Press Reports for Winter Season 2021-22
Week Ending Fri 13 May
Burnham & District Table Tennis League Presentation Evening 2022
The Burnham & District Table Tennis League is now complete for the season so the players and officials were delighted to be able to hold a Presentation Evening for the first time in 3 years. All of the tournament and league trophies were awarded to the winners and runners-up and a good night was had by all at the Forrester Park Golf & Country Club.
Highlights of the evening were seeing the players from all levels mixing and enjoying the festivities. Regular visitors to the winners enclosure were Sam Lowman, Sanjay Saptarshi and Andrea Alleyne with 3 trophies each, and then Ella Sach with 4 round trips to collect awards, but the star of the tournament and tonight’s presentation evening was Cold Norton’s Duncan Taylor who had a massive 5 awards and trophies to collect including the prestigious Men’s Singles Trophy. This year the Presidents Trophy for contribution to the running of the league went to Eamonn Hall.
League Chairman Alan Dadswell was the MC for the evening and the awards were presented by League President Peter Ballard.
Week Ending Fri 6 May
Player of the Year Awards 2022
With the league campaign all but completed in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League we now turn to the coveted awards for the players with the best win averages over the season.
In Division 1, the Peter Ballard Cup goes to Fambridge’s Keith Adams who completed the campaign with a win ratio of 93% - this could actually have been higher as Adams only lost twice all season but one of those was his very last league game just a week ago. Runner-up this year was Kevin Read from the Cold Norton camp with a very respectable 89% win rate.
In the tight Division 2 race it was a battle between the two Woodham heavyweights Sanjay Saptarshi and Daniel Piglet. Over the course of the season Saptarshi was 2-1 up against his stablemate and that made the difference as Saptarshi was crowned the winner of the Brian Ellis Cup on 86% win rate (over a colossal 58 games). Piglet was a close second on 83% for the season.
The newly assigned Burnham Cup was at stake for the Division 3 players and this one went right down to the final game of the season as Woodham C’s Luca Bailey needed 3 wins in his final game to take the cup, but came away with just the two – which cruelly pushed him into 3rd place on 78%. In runner-up slot was the wily Peter Lucraft who plies his trade for Cold Norton D and with an epic second half of the season raised his win rate to 79%. Neither was enough though to catch the Stow D talisman and the only Divisional Player of the Year who wasn’t part of a championship winning side – so congratulations to Peter Chastin who just edged it on a phenomenal 81% win rate to record his second player of the year on the bounce.
The battle in Division 4 was tough as all the top players regularly knocked out hat-tricks and so it came down to the individual matches against each other to determine the rankings this year, and the winner of the Roy Davis Cup. Woodham D’s Mike Burton came in third on a whopping 87% win rate over 63 matches. In fact Burton played a total of 72 matches across all divisions this season and therefore he was the ‘busiest’ player of the year for the whole league – there is no trophy for this just some well-earned rest! In the runner-up position is the stalwart of the Burnham team, and the most consistent player in this league for many a year – Mike Pratley with 12 hat-tricks to his name and a win rate of 91%. However, the Division 4 crown fittingly goes to Steve King from the St Lawrence Baysiders. King had 38 wins out of his 41 matches to record an average of 93%, and is clearly destined to play much higher up in the league.
Congratulations to all the winners.
Week Ending Fri 29th April
Cold Norton Blow Hot
Another busy week in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League saw the final two promotion positions sorted. In the top division the battle for runner-up spot had come down to the two Cold Norton top sides. The Cold Norton B side had been the early divisional pace setters and had fared well against all the division 1 sides only losing to the Champions Fambridge. Cold Norton A have a potential championship winning squad but their season had been too inconsistent both in their squad and results. However, when the A team win it is usually very decisive so going into the final showdown they had amassed enough points to be just 3 points behind their stablemates and so a 7-3 victory would push them into the medals. Both teams rocked up with strong sides, and it took 8 games for the B team to secure the necessary 4 points they needed to come second. On the night the A Team’s Duncan Taylor was unbeaten, although at 9-9 in the fifth against Babul McLeod the hat-trick looked perilous! McLeod did win two on the night as both he and Eric Green beat Sam Lowman and Charles Sweeny, and to wrap up the 5-5 draw for Cold Norton B captain Dan Anderson also beat Sweeny in a very tight 4 setter.
In what turned out to be a very productive week for the Cold Norton Club their D team somehow popped up right at the end of the Division 3 league campaign to steal the runner-up spot away from long time leaders Woodham C. Cold Norton D had a less than satisfying start to the season but once they got their ducks in a row they started to build up a head of steam as result after result went their way. Only really in the dying games did their threat to the top two become apparent and by then the form was with Cold Norton. Woodham C had lost the title battle to Blackwater A and went into the final game of the season 2 points behind the johnny-come-lately Cold Norton D. However in their final match against West Maldon B Woodham produced an excellent performance to record an 8-2 victory courtesy of fine hat-tricks from Alan Dadswell and David Meah, and in doing so piled the pressure back onto Cold Norton who were playing the following night. Cold Norton welcomed Stow D to the Latchingdon Arena needing a 6-4 or better victory to secure the Division 3 runners-up position. Well, after the first six singles of the night the Cold Norton trio of Peter Lucraft, David Hancox, and Gordon Gatheral were 6-0 to the good and the target had been achieved with minimal fuss. Cold Norton went on to win 9-1, only losing the doubles to a fine performance from Dave Goody and Jean Chasmer.
Week Ending Fri 22nd April
Woodham B Clinch 'Sensational' League Championship Victory
It was crunch week in Division 2 of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. The two South Woodham teams have been at the top of the table for the last few months but in this very tightest of divisions it came down to the final games to decide the true champions. Both teams took to the arena on Thursday evening needing to secure good wins but also keep an eye on what the other team was doing so that the abacus could be updated on how things stood. Both teams secured 8-2 victories on the night but crucially the Woodham A team lost their 2 games early on and this allowed the B team to complete their match safe in the knowledge that they were the champions. The A team played a very strong trio from Mapledene B but had enlisted their own muscle for this one. Hat-tricks from Captain Dan Piglet and hard bat specialist Gus Heath were the key factors on the night. The Woodham B team were hosted by Stow Maries B and got off to a great start as they stormed into a 4-0 lead, although Dave Marsh made it very difficult for Woodham Captain Eamonn Hall by going all the way to 5 long sets. Woodham B’s talisman Sanjay 'the Sensation' Saptarshi finished off his incredible season with his 13th player-of-the-match award courtesy of another hat-trick of wins. Hall and Trevor Collin chipped in with two a piece, with neither able to get passed Stow’s backhand specialist Peter Hance. Away from the coronation battles there was a re-enactment of the Battle of Maldon as their B and C teams once more took to the fighting fields. The Maldon B side finished off their season with a fine 7-3 victory, led by the Ladies Singles champion Dawn Baldry who signed off with an excellent hat-trick. The C team players take it in turns to score the points and this week it was the turn of ace modern defender Steve Aspland who scored 2 good wins over Brian Riedling and Colin Napper.
The only outstanding award in Division 1 is the runner-up prize. Mapledene A’s outside chance was thwarted as they lost 8-2 to champions Fambridge in their final game where Fambridge father and son duo Gary and Daniel Young were just unbeatable. Colin Chatfield signed off with a very notable victory over Fambridge top player Keith Adams. So the battle now lies between the two top Cold Norton sides. The B side helped themselves with a 7-3 victory over Stow A with Babul McLeod starring with an unbeaten evening of singles fun. Perhaps they might feel a tad annoyed at dropping the doubles as Stow’s Richard Storey and Matthew Brown put in a great performance in their straight sets win over McLeod and his partner Eric Green. This victory gives the B team a 3 point advantage going into the final winner-takes-all encounter with their A team next week. The B team need only 4 points to secure the Cold Norton bragging rights. The Stow A team had a busy week as they had already played another match this week, this time falling to an 8-2 defeat by the resurgent Cold Norton C team. Tim Cramphorn and Kim Shead were in sparkling form for their unbeaten hat-tricks.
Similar to the battles in Division 1, the only issue still to be resolved in Division 3 is the runner up place with a tight battle developing between Woodham C and Cold Norton D. It was Cold Norton D who edged ahead this week despite only fielding a 2 man team. Their 6-3 victory over 2 man Stow C, and Woodham C’s 5-5 draw with Stow D, was enough to give them a 2 point lead as both teams enter the final week of proceedings. It was that man again Peter Lucraft who dug Cold Norton out of a hole with a night of unbeaten ping pong. In the Woodham game it was Stow D’s star player Peter Chastin who once again bagged the majority of the points for his team, although he had to muster some resolve as he was taken to 5 sets by both David Meah and Chris Crooks. Crooks was on fine form himself bagging a brace of wins, and he even went 2-0 up against Chastin before a tactical switch changed the fortunes of the match. Woodham’s young Ben Porter also recorded two victories as his form returns after his injury lay-off this season.
Week Ending Fri 15th April
Fambridge Claim League Title in style
Fambridge have been crowned the Division One champions in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. With two games still to play the Fambridge team have secured yet another title following two excellent wins in the last week. Gary Young has been the stand out player in these matches with two excellent hat-tricks to rack up the points needed to mathematically claim the title. It took a while to get the wheels in motion for Fambridge this year but the second half of the season has just been a phenomenal drive, with eight straight high-scoring victories since Xmas. The battle for the runner-up slot took a turn this week as it is now a 3 way chase for the finishing line. Cold Norton C unexpectedly beat contenders Cold Norton A 7-3 which included a hat-trick for the C team’s Kim Shead. This buoyed the erstwhile leaders Cold Norton B side who played competitively but lost to Champions Fambridge 7-3 with Ian Wall claiming two points for the B team. Mapledene A have had a strong run in and a Keith Willet inspired 8-2 victory over Stow A puts them in with an outside chance with just one game to go – although their final game is against the Fambridge galacticos. This one will go all the way to the final league match of the season when the Cold Norton A and B teams meet in what will probably be a winner takes all affair.
Blackwater A Win Division 3
The Division 3 championship race was also decided this week when leaders Blackwater A played on consecutive nights to beat West Maldon B 6-4 and then secure a draw with Cold Norton D. That was enough to win the league and also preserve their unbeaten status across the season – the only team in the whole league not to lose a single game all year. In the West Maldon match all the Blackwater players scored wins but none could get passed the mercurial talents of West Maldon’s Louis Gunn, although Denis Balic did take him to 5 games. Cold Norton D have stormed up the league placings in recent weeks and now look favourites to become runners-up this year. It was a team effort by the Cold Norton trio with both Peter Lucraft and Dave Hancox winning two of their singles encounters.
