The hotly anticipated top of the table clash between Lions A and Whistlers A did not fail to disappoint and resulted in a narrow 6-4 win for the defending champions, Lions A.
With both sides level on points prior to this penultimate meeting, the fixture was all set to be a nail biting affair, especially given the fact that a 5-5 stalemate was the outcome during the previous encounter, just before the Christmas and New Years break.
In that last fixture, it was Mark Pipet's vital 4 set victory over Paul Hainsworth in the final game of the match which salvaged the point for the Whistlers side. Their encounter this time out was just as important, however the clash came as early as the 3rd rubber of the match, with the match score poised at 1-1. Pipet looked to be well set to repeat the victory when taking the opening 2 legs, however Hainsworth regrouped well to pinch a tight 3rd set before powering through the 4th to force a decider. The Lions player continued to lead proceedings until the tail end of the leg, where Pipet held a match point whilst serving at 10-9. A long third ball backhand stoke from Pipet ensured parity at 10-10 and an effective serve at this stage earned Hainsworth his first match point at 11-10, which he went on to convert at the first time of asking. Hainsworth picked up another victory on the evening over Martin Sarre in straight sets, but lost out over the full 5 sets to the CI number 1 Garry Dodd. Ben Foss defeated Pipet in 4 sets and Sarre in straight sets and he also came very close to inflicting Dodd's first singles defeat of the season, when leading 2-0. He was ultimately to lose 11-5 in the 5th and deciding end. Dan Collenette was back in the team having been absent due to illness the previous week and he did excellently to mirror Foss' results of a 4 set win over Pipet and a straight sets win over Sarre. The latter result was the crucial one as it came in the final match of the evening and ensured that the 2 points went the way of the Lions side. The doubles fixture was claimed by Dodd and Pipet over Foss and Collenette in straight sets and ensured that Dodd went through the evening unbeaten.
Lions B remain 3rd after they recorded their first 10-0 whitewash of the season, their C side on the receiving end. Phi Ogier, Ryan Bichard and reserve Jez Powell all overcame Jamie Ferbrache, Andy Gill and Ian Le Page in singles action. Gill came the closest to preventing the whitewash during his encounter with Bichard. He led 2-0 and 9-7 before the junior came back and took the match 11-8 in the decider. Bichard and Powell combined to win the doubles against Ferbrache and Gill in straight sets.
Whistlers B are just a single point behind the Lions B side and they edged towards a narrow 6-4 win over their C side this week. Joshua Stacey and Matthew Casey each defeated Ryan Gilson and Charlotte Casey in singles action. They also combined to win an important doubles match against Lawrence Stacey and Gilson in 5 sets. The victors final win came from reserve Andy Lihou when he defeated Casey 11-8 in the 5th set of their encounter. Despite the defeat Lawrence showed excellent form with wins over each of the B side's players. This included a 4 set win over twin Joshua, 13-11 in the 4th end.
Whistlers D remain 7 points clear at the top ahead of their closest rivals Lions E and Lions D, however both sides do have 2 games in hand on the leaders. An 8-2 win was recorded this week over Ravenscroft Panthers A. Kay Chivers led the way strongly with wins over Brandon Ferbrache, Billy Ogier and reserve David Kershaw. Ellis Tomlin added wins over Ogier and Kershaw, but he lost in straight sets to Ferbrache. Keith Opie overcame Ferbrache and Kershaw, but lost to Ogier in 4 sets. The doubles was claimed in 4 sets by Chivers and Opie over Ogier and Ferbrache.
St Pauls B are still 10 points clear at the top of the 3rd Division and could incredibly be crowned champions as early as the next few weeks. A 7-3 win was recorded over Whistlers G this week in a fixture where Derek Carter was unbeaten. He beat Callum Gilson, Ben Sharp and Robert Naftel in singles action and also teamed with Craig Dunning to overcome Gilson and Naftel in straight sets in the doubles encounter. Dunning himself added wins over Sharp and Naftel, but lost to Gilson over 4 sets. The St Pauls reserve Blake Batiste also picked up a straight sets win of his own over Naftel to extend the margin of victory.