Lions B struck a decisive early blow in the race for the Division 1 crown this week courtesy of an impressive 8-2 victory over their main rivals, Lions A. Joshua Butler and the returning Olly Langlois made no mistakes and went through the fixture unbeaten. Butler overcame Jez Powell in straight games and Ben Foss in 4, however he had to use all of his reserves to get past Phil Ogier during his last match of the evening. Ogier looked on course for victory when leading 2-0, but Butler showed great fight to turn it around and win in 5. Langlois matched Butler's results against Powell and Foss, however his 4 game win over the latter was separated by just a matter of points, 3 of the 4 games being clinched 12-10. He also trailed against Ogier, however it was only by a single game and he managed to come through in 4 games. The doubles fixture was another closely contested affair, but it was the Lions B pairing that came through 11-6 in the 5th and deciding game. Ryan Bichard continues to chalk up wins and he earned an impressive 4 game win over last season's division 2 team-mate Powell to extend the margin of victory. Ogier beat the youngster in straight games and Foss also came through in 4 games during the final match of the night.
The chasing pack behind the leaders is very tightly contested and the 3 Whistlers Division 1 teams are all matched on 4 points.
Whistlers C were the main benefactors this week and moved into 3rd spot on games difference after a narrow 6-4 win over Whistlers A. For the defeated side, Garry Dodd did everything he could to salvage something for his depleted side containing two Division 2 reserves, but it was not quite enough. His stellar form continued with comfortable straight game wins over Joshua Stacey, Lawrence Stacey and James Rabey, who was making his first appearance of the season. He also secured a highly impressive doubles win alongside Ian Fitchet over the Stacey twins in 5 games. The twins and Rabey did not let complacency set in though and they cruised past Fitchet and Ryan Gilson in the remaining 6 singles encounters. Gilson came the closest to upsetting the odds during his 4 game losses to Lawrence and Rabey.
Whistlers B missed the chance of going into 3rd following a 5-5 draw with the team at the bottom of the table and previously pointless, Lions C. The Lions side were missing Liam Robilliard, but Matt Stubbington put in a good reserve performance to assist towards the result. Stubbington was the player to open up proceedings against Dawn Morgan and he successfully turned around a 2-1 deficit to win in 5. He later came through against reserve Daisy Kershaw in straight games. Paul Hainsworth started his evening with a straight game win over Kershaw and ended with a 4 game win over Morgan in the decisive final match of the evening. Sandwiched between those victories was a close 4 game defeat to Alice Loveridge, who won the 4th 13-11, having saved a game point at 9-10. Andre De Carteret chipped in with an important straight game win over Kershaw to gain the point. Loveridge went through the night unbeaten courtesy of a straight game win over Stubbington, a 4 game victory over De Carteret and a straight game doubles win over Hainsworth and De Carteret alongside Morgan. Morgan added the other rubber due to her straight game win over De Carteret.
Lions F and Lions D continued with their impressive starts and both won their 5th consecutive matches of the season.
The F side have only lost 8 individual matches all season and they dropped just the single this week during their 9-1 rout of Ravenscroft Panthers A. The ever improving junior combination of Luke Bichard and Dan Collenette showed their growing maturity with singles wins over Ben Foote, Ryan Wesley and reserve Mark Windsor. They also teamed up to win the doubles match over Foote and Wesley in straight games. Jamie Ferbrache beat Foote and Windsor in straight games, but he was surprisingly beaten by Wesley in 4 games.
The D side did excellently in defeating a tough St Pauls A side 8-2. Martin Sarre and Andy Gill led the way with unbeaten evenings that included singles wins over Maurice James, Chas Elliott and Trevor Bourgaize. They then combined to win the doubles over Elliott and Bourgaize in 4 games. Ian Le Page added a 4 game win over Bourgaize, but he was defeated by Elliott in straight games and James agonisingly 15-13 in the decider.
Lions I dropped their first point of the season, but still hold a 1 point lead at the top after being held to a 5-5 draw by Lions J. The fixture will be remembered for the amount of reserves being used, with 4 surely being the most in recent memory. It was the J side's reserves that did the damage as they won 4 out of the 5 matches earned. Andy Ferbrache led the way for the leaders with straight game wins over Bolette Hjorth and reserves Steve Potter and Rose Powell. He also teamed up with reserve Derek Cave to beat Hjorth and Powell in 4 games. Cave beat Hjorth in straight games, but that was as far as it went for the leaders. Potter, making his league debut and Powell had too much for Cave and the I side's other reserve Diane Le Page and it was Hjorth who added the 5th win over Le Page.
The Division is looking the most competitive of all at this early stage as the top 3 sides are matched on 10 points each.
Lions L remain top on games difference, however they were beaten 6-4 this week by Whistlers O, who now join them on 10 points, in 3rd spot. Junior Ellis Tomlin played excellently during his wins over Graham Mallett, Derek Cave and Janine Mallett and did not drop a leg. Shane Cotter beat Janine in straight games and also earned a pivotal 5 game win over Cave in the opener after coming back from 2-1 down. He then teamed with Tomlin to win the doubles over Graham and Cave in 4 games. All Lions players defeated James Crocker and Graham also beat Cotter.