Division 2 Going to the Wire
There is still everything to play for in the very tight Division 2. Leaders Woodham B had a week off and headed off to Spain for some warm weather training, whilst the chasing pack were all involved in competitive matches. Woodham A’s hopes for the title were dented with a hard fought draw with West Maldon A – for Woodham Dan Piglet and Gus Heath both won twice and combined for the doubles, for West Maldon David Gatheral and Sam Phillips both won twice, with Victor Chan securing their 5th point for the draw. Maldon B and Mapledene B both had emphatic wins this week that sees them put pressure on Woodham A for that coveted runner-up spot, but this good show of form may be a tad late in the season to rake in any silverware. Maldon B beat destroyed Stow B 9-1 with hat-tricks for Ciaran Whelan and Colin Napper, with Stow’s sole point coming courtesy of Peter Hance’s 4 set win over Dawn Baldry. Mapledene B put out a very strong trio in their final home match against two man Maldon C, and triumphed 8-2 with a sterling man-of-the-match performance from Mick Tappenden. Although mention must be given to Maldon’s Colin Barrell who secured his team’s points with two excellent victories over top players John Monk and Barrie Delf.
Week Ending Fri 8th April
St Lawrence A Double Down in Cup & League Victories
This week in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League it was all about the sensational St Lawrence A team in Division 4. Not only did they secure the league title but they also won the Team Handicap Knock-Out Cup.
After many rounds of competition the Final of the Handicap Cup was between St Lawrence A currently top of Division 4 and Blackwater A currently top of Division 3. So two teams in great form and buoyed by previous wins over first division opponents. The Final was played in great spirit but the St Lawrence trio of David Siggins (+11), Jazz Brown (+13), and Lotte Mills (+13) had too much in their handicap locker for the Blackwater team of Merv Perryman (-3), Roger Slade (-3), & Denis Balic (-2). Captain Siggins led the way with 2 singles and a doubles victory but was ably supported by his crew of 12 yr old Miss Mills playing in her first adult final who won both her singles with her formidable attacking play, and Miss Brown who chipped in with a singles and a doubles victory – all of which added up to a 6-2 victory for St Lawrence. St Lawrence have confirmed that they have arranged for an open top yacht parade in St Lawrence Bay this Sunday from 2pm.
In the league, the final Division 4 matches were played this week, and crucially Woodham D were unable to rack up the points they needed to overturn St Lawrence A’s lead at the top. In fact they lost to the superb Burnham A side led by Michael Pratley 7-3, in a game where Pratley and Dave Bateman were unbeaten all evening and combined for all 7 points. Whilst St Lawrence A were busy winning everything in sight their B team was in play against Blackwater B, and despite a might effort they fell to a 7-3 loss with Blackwater’s John Kuhl and Phil West finishing the season on hat-tricks.
What a week for the St Lawrence Club.
Week Ending Fri 1st April
St Lawrence A Lay Down the Gauntlet
We are now drawing ever nearer to crowning our four Winter League divisional champions in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. In Division 4 this week the surprise title challengers from St Lawrence A took a huge step towards securing the championship as they recorded a 10-0 whitewash over their own stablemates St Lawrence B, and in doing so put themselves 7 points clear of pre-season favourites Woodham D who have just one tricky fixture to play. Such was the dominance of the St Lawrence trio of Steve King, Karen Braney and Jason Bush, they didn’t drop a single set all evening. With a worse record in the head to head matches Woodham will now need to record an 8-2 win or better to steal the crown from the Baysiders. Woodham D managed to scrape a 6-4 win themselves against a strong Maldon E side. Val Board won all her matches for Woodham in a terrific performance, but neither of her colleagues were able to get the better of Maldon’s hard hitting Victoria Farrell.
In Division 3 Blackwater A continue to rack up good performances that maintains their lead at the top of the table – it really is theirs to lose now with just 3 games to play. They remain the only unbeaten side across all 4 divisions and this week they travelled the short distance to Stow Maries and recorded a solid 8-2 victory against the inform Stow D side. Captain Alan Scammell and wing man Denis Balic both won all their games, with Roger Slade chipping in with a good win over Stow’s Jean Chasmer. Nearest rivals Woodham C beat Maldon D 7-3 with hat-tricks for Luca Bailey and Alan Dadswell but this probably wasn’t enough to worry the Blackwater camp. Cold Norton D continued their chase for a podium spot also beating Maldon D but by a slightly higher margin of 8-2. Peter Lucraft was their star performer on the night with 3 wins, but he was well supported by Roy Gandy and Dave Hancox who both won 2 of their singles. Cold Norton D will look back on this campaign and rue their early season poor form as they should really have been strong contenders for this title.
Woodham are champions of Division 2 – we just don’t know which team it will be. Surprise package Woodham B sit at the top, where they have been for most of the season with a 25 point lead over Woodham A who have 3 games in hand to catch up. But the A-Team have a plethora of talent at their services so it will come down to selection and availability as the A team cram in these final few games. The first game went well as they beat a 2-man Maldon C side 8-2 this week with Gus Heath and Daniel Piglet winning all their singles for the hopeful Woodham side. One team that will have a major impact on the outcome of the Division is the Sow B side who still have to play both title contenders. They are a strong team themselves and could still overtake Woodham A for the runner-up spot. This week they defeated West Maldon A by an impressive 8-2 margin, and yet again it was Nicky Reece-Ford who was their player-of-the-match with 3 excellent wins.
It was slow coming but Fambridge are now the dominant team in the top Division and should secure the title this coming week as they are 23 points clear with just 3 games to play. With a winning mentality they just know how to win tight matches. This week they overpowered a strong Mapledene A side 9-1. But two of the individual matches went to deuce (10-10) in the deciding fifth set and the Fambridge players came out on top, and with only one single match being decided in straight sets the match was far closer than the score-line would ever suggest. For Fambridge, skipper John Poysden and Mark Stones were unbeaten all evening. The battle for runner-up spot continues and perhaps the ride has turned in favour of Cold Norton B as their A Team appear to be dropping away. The A Team lost 3-7 to Mapledene A with Sam Lowman putting up a stoic performance for his 3 wins, but the Mapledene trio of John Monk, Keith Willet and Colin Chatfield won all the other matches for a ‘team’ victory. Mapledene still have an outside chance of the runner-up position, and they may well take 3rd place, but the Cold Norton B team remain fully engaged in their quest for the summit so I expect them to field strong teams in their remaining fixtures and secure their runner-up medals.
Week Ending Fri 25 March 2022
Taylor Made For Glory
Burnham Finals Night 2022
This week saw the conclusion of the annual Burnham & District Table Tennis League Championship Tournament at its prestigious Finals Night held at Champions Manor Hall in South Woodham Ferrers. The evening was dominated by one player as he reached all of the gold ribbon event Finals, barring the Ladies Final, which this year he failed to enter. Stand up Mr Duncan ‘duracell’ Taylor who not only came runner up in both the Men’s and Veteran’s Doubles Finals with his partner Kevin Read, but also won the Mixed Doubles event with partner Andrea Alleyne and then went on to win the Veterans Singles (Over 40s), and then late into the evening when his stamina was being fully tested and questioned he was crowned the Men’s Singles Champion for the 4th time, but the first since 2018.
Veterans Doubles Final
This one was a hotly contested affair with two pairings very well known to each other with every player in the top 8 seedings of the Men’s Singles event. The Fambridge duo of Keith Adams and Gary Young got off to a flying start as they romped the opening leg in record time. After that the game was a bit tighter with some fantastic doubles play that saw the full use of the playing area – something the crowd loved and this got the support levels up very early on. The Cold Norton pairing of Kevin Read and Duncan Taylor had a long night ahead of them but they couldn’t quite muster the tactics and execution to see off the hitting and defensive tactics of Adams and Young. So in 4 excellent sets the title went to Keith Adams and Gary Young.
Mixed Doubles Final
The Mixed Doubles Final saw Lee McHugh and Ella Sach up against the current holders Duncan Taylor and Andrea Alleyne. A cagey first two sets saw the game even at 1-1 but then Taylor and Alleyne began a tactical assault on the McHugh and Sach positioning and began to pull clear. Some great rallies in this one as both Sach and Alleyne showed their defensive and attacking skills to both save and win unexpected points. The last two sets went the way of the current holders for a 3-1 victory, and Duncan Taylor and Andrea Alleyne were duly crowned the king and queen of the Mixed Doubles event.
Ladies Singles Final
The Ladies Final was a repeat of the last event in 2019 as the holder Dawn Baldry from Maldon TTC took on the ever improving Andrea Alleyne from West Maldon TTC. Baldry is usually an all-out attack flare player and these tactics served her well as she took the opening set with some wonderful winners. But Alleyne tightened things up in the second leg and reduced her opponents hitting opportunities and just about squeezed out a win 12-10 to square the match up. Baldry then started to create her own opportunities with good use of serve and follow up third ball hitting that Alleyne struggled to contain. So much so that the next two sets went by quite quickly and Dawn Baldry held onto her crown as she retained her Ladies Singles Title.
Men’s Doubles Final
Well this was the best contest of the night. The match had everything before it started; top players, experience vs youth, defence against attack styles, plus two fresh players against two players who had been hard at it all evening. This year the final was between perennial table hoggers Duncan Taylor and Kevin Read, and the new youthful pairing of Daniel Young and Sam Lowman. Young and Lowman got off to a great start as their opposition failed to control the awesome backhand hitting of Young, with every rally seemingly finishing one way or another off of a Young backhand – clearly he got more on than he missed as the youthful pairing swept to a 2-0 lead. Some tactical discussions in the break and a more determined approach saw Taylor and Read back in contention as they took the next two legs, and so we were into a deciding set for the only time of the evening. The tension was palpable. Youth got off to a winning start but experience responded to take the decider to 6-6, but from then on the it was youth all the way as Daniel Young and Sam Lowman only dropped one more point to win the coveted Men’s Doubles title – how many more times will this pairing appear on this historic trophy.
