League leaders Lions B were held to a 5-5 draw by 4th placed side Whistlers A this week, but retained their 5 point advantage at the top due to 2nd placed Lions A's 5-5 draw with Whistlers B.
It was Josh Stacey that provided the stern resistance for the Whistlers A side courtesy of an unbeaten evening of singles wins. He started with a 4 game win over Phil Ogier before resisting fight backs from both Paul Hainsworth and reserve Matt Stubbington during 5 game wins. He led both matches 2-0 before being pegged back to deciders, needing to come back from 9-7 down in the 5th during his 11-9 triumph over Hainsworth and coming through 11-6 against Stubbington in the final match of the night. Dawn Morgan had a good evening at the office with unexpected wins over Hainsworth and Stubbington in 4 and straight games respectively to claim a point for the Whistlers outfit. All Lions players picked up wins over Lawrence Stacey, Ogier beat Morgan in straight games and then also teamed with Hainsworth to post a comfortable straight game doubles win over Josh and Morgan.
Lions A's draw with Whistlers B was largely due to the absence of Liam Robilliard and Chloe Le Tissier. Garry Dodd did all he could on the night to give his side a chance with strong straight game singles wins over Phil Hunkin, Ben Foss and reserve Martin Sarre. He combined with 2nd division reserve and Junior Ryan Bichard to post a quality straight game doubles win over Hunkin and Foss. It was Bichard that pulled out the stops on the night as he came away with a mightily impressive surprise 4 game win over experienced division 1 campaigner Hunkin. He was also unlucky to lose out in 5 games to Foss, having led his fellow junior 2-1 during the match. Another junior reserve, Joseph Bourgaize, did not fare so well and was defeated by Hunkin, Foss and Whistlers reserve Martin Sarre in straight games on each occasion.
Whistlers D are on the brink of the Division 2 crown after their 8-2 win over title rivals St Pauls A extended their lead at the top to 4 points, with just 2 matches left to play. Jez Powell was comfortable during his singles wins over Chas Elliott, Maurice James and Trevor Bourgaize, not dropping an end throughout. Ryan Bichard also produced the goods with 3 singles wins, with a 17-15 final game triumph over James one such highlight on top of 4 game wins over Elliott and Bourgaize. The duo also won the doubles clash over Elliott and Bourgaize in 4 games. 3rd Division reserve Ryan Gilson was also on hand to contribute to the win thanks to a superb 3-2 win over Bourgaize, in a match where he had trailed 2-1.
The impact of the above result has led to a close finish for 2nd spot, with 3 teams separated by just a single point. Whistlers C made the most of St Pauls slip and moved level on points with them after a crushing 10-0 whitewash of Whistlers F. In the encounter, Kay Chivers, Keith Opie and Stuart Sarre each overcame Andy Lihou, Joseph Bourgaize and reserve Dan Collenette.
The 2 sides meet next week in a match that could decide who will finish as runners-up, although Lions D will also have an eye on the result of the match, as they are only 1 point behind the pair after they beat Ravenscroft Panthers A 7-3 this week. All 3 teams are very similarly matched on their games difference ratio and it could well be that factor that decides it, should Whistlers C and St Pauls A draw next week.
Lions G are still 3 points in front and have just 3 matches remaining to close out the title. They brushed aside Whistlers G 9-1 this week in a match where Jamie and Andrew Ferbrache were unbeaten. They each beat Ryan Gilson, Charlotte Casey and Shane Cotter in singles matches. Sophie Ferbrache beat Casey and Cotter, but lost in 4 games to Gilson, a result that prevented the whitewash. She teamed with brother Jamie to beat Casey and Gilson in a straight game doubles win.
Lions J are in a similar position as Whistlers D are in the 2nd, as they have an 8 point lead, with just 4 matches left. They only need to gain 1 point from their next 4 matches to seal the league title and they were 8-2 winners over Whistlers K this week. Sam Totty was the best performer due to his singles wins over Corey Brouard, Callum Gilson and Michelle Gilson. Val Guilbert and Diane Le Page each contributed with singles wins over Michelle and Callum and it was the combination of Totty and Guilbert that won the doubles fixture against Brouard and Callum in straight games.