First Half Round-up

(Report for week ending December 18)

 

Happy new year Burnham ping pongers from your friendly neighbourhood press officers. Here is our round up from the last matches played before Christmas which mark an end to the first half of the season.

Division 1

 

A tense encounter between West Maldon A and Cold Norton B ended in festive cheer in Maldon high street’s Wetherspoons, where Glen Laing regaled his fellows with how he out-attacked Chris Hancox. An hour after the fact, Hancox was still in some disbelief: “I can’t believe it”, he said, “it’s never happened to me before”. Dick Wyman picked up two wins for the home side while Norton’s Holland, McHugh and Hancox did a 3-2-1. Cold Norton A beat Stow Maries B 8-2 and they had leading man Duncan Taylor out who as yet is undefeated this season; Stow’s Eric Green scored two points for his team with wins over Stephen Sawyer and Stephen Maltby, and Green just succumbed to Taylor 13-11 in the fourth end. Maldon A had a couple of Santa’s helpers playing up from their C team and, together with a stable hat trick from Trevor Lloyd, Dawn Baldry and Ciaran Whelan delivered the presents with Whelan defeating Matthew Rolfe and Barrie Delf, and Baldry scoring an excellent scalp over Benjamin Matthews.

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

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Division 2

 

As the season flitters towards its Winter Break very little has been decided in a remarkably close division. Woodham A, despite their staffing issues, sit proudly atop the division at least 11 points clear and, with recent stellar signings Alan Burgess and Gordon Gatheral, would seem an odds-on bet going into the second half. Fielding a team of ‘Alans’ this week (what is the collective nouns for a team of Alans? – answers to the Facebook page pls.), they remain unbeaten with a 7-3 victory over a tricky Maldon D side - another hat trick for Alan Burgess seems to have been the deciding factor – in support Allan won two, Alan won one, and the two Alan/Allans won the doubles! The battle for second place is really between the next 10 teams with only about 10 points separating them all (allowing for games played) – and even bottom placed Stow C shouldn’t be written off as on their day that team can beat anyone. In the other matches played this week all three results went against the odds, which only goes to support the notion its anyone’s game! Maldon E thumped two-man West Maldon B 8-2 to push themselves several places up the league ladder – Ev Lucas taking all his points without dropping a set. Nick Duce took the two points for the West Maldonites, but only just overcame Tom Elder in the last match on the scorecard in a tense finish coming from 2-0 down to win -9, -7, 7, 8, 7. West Maldon C upset the form book beating two-man Mayland A 6-4, with Maldon’s Robin Armstrong unbeaten. Mayland’s Dynamic Duo Colin Barrell and Ray Cheung both defeated Pete Mortensen and Bradley Smith – so it came down to the doubles to sort out the spoils; West Maldon took to the battlefield with confidence and despite a little third game hiccup secured the victory 9, 7, -8, 9. In the final match of 2016 High Flying Maldon F hosted the young Woodham C team. In a fun filled evening at Drapers Farm no one player came away unbeaten but the spoils went to Woodham C with Scott Perry and Eamonn Hall each winning two singles, young Luca Bailey took a good point off Roger Warren, and Eamonn and Luca overcame Dave Whiting and Mervyn Perriman in the doubles. With only two games finishing relatively quickly it was reportedly a long night, but there were some highlights for the crowd – including Scott Perry playing shots off the floor and whilst falling over (nothing new there).

Eamonn Hall - Press Officer

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Division 3

It’s that time of year when everyone in St Lawrence battens down their hatches for the annual St Lawrence Off – but more of that later. The only other match of the week produced a potentially tide-turning result as Mayland B trounced two-man top of the table West Maldon D 8-2 to maintain their unbeaten status and dent the confidence of their opponents. With games in hand, and if Mayland can keep their regular players, the title should be in their grasp! Steve Aspland and Jon Stevens both won all their matches and the doubles, just dropping one set all night. Steve remains top of the averages with a stunning 100% record. In the St Lawrence Off the A team retained the bragging rights as they won out 8-2, with Patrick Harrington and David Siggins winning all their singles and the doubles. But spare a thought for their third member Ivan Joslin; whilst seeing his colleagues win in double quick time he had to endure three five setters – losing to Stanley Moore and Barry Doane, but victorious over Roy Hutchins.

Eamonn Hall - Press Officer

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Remember to save the dates in your diaries for the Individual Championships on 18/19 March!

 

 

Gordon blocks his socks off

(Report for week ending December 11)

 

 

Gordon Gatheral made his Burnham season debut for Woodham A after being drafted in by his son David – I heard there was begging – to help keep hold of their lead in Division 2. Daddy Gatheral put his patented block to good use as he swept aside the Stow Maries C challengers Dave Goody, Mick Robinson and Craig Foster. The loveable Goody was not to be denied in his other singles as he beat Alan Dadswell and Eamonn Hall, and Stow’s Robinson also got the better of Hall over five ends. The match ended 6-4 in Woodham’s favour.

Maldon U3A’s 9-1 hammering of Burnham A have put them at the top of the Division 3 table on 53 points, although they have played four more matches than second-placed West Maldon D. Burnham’s sole point came when Terry Frost scored a good five-games win over Bill Puxley. U3A’s Norman Hayes made his second appearance of the season and was in sparkling form, not dropping an end against any of the opposition. You might say it was like his Hayday (ba dum tss).

In Division 1, a strong Mapledene A side of Ben Warner, Reece Seddon and Kevin Read scored a convincing 8-2 win over Maldon B, but not without a fight from the home team as the match featured a superb scalp for Steve Whiteley over Kevin Read, not to mention an equally impressive straight-sets doubles win for Whiteley/Paul Stephens over Read/Seddon.

Mapledene C defeated Maldon C by the same margin and Maldon’s two points were earned by the ever-improving Ciaran Whelan who beat Barrie Delf and David Bassett. Simon Jacob was unbeaten for the winners. Maldon C’s Dawn Baldry and Steve Scholz also featured for their A team alongside stalwart Hamish Innes and their encounter with Stow Maries B finished all square.

Third-placed Stow Maries A had a Gary Brignall hat trick to be thankful for when they shaded a 6-4 victory versus Mapledene B in Bill’s Back Yard. Brignall was supported by Richard Storey and Peter Layzell who both won once. Mapledene’s John Tendler and Ian Rattray each one twice for the home team and Tendler definitely got his money’s worth with three marathon matches; I imagine his 9, -10, -9, 4,  11 win over Layzell must have taken some time!

 

[A message to all players: We like to brighten up our reports with photos, so please feel free to take some snaps at your next match and email them to leemchugh@yahoo.co.uk, along with any comments or anecdotes about what made the evening memorable!]

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

 


Lowman flying high

(Report for weeks ending November 20 and 27)

 

 

In Division 1, if I were to pick out the shining performances from the past fortnight then the honours would go to Sam Lowman of Cold Norton, and the Stow Maries players Dave Marsh and Matthew Brown. Lowman was Norton A’s leading man when they defeated Mapledene B 6-4, and the feathers in his cap were wins over John Monk, Barrie Delf and Dave Bassett. Stow’s Dave Marsh has fallen on some hard times in the first half of this season as he has failed to capitalize on numerous close matches, however in the recent relegation clash between Stow B and Maldon C, Dave could not have chosen a better moment to find form as he despatched Colin Napper, Steve Scholz and Maldon C’s best player Ciaran Whelan, who himself scored fine wins over Dave’s comrades Eric Green and Peter Hance. Second-placed Mapledene A did not have it all their way when they faced off against Stow Maries A, and the thorn in their paw was Matthew Brown who scored two excellent wins over Charles Sweeny and Andrew Halling, having to fight back from a two-game deficit versus Halling to win 12-10 in the fifth end; none of the Stow players could get the better of Lee Prentice, however. Cold Norton B achieved a couple of much needed victories which have moved them to safety up the table; a booming performance from Chris Hancox, John Holland and Dan Anderson saw them home to a 10-0 win against Maldon C, and Holland along with Neil Want and Lee McHugh also shaded a 6-4 win over Maldon A for whom Alex Abbott was undefeated. Fambridge A have caught up well and now only trail Mapledene A by two points, but when they put out the side of Mark Stones, Keith Adams and Gurjit Bhambra I doubt many would have a predicted a 7-3 loss for them, but that is what happened when they faced Cold Norton A (Duncan Taylor, Minda Sinkus, Sam Lowman) and Sinkus in particular was relentless and did not drop more than seven points per game the entire evening.

In Division 2 things are looking extremely tight leading up to the Christmas break with a mere 17 points separating top from bottom, although Woodham A still command a decent lead. Woodham’s latest signing Alan Burgess proved very quickly to be a good acquisition for the club as Burgess turned out for the A and C sides in the same week, scoring trebles in both matches; but the two-man Mayland A team of Ralph Gibson and Colin Barrell still managed to hold Woodham C to a draw as both players got the better of Alan Dadswell and Eamonn Hall as well as winning the doubles. Roger Hance is showing himself as a player to beat this season and his Maldon F side also faced a two-man team in Cold Norton C (Peter Lucraft, Simon Lowman); Hance displayed fine finishing skills as he defeated both Norton players by fine margins over five ends. Maldon E did well to stomp Stow C 9-1, courtesy of hat tricks by Tom Elder and Jan Fuller; Dave Goody was Stow’s sole point earner and he defeated Ev Lucas winning 16-14 in the fourth. West Maldon C just lost out 6-4 to higher placed Cold Norton C but not without a superb effort from Gary Smith who scored fine wins over Simon Lowman and David Hancox. In what looked to be a long and hard-fought match Maldon F beat West Maldon B 6-4 with Bryn Thomas taking all three and Mervyn Perriman supporting with two wins, and they had new signing Kelly Yuenyongpknan making her debut and Yuenyongpknan was unlucky not to get on the scoreboard as she just lost to Peter Mortensen and Colin Barham both over five ends.

In Division 3 table leaders West Maldon D look untouchable at this stage with 45 points scored from a possible 50, although they have not had any league fixtures in the last couple of weeks. The team that currently seem to pose the biggest threat are Mayland B on 33 points as they have two matches in hand over the teams above them. Mayland B most recently scored two 6-4 wins over second-placed Maldon U3A A and third-placed Burnham A, with Mayland’s Steve Aspland undefeated on both occasions and receiving good support from Jonathan Stevens who won four out of his six singles. Woodham’s Dan Harris appeared for the first time this season for the D team in a derby against Woodham E and he proved too strong for Mitch Davies, Tom Butcher and Roger Maidment.

[A message to all players: We like to brighten up our reports with photos, so please feel free to take some snaps at your next match and email them to leemchugh@yahoo.co.uk, along with any comments or anecdotes about what made the evening memorable!]

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

 

 

“Son of a Gunn!”

(Report for week ending November 13)

 

 

West Maldon’s secret weapon Louis Gunn has fired on all cylinders and displayed where he ought to be placed next season, because on a single night he achieved a hat trick each in two different divisions. For the D team Louis and his comrades Peter Mortensen (who also scored a treble) and Sean Bannister (season debut) ran out 8-2 winners over Maldon U3A B, where the closest match of the night was a victory for Bannister over U3A’s Philip West. Over to the other table for the Gunn for his Division 2 effort for the C team playing alongside Gary Smith and Captain Tim Huxtable; together with Smith’s and Huxtable’s wins over Mick Robinson, Gunn’s trio of wins helped secured a draw against Stow Maries C. The most notable win of the match was the first one, where Gunn defeated Stow C’s best player, (the lovable) Dave Goody, over five ends; notable indeed as only a few weeks ago Goody easily disarmed the Gunn 11-1, 11-3, 11-8, but it was a different story this time around.