Veterans Singles Final
The pipe and slippers Final for the over 40s saw Duncan Taylor pitted against his doubles partner Kevin Read. It’s fair to say these two know each other’s game back to front. In the first leg Read attacked relentlessly and Taylor seemed out of sorts for an unexpected straightforward 1-0 start for Read. But after this the expected pattern emerged and Taylor’s war of attrition kicked in as he returned everything Read could throw at him from every angle and corner of the playing area, and by the end of the 4th set the attrition had worked and Read had very little left to offer and went down 3-1. Duncan Taylor was yet again the proud owner of the Keith Pitt Cup as the Veterans Singles Champion.
In the Blue Ribbon Event, the first semi-final saw Duncan Taylor overcome the very talented Keith Adams in 4 pulsating attack v defence exhibition style ends to make it through to the Final. In the other semi-final it was Taylor’s doubles partner Kevin Read up against Lee McHugh who had already defeated the top seed Daniel Young in earlier rounds. Read took an early 1-0 lead as McHugh got to grips with his nerves, but once McHugh got into his stride his accuracy became too much for Read, and McHugh took the next 3 sets and booked himself into the Men’s Final for the first time.
The Final itself was played late in the evening and Taylor had clearly already expended a ton of energy on his previous 4 finals plus the semi-final, so the crowd were a bit hesitant of what type of game they would witness. The first set was close and McHugh probably should have won it but hit too many off the end as he had to contend with the varying spin from the Taylor returns. The second set saw Taylor at his consistent best as returned everything and waited for the mistakes from his opponent. So 2-0 to Taylor and we went into a 3rd set that McHugh needed to win to keep his chances alive. Not such a good start saw Taylor take a 5-0 lead off off a stream of unforced errors from McHugh. Things were looking dire for McHugh but to his enormous credit he didn’t give up and began to force his way back into the leg. So as the roles switched and Taylor began to make more errors and McHugh took on the Mr Reliable tag it was soon 6-6 in what was become compulsive watching. 6-6 soon became 10-10 with McHugh saving Taylor’s first championship point. But serving at 10-11 down there was no saving a second match point as a long rally ended when a McHugh smash was a little too long and the very tired but elated Duncan Taylor was crowned the Champion.
Take a bow Mr Taylor - what a champion he is!
All the matches are available to watch on our facebook pages, and the winners will be available for autographs and photographs at the Presentation Evening on Fri 13th May.
Week Ending Sat 19 March 2022
The Fambridge Express is on Full Steam.
Fambridge are now the champions-elect of the top Division of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League having recorded another high scoring victory with a 9-1 turnover of Stow Maries A. The only consolation for Stow was Aaron Chandler’s excellent 4 set win over Mark Stones. Fambridge’s Dan Young and Keith Adams remained unbeaten all evening. Eric Green inspired Cold Norton B to victory over their A team and have effectively knocked the A Team out of contention now. Green won all his singles including a notable win over Kevin Read. Ian Wall notched two wins and then every other player had a win to take home with them! The Mapledene A trio of George Reeves, Colin Chatfield, and Keith Willet were on fire as they each recorded a hat-trick in their 9-1 demolition of Cold Norton C – this type of form would have seen this team in contention had they found it much earlier in the season.
There were two closely matched encounters in the very tight Division 2 this week. Front runners Woodham B were held to a 5-5 draw with Mapledene B in a match where half of the games went to a fifth end, and Maldon B had teamwork to thank for their 6-4 win over stablemates Maldon C as all three players won 2 out of their 3 matches. Notable wins this week for Mapledene’s Lin Roff over Woodham’s Sanjay Saptarshi 13-11 if the fifth end, Mapledene’s Andy Seaman for two notable wins against top-of-the-table Woodham B, and for Maldon C’s Colin Barrell over Ciaran Whelan 11-8 in another five ends battle.
In Division 4 it was all good news for the St Lawrence A team as they sauntered back to the top of the Division overtaking Woodham D with an emphatic 9-1 victory over Blackwater B. Blackwater’s David Benstead did take the notable scalp of Karen Braney for his team’s sole point. Braney will of course be on cloud nine this weekend after her sensational Fambridge Trophy win over Woodham’s captain Mike Burton – so no sleep lost there. In the other fixtures the Maldon club racked up two good wins as the E team overcame a 2-man St Lawrence B team 9-1, and the F team fought out a much tighter 6-4 encounter with Blackwater C.
In the final quarter-final of the Team handicap Cup Blackwater A came out on top by the skin of their teeth in a nail-biting 5-4 win over Woodham C.
Burnham Tournament 2022 – St Lawrence’s Karen Braney Upsets the Seedings
This weekend saw the start of the Annual Burnham & District Table Tennis League Closed Tournament and in the first two events to be concluded the seedings committee were put to the sword. The Fambridge Trophy is played for players from Division 4 only and was expected to be won by South Woodham’s ace defender Mike Burton. However, with the 3rd seed and dark horse for the event Mitch Davies unseated early on in the competition the stable door was wide open for the remaining field. Karen Braney of St Lawrence fame grabbed the bull by the horns and played her way all the way to the final. Burton came out the strongest and quickly took a lead but Braney played consistently and kept her patience under control and started to pick off loose shots from the ace chopper. By the final and deciding set Burton was done and the unseeded Braney raced to the post in fine style for her first tournament victory.
Players from Division 2 downwards compete for the Dan Richardson Trophy and there were upsets a plenty in this one, including an early bath for the top seed and current holder Barrie Delf who lost to Eamonn Hall in the Group stages and was finally ousted by Ken Sheard in the preliminary knockout round. As the competition developed it was tough hitting Dawn Baldry who took out many people’s title favourite Sanjay Saptarshi before the Woodham A duo of Dan Piglet and Tony Bonnici took a stranglehold on events to course their way to the Final. In the Final, Bonnici stormed into what looked like an unassailable lead going 2-0 up in a matter of minutes. But the Piglet does not have a soft belly and fought back doggedly to set up a final and deciding leg, and of course it went to deuce (10-10), as all good finals should, before Bonnici won out 12-10 in the fifth for his first Burnham Tournament win. Dan Richardson would be delighted to know his memorial trophy was going back to his home club – well at least for a year!
The Handicap Doubles is a drawn event so players are assigned random partners and handicaps are averaged across pairings – it’s great fun! This year the luck-of-the-draw gods had worked his magic and come up with some great partnerships including some Division 1 and Division 4 combos. It was one of these partnerships that stood out from the start as Lee McHugh (handicap of -17) and Ella Sach (Handicap +12) were bundled up into an extremely watchable force as they tore their way through all-comers right to the Final. At the other end of pairing types you find two exceptional players that complement each other – not that they would know as they play for separate clubs, and it is in this sphere that we find our other Final duo affectionately dubbed the ‘Samsation’ – Sam from Sam Lowman and the ‘sation’ element from Sanjay ‘Sensation’ Saptarshi – the nickname has stuck! Lowman & Saptarshi playing off a -10 handicap start took a while to adapt to McHugh & Sach’s strengths and weaknesses and duly lost the first leg comfortably. However as the game developed they began to work it out and started to pick off points as opportunities arose in this exciting finale, and soon they had raced away in the final leg and Saptarshi completed the ‘samsational’ victory with a delicious South Woodham special net drop shot.
Week Ending Fri 11 March 2022
Some Clarity in Burnham League Championship Races
The potential winners of the 4 Divisions in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League have become much clearer this week as positive results have opened gaps that may not be clawed back in the few remaining weeks of the season.
In Division 1 this week it was the much anticipated clash of the top two teams with Cold Norton A hoping to close the gap on leaders Fambridge. But Fambridge were not having any of it and put out a worldie of a trio in Keith Adams and Gary and Daniel Young. Fambridge won out 7-3 with Adams unbeaten against the Cold Norton team of Sam Lowman, Steve Maltby and Duncan Taylor, although he had to battle hard against Lowman as the match went to deuce in the fifth end. For Cold Norton Taylor beat Gary Young in straight sets, and Lowman pipped Young the Younger in 4 sets, and they combined to win a terrific 5 set doubles encounter against Older Young & Adams. Otherwise it was all Fambridge, who sit pretty(ish) at the top of the leader board, 11 pts to the good and a game in hand. Paddy Power have closed their books on this one! Elsewhere in the top Division Mapledene A recorded an excellent 8-2 victory over Maldon A with hat-tricks for both George Reeves and Steve Muth, and in the Cold Norton Battle the B team came out on top 7-3 against the C team with a Captains innings from the unbeaten Dan Anderson for the B team. For the C team Dick Wyman had a great evening beating both Babul Mcleod and Neil Want.
In Division 2 the long-time leaders Woodham B had a phenomenal week with two large wins that see them open a significant gap on the chasing pack with only 3 games to go. On the Monday they travelled to West Maldon A and raced to a 9-1 victory with Sanjay Saptarshi and Gary Copsey unbeaten and Ian Cranstone winning 2 of his 3 singles and adding the bonus doubles for good measure. West Maldon’s newbie Sam Phillips saved the whitewash with a 4 set win over Cranstone. On Thursday Woodham then hosted the talented Stow B side. Saptarshi again led the way in his talismanic manner with 3 comfortable wins for the player of the match accolade. Woodham’s Trevor Collin also recorded a hat-trick but his was a real battel as he went to deciding legs with Peter Hance and Nicky Reece-Ford. Woodham’s Eamonn Hall almost created an upset by coming back from 0-2 to take Hance to 9-9 in the fifth end before just losing out to two Hance trademark backhand winners, but he took that form and came from behind to notch a win against Reece-Ford near the end of the evening. It’s not done yet but the chasing pack need to register similarly large results and that is very difficult in this very evenly matched Division. Stow B also played twice, and picked up a solid 6-4 win over Maldon C. This time it was Reece-Ford who was on fire for Stow with 3 fine victories over a strong Maldon trio. Peter Hance won twice for Stow as did the hard-working Steve Aspland for Maldon in a game with lots of 5 setters. The final match of the week saw Mapledene B return a ‘Dusty Bin’ win of 6-4 over Maldon B. 3 wins for Tony Jacks, 2 wins for Mick Tappenden, and 1 win for Lin Roff – a classic 3-2-1! For Maldon Dawn Baldry was in great form with wins over Roff and Tappenden.
