Whistlers B earned an important win in the top flight of the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues this week and now hold a 4 point advantage.
Their clash against title rivals and defending champions Lions A came during fixture 13 of the 25 to be contested in the season, meaning they have just under half a season to hold onto their lead.
The Whistlers side edged the clash 6-4 in the end, but looked to be in danger of dropping points during the early stages of the encounter, where the Lions side led 3-1 going into the doubles clash. The turning point came in the pivotal doubles fixture itself as the Lions combination of Ryan Bichard and Jamie Ferbrache won the opening game and led 10-7 in the 2nd game against Lawrence Stacey and Matthew Casey. The Whistlers pair fought hard to pinch the 2nd game 13-11 and carried the momentum to come through in 4 sets. Stacey proved to be decisive for the victors due to his trio of singles wins on the night. He was pushed in each encounter however and needed 4 sets to come through against Bichard and Ferbrache and the full 5 sets to overcome 2nd Division reserve Jez Powell in 5 sets in the final match of the night. Casey was the player to obtain the final 2 rubbers due to his excellent 5 set win over Powell and straight sets win over Bichard. Ferbrache put in a good shift on the night to overcome Casey in 5 sets and Ryan Gilson in 4 sets, but the Lions side were only able to obtain 2 further victories over Gilson on the night by Bichard and Powell. Bichard's clash with Gilson was a tightly contested one and the Lions player needed to battle back from 2-0 down to come through in 5 sets, saving multiple match points in the 4th end which he edged 16-14.
The Lions side have been without their star player Ben Foss for the previous 6 fixtures and his return later this year could lead to an exciting culmination to the season.
Lions B have been going under the radar and are now level on points with their A side in 3rd position. They earned a hard fought 6-4 win over 5th placed side Whistlers C this week in a match which saw junior Dan Collenette excel. Collenette earned a hat-trick of singles wins for just the 3rd time this season and included within this was a career first victory over Joshua Stacey. This particular win came in the opening game of the match and Collenette held firm to battle through the deciding game 11-9. He followed this up with convincing straight sets wins over Mark Pipet and Charlotte Casey. Phil Ogier added wins over Pipet and Casey, but lost out to Stacey over 4 sets. Andre De Carteret got the Lions side over the line due to his 4 set win over Casey. Stacey and Pipet each beat De Carteret in singles action and the doubles clash was won by Stacey and Casey over Collenette and De Carteret in 4 sets.
4th placed side Lions C have won consecutive matches for the first time this season and have won 3 of their last 4 matches. The win this week was a narrow 6-4 win over the side at the bottom of the table, Whistlers A. Paul Hainsworth has been in good form during this period and he won his 3 singles matches in straight sets for the third consecutive week. The wins were over Ellis Tomlin, Sam Clark and reserve Ian Fitchet this week and he also contributed to the doubles success over Tomlin and Clark alongside Corey Brouard in 4 sets. Brouard and Andy Gill made sure of the win due to their victories over Fitchet. The margin of victory could have been larger, but Tomlin battled hard to overcome both Gill and Brouard over the full 5 set distance.
Whistlers D are still 2 points clear at the top following their 9-1 win over Lions G this week. Kay Chivers and Keith Opie were unbeaten against Nye Matthew, Dave Finn and George Eker, whilst Ben Sharp defeated Finn and Eker. Matthew prevented the whitewash by coming through against Sharp in 5 sets.
Lions E won 7-3 over Lions F this week in a match where Jez Powell overcame Steve Potter, Andy Ferbrache and Sue Ferbrache. Caden Brouard added wins over Potter and Sue, but lost to Andy in 5 sets. Jonah Ingrouille overcame Sue in 4 sets and also won the doubles alongside Powell over Potter and Andy.
Lions D are still 3 points adrift of the league leaders, but they do still have a game in hand. Despite missing Carl Le Tissier this week due to his attendance at the Guernsey Sports Awards, they still managed to edge past St Pauls A 6-4 and keep their title hopes alive. Tim Le Page put in a man of the match performance by contributing to 4 of the rubbers on the night. He defeated Chas Elliott, Trevor Bourgaize and reserve Craig Dunning in singles action. The win against Bourgaize came from a 2-1 deficit, whilst the win over Elliott in the final match of the night came from a 2-0 deficit and saved the 2 points for his team. He also won the doubles clash alongside Steve Ozanne against Elliott and Bourgaize in straight sets. Ozanne was the player to pick up the remaining wins over Dunning and Elliott, but he lost to Bourgaize in 4 sets. Lions reserve Brian Ferbrache battled hard but was unable to add to the tally. His closest effort came during his clash with Dunning, where he fell short in 5 sets.
St Pauls B now hold a commanding 5 point lead at the top following their 7-3 win over Lions J. Despite the defeat, it was Mike Brehaut who was the star of the show for the Lions side due to his excellent evening which included wins over Derek Carter, John Wills and Brian Le Cras. The St Pauls trio made sure of the win due to their victories over Graham Mallett and Derek Cave. Carter and Wills also won the doubles over Brehaut and Mallett in 5 sets.