Hold onto your hat (or bat) for this next event, because in the most shocking news since the U.S. Election the Woodham C side of Alan Dadswell, Eamonn Hall and Luca Bailey cooked up a storm to overcome higher-placed West Maldon B 6-4 in a closely fought second division encounter. Hall added a terrific scalp to his record when he beat one of the second division’s best players, Neil Freeman, by a nail-biting margin. The young talent Bailey also recorded his two best wins of the season so far over Chris Ciniglio and Nick Duce, while coach Dadswell also repeated the feat by getting the better of Ciniglio and Duce.

Elsewhere in Division 3; Woodham E’s Mitch Davies, Tom Butcher and Roger Maidment hammered home to a 10-0 result of over bottom-placed St Lawrence B when Maidment earned his first Player of the Match award this season. Two wins apiece by St Lawrence A’s Patrick Harrington, David Siggins and Alan Petfield earned them a 7-3 victory over Burnham A, although Malcolm House was undefeated for the losers. Meanwhile, in Division 2, just twenty-one points separate top and bottom and when you look at the week’s results it’s not difficult to understand why, as there were three matches that ended 6-4 and a draw. Woodham A, though, have started to pull away from the pack and have solidified their lead somewhat with an 8-2 win over bottom-placed Maldon E; a good result for the Woodham team considering they managed to win all four matches that went to five. Maldon’s Shirley Carroll and Mervyn Perriman picked up wins over George Ashley and Allan Steel respectively, while David Gatheral picked up three for the victors.

Division 1 went mostly with the form book, however there were a few gems hidden in the pages. Dick Wyman and Tim Cramphorn both picked up good wins over Lee Prentice when their West Maldon A side went down 8-2 to Mapledene A. Maldon C’s Ciaran Whelan prevented a whitewash by Fambridge A when he picked up a superb scalp over John Poysden (only Poysden’s second loss of the season – out of seven five setters! – the other being Lee McHugh), and Whelan almost did further damage when in the final game of the night he just missed out 11-9 in the fifth to Mark Stones; the closest anyone has come to beating Stones so far this season. In a match where everybody picked up a singles Mapledene C edged out Cold Norton B 6-4, David Bassett making his season debut and he pulled out all the stops to beat McHugh 12, -8, 9, -11, 11. Burnham 2016 Men’s Singles Semi-Finalist Alex Abbott displayed truly unplayable form when his Maldon A side drew with Mapledene B, as he breezed past Glenn Johnson, John Monk and Colin Chatfield without dropping an end; Mapledene on the other hand took all three singles that were decided in the fifth.

[A message to all players: We like to brighten up our reports with photos, so please feel free to take some snaps at your next match and email them to leemchugh@yahoo.co.uk, along with any comments or anecdotes about what made the evening memorable!]

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

 

 

 

Firework Displays From Green, Cramphorn, Hancox And Steel

(Report for week ending November 6)

 

 

There were a number of stand-out performances in the latest week of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. In a Division 1 bottom-table clash, Eric Green was his Stow Maries B team’s saving grace as they went down 7-3 to rivals Cold Norton B. Norton’s John Holland, Chris Hancox and Dan Anderson put in a strong team performance to all beat Green’s teammates Peter Hance and Dave Marsh, but the scorelines depict Green comfortably sweeping aside all three Norton players and most notably a 5, 9, 4 win over fellow defender John Holland. West Maldon A’s two-man side of Tim Cramphorn and Dick Wyman impressively held second-placed Stow Maries A to a draw; Cramphorn carried all before him as he defeated Peter Layzell, Richard Storey and Matthew Brown, and he was supported by Wyman who also beat Layzell. Another match that ended all square was between Mapledene B and Maldon C; Ciaran Whelan and Colin Napper both scored fine five-games wins over Mapledene’s Matt Rolfe, and Glenn Johnson displayed unplayable form as he swept aside all three Maldon players in straight sets. Over in Fambridge the home team (Mark Stones, Keith Adams, Peter Mynard) showed themselves to be a notch above challengers Mapledene C (Barrie Delf, Simon Jacob, Dave Moles) as they comprehensively won 9-1, the away team’s sole success coming when Jacob got the better of Mynard over five ends.

In Division 2, Cold Norton C had David Hancox on form as they defeated Woodham C (Alan Dadswell, Eamonn Hall and Luca Bailey) 8-2. Hancox powered through the evening without dropping an end and he received great support from Simon Lowman who also scored a treble and Roy Gandy who won twice. For Lowman it was a night where hard work paid off as he defeated Dadswell and Hall both over five games and needed four games to get past the young improver Luca Bailey. Woodham’s A and B teams fared better with 8-2 and 7-3 victories over West Maldon C and Maldon E respectively, and six of their fifteen points were owed to Allan Steel who played in both matches on the same night! One might call him ‘Woodham’s Man of Steel’ but unfortunately that would mean plagiarising from another publication. In a match where every player won at least one singles Stow Maries D edged a 6-4 win over Maldon D, on an evening that involved numerous close games. Ken Sheard and Rod Maclennan each won twice for Stow while Roger Clarke picked up two for Maldon; in the night’s final match Stow’s John Marshall showed no signs of giving in against Clarke during an end that lasted forty points but eventually succumbed 9, 9, -19, 7. Over in the chilly conditions of Smythe Hall where they no doubt had those red heaters on, home team Stow Maries C went down in flames 9-1 to Maldon F, as the opposition won all four matches that were decided in five; the lovable Dave Goody was his side’s sole point earner as he defeated Roger Warren in the evening’s closer.

In Division 3 there are only two results in from last week’s fixtures, and one of those was a whitewash of Maldon U3A B by Maldon G, as the trio of Ross Wheeler, Rob Sach and Denis Crapnell defeated Alan Mills, Philip West and Kath Little without ever really looking in trouble. In a much closer encounter, Mayland B just nipped home 6-4 against St Lawrence A; Mayland’s Steve Aspland kept his undefeated Div 3 record intact with a hat trick while St Lawrence’s Patrick Harrington picked up two wins over the father and son duo Ken and Jon Stevens.

Lee McHugh - Press Officer


 

Woodham A make a strong campaign

(Report for week ending October 23)

 

 

In Division 2, Woodham A, who came third last season narrowly missing out on promotion, have made a great start to this season as they lead the division with three wins and one draw scored from their first four matches (Mayland A are hot on their tail with just one point less). The addition of David Gatheral (who played for West Maldon last season), is proving invaluable to their promotion hunt, and together with teammates Chris Crooks and George Ashley they form a squad strong in depth. Their most recent challenge presented itself as the strong Maldon F side of Roger Hance, Bryn Thomas and Roger Warren; in a match where no player was unbeaten, Gatheral suffered his second loss of the season at the hands of Hance, and Crooks was involved in the closest games of the evening beating Hance over five-ends (impressively closing out 11-3) and losing to Thomas in the final game of the evening also in five ends. Chris Crooks also featured in Woodham B’s match versus West Maldon C, where his and Allan Steel’s hat tricks, supported by Val Board’s win over Bradley Smith, brought their team home to an 8-2 victory; Tim Huxtable and Gary Smith picked up one each for West Maldon. Stow Maries C’s David Goody turned up in fine form for their derby clash against Stow D, with a fine trio of wins against Ken Sheard, Tim Pulham and Martin Knights. For Woodham C Scott Perry earned his second player of the match award, continuing his excellent season near the top of the averages with a hat trick of wins over Maldon D’s Mark Shorney, Roger Clarke and Bob King, helping his team scrape home to a 6-4 victory.

At the heights of Division 1, Stow Maries A continue to set an impressive pace as leaders, with 40 points scored so far from a possible 60. Although the teams below them have matches in hand, Stow still look well established in the top third of the table. An eclectic team of styles, Brown, Pitt, Layzell, Storey, Rogers and Brignall are all contributing to their piggy bank of points, their most recent result holding Cold Norton A to a draw, in a match where Ryan Pitt and Hector Rogers picked up two wins, while Duncan Taylor was unbeaten for the opposition. Down the bottom of the table an early relegation contest has begun between three teams – Maldon C, Stow Maries B, and Cold Norton B – who are all due to play each other within the next month, and it will be interesting to see who can break away from the struggle. Maldon C helped their cause this week by taking four points off of second-placed Maldon B, with Ciaran Whelan turning in a strong performance by winning two singles including a fine-margin victory over Steve Whiteley, and partnering with teammate Steve Scholz in the doubles to score a superb straight-sets win over Paul Stephens/Steve Whiteley. Elsewhere in Division 1 this week, Burnham League newcomer and Maldon A’s new signing, Trevor Lloyd, has already proven a useful addition to their roster by turning in a trio of wins over the Mapledene A side of Lee Prentice, Chris Jacob and Reece Seddon; the Maldon team won 7-3 as captain Alex Abbott was also unbeaten. The Mapledene derby between the B and C teams ended all square, and the C team’s Barrie Delf produced a scintillating hat trick with hard-fought wins in the fifth end against Glenn Johnson and Ian Rattray.

West Maldon D are powering ahead in Division 3, scoring 37 points so far out of a possible 40, marking them as the most obvious shoo-in in the Burnham League this season. The team featuring the so far hundred percenters Louis Gunn and David Razzell, are progressing through their fixtures relatively unfazed, recently hammering home to a 10-0 whitewash against St Lawrence B; St Lawrence’s Philip Bevan just missing out 11-9 in the fifth to West Maldon’s Neil Salmon. Elsewhere in the division this week, second-placed Maldon U3A A defeated U3A B in a derby clash where John Skuse and Richard Skidmore were undefeated for the winners, league stalwart Skuse showing he’s still got the style by winning an end 11-0. Woodham E defeated Maldon G 7-3 in a match where Mitch Davies and Roger Maidment proved too strong for the opposition, although Maidment had to pull out the stops in the final game of the evening to beat Rob Sach 10-12, 13-11, 11-9, 12-10.

There are no league fixtures in the week commencing 24th Oct as we begin Round 1 of the Handicap KO Cup. For information on fixtures and each player’s handicap, please see the Knockout Cup section on the website. Good luck to all players competing. 

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

 

 

 

Gary Young dominates the averages

(Report for week ending October 16)

 

Last week some saw decisive action in Division 1 as Mapledene A continued their charge to catch early leaders Stow Maries A. The Mapledeners recorded a 9-1 victory over Maldon C with hat-tricks for both George Reeves and Andrew Halling. There were also high scoring wins for Maldon B as they overcame Mapledene C 9-1, and Maldon A were in fine form as beat a 2 man Stow Maries A 8-2. Gary Young of West Maldon A continues to dominate the playing averages with a phenomenal 15 straight wins, keeping his team in the chasing pack. At the other end of the table Stow Maries B team got their first win of the season with a 6-4 victory over the B team from Mapledene.