Long-time Division 3 leaders Blackwater A remain the only unbeaten team in the whole league, and in this week’s top of the table clash with Woodham C, the League Chairman, Alan Dadswell, had the perfect opportunity to crush this streak going into the final match of the night 5-4 up in games with the clash of the two Captains to follow. Dadswell stormed to a 1-0 lead for his Woodham side with an 11-2 screamer in the first leg but this only spurred on the Blackwater Supremo and pimple bat legend Alan Scammell. Scammell quickly reversed the opening leg disaster and went in to a 2-1 lead, and then didn’t even bother to make the match close with a thoroughly professional 4th leg victory that saw honours even on the night and the Blackwater unbeaten record continue. With limited games left Woodham really needed a big win to keep their championship hopes alive – so it looks like Blackwater have it to lose now. Not to be blindsided by the Captain’s clash the real star of the night was the ever improving David Meah with an excellent hat-trick for Woodham that sees his win average jump above 70% for the season. Cold Norton D keep up their good form with a confident 8-2 turnover of West Maldon B, with 3 wins a-piece for Peter Lucraft and David Hancox. A win that keeps Cold Norton in the hunt for the runner-up slot. At Smythe Hall arena Stow D blasted their way passed Maldon D. A hat-trick for the very in-form Jean Chasmer and two wins each for Dave Goody and Mick Robinson a-piece In the 3rd match sealed the deal.
Woodham D have regained lost ground and have now overhauled the very real threat from St Lawrence A. On Monday they recorded a 10-0 whitewash over the unfortunate Blackwater B, and then on Thursday they followed up with a 9-1 victory away to Maldon F. Captain Mike Burton and Valerie Board won all their games, each winning one player-of-the-match award, and they were extremely well supported by Joe Cooke with 5/6 wins, as he just lost out to the wily Roger Warren of Maldon fame. So having caught up their games in hand Woodham find themselves 8 points clear courtesy of these emphatic wins. Hat-trick Man Mike Pratley recorded another perfect evening as he led his Burnham side to a 7-3 victory over Maldon E. For Burnham Dave Bateman scored two wins , and the best of the Maldon Players was Ella Sach with wins over Bateman and Terry Frost. Burnham were back in action later in the week and it will come as no shock to anyone that Mike Pratley was again unbeaten and the player-of-the-match as this time his side defeated St Lawrence B 9-1. Pratley was yet again supported by his wing man Dave Bateman who went one better than the earlier game and won all 3 of his matches. For St Lawrence B Roy Hutchins was the local hero as his lengthy 5 set victory over Terry Frost saved the whitewash blushes in the Bayside community.
Week Ending Fri 4 March 2022
Honours Even for South Woodham Teams in Top of the Table Clash
It was the much anticipated top-of-the-table all South Woodham clash in Division 2 of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League this week. Woodham A started very strongly with an opening and unexpected win for the gutsy Gus Heath against the Division’s outstanding player in Sanjay Saptarshi of Woodham B. That win helped the A team to a 4-2 lead at the break, although this could have been worse for the B team if Saptarshi hadn’t been able to muster some quality to just pip the returning young Ben Porter in 5 tantalising sets. The B team fought back with a comprehensive 3-0 doubles victory before the next 2 games went against the form book as Porter then defeated Eamonn Hall in 4 sets and ‘player-of-the-match’ Trevor Collin destroyed Heath in straight sets. So it all went to the final game that the crowd had come to watch – Daniel Piglet v Saptarshi – and what an encounter it was as the game ebbed and flowed with some astonishing rallies and recoveries over the course of 4 games that had the match tied and destined for a final set. Saptarshi took an early lead and maintained a 1 or 2 point cushion throughout and finally won out 11-8 to square off the match and just about keep the championship odds with the Woodham B team. Elsewhere in the Division Maldon B were able to record a 6-4 victory over a 2 man West Maldon A side for whom Neil Freeman won all 3 of his singles. Good wins for Dawn Baldry and Colin Napper over West Maldon’s Victor Chan sealed the deal for the Maldonites.
Fambridge are really turning the screws in Division 1 as they ripped through the Cold Norton C team to record a 10-0 whitewash and opened up a 9 point lead at the top of the league. Fambridge captain John Poysden was well supported this week by fellow Galacticos Gary Young and Keith Adams – a trio no team wants to face! Next week’s clash with second placed Cold Norton A could well be the match of the season and a decisive win for either team could upset the bookmaker’s championship odds. Third placed Cold Norton B got back to winning ways with a fine 8-2 victory over Maldon A despite the heroic resistance of Maldon’s Steve Whiteley. Cold Norton’s Babul McLeod was unstoppable over the course of a very long evening as he racked up a fully tally of wins, and he was ably supported by team-mates Eric Green and Dan Anderson who both added a brace of victories but neither could get passed the aforementioned Whiteley despite both being 2-1 up in games.
Cold Norton D missed out on the chance to replace Woodham C in the runner-up slot in Division 3. Turning out against their nearest rivals with just two players didn’t help their cause as they went down 4-6 to a Luca Bailey inspired Woodham side. Bailey won all his singles and, along with Alan Dadswell’s hard fought 5 set victory over Peter Lucraft, that was enough to secure the 6 points for the win. For Cold Norton the stoic Gordon Gatheral and his trusty anti-spin rubber secured 2 wins to keep the score respectable for his team. Louis Gunn was yet again the star of the show for his West Maldon B side as they recorded a 6-4 turnover of Maldon D. Gunn won all his singles and left the doubles victory to his team-mates Colin Barham and Gary Smith. For Maldon both Shirley Carroll and Garry Eames scored two good victories each for their team’s 4 points.
Whilst St Lawrence remain at the pinnacle in Division 4 the threat from Woodham D remains. This week as the St Lawrence A team were winning 7-3 against Maldon F, the St Lawrence supremo David Siggins had sent his secret weapon in the guise of Jason Bush to Woodham to try and disrupt the Woodham team’s progress as they took on the St Lawrence B team. Bush not only accepted his mission but did very well in taking two hard fought wins against Mitch Davies and Valerie Board. Unfortunately for the A Team those were the only two points of the night as Woodham D romped home 8-2 with Captain Mike Burton in excellent form for his perfect hat-trick. Luckily for Capt Siggins his St Lawrence A lieutenants Steve King and Karen Braney weren’t distracted by outside events as they combined for a faultless night winning all their singles and combining for the doubles to secure the 7-3 victory. In the Burnham versus Blackwater B encounter Mr Hat-trick himself Mike Pratley was up to his usual tricks as he recorded his umpteenth perfect evening, although he was pushed all the way to a fifth set decider in the final match of the night against John Kuhl. For once Pratley was outdone by his colleague Dave Bateman who won all his singles but in straight sets for a deserved ‘player-of-the-match’ accolade. It was no surprise when Bateman and Pratley combined for the bonus doubles victory to secure all 7 points in their 7-3 win.
Week Ending Fri 25 February 2022
Fambridge Turn Up The Gas
Whilst everyone else was looking to reduce their energy consumption, Fambridge and Cold Norton A have really turned up the heat in the title race for the top division in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. Both teams had emphatic victories this week that has opened a gap to the erstwhile shock leaders Cold Norton B, and the title race is now down to just the two thoroughbreds. Fambridge upped the ante with another Galactico debut as current Burnham men’s singles champion, and recent Chelmsford Singles winner, Daniel Young took to the stage, alongside dad and taxi provider Gary Young, and wily veteran Bruce Kettle. The Maldon A side were no match for this show of strength but there was definitely some major consolation for Maldon’s Lloyd Bennett-Smith who took his team’s only point with a decisive 3 sets victory over Young the Younger. So with Fambridge registering 9 points what did Cold Norton A have in response? Well they had Duncan Taylor and Kevin Read who between them won all their matches without dropping a set to largely secure an 8-2 victory over Stow Maries A. Despite an impressive hat-trick from Ian Wall, Cold Norton B could only hang on for a 5-5 draw with a strong Mapledene A side for whom Steve Muth and Colin Chatfield both won twice. This seems to signal the end of the dream for this inspiring Cold Norton B team, but they seem safe in 3rd place.
Division 2 is a shoot-out between the two South Woodham teams and each week the A team edge just a wee bit closer to the long-time leaders Woodham B. Both teams had good wins this week which sets up the Woodham derby for next week – where a strong performance from either side could decide the title race! Leaders Woodham B scored a 7-3 victory over 2-man Maldon C with both Sanjay Saptarshi and Trevor Collin unbeaten in their singles encounters. All of the gamers were of high intensity and quality, none more so than the pure blast-off between Saptarshi and Maldon’s Steve Aspland. Woodham A captain Daniel Piglet was accompanied by two returnees this week – Gus Heath back from injury and Cameron Gray back from his work commitments. Piglet and Heath won all their singles and the doubles in the 8-2 victory over Maldon B, although both took 5 sets to get passed the hard-hitting Dawn Baldry. Gray registered his first win of the season with a 4 set win over Garry Eames. West Maldon A and Mapledene B recorded successive draws in successive weeks with largely different teams across the matches. This week every player had at least one win with Mapledene’s Mike Johnston winning 2 and the player of the match accolade.
In Division 3 the top two teams were in action and both played the Knights of Stow C with leaders Blackwater A pulling that bit further away following their mauling of the Stow team. For Blackwater A Roger Slade was in fine fettle with three 3 set victories in the singles and then he buddied up with team-mate Denis Balic for a straight sets doubles win. Balic also won all his singles which put Blackwater into a commanding 9-0 lead going into the final match of the night. Could the unbeaten Merv ‘the swerve’ Perriman wrap up a 10-0 whitewash for his team or would the tricky Ken Sheard be able to muster some courage and rescue a consolation point for his team. At deuce in the 4th leg the match was on a knife-edge, but Sheard powered through and took the next 2 points, and the match, for some semblance of solace on a difficult night for the Stow boys. Woodham C didn’t fare quite so well as they had to deal with Stow’s David Porter in excellent flat hitting form. Porter was able to notch wins against both Chris Crooks and Luca Bailey, and paired up with Knights Junior for an unexpected bonus doubles victory. Despite such good form, Porter was unable to find a way around Woodham’s David Meah as he lost in 4 sets that gave Meah an excellent hat-trick of wins in his team’s 7-3 victory. With a 12 point gap between the two top teams now it seems unlikely, but not impossible, that Blackwater will be caught.
