Lions C remain top of the 1st Division after they secured a narrow 6-4 victory over a previously unbeaten Whistlers C side.
Despite the victory, it was the Whistlers side's Lawrence Stacey that was undefeated in singles action, with his 3 singles wins making him one of just 2 players left in the Division yet to lose an individual match. Having earned some strong results in the ETTA's Crawley Grand Prix just a few days reserved, he was tested strongly in each of his encounters, which commenced with a 4 game win over Andre De Carteret, who had taken the opener. Tougher still were his other matches against Phil Ogier and Paul Hainsworth. Ogier swept through the 2nd 11-1 in their encounter, however Stacey did well to weather the storm and crucially held his nerve at the end of a 4th, that Ogier had fought back well in, 11-9, to take the match 3-1. 4 games was also the margin of victory against Hainsworth, however such were the narrow margins, it could have swung either way. The opener was a marathon and both players saw game points come and go before Stacey took it 17-15. He built on this with another tight 11-9 score in the 2nd end before Hainsworth fought back 11-7 in the third. The fourth was another humdinger and it was again Stacey that battled his way through by the marathon score of 16-14. Despite Stacey's efforts in the singles, his side could not muster 2 more wins to salvage a point from the encounter. The doubles encounter between Stacey/Matthew Casey and Ogier/Hainsworth was effectively settled in the opening end when failure to convert from 10-7 by the Whistlers side saw the Lions side pinch it 11-9 before cruising through the other 2 ends. Ogier and Hainsworth were themselves comfortable straight game winners over Matthew Casey and Albert Unden leaving the leaders needing just one further victory. The win in question came in the 6th game of match when De Carteret tussled with Unden in a nervy affair. Both players use unorthodox rubbers on the backhand side and the tactical affair saw the first 4 games shared. De Carteret took the initiative early doors and came out with an outstanding forehand cross court smash winner from the back of the court to edge it 11-9. Casey picked up a strong straight game win over De Carteret in the final match of the night.
Lions B are the only other side to retain a 100% winning record and they too edged out their opposition 6-4 this week. The opposition in question were a Whistlers A side containing the Island number 1 Garry Dodd, who had missed the opening fixture. Dodd showed why his inclusion makes the Whistlers side a big threat and he won all of his singles matches over Olly Langlois, Luke Bichard and Ryan Bichard, dropping just the single end to Langlois in the process. Mark Pipet overturned a 2-1 deficit to beat Luke in 5 games, however the Whistlers outfit could not find any further success in the fixture. The doubles clash was an encounter that proved pivotal in the context of the match and it was the pairing of Langlois and Luke that took it 3-2, having earlier trailed 2-1. Langlois and Ryan both defeated Pipet in straight games and all 3 of the Whistlers players defeated Ryan Gilson.
Joshua Butler made his season debut as Lions A got their season going with a 6-4 win over Whistlers B. Butler and Ben Foss directly contributed to 5 of the team's 6 wins with each defeating Dawn Morgan and Joseph Bourgaize in singles action. They also combined well in the doubles which saw them overcome Joshua Stacey and Bourgaize in straight games. The final victory came courtesy of Dan Collenette's important 5 game win over Bourgaize. Bourgaize had led 2-1 when a narrow 13-11 end went in the Lions' players favour and he went from strength to strength in the decider. Stacey, also fresh from strong performances at the Crawley GP, will feel hard done by as he had a stellar evening which included strong 4 game wins over both Butler and Foss, on top of a straight game win over Collenette. Morgan added the other win over Collenette in straight games.
Lions D and Lions E continue to be locked together at the top of the 2nd Division as each side recorded tight 6-4 wins this week.
The D side performed superbly to overcome a strong St Pauls A side, despite missing Ian Le Page and having 8 year old Jayden Tucknott standing in. Tucknott is yet to compete in the GTTA senior leagues, however he is surely one for the future despite being expectedly overpowered by his opposition on the night. Jamie Ferbrache remains solid as a rock and maintained his 100% singles record courtesy of wins over Maurice James, Chas Elliott and Trevor Bourgaize, with only the latter 2 players managing to take an end off him. Andy Gill started the night with a 4 game defeat by Bourgaize but bounced back well in the doubles, where alongside Ferbrache a straight game win was recorded against Elliott and James. The match immediately following the doubles saw Gill staring down the barrel whilst 2-1 down against James, but he fought back strongly to take it in 5. The final match of the night was another to go all the way, but Gill once more held his nerve and saw off Elliott 11-5 in the decider.
The E side came through against Ravenscroft Panthers B in another tough tussle. Mike Lucas shone for the joint league leaders courtesy of singles wins over Billy Ogier, Ben Foote and Steve Martin. He remained undefeated on the night due to teaming up with Luke Le Tissier during a 4 game doubles win over Martin and Foote. Le Tissier himself beat Martin and Foote to secure the win, but was surprisingly beaten in 4 by junior Ogier. Elder brother Glenn stood in for a second consecutive week and came very close to picking up another win. He was beaten in 4 by both Martin and Ogier and was unfortunate to lose to Foote in 5, having led 2-1.
St Pauls B shot to the top of the 3rd after their comfortable 8-2 win over Whistlers I. John Wills and Craig Dunning had the most influence on the encounter as each beat Miles Bishop-White, Matthew Board and James Crocker in singles matches. Brian Le Cras beat Board in straight games, but he was defeated by both Bishop-White and Crocker in 5 and 4 games respectively. He also teamed up with Wills to beat the junior pairing of Board and Crocker in a 4 game doubles success.