshi led Woodham B to an unexpected 8-2 turnover of their A team.  Both Saptarshi and the excellent Trevor Collin recorded perfect evenings including the doubles to score 7 of their team’s points and take Woodham B into top spot in the league table.


In the top division there are two early strong contenders shining through.  The pre-season favourites Fambridge continue to impress and this week had a perfect evening winning out 10-0 against a shell shocked Cold Norton C team.  Cold Norton’s Dick Wyman put up the most resistance taking at least a leg in each of his singles matches, and took John Poysden to  a deciding 5th set but, in the end, for no points in the plus column.  Chris Ballard has become a bit of a talisman for Cold Norton B with his second hat-trick on the bounce as he helped his team to a fine 8-2 win over Maldon A, ably assisted by the consistency of Neil Want who weighed in with his own hat-trick too.  So Fambridge are top but Cold Norton B are close behind and looking strong and they will be hoping their A team can halt the Fambridge charge when they meet next week!



 Press Office - Burnham & District Table Tennis League   



Week Ending Fri 1st October 2021

Sensational Return to Competitive Table Tennis

As the heating gets fired up in all the local village halls and sports venues, surely that’s a sign that the much awaited table tennis leagues are back in action.   So it is for the Burnham & District Table Tennis League, newly constituted into 4 divisions of equitable standards. 

The opening week witnessed some covid inspired fitness successes and failures, and much brain racking to remember the more intricate rules and regulations of competitive play, especially the doubles format which has been totally banned since March 2020.  “To me to you to me to you ……”

In the Ist division it didn’t take long for some of the top players to record their opening hat-tricks.  Crowd favourites Duncan Taylor and Keith Adams both inspired their respective Cold Norton A and Fambridge teams to victories with unbeaten hat-tricks.  Although early season title favourites Fambridge didn’t have it all their own way as young Thomas Page from the Maldon Table Tennis camp graduated to the top division with two very fine and noteworthy wins over league stalwarts the ever young John Poysden and the very tricky Lee McHugh.  Those results for Thomas have reverberated way beyond Maldon.  In the final top division encounter Cold Norton B went one better than their A Level stablemates to record a fine 8-2 victory over Mapledene A – with both Ian Wall and Chris Ballard recording unbeaten hat-tricks.



In the lower divisions the standout player was Sanjay Saptarshi who starred for both Woodham A and B teams in the opening Division 2 fixtures.  Saptarshi is rightly known as 'the Sensation' at his parent Club, he didn’t drop a set in his hat-trick against Maldon C in a rare and unexpected 9-1 victory, ably supported by Gus Heath (3 wins) and Eamonn Hall (2 wins), and then due to opening week availability issues played up for Woodham A and secured a further hat-trick against the Maldon B team in their 6-4 win. That match saw Woodham debutant Ian Cranstone record 2 fine victories to get himself off the mark for his new Club. Saptarshi though is currently avoiding Maldon and its environs!   



In Division 3 Woodham C showed some great early form with a David Meah inspired 8-2 victory, with Maldon’s Shirley Carroll showing great determination and skill to pick up her team’s 2 points.   Dave Razzell was able to dazzle his opponents as he notched the only other hat-trick in the Division helping his West Maldon B side to a hard fought 6-4 triumph over Stow Maries D.  Division 4 had a full set of fixtures and it was the two Blackwater teams that excelled.  Blackwater C were comfortable 9-1 winners over St Lawrence B with hat-tricks for David Smith and Dave Benstead, whereas Blackwater B were able to overcome the stubborn Maldon F team 7-3, courtesy of an unbeaten night for both Roger Slade and Phil West.  Michael Pratley of Burnham fame may well hold the record for the number of hat-tricks in the Burnham league and he did not disappoint as he led his Burnham team to a 7-3 victory over Maldon E – he did of course have a lot of help from team mate David Bateman who also went unbeaten throughout the session.  In the final game 2 Player Woodham D had Mike Burton and his chopping skills to thank for a very well earned draw against St Lawrence A – Burton won all his singles and teamed up with Jo Hart for the doubles.





And so we are off.  Friendships and rivalries are being renewed but we all hope we get to play out the season without any further Covid interruptions.

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