The surprise package of Division 4 has been the rise and rise of the St Lawrence A side. So much so that to report a 10-0 victory over Maldon E no longer seems shocking even when Maldon field a good side. The St Lawrence trio of Dave Siggins, Karen Braney, and star player Steve King all posted unblemished evenings, although Siggins had to pull out a captains innings as he needed all 5 sets to overcome the threats of both Ross Wheeler and Rob Sach. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Maldon Club though as they got revenge as their F team inflicted a 9-1 defeat on the St Lawrence B team with both Victoria Farrell and Kym Eames taking maximum points for Maldon. Burnham’s Mike Pratley recorded his eighth hat-trick of the season as his team triumphed 6-4 over Blackwater C. Pratley was well supported by Dave Bateman with 2 wins, and for Blackwater David Benstead also recorded two wins to keep things tight.
Week Ending Fri 18 February 2022
Cup Upset as League Leaders Find Their Match in Blackwater B
The focus shifted to the Team Handicap Cup quarter-final stage this week in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. We now know 3 of the semi-finalists and two of these are from Division 4. Performance of the week surely goes to Kath Little’s Blackwater B of division 4 fame who somehow managed to hang in there to defeat current division 1 leaders Cold Norton A. Cold Norton were able to win 4 out of the 6 singles encounters including two wins for Sam Lowman (-16) against opponents whore were starting over 25 points ahead of him due to the handicap differentials between division 1 and 4. But it was in the doubles encounters where Blackwater flourished winning all 3 including the deciding match where Chris Rolison (+12) and Phil West (+10) overcame the strength of Cold Norton’s Steve Maltby (-12) and Dick Wyman (-12) to win in straight sets and claim this newsworthy victory. It was much more straightforward for St Lawrence A in the battle between top of division 4 and top of division 2. With both sides in excellent form and the handicaps doing their magic this one was expected to be a close run encounter but St Lawrence had other ideas as they stormed to a relatively easy 5-1 victory. St Lawrence’s trump cards of Lotte Mills and Jazz Brown used their +13 handicaps to great effect as neither dropped a set in doubles or singles all evening, with Lotte taking the all-important fifth win against Gary Copsey (-5). In the final quarter-final Stow A completely outfoxed the in-form Cold Norton D side to win 5-0, with only the final doubles encounter proving difficult when the Cold Norton duo of Peter Lucraft (-5) and Dave Hancox (-3) took the deciding third set to deuce against Stow’s Gary Brignall (-14) and Richard Storey (-11) before the division 1 side showed their class and finished up the match by winning the next two rallies. With Blackwater A and Woodham C still to play their quarter-final we will have two teams from division 4, one for division 3 and Stow A representing division one. A tough one to call but the St Lawrence team seem to be on a roll at the moment and could make it a league and cup double for the baysiders.
There was limited play in the Leagues this week but each game was dominated by a single player. In Division 2 Victor Chan was unbeatable for his West Maldon A side as they scraped an unexpected draw against Mapledene B. In Division 3 West Maldon B held the progressive Stow D team to a 5-5 draw also, with West Maldon’s Louis Gunn winning all his matches including the very worthy scalp of Peter Chastin. Woodham C kept up the pressure on leaders Blackwater A with a comfortable 7-3 victory over Stow C. Woodham’s David Meah was on top form with an excellent hat-trick including a fine 4 set victory over the tricky Dave Porter. In the Division 4 Maldon derby it was the E side that came out on top with a 6-4 triumph over stablemates Maldon F. The wily Ross Wheeler was the star attraction as he defeated all 3 opponents although he need the full five sets against both Brian Dixon and the ever improving Victoria Farrell.
Week Ending Fri 11 February 2022
It’s a Family Affair at Stow Maries
Fambridge were the pre-season favourites for the Division 1 title in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League and this week’s 9-1 destruction of Mapledene A sees them one step closer to fulfilling this goal. They have an abundance of talent at their beck and call and this week even called in a 4th player to have a go in the doubles. Fambridge’s heavily tanned captain John Poysden led the way with an unbeaten evening and he was matched by his wing man Keith Adams. You have to go back to the opening weekend of the season to find a loss recorded against Poysden. For Mapledene Colin Chatfield took a notable scalp when beating Mark Stones for his team’s solitary point. A Tim Cramphorn inspired Cold Norton C notched up their 4th win of the season as they defeated Stow Maries A 6-4. Cramphorn recently lost the services of his trusty bat and its replacement seems to have come up trumps as he recorded his first Burnham hat-trick of the season. Cramphorn was ably assisted by team-mate Kim Shead who rattled off a couple of wins to help secure the overall victory. Despite this fillip Cold Norton remain at the foot of the division but hopefully this momentum will garner some traction in upcoming matches.
In Division 2 this week Mapledene B held title contenders Woodham A to a creditable draw in a match where each team won alternative games. Mapledene’s John Monk was the star of the evening with a hard earned hat-trick of wins including long 5 set encounters with Woodham’s Daniel Piglet and Sanjay Saptarshi. Saptarshi and Piglet each won their other two games and combined to take the key doubles point for the Woodham side.
Division 3 saw the emergence of new title challengers this week as Cold Norton D ambled into the runner up slot courtesy of their fine 8-2 battle victory over the Knights of Stow C, and Woodham C’s collapse against the family affair that is Stow D. Dave Hancox must be experiencing a heavy bout of his ‘manopause’ as he is hot and cold like a witches broomstick at the North Pole. Currently on a fine winning streak that led his Cold Norton D team to the 8-2 triumph over Stow C, Hancox the Hot was unbeaten all evening and with team-mates Roy Gandy and Peter Lucraft also dispatching the Knights it was left to Stow’s in-form Ken Sheard to nick a couple of good wins to prevent the whitewash. So with Cold Norton putting in a top performance surely Woodham C would respond in kind? Alas no as they royally collapsed against the Stow D trio of Jean Chasmer, Pete Chastin and Dave Not-So-Goody. Mother and son combo of Chasmer and Chastin won all 7 points for Stow in their 7-3 turnover of the would be champions. Chasmer with her first hat-trick of the season in a thoroughly inspiring performance. In support of this family affair team captain Not-so-Goody managed to lose all 3 of his singles and rightly dropped himself from the doubles.
Week Ending Fri 4 February 2022
Sea-Change at St Lawrence
There must be something other than salt in the water in St Lawrence as their A team were on tip top form this week in the top of the table clash with Woodham D in Division 4 of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. Teamwork does indeed make the dream work as St Lawrence stormed to a 5-0 lead including a 5 set victory for St Lawrence’s Steve King over the top rated player in division 4 Mike Burton. Burton went on to win his matches with Karen Braney and Jason Bush, but King completed his hat-trick in style, and Bush and Braney each won 2 singles to complete this resounding 8-2 victory. This win not only secures pole position for St Lawrence but surely puts doubts into the minds of long-time runaway leaders Woodham D. Blackwater C continued their fine run of form with a 7-3 turnover of St Lawrence B with that man David Smith making the headlines again with a comfortable set of 4 wins only dropping a single set all evening. Blackwater B were held to a 5-5 draw by the experienced Maldon F trio. For Maldon the wily Roger Warren was on tremendous form and managed to win all his singles and paired up with Captain Brian Dixon for the bonus doubles point. The Blackwater trio all won at least one game with braces for both John Kuhl and Phil West.
It was a tough week for erstwhile Division 1 leaders Cold Norton B, firstly they succumbed to a 7-3 defeat to title pretenders Fambridge and then their own A team played out a 10-0 whitewash against their C team to overtake them at the top of the leader board. Fambridge put out a strong team for their trip to Cold Norton and were greeted by Cold Norton B’s elite 3 so a tough match was always in the offing. Only 1 encounter was finished in straight sets, and of the five matches that went to a deciding fifth set Fambridge won them all! Fambridge’s Mark Stones was on fine form with an unbeaten night, although both Eric Green and Chris Ballard took him to a fifth set. Stones paired up with Gurj Bhambra for the doubles. Rumours of a Bielsa style reconnaissance mission have now been confirmed although Mr Bhambra claimed he had actually just turned up a week early for this match - but the judge was having none of it - 'take him down'! So with the B team’s progress thwarted for the week the A team had the chance to leapfrog them at the top – and boy did they take this opportunity. Despite Cold Norton C being a man down the A Team trio of Steve Maltby, Kevin Read, and Matt Stringer had to work hard to take all of the remaining 7 matches including 3 that went to 5 legs. Steve Whiteley was back to his best this week as his Maldon A team put on a show to record their first win of the season with an 8-2 triumph over Stow Maries A. Whiteley notched his second hat-trick of the season against Stow Maries A, and this time was ably supported by Lloyd Bennett-Smith and Jon Stokes who both scored two wins. A win that sees them off the bottom of the table for the first time since the early weeks of the season.
In Division 2 bottom placed Maldon C are still fighting to secure their place in this division for next season. This week they saw out a 5-5 draw with an undermanned Mapledene B side. Mapledene’s talisman Barrie Delf was at it again as he defeated all the Maldon players in straight sets, but the key games were Maldon’s Steve Aspland’s victory over Mike Johnston, and then Aspland teamed up with his regular partner Colin Barrell for an excellent 5-set doubles victory over Delf and Johnstone. Dave Marsh’s Stow B have discovered their bouncebackability form following a string of recent defeats. This week they put their gremlins to bed with a fine 7-3 victory over a top class Maldon B side. Captain Marsh led the way with an unbeaten night of smashing table tennis and was ably supported by Peter Hance with 2 good wins over Colin Napper and Brian Riedling. For Maldon Dawn Baldry kept the score presentable with wins over Hance and Nicky Reece-Ford.
In Division 3 Cold Norton D and Woodham C are doing all they can to keep up the pressure on runaway leaders Blackwater A. Whilst a Dave Hancox inspired Cold Norton D held the league leaders to a creditable draw, Woodham C kept up the pressure with a comfortable 8-2 triumph over West Maldon B. Blackwater A were leading 5-3 going into the final two games with Cold Norton D with only Hancox having won a singles match all evening for the Cold Norton side. However the canny spinner that is Peter Lucraft decided to upset the Blackwater apple cart with a straightforward 3 set victory over the pimple batted Merv Perriman. This set up the final frame for the night’s two unbeaten protagonists Hancox versus Alan Scammell, power versus guile, rubber versus pimples – and at 10-10 in the fourth end the crowd were hoping for a deciding leg, but Hancox had other ideas and quickly finished up the match and secured not only his hat-trick but also a draw that dents the title aspirations for Blackwater. It was the youngsters of Woodham C that outshone the experienced West Maldon B side with both Luca Bailey and David Meah both securing hat-tricks in their 8-2 demolition. For the first time all season Stow C had no Knights in shining armour on display and took this opportunity to leapfrog their opponents from Maldon D and put themselves clear of the relegation battle. It was a tough ask for the Maldon trio to come up against a Stow trio of Ken Sheard, Rod Maclennan, and David Porter but they battled hard and at least forced 3 games to a deciding set but succumbed to a 10-0 drubbing. Sheard has not been beaten since the turn of the year and now has 3 player-of-the-match awards on the bounce.
