Whistlers A put themselves firmly back in contention for the Division 1 crown of the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues this week with 2 strong wins, including an important 6-4 victory over title rivals and current league leaders Lions A.
The 6-4 win in question came during a re-arranged fixture on Monday evening and saw the Whistlers side draw level on points at the top with the defending champions, who in turn dropped points for the first time this season. Garry Dodd, fresh from his strong showing at the inaugural Home Countries International held in Guernsey, led the way strongly as expected and contributed towards 4 of his side's 6 rubbers on the night. He was in cruise control during a trio of straight set singles wins over Ben Foss, Paul Hainsworth and Dan Collenette, but it was the doubles clash that turned out to be one of the decisive ties of the encounter. Foss and Hainsworth were controlling proceedings during the early stages and opened up a 2-0 lead. The third end was pivotal and match points were saved by the Whistlers pair of Dodd and Pipet as they clawed their way through 16-14. They cruised through the 4th, before finding themselves 7-4 behind in the decider. They produced some strong table tennis from here and managed to come through 11-8. With Hainsworth and Foss having each overcome Pipet and Sarre in singles action, the remaining singles fixtures of Collenette against Pipet and Sarre would be the other decisive matches. The young Lions player looked to be in pole position to get the win against Sarre whilst leading 2-0, but the more experienced player did excellently to come back and win in 5. Collenette battled hard in the final match of the night against Pipet too, but was again on the wrong side of a 5 set defeat despite his best efforts.
The Whistlers side followed up on this with a strong 7-3 win over 3rd placed side Whistlers B on Wednesday. Dodd once more repeated the feat of 4 wins due to singles wins over Joshua Stacey, Matt Casey and reserve Andy Lihou. He combined with Pipet to overcome Stacey and Casey in straight sets in the doubles. Pipet himself was a comfortable winner over Casey and Lihou and also extended Stacey to 4 sets in defeat. Sarre came through against Lihou in straight sets to polish off the win.
Lions A remain top of the league on games ratio and this was assisted by the strong 8-2 win over Lions C mid-week. Foss and Hainsworth made no mistakes and each comfortably won their singles matches over Andy Gill, Jamie Ferbrache and Ian Le Page as well as combining to win the doubles over Gill and Ferbrache in straight sets. 2nd Division player Steve Ozanne made his first ever top flight appearance and succeeded in overcoming Le Page in straight sets. He also competed well against Gill and Ferbrache, whom each defeated him in 4 sets.
Lions B earned a narrow 6-4 win over Whistlers C in the final Division 1 match of the week. Phil Ogier and Andre De Carteret each beat Ryan Gilson and Charlotte Casey in singles action and the duo also won the doubles over the same Whistlers pair in straight sets. Ryan Bichard picked up the decisive 6th rubber over Casey 14-12 in the fourth end of their encounter.
Whistlers D remain top of the Division, however their advantage at the top was cut to just 2 points after they were surprisingly held to a 5-5 draw by Ravenscroft Panthers A. Mark Fallaize was key for the Panthers side and the former Division 1 player defeated Keith Opie and Ellis Tomlin before narrowly losing out to Kay Chivers 12-10 in the deciding 5th end of their encounter, which also turned out to be the final match of the night. Billy Ogier was very strong in obtaining wins over Opie and Tomlin in straight sets, however it was Brandon Ferbrache that picked up the 5th decisive win over Tomlin in 4 sets.
St Pauls B hold the most comfortable lead across all Divisions of a massive 6 points and they cruised to a 9-1 win over Lions I this week. Craig Dunning and Derek Carter each won all of their games over Jonah Ingrouille, Amy Stone and reserve Rose Powell as well as winning the doubles over Ingrouille and Stone without loss. John Wills beat Ingrouille and Stone, but lost to Powell in straight sets.