The fight for the top flight crown of the Doric Insurance backed senior leagues continued this week following conclusion of the 16th fixtures of the 25 week campaign.
Both Lions A and Whistlers A remain neck and neck at the top, with each side having lost just the single encounter (against each other) so far this season.
The Lions side may lead the way on games difference, however this advantage was reduced slightly this week due to Whistlers A's comprehensive 9-1 victory over Lions C. Garry Dodd and Mark Pipet cruised past Andy Gill, Jamie Ferbrache and Ian Le Page in singles action, with just the single leg being dropped during Pipet's 4 set win over Ferbrache. Dodd also teamed up with Martin Sarre in the doubles rubber as they overcame Ferbrache and Le Page in straight sets. Sarre himself also picked up wins over Ferbrache in straight games and Le Page in 4 sets. He was defeated in 5 sets by Andy Gill though, with the Lions player preventing the whitewash in the process.
The leaders had a tougher encounter against Whistlers C, but still ran out comfortable 7-3 winners. Ben Foss is currently 2nd in the averages and he hasn't lost to any player other than Dodd in league singles competition since the start of November. He continued that strong run of form here too with a trio of singles wins over Lawrence Stacey, Ryan Gilson and Charlotte Casey, but he had to be near his best against Stacey. Stacey had led 2-0 after edging through 12-10, 15-13, but Foss showed excellent fight and roared back to win in 5 sets. Paul Hainsworth picked up wins over Gilson in 4 sets and Casey in straight sets and Dan Collenette picked up the all important 6th win when he beat Casey in straight sets. Foss and Collenette rounded off the win with a straight set doubles win over Stacey and Gilson. Stacey picked up wins over Hainsworth in straight sets and Collenette in 5 sets, whilst Gilson overcame Collenette in 4 sets in the final match of the evening.
The battle for 3rd position is turning out to be almost as intriguing as the top spot, as Lions B and Whistlers B continue to swap positions. Lions B secured an important 6-4 win over the Whistlers side in question this week to move a single point ahead, having previously trailed by a point. Phil Ogier was the best performer of the evening due to his singles wins over Joshua Stacey in 4 sets, Matthew Casey in straight sets and reserve Ian Fitchet in straight sets. Ryan Bichard added wins over Casey and Fitchet in straight games, but was defeated by Stacey in straight sets. Andre De Carteret picked up the pivotal 6th win of the evening due to his 4 set win over Fitchet.
Whistlers D extended their lead at the top to 7 points, however they were pushed all the way by Lions F, in what turned out to be a narrow 6-4 win. Andy Ferbrache put on a superb display by the Lions side, as he overcame Kay Chivers, Keith Opie and Ellis Tomlin, all over the course of 4 sets. Brian Ferbrache also added a strong 5 set win over Opie, but the Lions side were unable to pick up a 5th win, going down in all of the other encounters.
St Pauls B remain 10 points clear at the top of the 3rd Division and this week they ran out 8-2 winners over Lions H. Craig Dunning led the way with wins over Mike Brehaut and reserves Edward Rowe and Lionel Jones. Derek Carter and reserve Blake Batiste each overcame Rowe and Jones, but neither were able to defeat Brehaut. Carter and Dunning won the doubles over Brehaut and Jones in straight sets.