In Division 2 the pre-season favourites are all doing well as Mayland A and Woodham A both had strong wins this week. Top of the table Mayland A had a comfortable 9-1 victory over Maldon D with hat-tricks for Steve Aspland and League averages leader Ralph Gibson, Maldon’s Roger Clarke taking the solitary point for his team with a fifth set decider against Colin Barrell. Woodham A stormed to an impressive 8-2 win against in form Stow Maries D with hat-tricks for man of the match Chris Crooks and his partner in crime David Gatheral.

Eamonn Hall - Press Officer

 

 

 

League September 2016 Review

(Report for week ending October 2)

 

The new season is well upon us now and in Division 1 Stow Maries A have launched themselves into this campaign with an impressive run of 4 straight wins only dropping 7 points along the way with Matthew Brown winning 9/9 of his singles matches – this could be a good year for the Maries’ if they can keep Matthew on active duty.  In contrast to the A team the Stow Maries B team provide the other bookend to Division 1 as they are 0/3 but having played the 3 top teams at present, so perhaps better fortune lays ahead for Dave Marsh and his merry band.  Other early contenders are West Maldon A, who seem to be coping without the services of their loyal but injured captain Glen Laing, with the ever dependable Gary Young also on 100% for his singles to date.  Of course no early season report could fail to mention the impressive start of the 3 Mapledene teams including pre-season favourites Mapledene A and their Burnham Globetrotters.  Early doors but things may soon change as Fambridge A have yet to start their campaign and all the teams settle down into regular playing formations.  The strangest result yet came in the Cold Norton A v Maldon A doubles where Sam Lowman and Duncan Taylor defeated Alex Abbott and Hamish Innes 11-3 10-12 11-0 11-0 – a strange scorecard indeed!

Division 2 is usually the closest division and this rule of thumb appears to be in place this year as the teams are already bunched with only 4 points separating the top 6 teams with numerous matches being drawn.  Local bookmakers have Mayland A and West Maldon B as pre-season favourites with Woodham A as a dark horse especially now they have pressganged the ever improving David Gatheral into their ranks.   Mayland’s firebrand Ralph Gibson leads the averages at the early stages with 7/8 singles victories – with ladies-in-waiting honours for 3 of the league’s biggest characters, Dave Goody, Nicky Duce & Scott ‘Skippy’ Perry all on an impressive 5/6 wins so far.  The surprise package in Division 2 has been the introduction of Woodham’s 14 year old Luca Bailey – perhaps not getting the wins just yet, but some very impressive play that will undoubtedly yield better results as the season progresses – one to watch for sure.

In Division 3 you have to feel for the experienced Maldon G team as they faced possibly the strongest Division 3 side for several years in Dave Razzell, Louis Gunn & Peter Mortensen in the West Maldon D corner.  So with that line up, the early signs are a two-way battle with Woodham D – but the Maldon U3A youngsters may yet have a say in matters pewter.  Both David and Louis are on 100% wins so far, and joining them is Woodham’s gentle giant Roger Maidment.  Just behind lurks West Maldon’s third musketeer Peter Mortensen on 5/6 so far.  Results have been much more decisive in this division with a couple of 10-0s already.

Eamonn Hall - Press Officer

 

 

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Championships Review 2015/16

The weekend of 19/20 March saw a rather large concentration of ping pong players gather at the William de Ferrers School in South Woodham Ferrers. It was not, alas, a natural phenomenon; it was, of course, the Burnham & District Table Tennis League Closed Individual Championships!

Two days’ action which totalled to almost twenty-four hours of solid table time saw over 400 games of table tennis played, and probably about as many bacon rolls get eaten! Over four hundred matches... take a moment to consider just how many points that is, how many rallies, how many pushes, how many winners, and how many Neil Want nets and edges.

Putting on a Championships of course takes a tremendous amount of effort and weeks of preparation. A tumultuous amount of thanks should go to Alan Dadswell who was the tournament's chief orchestrator, without whom it simply would not have happened. Thank you to everyone who helped set up on Friday night and pack away on Sunday evening. Thank you to Dan Anderson, Peter Ballard and the numerous others who helped on the control table throughout the weekend. Thank you to Tim Huxtable and those that helped write the scores up on the boards. Thank you to all the volunteer umpires, and a special thanks to the helpful and cooperative juniors of West Maldon (and their mentor Glen Laing) for volunteering to score many games on the Saturday.

Last but definitely not least, thank you to Jan Dadswell for running her cafe which kept the players well nourished, and thank you to Valerie Board who, despite being on crutches following an injury, still persisted in selling a great number of raffle tickets. The combined efforts of the cafe and raffle raised in the region of eight-hundred pounds for the league. The refreshments were absolutely top notch; thank you to everyone who made and brought cakes to sell, including but not limited to Jan Fuller, Michelle Hancox, June Knights, Rose Goody, Jean (of Brian Ellis), Jan Dadswell and Emma Dadswell.

Now let's get on to the nitty gritty - what actually happened on the tables!

Fambridge Trophy

Saturday kicked off with the Fambridge Trophy which is a divisional event open only to Division 3 players. The upsets began in the first round as seeded Luca Bailey was knocked out 3-1 by Peter Mortensen; the third game which Peter won 14-12 proved crucial. Richard Jovic got past Liam Cox 10, 10, -6, 6 but then ran into clubmate Kieran Stanley in the Quarter-Final which Kieran took in straight sets. Mortensen was on fine form as he eased past Roger Maidment in his Quarter. Title holder Mitch Davies and seeded Eamonn Hall both came through very close five-setters in their Semi-Finals with Mortensen and Stanley respectively. Hall beat Stanley -5, 5, 7, -2, 9 and Davies beat Mortensen -9, 5, -14, 8, 8. So on to the Final and Mitch 'Dark Horse' Davies was not to be denied as his sheer determination and smash winners won the day and he defeated Eamonn -12, 8, 7, 7 to retain his title. [Video Clip]

Cadet Singles

The next event early on the Saturday morning was the Cadet Singles open to boys and girls under 15 years of age. Kieran Stanley progressed as the winner of Group 1, untroubled and without dropping an end. West Maldon youngster Spencer Cox played well to finish runner-up of that group (only losing to Kieran) as Coach Laing looked on with pride. In Group 2 there were closer games; Luca Bailey progressed as the winner and Liam Cox as the runner-up, Luca just getting the better of Liam in the fifth and final game. One of Group 2's games saw a marathon set between Ollie Wiseman and Noah Sage which Noah won 22-20. Both Stanley and Bailey won their respective Semi-Finals against the Cox brothers, so it was on to an all-Woodham showdown. Both true talents and a credit to the league, Kieran and Luca put on a great final which Kieran won 5, 6, -6, 8.

Restricted Singles

The always-competitive and coveted Restricted Singles event, open to Division 2 & 3 players, started with a group stage to filter into the last sixteen in a straight knockout. Number one seed, Ciaran Whelan, did not have it all his way... In his group, Ciaran needed four ends to get the better of Fambridge Trophy victor Mitch Davies, then found himself two-nil down to the unseeded David Hancox as Dave won the first two ends 13-11 and 15-13; Whelan dug deep and came back to win 3-2. In the knockout stages, Whelan just snuck past Tim Huxtable in a fluctuating five-setter -7, 1, 4, -5, 6, then Dan Richardson in four ends, then just getting the better of Victor Chan at 12-10 in the fifth to book his place in the Final. In the over half of the draw, second seed Ken Sheard worked hard to get past Bex Lowman in the round of sixteen -14, 6, -8, 7, 10 and, after easing past Steve Scholz, Sheard faced the lovable Dave Goody in the Semi-Final which he won in four ends. So the Final was Maldon's Ciaran Whelan versus Stow Maries' Ken Sheard. Side-spin versus twiddling. It was Whelan who triumphed as he defeated Sheard -3, 8, 8, 5. [Video Clip 1] [Video Clip 2]

Junior Singles

The Junior Singles event, open to boys and girls under 18 years of age, received a strong entry this year. Noah Sage and Ollie Wiseman met in the group stage and decided they hadn't had enough of each other after their marathon Cadet Singles encounter; this time Ollie prevailed winning -12, -7, 11, 8, 4. Woodham's Luca Bailey and Kieran Stanley progressed through their groups relatively untroubled but this time it was Woodham's Bex Lowman and Hullbridge's Justin Jeffery who proved a little too strong for the opposition. In the Semi-Finals Jeffery and Lowman eased past Stanley and Bailey in straight sets respectively to meet in the Final, which Justin won 13, 7, 9.

Junior Doubles

The Junior Doubles event was a tough one to call. In the group stage the pair Justin Jeffery/Ollie Wiseman just got the better of Kieran Stanley/Liam Cox in five ends, and went on to make the Semi-Final, where they fought through another five-setter against Richard Jovic/Tom Butcher to book their place in the Final. In the other Semi-Final, it was another tense five-setter as Bex Lowman/Luca Bailey overcame Stanley/Cox. The Final swung this way and that as Lowman/Bailey took the first end 11-3 but then Jeffery/Wiseman equalized with 11-9; in the end it was Woodham-Power as Lowman/Bailey took the next two ends 8 and 9.

Mixed Open

The Mixed Open Singles event was next: open to all players except the top eight Mens Singles seeds, the draw completely random and unseeded, straight knockout and no group stages... exciting stuff, and it proved to be a very exciting affair. In the opening rounds there were great scalps for Cameron Gray over Brian Reidling, and Ken Sheard over John Cleasby. Hard-hitting Steve Whiteley came through a tough first round encounter with Sam Lowman over five close ends. At the round of sixteen stage Whiteley got past title holder Peter Mynard to set up a Quarter-Final meeting with Neil Want - who had got past teammate Dan Anderson at 18-16 in the third - and Whiteley defeated Want to book his appearance in the Semi-Finals. Elsewhere in the draw, in the opening rounds there was a fluctuating epic between Eric Green and Chris Hancox which Green won -4, 10, 6, -4, 6 and following that Green eased past Roger Warren and Steve Maltby to set up his Semi-Final meeting with Steve Whiteley. In the other half the draw, Charles Sweeny progressed through the early rounds relatively untroubled, beating Lee McHugh in his Quarter-Final; Bill Smith got the better of Restricted Singles Winner Ciaran Whelan and then had a fluctuating round of sixteen game with McHugh which McHugh won 2, -5, -12, 4, 1. Reece Seddon reached his Semi-Final the hard way, having what was probably the most difficult and "unlucky" draw anyone has ever had in this event - all Division 1 players! In the first round Seddon faced late entry John Poysden, who I would have said had a good chance of winning the whole thing had Reece not knocked him out straight away! Reece then got past clubmates Babul McLeod and Barrie Delf to set up a Quarter-Final meeting with Glen Laing. Laing just got the better of Matt Rolfe in his previous match winning 14-12 in the fifth. The Semi-Final between Steve Whiteley/Eric Green, and the Quarter-Final between Reece Seddon/Glen Laing, turned out to be two of the best matches of the whole weekend, both classic attack-versus-defence battles with tremendous rallies. It was two victories for the attackers, as Whiteley beat Green 11-9 in the fifth, and Seddon beat Laing also deuce in the fifth. Seddon defeated Sweeny over four ends in his Semi-Final, so it was a Whiteley-Seddon Final between two relentless attackers and strangely the only two players who I called out as dark horses in the preview. Both players put in absolutely everything into the Final and in the closest it is possible for a straight-games win to be, Seddon triumphed 12-10, 16-14, 17-15.