Week Ending Fri 28 January 2022
Division 4 Teams looking to dominate Handicap Cup
This week saw the first round of the Team Handicap Cup in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. An annual cup competition that adjusts the players scores to try and provide an even playing field for all players for a single competition.
In an all Division 4 encounter Kath Little and her Blackwater B team provided a shock result as they dominated League Leaders Woodham D to win all the evening’s matches and record a stunning 9-0 victory. The handicaps also helped the other Division 4 side as St Lawrence A overcame 3rd Division Stow Maries D 6-3 with the introduction of hard-hitting 12 year old Lotte Mills (+15) who took full advantage of her starting point and won both her singles encounters and paired up with Jazz Brown for a doubles win too. St Lawrence also had Captain David Siggins to thank as he secured 2 excellent singles victories over the solid pairing of Dave Goody and Peter Chastin – no mean feat!
In the most eagerly anticipated encounter Cold Norton B, currently perched on the top of Division 1, hosted South Woodham B, the current leaders of Division 2. Only 6 matches were played in a total of 3 hours and each and every encounter went to a deciding 3rd leg – I guess the handicaps were just about spot on! For Woodham Sanjay Saptarshi and Eamonn Hall just about remained unbeaten all evening, whilst Cold Norton’s Eric Green (-16) had just pipped Woodham’s Trevor Collin (-7) 21-19 in their third set, having started at -9 for each set. However Collin redeemed himself by taking the fifth and final win of the evening against the hard working and very awkward Dan Anderson (-11), this time 21-18 in the final set.
The Stow Maries A trio of Gary Brignal, Richard Storey and Malcolm Storey came through a Stow derby against their own C team with the tightest game being the final doubles encounter in a 5-0 victory where Brignal and Richard Storey came back from a -13 start against Ken Sheard and John Knights to win 22-20, 22-20. In the remaining encounters the winning teams from Cold Norton C, and Cold Norton A defeated 2 man teams from West Maldon A, and Stow Maries B respectively.
The draw for the next round takes place this week and everyone will be hoping to avoid the advantageously handicapped Division 4 sides who are now the odds-on favourites for the Cup.
Division 4 League Round Up
There were 3 Division 4 matches played this week and the toings and froings meant that for a few days at least we had new leaders in the shape of St Lawrence A. St Lawrence A have been on a upward trajectory of late and finally reached the summit when they overcame a Blackwater C side which included the recently dominant David Smith. The final score was 6-4 in favour of St Lawrence with Steve King bagging a hat-trick including a fine 5 set win over Smith. The reliable Karen Braney chipped in with a brace of singles wins and then combined with King for the all-important doubles point. The outing to the top of the league only lasted 4 days as erstwhile leaders Woodham D were back on the table on the Friday night and were able to record a 6-4 victory over St Lawrence B with Captain Mike Burton once again going unbeaten all night. St Lawrence were able to field a couple of season debutants and they both managed wins on their return to the Burnham league – so welcome back Anne Mills and Jason Bush. In the final match played Deb Ginn was the star player for Blackwater C as they defeated Maldon E 8-2. Ginn recorded a hat-trick and team-mates Kath Little and John Kuhl both had wins over Rob Sach and Ross Wheeler, but neither could get to grips with the match play of the ever improving Ella Sach.
Week Ending Fri 21 January 2022
Top and Tail for Cold Norton
Cold Norton A hauled themselves into joint top position of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League this week, largely thanks to their top-rated player Duncan Taylor. Taylor led by example in his team’s 8-2 triumph over Maldon A winning all 3 of his singles matches in 3 ends and combining with Steve Sawyer for a much-welcomed 5 set doubles victory. Taylor’s team-mates Sawyer and Steve Maltby both recorded 2 wins a piece to complete the scoring. The A and B teams from the Cold Norton Club now hold the top two positions in the league table but they are both straining their neck muscles as Fambridge edge closer with every game they play and sit comfortably in 3rd place only 8 points behind the leaders but with 2 games in hand – tick tock tick tock. As well as the top two slots, the Cold Norton Club also now hold the bottom place in Division 1 following previous basement dwellers Stow Maries A’s first and unforeseen win of the season combined with a non-playing week for the unfortunate Cold Norton C. Stow A stormed to victory with an 8-2 thumping of Mapledene A. The team had clearly overdosed on their Weetabix as all three players contributed to this wholly unexpected scoreline. Captain Richard Storey and his wingman Arron Chandler were both in fine fettle as they recorded their first hat-tricks of the season and team-mate Ryan Pitt chipped in with a 3 set victory over Anthon Ranjit-Singh. Mapledene had a more productive evening when their B team outwitted a strong Stow B team to record a 6-4 victory in Division 2. As is oft the case Mapledene B had the larger than life Barrie Delf to thank for the bulk of their points, as he returned to his more usual ‘unbeatable’ persona.
The gap at the top of Division 3 widened considerably this week as leaders and title favourites Blackwater A posted a comfortable 8-2 victory over the lowly placed Maldon D team. Both captain Alan Scammell, and the recently poached Roger Slade, were convincing in their singles and doubles encounters, winning every match without the need for a single deciding leg. In the only other contest in Division 3 the alphabetic order was challenged in the district of Stow Maries as the D team cheekily defeated the C team in a comprehensive 7-3 victory that saw all 3 of the D team win 2 matches. However, none of them were able to outwit the play and tactics of the C Team star player that is Ken Sheard. Sheard won all 3 of his contests to maintain a semblance of respectability in the scoreline.
The race for promotion from Division 4 is really hotting up. Following their crushing victory over fellow title contenders Blackwater B last week, the St Lawrence A trio followed up with a 10-0 whitewash over their very own beleaguered B team. They just love the headlines and all the attention! This injection of form has catapulted St Lawrence to the runner-up slot and they are now the only likely challengers to champions-elect Woodham D. Clearly there is a gulf in quality betwixt the A and B teams in St Lawrence as the A-Team trio of David Siggins, Steve King, and Karen Braney went unbeaten for the whole evening. The A-Team captain Siggins was heard to say that ‘he loves it when a plan comes together’! The two Blackwater teams now form the chasing pack and it was the C team that came out on top in this week’s Blackwater Derby as they triumphed 6-4 with the up and coming David Smith the star of the show with all 3 singles wins and a doubles victory with partner Chris Rolison. Despite the C team victory every player left happy as they all won at least one game and there is a reverse fixture still to come! Burnham’s Mike Pratley was at it again as he posted his 7th hat-trick of the season despite his team’s 6-4 loss to a strong Maldon F crew that included new star Victoria Farrell. Pratley’s win over Farrell was her first defeat in the Burnham league. The evening’s contest also saw two good wins for Maldon’s Brian Dixon as he reversed a recent run of bad results to get back on winning ways.
Week Ending Fri 14 January 2022
Green Shoots seen in Cold Norton
A very busy week in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League saw lots of close encounters and lots of tight individual games. At the top of the pile Cold Norton B continued to extend their lead with a solid 7-3 win over Stow A with star players Eric Green and Babul McLeod winning all 7 points between them. The Cold Norton A team missed a chance to close the gap as they encountered stiff opposition from Mapledene A. Cold Norton needed the last two games to record a hard fought 6-4 victory in a game with 13 deuce games. Duncan Taylor was unbeaten but had to work hard to get passed the defence of Mapledene’s Steve Muth including the game of the night where Taylor squeezed through 21-19. Buoyed by his performance against Taylor, Muth went on to record good 4 set wins over both Sam Lowman and Steve Maltby. Cold Norton C picked up a good win and some vital points as they overturned Maldon A by a 6-4 scoreline. Kim Shead was the star performer for Cold Norton but boy did he have to earn that accolade with 5 set wins over Steve Whiteley and Jon Stokes both going to deuce in the deciding leg, and a 4 set victory over Hamish Innes.
In Division 2 league leaders Woodham B had talisman Sanjay Saptarshi, and the home net, to thank for their close 6-4 win over Maldon B. Saptarshi won all his singles and teamed up with the hard-hitting League Chairman Alan Dadswell for the doubles against the experienced pairing of Colin Napper and Dawn Baldry. Very late call-up Dadswell made it 1½ points with a solid singles win over Garry Eames, although he wasn’t quite able to defeat the League Secretary Colin Napper in the battle of the league officials that went the way of the Secretary not the Boss. The was some bad Kamma for the Stow B team as West Maldon A new recruit Adi Kamma debuted with an unbeaten evening in both singles and doubles, pairing up with David Gatheral for all the points in a 6-4 away win. The very reliable Peter Hance took two wins for the Stow team team including a 13-11 deciding set victory over the awkward Gatheral.
In Division 3 second placed Blackwater A played their catch-up game to record an emphatic 9-1 scoreline and overtake Woodham C at the top of the table. Captain Alan Scammell and wingman Denis Balic went unbeaten all night and third player Merv Perriman chipped in with 2 singles and a helping hand in the doubles. Stow’s Dave Goody managed the consolation point for his team with a fine 4 set victory over Perriman. Bragging rights at the bottom of the Division went unclaimed as Stow C and West Maldon B played out a 5-5 draw for some much needed points for both teams. Ken Sheard was unbeatable for Stow in his singles confrontations bagging all 3 points for his team. Team-mate Rod Maclennan weighed in with 2 victories but couldn’t find a way past West Maldon’s Gary Smith in his final encounter. Smith claimed a brace of wins for himself, and then combined with Colin Barham for an unexpected doubles win, coming back from 2-0 down to win in 5 against Sheard and Maclennan.
