The penultimate 4th round of fixtures from the top flight of the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues came to a conclusion this week.
With just one more round of matches left to play this season, Lions A continue to head the table from Whistlers A by the slender margin of just 2 points.
The leaders faced a very tough test against 3rd placed side Lions B this week, but managed to edge through 6-4. Ben Foss and Paul Hainsworth each contributed 2 singles wins on the night, with Foss comfortably coming through against Andre De Carteret and Ryan Bichard without dropping an end. Hainsworth also came through against De Carteret 3-0, but he needed the full 5 sets against Bichard in a pivotal encounter when the match score was tied at 4-4. Dan Collenette made sure of the victory in the final fixture of the match when he defeated De Carteret in 4 sets. The remaining rubber clinched by the Lions side came courtesy of Foss and Hainsworth's straight sets doubles win over Phil Ogier and Bichard. Ogier was in good form on the night due to his trio of singles wins over all of the A sides players, dropping just 1 end to Foss and 1 to Hainsworth in the process.
Whistlers A were comfortable winners over Whistlers C 7-3 this week. Garry Dodd edged one step closer to a second consecutive unblemished season of top flight singles matches courtesy of another perfect evening. He came through against Lawrence Stacey, Ryan Gilson and Charlotte Casey and only dropped a single end to Lawrence in the process. Mark Pipet added wins over Gilson and Casey in straight sets, whilst Martin Sarre was on hand to defeat Casey to secure the points. Dodd and Sarre took the doubles encounter against Stacey and Gilson in 4 sets.
Whistlers B missed the opportunity to close the gap to third placed side Lions B this week as they were held to a 5-5 draw by the bottom placed side Lions C. The Lions side have moved level on points with Whistlers C by virtue of gaining this point. Jamie Ferbrache led the way strongly for the Lions side due to his impressive straight sets win over Matthew Casey and his 4 set win over reserve Ian Fitchet. He also teamed with Andy Gill to win an excellent 4 set doubles rubber over Josh Stacey and Casey. Gill also overcame Fitchet in 4 sets, but it was the final rubber of the night that contained the most drama. With the Whistlers side 5-4 up, it came down to Fitchet against Lions own 2nd Division reserve Brian Ferbrache. Fitchet led 2-1, but it was Ferbrache who dug in well and came through over the full 5 sets and earned his side the point.
Whistlers D extended their lead at the top to 6 points following their 9-1 win over Lions G on Monday evening. Keith Opie and Ellis Tomlin each overcame Ken Tucknott and Rob Vile in singles action and also won the doubles match in straight sets against the same pair. Reserve Callum Gilson defeated Vile, but lost to Tucknott in 4 sets and this prevented the whitewash occurring. The Whistlers side gained the other 3 rubbers via walkover.
None of the scheduled Division 2 matches from Thursday evening took place due to the weather.
St Pauls B look to have clinched the third division title with 5 matches to spare. They are 12 points clear of their nearest rivals, who have 6 matches left, so barring a complete collapse, the title is theirs. They were emphatic 9-1 winners over Lions J this week and Derek Carter, Craig Dunning and John Wills all overcame Graham Mallett, Janine Mallett and Derek Cave in singles action. Despite this, Graham and Derek recorded a superb straight sets double win over Carter and Dunning to prevent the whitewash.