Handicap Singles and Doubles

The Handicap events rounded off Saturday's action. Played up to 21 points in each game, it was truly unbelievable just how many sets ended up in deuce and it either must be a testament to how accurately each player's handicap was worked out, or everyone really wanted to get their money's worth. In the Singles, in the top half of the draw, Babul McLeod (-15) got revenge for his Mixed Open loss to Reece Seddon (-16) and booked his Semi-Final encounter with Ciaran Whelan (-8), which McLeod won 18, -13, 17. In the other half of the draw, John Cleasby (-11) booked his place in the Final first by getting the better of Glen Laing (-13) in the Quarter-Final 19, 15, then Lee McHugh (-12) in the Semi-Final 18, -15, before McHugh succumbed 9-21 in the third end. Resolved on the Sunday, the Final between John Cleasby and Babul McLeod went to the absolute wire:

In-Match Review by Tim Huxtable

Cleasby was 14-11 up in the first set, then lost eight consecutive points to trail 19-14 as McLeod went on a spree, but Cleasby incredibly came back to nick the first end 24-22. In the second set, Cleasby raced into a 16-4 lead, but then McLeod went on an even bigger spree of points winning eleven of the next twelve to come back to 17-15, Cleasby then edged forwards to match point at 20-18 until McLeod once again brought it back to 20-20. In a Final where both players refused to give in, Cleasby eventually defeated McLeod 24-22, 25-23.

The Handicap Doubles was won by scratch pairing Dawn Baldry/Alan Dadswell and they defeated Peter Mortensen/Barrie Delf in the Final. Baldry/Dadswell came through their Semi-Final against the hard-hitting pair of Whiteley/McHugh which was the end of a long phase of verbal abuse for McHugh. In the other Semi-Final, Mortensen/Delf got the better of the formidable backhanding pair of John Cleasby/Dan Richardson. Mr Dadswell would like it noted that he was the only player to compete in the Championships not to lose a single match (as it was the only event he played in!). [Video Clip]

Mens Singles

It was a bright and early start on Sunday morning for the preliminary group stages of the premiere Mens Singles event, and it was a morning full of scalps and surprises. The winner of each preliminary group would go through to the main groups, where the top two would then progress to the knockout stage. The most time-consuming of the preliminaries was Group A, the countback calculation of which would later give Peter Ballard a headache. On Table 1 Victor Chan, David Gatheral, Lee McHugh and Colin Napper seemed intent on enjoying themselves as all the other tables moved on to the next rounds and other events; first Chan beat McHugh in five and Gatheral beat Napper in five, but then although Chan and McHugh also beat Napper, McHugh beat Gatheral and Gatheral beat Chan. Things ended so close that Chan and McHugh both progressed on countback to the main groups, where they both found good form as Chan scored a superb 10, 8, -8, 9 win over Babul McLeod in Group 2 and McHugh defeated Peter Mynard and Hamish Innes in Group 4 to finish runner-up. McLeod still progressed through that group as runner-up and then knocked out fifth seed Minda Sinkus 11-9 in the fifth in the round of the last sixteen. Not far behind Group A in terms of duration were D and E; D was also dominated by five-setters and close games as Ken Sheard progressed as the winner defeating Cameron Gray, Chris Hancox and Steve Scholz; in Group E it was Dave Calleja's three-straight wins over George Ashley and Graham Briggs that carried him through as the winner, as the rest of the matches were anything but close - Ashley beat Briggs 11-7 in the fifth, Briggs beat Neil Want 13-11 in the fifth, Want beat Calleja 11-7 in the fifth, and Want got the better of Ashley over four games. In Group C David Hancox did well to emerge as the winner as, although he went down three-straight to clubmate Dan Anderson, he picked up the pace to beat Tony Jacks three nil and then Bill Smith 13-11 in the fifth. Unfortunately Hancox then found himself in the particularly strong Group 7 with Kevin Read, Keith Adams and John Monk; Adams was involved in a few extremely close games in this event as he lost to Read in a five-setter but beat John Monk in five to progress as the runner-up, and then had his chance to knock out number one seed and title holder Duncan Taylor in the first round of the knockout, narrowly losing (again in five ends). Young Justin Jeffery of Hullbridge excelled in coming through Group 8 as the winner above eighth seed George Reeves; losing in five ends to John Tendler and winning in five ends against Sam Lowman, but also beating Reeves in straight sets. Group 6 showed what a game of styles table tennis really is; again a seeded player - number six Mark Stones - only progressed as the runner-up, as although he beat both Neil Want and Barrie Delf in straight sets, he lost in straight sets to Glenn Johnson - the first end of which was the singular longest 11-up game of the whole tournament: 25-23 (you might say that was a good game to win!). However, Johnson then lost to Delf in five and Delf lost to Want in five.

Looking back at the results, the group stages of this event really did contain most of the excitement and seemed like one giant lottery. The knock-out stages kept more to the form book: in the last sixteen, aside from the marathon matches between Taylor/Adams and McLeod/Sinkus, third seed Alex Abbott came back from two-one down to knock out sixth seed Mark Stones, and the rest of the matches were more straight forward and mostly decided in three ends; to progress to the Quarter-Finals Justin Jeffery beat Lee McHugh, Gary Young beat Eric Green, Kevin Read beat Reece Seddon, Charles Sweeny beat Glenn Johnson, and Tony Halling beat George Reeves. So onwards to the Quarter-Finals, which very nearly resulted in the top four seeds occupying the four Semi-Final places; for the one exception seventh seed Kevin Read got the better of fourth seed Gary Young -5, 6, 9, 9 to set up a Finals Night meeting with second seed Tony Halling, who beat Charles Sweeny 4, 9, -11, 5. In the other half, third seed Alex Abbott beat Babul McLeod 5, -11, 11, 6 to set up a Finals Night encounter with first seed Duncan Taylor, who beat Justin Jeffery 3, 3, 9 in his Quarter-Final.

Ladies Singles

The Ladies Singles event consisted of seven participants who formed two groups where the winner and runner-up of each would progress into the Semi-Finals. Group 1 was an all-Maldon affair between Dawn Baldry, Jan Fuller, Shirley Carroll and Cath Little, and surprisingly every match was decided in three ends except for one five-setter when Fuller defeated Carroll - Baldry progressed as the winner and Fuller as the runner up. In Group 2, Woodham youngster Rebecca 'Bex' Lowman played well to progress as the winner by beating clubmate Jean Chasmer 9, 9, -8, 9 and coming back from two-one down to beat Mapledene's Lin Attridge 8, -1, -7, 4, 8; Attridge progressed as the runner-up by beating Chasmer 9, 4, 10. In the Semi-Finals, number one seed and title holder Baldry defeated Attridge 9, 8, 8 to set up a Finals Night meeting with Lowman who got the better of Fuller 5, 9, 7.

Mens Doubles

The Mens Doubles event featured twenty-one pairs and produced some excellent and close games, and somewhat of a surprise as both the number one seeds and title holders Kevin Read/Duncan Taylor and second seeds Tony Halling/George Reeves failed to make it to Finals Night. The attacking pair of Minda Sinkus/Charles Sweeny came through a tough round of sixteen match against Reece Seddon/John Cleasby winning 6, 6 -10, -11, 9, eased past John Tendler/Tony Jacks in the Quarter-Final stage and then defeated Read/Taylor by a very close margin of 7, -12, 9, 11 to book their place into Finals Night [Video Clip]. In the other half of the draw, a pair that I completely neglected to mention in the preview - Alex Abbott/Glenn Johnson, did well to book their place in Finals Night knocking out Halling/Reeves (who came through a five-setter against Babul McLeod/Matt Rolfe in the Quarter-Final [Video Clip]) at the Semi-Final stage. Their journey was an interesting one; in the opening rounds they defeated Dave Calleja/Gary Young 15, 6, 9 and then found themselves tied at one-all with Woodham pair George Ashley/Dan Richardson both games resolved 12-10, before finding their footing and taking the next two ends more comfortably, and then in their Quarter-Final with the extremely steady John Poysden/Mark Stones, Abbott and Johnson put on a great comeback from losing the first two ends 9 and 4 to win the next three 5, 9, 9.

Ladies Doubles

The Ladies Doubles event was made up of four pairs and was played as a round-robin eventually culminating in a Final between the two pairs with the best results. It was fought out between Dawn Baldry/Shirley Carroll, Lin Attridge/Jean Chasmer, Ann Lowman/Cath Little, and Jan Fuller/Bex Lowman. The Final was between Baldry/Carroll and Fuller/Lowman with the Maldon pairing of Baldry/Carroll emerging as the victors, although the influential results and toughest games were in the round-robin stage as Fuller/Lowman narrowly got the better of Attridge/Chasmer -10, 4, 10, 9 and the eventual winners Baldry/Carroll had to come back from two-one down against Attridge/Chasmer winning -11, 9, -10, 6, 7.

Mixed Doubles

The Final of the Mixed Doubles to be played on Finals Night is between the Mapledene pair Tony Halling/Lin Attridge and Maldon's righty-lefty combo Ciaran Whelan/Dawn Baldry. Unfortunately most of the results sheets for that event have gone walk-abouts so I have little detail of how that Final match-up came to fruition; I can only apologize!

EDIT: I located the paperwork! Group 2 was all about to-the-wire matches as the all-Maldon derbies all went to five; Whelan/Baldry defeated Steve Whiteley/Shirley Carroll 11-6 in the fifth and Alex Abbott/Jan Fuller 12-10 in the fifth, and Abbott/Fuller beat Whiteley/Carroll 11-8 in the fifth. At the Semi-Finals stage, Halling/Attridge beat Abbott/Fuller 7, 9, 6 and Whelan/Baldry came through a five-setter against John Monk/Jean Chasmer 4, 5, -5, -8, 4.

Over 60 Singles

I am pleased to say that my tip for the winner of this event came through as in a combination-bat Final John Poysden defeated Glenn Johnson 3, 9, -4, 6. John wasted no time navigating his way through the rounds as he beat Bill Smith and Steve Whiteley both in straight sets. Glenn's route to the final proved more difficult as he came through two tough five-setters; beating Peter Ballard 6, 8, -6, -11, 8 and John Tendler -10, 9, 9, -8, 2.

Under 40 Singles

The Under 40s event had a healthy entry of eighteen participants and was played as a straight knockout. A huge upset very nearly cropped up in round one as Lee McHugh put on a comeback from two-nil down against title holder Minda Sinkus, fighting back to parity 10, 6, -10, -12, but finding himself 9-7 up in the fifth and final end Lee 'Chokey' McHugh lived up to his name and lost the next four points. Minda progressed from there beating Chris Hancox in straight sets (who knocked out his Cold Norton teammate Dan Anderson in the previous round) in the Quarter-Final and then in the Semi-Final overcoming last year's finalist Charles Sweeny -8, 10, 3, 3. In the other half of the draw, favourite Tony Halling proceeded relatively untroubled defeating Graham Briggs and Justin Jeffery to set up a Semi-Final with Reece Seddon which Halling won 5, 5, 2. The Final between Minda Sinkus and Tony Halling to be played on Finals Night.

Veterans Singles and Doubles (Over 40s)

The weekend's play rounded off with the Vets events which always produce exceptional table tennis, as it features many of the strongest players and, although most of them are rather tired by that point, they are too almost certainly warmed up!

