The penultimate week of action from the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues was packed with action and saw a number of re-arranged fixtures contested across the 1st and 2nd Divisions.
Significantly it saw defending top flight champions Lions A play twice and victories in each of these fixtures has seen them crowned as champions once again.
On Monday evening they took part in a re-arranged contest against 4th placed side Whistlers B and they earned a comfortable 8-2 win. Ben Foss was in strong form for the champions as he came through against Joshua Stacey in 5 sets as well as beating both Matthew Casey and Sam Clark in straight sets. Paul Hainsworth defeated Casey and Clark in straight sets, whilst Dan Collenette overcame Clark 3-0 before overcoming a 2-0 deficit to beat Casey in 5 sets. Foss and Hainsworth combined to take the doubles rubber over Stacey and Casey in 4 sets. Stacey may have lost to Foss, but he did earn a 4 set win over Hainsworth and a 5 set win over Collenette, in a match where he had trailed 2-1.
The title was officially sealed on Wednesday evening in the normal scheduled fixture against bottom placed side Lions C. Only a single point was needed from the match, but the title was won in style courtesy of a 10-0 whitewash, only the third they have achieved from the 24 matches contested. Foss, Hainsworth and Collenette all dispatched Jamie Ferbrache, Ian Le Page and reserve Steve Ozanne in singles action, with Ferbrache claiming the sole leg during his 4 set reverse to Collenette. Hainsworth and Collenette combined to defeat Ferbrache and Le Page in the doubles, which was also won 3-0.
Whistlers A matched the Lions side in playing a re-arranged fixture against Whistlers B this week, but they did not have as much luck and ended up dropping a point during a 5-5 stalemate. The leading Whistlers side were missing Mark Pipet and this was a key factor in the dropped point. Garry Dodd is now just a single match away from completing his second consecutive top flight season of an unbeaten singles record and he achieved this courtesy of a 5 set win over Stacey and straight sets wins over Casey and Clark. He also combined with Martin Sarre to win the doubles encounter over Stacey and Clark in straight sets. Sarre added the 5th win when he overcame Clark in straight sets and was unlucky not to win the 6th rubber, losing out to Casey 11-8 in the deciding leg of their encounter. Stacey defeated Sarre in 4 sets and each of the B side earned wins over the A's side reserve, 3rd division junior Callum Gilson, all in straight sets.
3rd placed side Lions B slipped to a surprise 7-3 loss to 5th placed side Whistlers C this week, but they were missing both Phil Ogier and Ryan Bichard. Lawrence Stacey continued his good recent run of form with singles wins over Andre De Carteret and 2nd Division reserves Jez Powell and Corey Brouard. Ryan Gilson added wins over De Carteret and Brouard, whilst Charlotte Casey added a good 5 set win over De Carteret, having trailed 2-0. The doubles match was claimed by Stacey and Casey over Powell and De Carteret in 5 sets.
Champions Whistlers D beat their F side 7-3 this week. The team of Kay Chivers, Keith Opie and Ellis Tomlin have had a strong season and this is reflected by the fact that Chivers currently occupies second position in the Division 2 averages, whilst Tomlin is just 2 spots and 7% behind in 4th.
St Pauls B have been the most comfortable champions across all Divisions, however they were defeated for the first time this season in the penultimate week of action. 3rd placed side Whistlers G were the side to inflict the narrow 6-4 victory and it was young Ben Sharp that did the damage due to a trio of singles wins over John Wills, Brian Le Cras and Blake Batiste. Callum Gilson beat Le Cras and Batiste, but it was Robert Naftel that earned the pivotal 6th win when he overcame Batiste in 4 sets.