It was a case of teamwork makes the dream work for Division 4 leaders Woodham D as all 3 players won 2 singles for a 6-4 win over Burnham A. But none of them was able to make a dent on the undoubted star player that is Mike Pratley. Pratley won all of his singles, dropping just a single set to Val Board, and the much anticipated shoot-out (or push-out) with Woodham’s top player Mike Burton just didn’t materialise as Pratley didn’t allow Burton to play his normal game and won in a comfortable 3 set match. However the win sees Woodham extend their lead at the top as the chasing teams played each other, and third placed St Lawrence A put second placed Blackwater B to the sword in a surprise 7-3 triumph. St Lawrence can be most grateful to the in-form Karen Braney for the size of this win as she fought hard for her 3 singles wins in a total of 14 legs, and even had the energy to partner skipper David Siggins for the important doubles win. Another player in good form is Blackwater’s Phil West and he recorded 2 good wins over Siggins and Steve King to keep the score somewhat respectable. A dent in Blackwater’s chances of catching Woodham for sure, and perhaps they have now handed over the chasing baton to St Lawrence A! In a similar pattern to the match at the top of the table the two bottom teams played out a close match where Maldon E won out 6-4 against a Roy Hutchins inspired St Lawrence B. Hutchins won all his singles and partnered up with Phil Bevan for the doubles – leaving the Maldon trio to win the remaining 6 points with 2 wins each for Ross Wheeler, Rob Sach, and Ella Sach. Maldon new signing Victoria Farrell kept up her impressive start with a second hat-trick on the bounce, although her great form wasn't enough to inspire her F team as they succumbed to the team work of Blackwater C, losing 3-7.
Week Ending Fri 7 January 2022
Whitewash Spotted in St Lawrence Bay
It was back to action for the Burnham & District Table Tennis League clubs this week, and it didn’t take long for the two top Woodham sides to stretch their lead in Division 2. Woodham A have now found their groove and are catching up with league leaders Woodham B every week. This week they hosted the very competitive and fellow title chasers Stow B but appear to have dispatched them with ease. Both captain Dan Piglet and Alan Burgess were in top form winning all their singles and only dropping 1 set between them. It took until the very last game when Stow’s dogged warrior Nicky Reece-Ford dug deep to rescue a consolation point for his team as he defeated Gus Heath in 4 close sets for a final score of 9-1 to Woodham A. The Woodham B team were up against a Mapledene B side that fielded Barrie Delf, a player that hadn’t lost a single game in Division 2 for over 2 years. But, like London Buses, if you wait long enough then two will come along at once. Woodham B secured a 7-3 victory in a very enjoyable confrontation with both Sanjay Saptarshi and Trevor Collin registering unexpected wins over the awesome Delf. Saptarshi registered another hat-trick, with Collin and third player Eamonn Hall both taking two wins each. Mapledene’s captain Bill Smith was on fine form and completed a great win over Collin by bamboozling him with some audaciously spinny serves – great fun to watch but not to face!
Division 1 had a few games postponed due to Covid issues but that allowed title favourites Fambridge to close the gap on the two leading Cold Norton teams. Fambridge travelled the short distance to Stow Maries with an extremely strong and talented trio, and it didn’t take them long to rack up a commanding lead with both John Poysden and Keith Adams winning all their singles in 3 straight sets. To avoid the whitewash Stow’s Arron Chandler beat Gary Young 3-0 for a notable victory and this kept the score to 9-1 in Fambridge’s favour and pushes them up to second place just a point behind leaders Cold Norton B, and with a game in hand to boot.
Stow D and Cold Norton D played out a 5-5 draw in the only game in Division 3 this week. Although this scoreline seemed unlikely when Stow were 4-1 up with both the lovable Dave Goody and Peter Chastin winning both their opening singles encounters including an excellent 4 set win for Goody over the stoic Gordon Gatheral. Unfortunately Stow couldn’t build on this momentum and the Cold Norton Team found their groove as Peter Lucraft won his remaining singles matches, and Gatheral made amends for his earlier loss with an excellent win over top player Chastin, and then they combined for a roller-coaster 5 set doubles victory. There was almost a full complement of matches in Division 4 this week and all produced very decisive results. Leaders Woodham D continue to impress with an 8-2 turnover against Maldon F with Mike Burton once again unbeaten all evening to maintain his season high 94% win average. In the chasing peloton St Lawrence A came up trumps against second placed Blackwater C putting them to the sword in an unexpected 10-0 whitewash pushing them into joint second place – with hat-tricks for Steve King, David Siggins and Karen Braney. Blackwater B join St Lawrence in the runner-up slot following a Phil West inspired 7-3 victory over Maldon E. West hit his first hat-trick since the opening day of the season including an impressive 3-0 win over Maldon’s Ross Wheeler. Wheeler picked up both his team’s singles points with wins over Kath Little and John Kuhl and he combined with Ella Sach for the doubles point. Burnham A had dropped off the pace a little but are back on the coat tails of the peloton courtesy of a fine 9-1 win over St Lawrence B. Mike Pratley and Dave Bateman were both unbeaten all evening in singles and doubles, and it was down to St Lawrence’s Roy Hutchins to rescue a single point for his team with a solid 4 set victory over Charlie Matthews.
Week Ending Fri 17 December 2021
Cold Norton Run Hot in Division 1, and Controversy in Division 2
What a week for the title contending underdogs from Cold Norton B in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. Firstly they smashed their way past their own C team in a 9-1 mauling where Captain Dan Anderson, and the reliable Babul McLeod, went unbeaten with great support from Neil Want as the third man in this dynamic trio. Then later in the week it was the clash of the chasing teams and third beat second place to increase the gap held by leaders Cold Norton B. Second placed Fambridge, with games in hand, succumbed to the dreaded diary management issues and unexpectedly had to field a 2 man team against a fully loaded Cold Norton A side. Cold Norton’s Kevin Read was the star winning all his matches, and Sam Lowman was able to defeat Fambridge’s Gurj Bhambra in 5 sets. With Cold Norton winning the doubles this gave them 4 points in matches played plus the 3 extra from forfeited games for a 7-3 victory. Well, what of Cold Norton’s third player – it’s not very often Duncan Taylor comes away from a local league match without a win to his name – but this week that prized scalp went to both Lee McHugh and Gurj Bhambra, with McHugh also taking a point against the awkward and headphone wearing Sam Lowman. Mapledene A continue to climb the table as they catch up on missed games, and this week’s 9-1 dismissal of Maldon A sees them fully in contention as the top 4 sides now head into the New Year with championship matters truly undecided. For Mapledene both Colin Chatfield and Keith Willett scored hat-tricks, with Maldon’s newcomer Lloyd Bennett-Smith able to record his team’s solo point with a very tight win over Steve Muth 12-10 in the fifth and deciding set.
There was controversy in Division 2 this week as winless West Maldon A sensationally defeated runaway league leaders Woodham B 7-3. West Maldon arrived with a whole trio of new and unexpected players. Woodham can only hope that these players continue to feature in West Maldon’s matches going forward. Rumours of a Middle Eastern takeover of the Maldon based club were denied vehemently by the Club's hierarchy. West Maldon’s Saul Chivers, fresh from his headline grabbing displays in Chelmsford Division 1, was on great form defeating all before him and then teaming up with younger sibling Harry for the doubles too. Chivers senior did not have it all his own way as he was given tough rides by Woodham’s George Ashley and Sanjay Saptarshi. West Maldon’s third new signing was David ‘ Chivers’ Gatheral who was on stunning form as he also recorded a hat-trick of wins over the Woodham trio including a very strange closely fought encounter with Eamonn Hall that went 11-1, 11-2, 8-11, 9-11 and then 11-4 in the final set. Teamwork was the key for Maldon B this week as they ran out 6-4 winners over a strong Mapledene B team featuring an unbeatable Barrie Delf. Delf registered his customary hat-trick, whilst Maldonites Colin Napper and Dawn Baldry both won their other 2 singles encounters and then teamed up for the bonus doubles point. In the closest encounter of the evening’s play Maldon’s Brian Riedling beat Lin Roff 12-10 in a deciding set.
Woodham’s David Meah was the stand out player in Division 3 this week – firstly he was unbeaten in the top of the table clash with league leaders Blackwater A, and then scored a second hat-trick in the encounter with Maldon D – not a bad week’s work for Mr Meah. The top two teams met in a crunch encounter on Monday night, with both teams putting out regular and strong line-ups. Home team Blackwater A stormed into a 4-2 half-time lead, with only Woodham’s David Meah able to register away wins, although Woodham’s Luca Bailey made Blackwater supremo Alan Scammell work for his win with a 4th set 18-16 saver, before taking Scammell to 13-13 in the final set before the experience of Scammell overcame the youth of Bailey. Blackwater seemed intent on plucking defeat from the jaws of victory as they allowed Woodham to win 3 on the bounce, including Meah’s hat-trick, for Woodham to take a 5-4 lead into the final game – the captain’s challenge. This was more of an experience versus experience encounter as Scammell prodded and hit his way to a 4 set victory over Woodham Captain Alan Dadswell, to seal the draw – much to his and his team-mates relief. The same Woodham trio were in action the following night against Maldon D and, despite three 5 setters, Woodham were able to record a 9-1 triumph that pushes them just a point above Blackwater at the top of the table. As well as another hat-trick for Meah, there was a hat-trick for Bailey and 2 wins for Dadswell with Shirley Carroll recording the single point for Maldon. Following the next day theme, Maldon D were in action again on the Wednesday but this time managed a creditable draw against Stow Maries D team. Stow’s Peter Chastin was a comfortable player of the match winning all his singles and doubles, whereas all the Maldon team were able to score points with 2 good wins a piece for Bryan Speller and Alan Billing.
In Division 4, with leaders Woodham D having a rest this week, neither of the chasing teams really took the opportunity to significantly close the gap as Blackwater B suffered only their second defeat of the season to Burnham A, and St Lawrence A came from 2-4 down to eventually beat Maldon F 6-4. For Burnham David Bateman and Michael Pratley were again on great form winning their singles and combining for the doubles – although Pratley was unable to complete his final match so had to concede the extra point. Maldon F’s Roger Warren and John Leavitt had really stoked the fires against St Lawrence A as they both won their 2 opening matches against the title chasing St Lawrence A. With 4 games to go St Lawrence found their form and Dave Siggins and Karen Braney combined for the doubles and then each took their final singles match to take a 5-4 lead going into the showdown. St Lawrence’s third player Roy Hutchins stormed into a 2-0 lead but Maldon stalwart Brian Dixon would not roll over and he clawed it back to 2-2. This effort seemed to be the undoing of Dixon though as he quickly lost the final set and St Lawrence had snatched an unlikely victory. In the final match of the week Blackwater C came away with a thumping 8-2 victory over Maldon E, and if it hadn’t been for Maldon’s Ross Wheeler winning 2 it could have been a whitewash for the Blackwater trio. Maldon’s Rob Sach took a tumble early on his first match of the night and was unable to continue – we hope he has a swift recovery.