In the Singles, last year's winner Marko Jovic was unfortunately absent from play but he did make a special appearance to catch up with the action. First seed Duncan Taylor wasted no time in reaching the Semi-Finals stage by overcoming David Hancox, John Tendler and in the Quarter-Final John Poysden without dropping an end - [Video Clip]. Taylor's Semi-Final meeting was against Gary Young - Young got past clubmate Dave Calleja and Steve Whiteley in his earlier rounds and then got payback on his Mens Singles Quarter-Final loss to Kevin Read by defeating Read 9, 9, 3. Taylor prevailed in his Semi-Final against Young to book his place in Finals Night - [Video Clip 1] [Video Clip 2] In the other half of the draw, at the Quarter-Final stage eighth seed Keith Adams scored a fine 10, 4, -8, 7 win over second seed Alex Abbott, to set up a Semi-Final meeting with teammate Mark Stones. In what was very last match of the weekend which had some great rallies (especially the one at 10-6 in the video!), Stones came out on top to set up a Finals Night encounter with Duncan Taylor. [Video Clip]

In the Doubles, Kevin Read/Duncan Taylor will meet John Poysden/Mark Stones on Finals Night. In their Semi-Final, Poysden/Stones had to battle their way back from two-one down against Barrie Delf/Glenn Johnson to win -9, 2, -7, 11, 10 in a game that covered virtually every possible angle on a table tennis table. In the Quarter-Final stage Delf/Johnson had to battle back themselves to beat Dave Calleja/Gary Young -7, 8,-4, 11, 7. In the other half of the draw, Alex Abbott/Jan Fuller overcame the exceedingly tricky pairing of Tony Jacks/John Tendler and then lost in five to Keith Adams/Babul McLeod who in turn were then undone in their Semi-Final against Read/Taylor who won -13, 8, 6, 7.

Finals Night

On Thursday 24th March, Champions Manor Hall in South Woodham Ferrers welcomed in the thirteen players and thirty or so spectators along with some delicious lemon drizzle cake in the Return of Jan's Cafe.

An excellent evening's table tennis opened with the Mens Singles Semi-Finals: in the first match attacking powerhouse Kevin Read never seemed to get his shots going although it was likely Tony Halling's level of play that prevented Read from doing so. Although Read gained a lead at the start of the first two games there was a sense that Halling was always in control and so it proved as he ran out with a win of 11-5, 11-6, 11-7.

[Video Clip]

In the second Semi-Final the classic defensive style of Duncan Taylor met the close-table attack of Alex Abbott and it turned out to be a most interesting match. Abbott raced into a two-nil leading taking the first two ends 11-7 and 11-8 but then things seemed to turn upside down as Taylor moved to a different strategy and took the next two ends 11-3 and 11-5 to equalize. In the fifth game Abbott came back in force and the match seemed to be heading to the wire. Indeed it was and Alex was serving with match point at 10-9 but Duncan won that point to make it deuce. An unfortunate occurrence at 11-10 saw Duncan sustain an injured ankle after a well placed smash by Alex. Duncan courageously played on and with a fortunate net to make it 12-11 had match point. Alex equalized again and at 12-12 Duncan went for an ambitious third ball attack which narrowly missed, once again giving Alex the advantage. Alex went for glory on the next point with a chosen smash that caught the top of the net and drifted long, and Duncan kept his chops on the table for the next two points to take the match 15-13.

[Video Clip 1]

[Video Clip 2]

[Video Clip 3]

Next was the Under 40 Singles Final between title holder Minda Sinkus and challenger Tony Halling. A bit like the first match between Read and Halling, Sinkus did not seem to get into that free-flowing attacking style that he does so well, and most rallies transpired backhand to backhand counter-hitting which Halling won the majority of to take the first two ends 11-8, 11-8. Minda's shots started finding their mark more in the third end and a few errors from Tony brought it to deuce but it was a case of too little-too late as Tony won the third end 13-11 to earn the trophy.

[Video Clip] (the point at 10-10 is particularly good)

In the Mixed Doubles Final between Mapledene pair Tony Halling/Lin Attridge and Maldon duo Ciaran Whelan/Dawn Baldry attack was the name of the game, and Halling especially dominated play with his lethal forehand flick on return of serve. Although Dawn got in a number of Baldry Smashes and Ciaran's hook sidespin loops span their to a few points it was never enough to give them the lead and Tony's attacking prowess combined with Lin's steady returns won the day 11-7, 11-6, 11-7.

[Video Clip]

The Vets Doubles Final was between Fambridge pair John Poysden/Mark Stones and the tried and tested attack-defence formula of Kevin Read/Duncan Taylor. The match produced some great rallies and Poysden/Stones inched their way ever closer each game but although John's forehand winners sung their way past the ears of the opponents, they could never really get ahead and so Read and Taylor deservedly retained their title winning 11-3, 11-9, 14-12.

[Video Clip]

After a half-time intermission with some lemon drizzle and amicable chit chat it was on to the Vets Singles Final between Duncan Taylor and Mark Stones, two class players that gave us plenty of away from the table counter-topspin rallies. Duncan raced into a two nil lead rather quickly, and in the third game more of Mark's shots forced more mistakes from Duncan but in the end it was victory for Taylor winning 11-3, 11-6, 14-12.

[Video Clip] (thanks to Eamonn Hall for the video)

Onto the Mens Doubles Final between Minda Sinkus/Charles Sweeny and Alex Abbott/Glenn Johnson. One would normally bet on two big hitters in a doubles encounter and that would have proved a safe bet here as the Mapledene pair of Sweeny/Sinkus ran out impressive straight sets winners 11-9, 11-4, 11-3, Charles 'Jamie Murray' Sweeny hardly putting a foot wrong throughout the match with some bullet forehand winners.

[Video Clip]

So it came to the penultimate match of the Championships; the much anticipated Ladies Singles Final between Rebecca 'Bex' Lowman and title holder Dawn Baldry: Woodham versus Maldon, bandstand versus promenade. The match between the two hard-hitters ensued and turned out to be the closest-fought and tensest game of the night displaying some excellent quick counter-hitting rallies. Both Dawn and Bex got in plenty of winners and it was a serve and third ball cross-court forehand that secured Bex Lowman her first - and I suspect not the last - Ladies Singles title 11-8, 12-14, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9.

[Video Clip 1]

[Video Clip 2]

As ever the evening's action culminated in the grand finale of the Mens Singles Final and it was title holder and two-times winner Duncan Taylor versus 2016 Southend and Chelmsford Champion Tony Halling. There was a sense it was always going to be Tony's night and although Duncan made some excellent retrieves Tony Halling completed his evening's work by adding to his Under 40s win his first Burnham Mens Singles title winning 11-9, 11-4, 12-10. As an interesting statistic, Charles Sweeny was the only player to take a game off Tony throughout the event (at the Quarter-Final stage) and the only other Singles game Halling dropped was to Graham Briggs in the first round of the Under 40s.

[Video Clip 1]

[Video Clip 2]

[Video Clip 3]

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Presentation evening will be on Saturday 14th May, please visit this page for details: https://tabletennis365.com/Burnham/News/2016/March/presentation-evening/10246

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Lee McHugh - Press & Publicity Officer - Burnham Table Tennis League

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Press Report 7 - Issued 8 March 2016

Stellar first division performances by Anderson, Green and Seddon

There have been some excellent performances produced recently in Division 1 of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League.

Cold Norton B scored a superb 8-2 win over Mapledene C (Simon Jacob, Tony Jacks, John Tendler), and with that came Daniel Anderson’s debut hat-trick in the first division. It was extremely hard-fought as he overcame all three Mapledene players in five ends. Lee McHugh also scored a treble for Cold Norton, just getting the better of John Tendler at 13-11 in the fifth.

In a bottom-table clash between Stow Maries B and West Maldon B (Gary Young, Nicholas Duce, Chris Ciniglio), Eric Green led his Stow team to an 8-2 victory, well supported by Nicki Reece-Ford and Dave Marsh who picked up two wins each. Included in Green’s trio of wins was a stunning 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 win over Gary Young, who has the joint-most impressive win average in the division (with Alex Abbott) and this is only his second loss of the season. West Maldon B managed a 6-4 win in their following fixture against Mapledene B, when Young got the better of both Stuart Gibbs and John Monk.

Fast-improving Reece Seddon turned up to the pig-sty in blazing form when his Mapledene A side (Babul McLeod, Charles Sweeny) were held to an uncharacteristic draw with Maldon A (Alex Abbott, Colin Stallwood, Hamish Innes). Seddon swept his three singles which included a blinding five-games win over Abbott. Burnham League newcomer Colin Stallwood impressively despatched both McLeod and Sweeny in straight sets.

Mapledene A fared a bit better in their following match when they faced their main title rivals Maldon B, and they scored an important 7-3 result. Kevin Read was on song and went through the evening without dropping an end, while for Maldon Paul Stephens defeated George Reeves and Steve Whiteley beat Charles Sweeny. Maldon B’s excellent doubles record (71%) was not to be thwarted when Stephens/Stokes beat Sweeny/Reeves in five ends.

In Division 2, Mark Shorney shone in Maldon D’s draw with Maldon F; he scored a hat-trick including a fine 7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 12-10 win over Bryn Thomas. The F team’s Roger Warren did well to win out in the three five-setters he was involved in.

Dawn Baldry was Player of the Match when her Maldon E team went down 4-6 to Stow Maries C, as she and teammate Ev Lucas both picked up two singles for the away side. Stow’s Dave Porter got the better of Baldry in five ends and Dave Goody scored a good win over Lucas in the final game of the night.

In Division 3, another Player of the Match for a losing side was Eamonn Hall for Woodham F, as they narrowly lost 4-6 to second-placed Burnham. Hall scored a brilliant trio of wins over Burnham’s Michael Pratley, Bob King and Terry Frost, more impressively so without dropping a single game all evening.

David Gatheral maintained his 100% Division 3 record when his West Maldon E side were held to a draw by Maldon G. In a bizarre scoreline Gatheral defeated Karl Baldwin 11-4, 8-11, 11-0, 12-10.

Table leaders Maldon U3A had a busy week with two fixtures, against Mayland B and St Lawrence A. U3A’s Bill Puxley excelled by playing in both matches and winning 5 out of 6 singles.

A reminder that the Individual Closed Championships will take place next weekend (19-20 March) at the William de Ferrers Sports Hall in South Woodham Ferrers. A preview report of the tournament will be posted this Sunday.

Lee McHugh - Press & Publicity Officer - Burnham Table Tennis League

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Press Report 6 - Issued 18 February 2016

MALDON CLUB DOMINATING SECOND DIVISION

With the most important day of the year – Valentine’s Day – over with let’s get back to talking about our real one true love: table tennis, ping pong, whiff whaff, paddle ball, tenis de mesa (I must make a point to exclude those darn funny rubbers from our affections though – you know who I’m talking about!)

It’s all up and happening over in that corner of Essex called Heybridge because three of four Maldon teams in Division 2 of the Burnham League are selfishly occupying the top three spots. The C team are continuing their unstoppable sprint to the finish line by leading on 121 points from 15 matches, most recently destroying Woodham C ten nil as Woodham’s regular squad of Mike Burton, Mike Matlin and Scott Perry could not quite manage to nab a point off Ciaran Whelan, Colin Napper and Steve Scholz, although not for lack of trying as both Matlin and Perry were involved in five setters, Perry particularly close to success as he lost to Whelan 11-8, 10-12, 7-11, 11-8 and finally 8-11.

Destruction has been theme of the week so far in division numero dos as West Maldon C also suffered an ariel whitewash at the hands of second-placed Maldon E. It was a similar story to the Maldon-Woodham match as West Maldon also failed to capitalize on two five-set frays; the experienced Ev Lucas was involved in both of them and he had particular gusto in the fifth ends as he dispatched Tim Huxtable and Gary Smith 11-2 and 11-4, and that was after a marathon first end versus Smith 17-15! Dawn Baldry on the other hand went through the evening rather untroubled.

Woodham C fared slightly better against Maldon D, losing 8-2, thanks to two blinding wins from Scott Perry over Bob King and Roger Clarke, oddly in the first and final games of the evening. Woodham A vs Maldon E was really just a competition between Dawn Baldry and Dan Richardson of who could play the most points in one night. Dawn won the sets total with a grand total of 19 while Dan had a measly 18. Who wants to count up the points?

The lovable David Goody – sticking by previous comment for the sake of continuity, not truth – was Stow Maries’ unsung hero in their landslide 9-1 defeat to Cold Norton C as he beat Roy Gandy 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 in the first game of the evening. From then on out it was all bad news for Stow as Norton’s Gandy, David Hancox and Peter Lucraft powered through the next nine games, each player involved in very close five-setters and all surviving from deuce in the final end!

The first division has two results in this week from Cold Norton’s A and B teams, the A side defeating the Hullbridge team of teens 7-3 via a Duncan Taylor truco de sombrero. Norton B’s narrow 6-4 defeat to West Maldon A was a peculiar looking scorecard; Dave Calleja and Glen Laing each won twice for the winners supported by Colin Barham’s success over Graham Briggs, and Lee McHugh won twice for the losers while Briggs got the better of Calleja and Neil Want pipped Barham to the post. Fearsome backhander Calleja got his money’s worth as he enjoyed five-setters, chucking in 14-12s and 17-15s here and there, with Want, McHugh, then the doubles; Graham finally prevented Dave from achieving a maximum amount of games played in one evening by defeating him 14-12, 12-14, 11-9, 11-8.

West Maldon A’s Tim Cramphorn put in an impressive performance when they beat Hullbridge 6-4 with a treble over Justin Jeffery, Zoe Davies and Matt Rolfe, also teaming up with master defender Glen Laing in the doubles to earn a hard-fought victory over Jeffery and fourth player Sid Dorn.

Maldon U3A still lead Division 3 on 92 points and at this point with Mayland B on 77 points (one match in hand) and Burnham on 72 points (two matches in hand) it will be difficult for either of those teams to catch up. Maldon U3A continued their momentum by snowballing past Woodham F 9-1, Richard Skidmore and Roger Tiffin undefeated while Eamonn Hall picked up Woodham’s solitary point by steaming past Keith Lawson in three ends.

Mayland B just lost out 6-4 to West Maldon B as David Gatheral once again proved to be too strong for the opposition and his teammates Colin Barham and Peter Mortensen each picked up one singles. Steve Aspland and Jon Stevens both picked up two wins for the Mayland side.

REMINDER:

THE QUIZZING EVENT OF THE YEAR TAKES PLACE THIS FRIDAY (26TH) AT CHAMPIONS MANOR HALL S.W.F – HOW TAUT SHOULD A TABLE TENNIS NET BE? – WHO WILL WIN THE MEN’S SINGLES? – WHAT IS A GRAVITATIONAL WAVE?


Lee McHugh - Press & Publicity Officer - Burnham Table Tennis League

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Press Report 5 - Issued 01 February 2016

MALDON ‘U3A’ ARE LOOKING GOOD

In Division 3 of the Burnham Table Tennis League, Maldon U3A currently look in form to go for the title, as they top the table with 83 points from 13 matches played. They most recently thumped second-from-bottom Maldon G (Karl Baldwin, Ross Wheeler, Denis Crapnell) 9-1; U3A’s Bill Puxley, Roger Tiffin and Richard Skidmore carried all before them until the final match of the evening when Baldwin surprised Skidmore three nil.

The biggest threats to Maldon U3A at this stage look to be Mayland B and Burnham who currently sit in third and fourth places on 68 and 67 points respectively, as both of these teams have two matches in hand over U3A. Neither of those teams had fixtures last week but in the previous week Mayland (Steve Apsland, Jonathan Stevens, Ken Stevens) beat bottom-placed St Lawrence 9-1 (David Siggins picking up the point for the home team) and Burnham scraped home 6-4 against West Maldon D. Louis Gunn picked up two for West Maldon while Bob King did the same for the winners; King’s victory over Neil Salmon was especially hard-fought as he pipped Salmon 18-16 in the fifth end. Michael Pratley was player of the match and undefeated for Burnham.

Two friendly club derbies also took place in the third division last week between some of the mid-table teams – both were very closely fought. At Champions Manor Hall, Woodham D raced home to a 6-4 win against Woodham F, and at the West Maldon Community Centre their D and E teams finished all square. Woodham D’s Dan Harris and West Maldon E’s David Gatheral were the shining stars, both earning hat-tricks for their teams. Among the closest games was Harris’s win over Eamonn Hall, where he made a spectacular comeback: 9-11, 0-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-3.

In Division 2, Maldon C remain top and Woodham A have risen to second place, although third-placed Maldon D are just a point behind with a game in in hand. This is an impressive statistic from Maldon D as they actually lost 9-1 in their most recent fixture against Mayland A, where their sole point was earned from a hard-earned victory for Bob King over Ralph Gibson. This was a top notch performance from Gibson and his teammates Ray Cheung/Colin Barrell and brings Mayland A to being only one point behind Maldon D.
Woodham A also scored a good 9-1 win over West Maldon C (Tim Huxtable, Louis Gunn, Gary Smith), only wavering when George Ashley lost to Huxtable in four ends. Dan Richardson and Allan Steel were undefeated, Steel having a tight match with Gunn: 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8. West Maldon C had a fine 7-3 result against Maldon F in their previous fixture; Victor Chan was in excellent form scoring a treble against Bryn Thomas, Roger Warren and Clive Forster. Maldon F fared better against Woodham B when they won 8-2 with Roger Hance leading the way.

For division leaders Maldon C it was business as usual as they despatched Stow Maries C 8-2. It was a hat-trick from Ciaran Whelan and braces from teammates Colin Napper/Steve Scholz, while the pair of Daves (Goody and Porter) each scored once for the away team and Mick Robinson just lost out to Scholz in five ends.
In a mid-table clash Maldon E visited Latchingdon Hall and hammered Cold Norton C 9-1; the home team’s sole success was Peter Lucraft’s closely fought win over Dawn Baldry. Ev Lucas was in good form for Maldon and featured as player of the match, while teammate Tom Elder also scored a hat-trick.

Stow Maries D (Ken Sheard, Gareth Davies, John Knights) overcame bottom-placed Woodham C (Mike Burton, Mike Matlin, Scott Perry) 8-2; Ken Sheard scored a relatively untroubled treble but the stand-out success of the night has to be Burton’s superb 11-3, 11-6, 11-3 win versus Davies.

In Division 1 there were no landslide victories last week and several matches ended 7-3. Hullbridge (Justin Jeffery, Zoe Davies, Cameron Gray) had fixtures against both Maldon teams. First, in a match that featured many close games, they beat Maldon A 7-3; Jeffery, Davies and Gray all scored braces over Hamish Innes and Jan Fuller, and Alex Abbott was his side’s only point scorer - Abbott had a tough battle in the opener against Jeffery 12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6. Jeffery/Gray scored a brilliant five-set win over Abbott/Innes in the doubles.

Hullbridge went down 7-3 to the first division leaders Maldon B (Jon Stokes, Steve Whiteley, Brian Riedling). Stokes was on form for the away side as he registered a hat-trick, while Justin Jeffery won two singles for the home team; Justin also paired up with Zoe Davies for what was another fine doubles win for Hullbridge, as they beat Stokes/Whiteley 9-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-8.

Maldon A (Alex Abbott, Hamish Innes, Dawn Baldry) fared better against Cold Norton B (Dan Anderson, Chris Hancox, Graham Briggs) when they won 7-3. Abbott proved too strong for the Norton team but defensive player and fast improver Anderson scored a superb straight-sets victory over Innes, and he and teammate Hancox also both got the better of Baldry.
Cold Norton’s A team beat Mapledene C 7-3. Mike Hayes led the way with a treble for the Norton side and Sam Lowman also won twice, only going down to Mapledene’s John Tendler in five ends. Mike Worship picked up two for the home team.

West Maldon A and West Maldon B both went down 6-4, to Stow Maries B and Mapledene A respectively. In the match at Stow, every player got on the scoreboard as everybody won at least one singles; Eric Green got a hat-trick for Stow and Dave Calleja picked up two of points for West Maldon A. For West Maldon B their top player Gary Young scored a treble against Mapledene A (Lee Prentice, Babul McLeod, Chris Jacob) to make Mapledene’s push for the title a little more challenging; Nick Duce provided support with a great win over Jacob, and in one of the closest games of the night Young defeated McLeod 11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 10-12, 11-4.


Lee McHugh - Press & Publicity Officer - Burnham Table Tennis League

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Press Report 4 - Issued 22 January 2016

Maldon B make a strong start in the second half

As the second half of the season begins Maldon B (Jon Stokes, Paul Stephens, Steve Whiteley, Brian Riedling) have practically assured themselves a podium position, as they have shot back to the top of the Division 1 table, charting their eleventh win with two big results. First of all, they defeated Mapledene C (John Tendler, Barrie Delf, Tony Jacks) 8-2; Stephens leading the way with a hat-trick while Delf was the saving grace of the home team by getting the better of Stokes and Whiteley. There were a number of closely fought games and the absolute marathon of the night was Delf versus Stephens: 7-11, 19-17, 7-11, 11-7, 11-13. Following that result, back in the comfort of the pig-sty Maldon B hammered Stow Maries B ten nil, as none of the opposition (Nicki Reece-Ford, Dave Marsh, Tony Forster) could manage to put points on the board for Stow.

However, big guns Mapledene A in second place are trailing only eight points behind Maldon B and have two games in hand. They also scored a convincing result this week in arguably the strongest clash, as in Bill’s back yard Mapledene’s Tony Halling, Ben Warner and George Reeves faced Fambridge’s Mark Stones, Keith Adams and John Poysden. Mapledene emerged 8-2 victors. For the losers Adams and Stones both got the better of Reeves, Adams scoring a particularly impressive 11-4, 11-4, 11-9. Similar to when these teams fought in the first half, the closest game was once again Warner vs Adams and Warner prevailed again in five ends.

Mapledene’s B side (Stuart Gibbs, Peter Saunders, Stephen Mcsweeney) had Cold Norton B (Graham Briggs, John Holland, Chris Hancox) to deal with and managed to scrape home 6-4, largely thanks to Stuart Gibbs who registered a treble for Mapledene. Holland is usually Norton B’s leading player, but on this occasion he was not and must have been gutted to lose both his first two games in five ends to Saunders and Gibbs. All three Norton players got the better of Mcsweeney however, and the away team will have been pleased to have Briggs on form as he also scored an excellent straight sets win over Saunders.