Finally the League would like to pay tribute to one of its foremost players who passed away this week. Ev Lucas most recently played for Maldon Table Tennis Club, but had played at the highest level in most of our regional table tennis leagues for the past 50 years. A true gent and legend of Essex table tennis – he will be sorely missed.
Week Ending Fri 10 December 2021
Division 4 ‘Title Defining’ Triumph for Woodham D?
The main focus of the week was the top of the table clash in Division 4 of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. The unbeaten Blackwater B, with 7 wins out of 7, were looking to overtake the leaders, and also unbeaten, Woodham D. As it turned out neither team fielded their strongest trio and, despite an entertaining evening of sport, Woodham came out with a title defining 9-1 thrashing of their nearest rivals. The ‘thrashing’ description can only refer to the final points tally as the matches were tight with only the final game decided in straight sets. For Woodham both Captain Mike Burton and the ever improving Joe Cooke recorded hat-tricks and they were ably supported by the returning Val Board who recorded good victories over the in-form Kath Little and Phil West, but lost out to Chris Rolison in 4 sets. Elsewhere in the division St Lawrence A were able to close the gap on Blackwater B with an impressive 8-2 triumph over Maldon E – with Karen Braney yet again the star player for her team. Michael Pratley from Burnham A recorded his 4th hat-trick of the season but was unable to steer his team to victory as the teamwork of Blackwater C was enough to secure the 6-4 win. In the clash at the bottom of the table Maldon F stormed to an emphatic 9-1 win over St Lawrence B with hat-tricks and a combined doubles win for both the wily Roger Warren and John Leavitt. St Lawrence’s Roy Hutchins played well to pick up his team’s consolation point with a 3-0 win over Dennis Eraut in the penultimate match of the evening.
In Division 3 leaders Blackwater A had a well-earned rest as the two chasing teams battled it out in a crunch match. The rapidly climbing Cold Norton D team fielded their strongest team against Woodham C and came away with a vital win and sent out a message to the other title contenders. In a match where every player won at least one game there were plenty of close encounters and excellent competition. None more so than for Woodham’s fashion icon Chris Crooks who went to 5 sets in each of his 3 matches with just the one victory over Dave Hancox for his efforts. For Cold Norton it was Gordon Gatheral and his close to the table anti-spin play that was the key to this victory as he won all his games by frustrating the life out of his opponents. In the other match this week it was a west side story in the battle of the Maldon Clubs. Bottom-of-the-table underdogs West Maldon B scored a fantastic 9-1 victory over the stunned Maldon B team. Both Louis Gunn and Dave Razzell won all their singles for West Maldon, with Maldon’s Shirley Carroll recording an excellent 5 set victory over Gary Smith for her team’s only point of the night. However, Smith did combine with Razzell for a comfortable doubles victory to round things off.
Week Ending Fri 3 December 2021
Fambridge Express on Full Throttle
Fambridge were on full steam this week as they stormed to the top of Division 1 of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League, and there are very few who believe they will be knocked off this perch. Fambridge put out a fully loaded top team this week and the class was evident in their barely troubled 10-0 whitewash over a shell-shocked Maldon A side. The Fambridge trio of the ‘ever young’ John Poysden, Mark Stones and Keith Adams were just unplayable on the night. Cold Norton A hauled themselves into second place courtesy of a fine 9-1 mauling of Stow Maries A. Cold Norton won all their singles including two 5 set victories for Chris Ballard where both matches went to deuce in the deciding set. Stow’s Richard Storey and Pete Layzell did manage to win the doubles to eek some pride out of their evening’s efforts. Previous league leaders Cold Norton B were held to a 5-5 draw by Mapledene A, but perhaps should have done better having been 4-2 up before the doubles. Cold Norton’s Ian Wall was once again the player-of-the-match with a brace of 3-0 victories to his name and a close 4 set defeat to Colin Chatfield.
Woodham B continued their fine vein of form in Division 2 with a repeat 9-1 win over Maldon C – and it was Maldon’s Steve Aspland who again denied the top team their first whitewash of the season. A full house of wins for Woodham’s top two players Trevor Collin and Sanjay Saptarshi, and third player Luca Bailey, playing up this week, managed an excellent win over Colin Barrell. Maldon were a player down and despite this disadvantage made a real match of it with 5 of the 7 matches going to the full 5 sets. Woodham A also recorded a good victory this week to keep them securely in second placed. The Woodham trio of Gus Heath, George Ashley, and Alan Burgess all recorded 2 wins a piece but none of them was able to find a way passed Maldon’s lefty star Ciaran Whelan who won all his singles and led the way in the doubles for a full house to keep the score down to 6-4 in favour of Woodham.
There was limited activity in Division 3 this week but leaders Blackwater A used this quiet period to widen the gap between themselves and the chasing pack with a comprehensive 8-2 mauling of the Knights of Stow C. Blackwater supremo Alan Scammell led the way, as he so often does, with an unbeaten night in both singles and doubles. He was ably supported by the king of Division 4 Roger Slade and Mervyn Perriman who both won a brace of singles but neither was able to conjure their way passed Stow’s Ken Sheard and his pimply paddle. The lovable Dave Goody and his Stow D campmates recorded their second win on the bounce and now find themselves mid-table after an atrocious start. Stow were able to beat West Maldon B 7-3 on a night where every player recorded at least one win. Stow’s main points winner Peter Chastin was at it again with a hat-trick of singles wins and paired up with Goody for the doubles. Goody won 2 singles but couldn’t find a way passed the impressive Andrea Alleyne who took her point 11-9 in the 4th set.
A set of close results across Division 4 has kept the table in a similar shape to previous weeks with all 3 top teams recording wins – and for this week it was the ladies who led the scoring charts. Current leaders Woodham D were able to squeeze passed a resurgent Blackwater C team largely thanks to the excellent chopping of captain Mike Burton. Burton was unbeaten and untroubled in his singles encounters and teamed up with Joe Cooke for the doubles. Meanwhile Blackwater’s David Smith and David Benstead each won 2 singles to keep Woodham on their toes. Kath Little was the star of the show for Blackwater B as they overcame St Lawrence B 7-3. Little recorded her first hat-trick of the season to lead her team to victory and close the gap on Woodham D ever so slightly. For St Lawrence A Karen Braney had a night to remember as she reversed early season defeats by Burnham’s Michael Pratley and David Bateman to record a fantastic hat-trick to propel her side to perhaps an unexpected 6-4 victory over a strong Burnham A side. In the Maldon derby it was debutant Victoria Farrell who dominated proceedings with a full set of victories in both singles and doubles to lead her Maldon E side to victory over stablemates Maldon F – Farrell looks to be a good acquisition in the December transfer window.
Week Ending Fri 26 November 2021
Woodham You Believe It!
The top four teams of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League Division 2 met this week and it was a triumph for the South Woodham Club as both their teams were victorious and they now occupy the top two spots in the table. Leaders Woodham B took on the only remaining unbeaten side, the Stow Maries B team. It was a very close affair as the teams danced around each other to be 3-3 at the break with Peter Hance for Stow and Sanjay Saptarshi for Woodham both unbeaten. Stow took the doubles to go 4-3 up, but then Woodham developed a back bone and won all three final singles matches to take the tie 6-4, with George Ashley taking the final and crucial singles match with an 13-11 victory in the fourth set against Nicky Reece-Ford. In the other crunch match Woodham A triumphed 7-3 over Mapledene B, with Woodham’s sprightly Gus Heath proving to be the difference as he went unbeaten in his singles confrontations and then teamed up with Ian Cranstone for the all-important doubles win. Mike Johnston was the best of the Mapledene players with 2 good wins to his name. At the other end of the Division the underperforming Maldon B side climbed away from the bottom courtesy of a fine 8-2 winning margin over their own C squad, with both Ciaran Whelan and Colin Napper in unstoppable form all evening. 8-2 might seem like a bit of a thumping but actually no game was won in straight sets, the C team were a player down, and young Colin Barrell played the maximum 20 sets in one night without much of a break between games - good effort for little reward.
In the top Division Stow A are still looking for their first win of the season and came very close this week against Cold Norton C – going into the break at 3-3 there was just a whiff of success in the air but ultimately they succumbed to some excellent match play from the Cold Norton trio with man-of-the-match Dick Wyman closing things out with a 4 set victory over Ryan Pitt to secure his hat-trick of wins and the overall victory for Cold Norton. In the only other match this week a Colin Chatfield inspired Mapledene A kept up their good form with a handsome 7-3 turnover of Maldon A. Chatfield was the main points winner on the match night with 3 singles points and he then teamed up with Keith Willett for the bonus doubles point. A victory that keeps Mapledene in the peloton for the much-coveted Division 1 title.
There is a storm developing in the lower divisions as the Blackwater and Woodham teams battle it out for supremacy. In Division 3 the very strongly manned Blackwater A side lead Woodham C by just 4 points and they seem destined to go all the way this season. The only team that may push this duo is the rapidly improving Cold Norton D side who are now only 2 points behind Woodham C following their 5-5 draw with a strong Stow C side. Cold Norton’s man in form is Peter Lucraft and he continued in this vein this week with another unbeaten evening including excellent 3 set wins over both Dave Porter and Ken Sheard. The roles are reversed in Division 4 as top team Woodham D currently lead Blackwater B, with a jump down to the chasing pack. Woodham D managed a tight 6-4 win over St Lawrence A this week, as none of their players could get past the brutal Steve King who was on unstoppable form to win all his singles and then team up with Karen Braney to take the doubles too – a great evenings work for the King! Blackwater B closed the gap slightly with a comfortable 8-2 win over Maldon F. Two wins a piece for Kath Little and Phil West but it was ‘Mr Reliable’ Roger Slade who picked up another hat-trick to make it 18 wins on the bounce for the season. Burnham A’s David Bateman maintained his good form with a hat-trick of wins in the draw with Maldon E, and the Blackwater C trio of David Smith, Chris Rolison and Andy Simmonds all remained unbeaten in their 10-0 whitewash victory over St Lawrence B.
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.
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
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.