Stuart Gibbs did not fare quite so well in their previous match when the same Mapledene B side went down 6-4 to a two-player Hullbridge side (Justin Jeffrey and Zoe Davies). Jeffery beat all three Mapledene players, impressively without dropping a set, and Davies scored two excellent wins against Gibbs and Mcsweeney both in close five-setters, only missing out against Saunders in her final game.

In a match where every player won at least one singles, West Maldon A (Tim Cramphorn, Glen Laing, Dave Calleja) defeated Cold Norton A (Russell Mills, Steve Sawyer, Sam Lowman) 7-3. Cramphorn scored a fine hat-trick for the victors, and was well supported by Laing with two wins and Calleja with one. It must have been a long night as tenacious (too tenacious for my liking) defender Laing was involved in two five-setters, one in which he narrowly missed out to Sawyer 15-13 in the final end.

This West Maldon A team (with one Tim substituted for their other Tim) kept up their fair style of every player getting a point in, as this also happened when they lost 6-4 to Mapledene C. Dave Bassett was the difference for the Mapledene trio as he registered a hat-trick for the home team.

A couple of draws were also fought out in the first division. Stow Maries B versus Maldon A and Cold Norton A versus West Maldon B both ended 5-5. Alex Abbott and Gary Young registered trebles for the Maldon and West Maldon sides. Maldon A called up Ciaran Whelan again, and Whelan’s contribution was needed in their draw as he defeated Stow’s Peter Hance, but narrowly lost out to Nicki Reece-Ford and Dave Marsh in the two closest games of the night.

In the third division, Champions Manor Hall hosted a derby between two of their teams: Woodham E (Peter Woodgate, Luca Bailey, Scott Mcquarrie) and Woodham F (Mitch Davies, Eamonn Hall, Tom Butcher). In a match where both teams nicely consisted of seniors and juniors the F team overcome the E team 7-3. All three E team players got the better of Tom Butcher, however they were all the points they could muster as Hall and Davies carried all before them in the rest of the games.
Woodham F also fought out a 6-4 win over Maldon G (Brian Dixon, Ross Wheeler, Rob Sach). For the winning team Eamonn Hall scored an impressive treble without dropping a set, while Mitch Davies and young Tom Butcher provided good support with three wins between them. The final game of the night produced a particularly deucey scoreline – see what I did there? – when Wheeler overcame Davies 11-7, 3-11, 19-17, 13-15, 12-10.

Mayland B edged out table leaders Maldon U3A 6-4. Player of the match Steve Aspland scored a hat-trick and was supported by Jonathan Stevens with two wins, while Roger Tiffin did the same for the U3A side.

Young Kieran Stanley of Woodham had a busy week in Division 3, as he turned out for both the D and E sides. His inclusion for the E team was crucial in their 5-5 draw with Maldon U3A, as he beat all three U3A players; with a hard-fought 11-6, 11-13, 14-12, 8-11, 11-9 victory over Roger Tiffin in the opening game of the night. Scott Mcquarrie picked up two singles wins for the Woodham team while Tiffin once again did the same for the U3A team. Kieran was part of a two-player team (with Dan Harris) when their Woodham D went down 7-3 to West Maldon E. Neither of the Woodham players could get the better of Colin Barham or David Gatheral, but they both defeated Stephen Peacock and then teamed up in the doubles to score an excellent 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 win over Barham/Peacock.

In Division 2, Woodham A scored a hard-earned 6-4 victory over Cold Norton C. Hard-earned because Woodham prevailed in four out of the five matches that went to five ends. It was a close encounter all round as no player remained undefeated and every player won at least one singles. Dan Richardson and Bex Lowman won twice for the home team while Simon Lowman did the same for the Norton side. Woodham’s George Ashley was involved in the closest scoreline of the night, when he just overcame Lowman 11-5, 9-11, 18-16, 8-11, 11-9. In what proved to be a crucial point, Richardson/Ashley defeated Dave Hancox/Roy Gandy in the doubles, winning in straight sets.

On a separate but related note, the Quarter Finals Draw of the Handicap Cup has been published on the website. Woodham A will face off with Stow Maries D, Hullbridge with Maldon E, Fambridge A with Mayland, and West Maldon C with Cold Norton C. Best of luck to all teams!


Lee McHugh - Press & Publicity Officer - Burnham Table Tennis League

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Press Report 3 - Issued 15 January 2016

FALLEN TREE DOES NOT DETER KEEN TABLE TENNIS PLAYERS

In Division 2 of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League, the top two sides in the table remain as Maldon C and Maldon D, but Woodham A has risen to third place, knocking Mayland down a spot. Maldon C fought out a 7-3 win against Woodham A this week, in a match that featured five games that went to five ends. Ciaran Whelan's twelve game winning streak was brought to an end - as after he fought through two tough five setters against Woodham's Dan Richardson and Allan Steel - in the final game of the evening he came across the young and improving Rebecca Lowman who, after being two nil up and Ciaran bringing it level, won the fifth 11-8. It was an excellent evening for Bex as she also defeated Maldon's Mervyn Perriman in five ends. Dan Richardson also picked up a singles by getting the better of Mervyn. It was Maldon’s Colin Napper who continued his streak of victories, as he remained undefeated, impressively without losing a single end.

Dan Richardson had much more success when his Woodham A team narrowly lost to second-placed Maldon D 6-4. He scored a great hat-trick against Roger Clarke, John Moore and Mark Shorney. George Ashley picked up Woodham's other point, defeating John Moore in five ends. The players’ journeys to the pig-sty were perilous, as a tree had collapsed onto Drapers Farm bridge and the teams had to cross by foot

Cold Norton C had Dave Hancox and Peter Lucraft on excellent form as they both earned hat-tricks in their 8-2 victory away to West Maldon C. Tim Huxtable and Mohammad Mohseni each defeated Norton's Roy Gandy, and Roy got the better of Louis Gunn in the closest game of the evening: 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5.

In a match where no player remained undefeated, Maldon E defeated Stow Maries D 7-3. Dawn Baldry, Ev Lucas and Shirley Carroll each picked up two singles for Maldon, while Gareth Davies did the same for Stow.

Bottom-placed Woodham C suffered a 9-1 loss away to Maldon F. Maldon's Bryn Thomas, Roger Warren and Roger Hance carried all before them up until the doubles, but then Woodham's Scott Perry saved the white wash with a brilliant straight sets win over Roger Warren.

Division 3 sees Maldon U3A still keep their nose ahead of Burnham at the top of the table. The teams are level on games and Burnham tails U3A by four points, while Burnham are level on points with third-placed Woodham D but with a game in hand. In summer league style West Maldon E and Burnham played with two players each, as Colin Barham and David Gatheral faced Terry Frost and Michael Pratley. David proved too strong for the opposition, winning both of his comfortably in straight sets, while his teammate Colin ended the evening on a nail-biter by defeating Michael 14-12, 6-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-9. I suppose the biggest question is: who umpired the doubles?

Third-placed Woodham D had an ultimate duo thing going on as they also lacked a third player; Roger Maidment and Adrian Armstrong both scored hat-tricks and the doubles against the bottom-placed St Lawrence A trio David Siggins, Alan Petfield and Stanley Moore. It was a tough week for St Lawrence as they also suffered defeat at the hands of West Maldon D. They came up against an in-form John Macmorland who scored a treble, and who received good support from Jack and Neil Salmon who also won the doubles.

Louis Gunn was another player on fire for West Maldon D, as although they lost 6-4 to Maldon G (Ross Wheeler, Brian Dixon, Denis Crapnell); Louis defeated all three of the Maldon players.

Maldon G also played Woodham E recently and it was a superb 9-1 victory for the youngsters of Woodham. Woodham's fast improving Kieran Stanley made mincemeat of the opposition, defeating all the Maldon players in straight sets without ever truly looking in trouble. Richard Jovic also scored an excellent hat-trick for Woodham, and it was hard-earned as he had a last-gasp win over Rob Sach with 16-14 in the fifth end. Scott Mcquarrie provided great support with two singles wins, and Maldon's Ross Wheeler had to pull out all the stops to overcome Scott's relentless close-to-the-table attacking style.

Woodham F (Eamonn Hall and Roy Davis) unfortunately had only two players and went down 7-3 to Mayland B (Steve Aspland, Ken Stevens and Jonathan Stevens); Aspland proved too strong for both Woodham players but both Davis and Hall got the better of Ken Stevens and Hall also defeated Jonathan in the penultimate game of the evening.

Mapledene A establish a more substantial lead over Maldon B at the top of the Division 1 table, now two points ahead with a game in hand. This is because the Mapledene trio of Lee Prentice, Chris Jacob and Babul McLeod duly hammered Cold Norton B (Chris Hancox, Lee McHugh, Graham Briggs) in a match where the Cold Norton side failed to capitalize in the five-setters each of their players were involved in. Meanwhile, Maldon B suffered a setback by way of a 7-3 defeat away to Cold Norton A; Norton’s Minda Sinkus showed his value with a hat-trick, while Mike Hayes picked up two wins and Sam Lowman scored a fine straight sets win over experienced Maldon defender Brian Riedling.

Cold Norton B fared better in their matches versus Mapledene C and Stow Maries A, with 7-3 and 8-2 victories, which keeps them in the top half for the moment and well safe from relegation. Graham Briggs defeated Stow's Rob Shrimpton in a standout win with all-out forehand attack.

In the derby clash at West Maldon Community Centre the struggling B team had their star player Gary Young to thank for the points in their 6-4 defeat to the A side. For the A team of Tim Cramphorn, Glen Laing and Chris Buer it was teamwork all the way as they each won two singles, against Chris Ciniglio and Nick Duce.

Youth prevailed over experience as the youngsters of Hullbridge rose to the challenge of Stow Maries A. Justin Jeffery led the way with a hat-trick while Matthew Brown picked up two singles for Stow. Hullbridge's Cameron Gray scored an excellent win over Peter Layzell and Stow's Hector Rogers had a disappointing evening as he lost to all three of the opposition.

Stow Maries B, whom look firmly placed in the relegation zone, did not help their cause with a 9-1 loss to Mapledene B - although not an entirely shocking result when you look at the super trio Mapledene put out of Dave Bowles, John Monk and Stuart Gibbs (all former Burnham Men's Singles Champions). Stow's ace defender Eric Green scored a superb straight sets win over Dave Bowles in the opening game and also pushed John Monk to five ends in the final game of the evening.

Steady Barrie Delf featured as player of the match in Mapledene C's encounter with Maldon A, even though his side went down 6-4. Barrie scored an incredible three straight win versus Alex Abbott, and also fought back from two sets down against Ciaran Whelan to win 11-8 in the fifth. Ciaran, playing up from the second division, put in a strong performance for the Maldon side as he defeated Dave Moles and Lin Attridge.

 Lee McHugh - Press & Publicity Officer - Burnham Table Tennis League

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Press Report 2 - Issued 30 December 2015

A Whiff-Whaff Christmas and New Year

In the first division Maldon B continue to impress and have now risen
to the top of the table, leading Mapledene A (who have a game in hand) by five
points, and it is the continuing solid team performance as seen in their recent
victories against both West Maldon sides; though it is worth mentioning a
superb five-games win for Nick Duce over Paul Stephens for West Maldon B, and
for their A side combination bat player Chris Buer scored a fine straight sets
win against spinny looper Jon Stokes. It may be too early to say but I am not
one for jinxes: the Maldon B side could well take silver this season and even
gold if there are any major slip ups from Mapledene A, although having said
that one should keep their eye on crouching tiger hidden Norton lurking in
third place. Cold Norton A faced a tough challenge at the pig sty where they
lost out 6-4 to Maldon A; former Chelmsford Champion Alex Abbott on form for
the home team as he beat all three Cold Norton players including top defender
and defending Burnham Champion Duncan Taylor in what must have been a
spectacular game. The closest game of the evening was Steve Scholz vs Sam
Lowman, which Sam won over five fluctuating ends. A Stow derby extravaganza
took place at Smythe hall between the club’s top two sides and ended all
square; man of the match and ace defender Eric Green returning to some form as,
after a hard-fought victory against Robert Shrimpton coming back from two nil
down, he dismissed the A team’s Hector Rogers and Peter Layzell both in
straight sets; Robert put two points on the board for his team by defeating
Dave Marsh and Nicky Reece-Ford and teaming up with Hector for a five-set
doubles win, while Hector also beat Dave in five games. Elsewhere in the
division, the matches were not so close; the strong Fambridge trio of Mark
Stones, Keith Adams and John Poysden downed the challenge of Cold Norton B ten
nil, although it was not completely sweat-free as Mark and John only narrowly
got past Lee McHugh and Chris Hancox respectively; powerhouse Mapledene A
proved too much for the Hullbridge youngsters, although it was not a whitewash
as Zoe Davies had a superb victory against captain Lee Prentice, and it was a
night of excellent form from Zoe with a nail-biting scoreline vs Kevin Read 11-9,
9-11, 18-16, 11-9.

In the second division the table is largely unchanged, although there
are a few results still to come in from the recent matches and a couple of
postponements.  Maldon C lead the pack
and continue to set a hot pace as demonstrated by their recent 9-1 thrashing of
West Maldon C; man of the match Ciaran Whelan put in a strong performance
defeating all three West Maldon players in straight sets; Maldon’s Steve Scholz
was involved in the two closest games of the night and he came away with a last
gasp victory against Mohammad Mohseni, although not completely unscathed as
Steve lost to West Maldon’s David Gatheral also in five games. In looking at
some of the previous games in more detail, newcomer to the league Bryn Thomas
is certainly a force to be reckoned with in division two, as he is yet to lose
a singles, defeating some other high averagers in the process such as Maldon’s
Tom Elder and Dawn Baldry. Another newcomer and one to keep an eye on, also playing
for the West Maldon club, is Victor Chan, who has only turned out once so far
but came away with a hat-trick and man of the match award against the strong
Maldon D side of Roger Clarke, Bob King and Mark Shorney. In a derby at
Champions Manor Woodham’s A team defeated their B team 7-3 on a night of
several close games; the A side’s Dan Richardson had a good evening winning his
three against Chris Crooks, Val Board and John Bond; Alan Dadswell was involved
in two of the closest games, just edging out Val at deuce in the fifth, then
succumbing to defeat against John by a very tight scoreline 13-15, 12-10,
13-15, 12-10, 8-11.

In the third division Maldon U3A have overtaken Burnham as the
leaders, although they have played one extra match; the U3A team had a 9-1 win
away against a two-player Woodham D side, when the only point Woodham could
muster was Roger Maidment’s straight games win over league stalwart John Skuse
at the beginning of the evening, although Woodham were unlucky to lose both
games that went to five ends, as Roger and teammate Diane King just missed out
against Andrew Simmonds and John Skuse respectively. A week later Maldon U3A
came up against another team lacking a full squad in West Maldon D, and it
looked like another big win for them; West Maldon’s Louis Gunn - who has
returned to the sport after some years - had other ideas, as he defeated all
three of the U3A players and teamed up with John Macmorland for a doubles win
to help his side to a respectable 6-4 loss. West Maldon D were also only able
to field two players against Woodham F’s Roy Davis, Eamonn Hall and Marina
Partridge; West Maldon’s Louis Gunn had a another successful evening’s table
tennis with a hat-trick, well supported by John Macmorland with two wins and
the doubles – the closest game of the night which Gunn/Macmorland won deuce in
the fifth against Hall/Davis. And yet, these were not the only fixtures
fulfilled in the third division recently with incomplete squads; David Gatheral
was his team’s only player when his West Maldon E side faced St Lawrence A, and
he absolutely rose to the occasion as he achieved the maximum of a 7-3 loss
against the St Lawrence trio of David Siggins, Ivan Joslin and Alan Petfield,
though unfortunately Dave did lack an extra pair of hands for the doubles.
Elsewhere in the division a couple of draws were fought out; second-placed
Burnham’s Michael Pratley, Terry Frost and Bob King all put points on the board
in their 5-5 result vs West Maldon E, but none of them could get the better of
David Gatheral who is looking like the man to beat in the third, and Dave was
well supported by Colin Barham who picked up two points for West Maldon; Maldon
G’s Ross Wheeler, Denis Crapnell and Brian Dixon all contributed wins in their
draw against Mayland B, however Mayland’s Steve Aspland – one of the leading
players in the averages – appeared too strong for the Maldon side as he downed
the challenge of all three opposing players untroubled, and combined with
Jonathan Stevens for a doubles victory while Jonathan also defeated Maldon’s Brian
Dixon.

I hope you all have enjoyed a good rest over Christmas and will take
this opportunity to wish all players and their families a Happy New Year.

Lee McHugh - Press & Publicity Officer - Burnham Table Tennis League

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Press Report 1 - Issued 4 December 2015

The season is now well underway as we approach the end of the first half. I hope everybody is enjoying their table tennis and getting along OK with the new balls. After many years (how many has it been?) of the Burnham League not having a Burnham Club, it returns this season and what a return indeed as they top the Division 3 table by a considerable eight point lead over second-placed Woodham D and have a game in hand. Impressively, Burnham has only fielded a reserve once so far and has otherwise put out their regular squad of Michael Pratley, Bob King and Terry Frost. They have only had one loss to date which was their opening match against Woodham D, when the Woodham side of Diane King, Roger Maidment and Adrian Armstrong edged them 6-4. Woodham D’s other main player, Daniel Harris, recently helped his side to an 8-2 victory away to Maldon U3A, where only Bill Puxley managed to get on the scoreboard for his team with a couple of straight sets wins over Dan and Diane. Elsewhere in the division, Woodham E’s young and fast improving Luca Bailey is near the top of the averages, having played for all three Woodham third division sides at some point, recently having success against Woodham F teammates Roy Davis and Marina Partridge, although Luca could not get the better of Woodham legend Mitch Davies. Also playing for Woodham E is young Scott Mcquarrie - who has somehow managed to elude a fifth set and changing ends so far this season – and Scott’s most notable performance so far must be his impressive hat-trick against current leaders Burnham. Another youngster and star of the future in the division, Kieran Stanley, has played up into the division above a couple of times for Woodham C and scored a good win over Val Board, and also giving trouble to the more experienced Daniel Richardson and George Ashley.

Division 2 is a slightly closer affair at the top with Maldon’s D team trailing their C team by four points and level on games. The star of the C team is Ciaran Whelan, who has played every match so far and has only lost twice; both in five ends to clubmate Dawn Baldry and Woodham’s Chris Crooks. Ciaran is receiving good support from teammates Colin Napper and Steve Scholz, who recently thumped second-from-bottom Stow Maries D with Ken Sheard saving the whitewash by defeating Steve. Dawn Baldry is another player impressing for the Maldon club in this division, with a particularly good record of winning five-setters and when playing up for Maldon A in the first Dawn only narrowly lost out against Mapledene stalwart Dave Bowles. Relegated from the first division last season, Mayland A in third place must feel back at home in the second, infamous server Ralph Gibson leading the way, most recently stuffing Woodham C’s Roger Maidment and the Mike Duo in straight sets, only dropping thirty-five points the whole evening. Woodham C are struggling at the bottom of the table and look unlikely to avoid relegation into the third division next season. Woodham’s A side are faring better, holding their own just below Mayland in the table, with a solid team performance from the relatively young team of Daniel Richardson, George Ashley and Rebecca Lowman, and (slightly) older reserves Allan Steel and Alan Dadswell. West Maldon C are a team tentatively in danger of relegation, fielding a wide selection of players to complete their fixtures so far, Captain Tim Huxtable being their most regular player and keeping up a consistent fifty percent win average. Lovable former President David Goody is helping keep his Stow Maries C team in the middle of the table, and narrowly got the better of Woodham’s Scott Perry in his most recent game, 13-11 in the decider no doubt with one of those tricky serves which took myself years to get my head around and which Dave never stops reminding me about.

Mapledene A, having used a wide selection of ten players to fulfil the first ten fixtures, are the leaders in Division 1 with sixty-three points earned out of a possible ninety so far, which I have to say isn’t quite the dominating record I’m used to seeing from Mapledene. That may be because the first division has more strength in depth this year; for example Cold Norton A can field Mindaugus Sinkus and 2015 Men’s Singles Champion Duncan Taylor, and they did so recently against Mapledene A; the match ended in a draw, Duncan losing his first match of the season against top player Tony Halling, and Mindas taking Tony to five but Tony must have really turned it on in the last end as he won 11-1. Fambridge A -historically Mapledene A’s biggest challenger for the title, at least in recent years – has lost some fire power this season with the retirement of Marko Jovic. With three wins and two losses so far they are hovering a bit further down the table than usually accustomed to. One of those losses was against Mapledene A in their opening match, and it was a tough test for Keith Adams, John Poysden and Peter Ballard (and we would like to wish a warm welcome back to Peter after his brief break from the sport) as they faced the Mapledene trio of Kevin Read, Tony Halling and Ben Warner. The match ended 9-1 in Mapledene’s favour, and the whitewash was saved by a fine doubles win for Adams/Poysden defeating Halling/Warner in four games. It was very nearly a second point for Fambridge when Keith narrowly lost to Ben 15-13 in the fifth. Maldon B, currently second place and only trailing Mapledene by nine points with a game in hand, is impressing so far this season with the regular squad of Jon Stokes, Steve Whiteley and Paul Stephens. It has been a real team effort from them so far, each player contributing plenty of points to the board and with good support from reserve Brian Riedling. Gary Young and John Holland are also two players high up in the averages and are really boosting the strength of their respective teams West Maldon B and Cold Norton B. As well as the Burnham Club in the third division, another newly formed club has joined the fray this year and that is Hullbridge in the first division. The Hullbridge youngster team, formed of Zoe Davies, Justin Jeffery, Sid Dorn and Cameron Gray, are challenging many much more experienced players across the division and on some match nights their combined age must be less than just one player from the opposing team. Justin must feel right at home in the top division scoring a couple of hat-tricks so far, while Cameron also appears to be settling into his debut season in the first with a couple of good wins recently against Cold Norton’s Chris Hancox and Daniel Anderson. It is also Zoe’s first season in this division and she is putting in a consistent performance having won at least one singles in each of her matches played.

Lee McHugh - Press & Publicity Officer - Burnham Table Tennis League
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