Whistlers A continue to lead the way in the Doric Insurance leagues but the race for the title is shaping up to be one of the closest in recent history. They dispatched bottom-placed Lions D by a score of 7-3 with Island Games player Lawrence Stacey winning his all his matches against Sam Clark, Corey Brouard and reserve Josh Butler, although the Lions side put up an admirable display and wouldn't go down without a fight. Stacey had to work hard to get past Butler and improving junior Brouard, both deuce in the 4th end. Ryan Gilson continued the new year where he left off by impressively beating Clark and Brouard and then teamed up with Stacey to win the doubles 3-1. Reserve Martin Sarre also chipped in with a win against Clark.
Further down the hall there was an extremely tight match between the 2nd and 3rd placed teams, with Whistlers B securing a win over Lions A and leapfrogging their rivals in the process. Joshua Stacey had a clean sweep of wins to lead the way for the Whistlers including a good 4 game win over fellow Guernsey Sports Awards winner Ben Foss. Teammates Ellis Tomlin and Mark Pipet each beat Jamie Ferbrache and Stacey and Tomlin teamed up well to secure the doubles by a 3-0 score line. Perhaps the crucial point in the match came when Stacey found himself 2-0 down against Ferbrache with the match score delicately poised at 5-3, but he upped his attacking game and produced the comeback that eventually sealed the win. Ryan Bichard had a good night for Lions with wins over Pipet and Tomlin.
In the other match in the top division, Lions B overcame Lions C 6-4 to draw level on points and games difference in the league table. Phil Ogier maintained his high average with 3 singles wins and was backed up by Dan Collenette, who beat 2nd Division reserve Steve Ozanne, and Andre De Carteret who defeated Charlotte Casey 3-0.
The results mean that almost halfway through the season, there are only 3 points between the top 3 teams and then a widening gap down to 4th placed Lions B.
The three-way battle for the Division 2 title continued this week as 3rd placed Whistlers C scored an important win over reigning champions Lions E to leapfrog into 2nd place. Kay Chivers was yet again instrumental for Whistlers as she picked up victories over Carl Le Tissier, Tim Le Page and Steve Ozanne. It was Le Tissier who pushed her closest, having done well to come back from 2 games down, but he eventually fell 11-9 in the deciding game. Ben Sharp continued his excellent season in defeating Le Page and Le Tissier but was beaten by British League player Ozanne in straight games. Keith Opie however picked up an excellent win over Ozanne in the first match of the evening, one which proved pivotal to Whistlers' chances of staying in the title race.
Elsewhere leaders Lions F now have a 2-point lead at the top after a win over St Pauls A with 3 individual wins apiece for Jez Powell and Andrew Ferbrache.
With Lions H not in action, the spotlight was on Lions J in Division 3 and they kept up the pressure on the league leaders with a 7-3 victory over Lions I. With Edward Rowe absent, having left the island for a stint in New Zealand, reserve Carly Tucknott proved herself a more than capable stand-in with wins over Graham Mallett and Lynn Finn. For Lions I, Vaudin showed her tenacity and improved forehand attacks with impressive wins against both Tucknotts, although she was outfoxed by fellow junior James Crocker who won in 3 sets.
Ravenscroft Panthers C jumped into 4th spot, just about within touching distance of 2nd place after beating drew with their Ravenscroft Panthers D in a tight match by 6 games to 4.
Whistlers G maintained their 100% start to the season in Division 4, but they received their most severe test to date, scraping past 2nd placed Ravenscroft Panthers E by 6 games to 4 to extend their lead at the top of the table. Oscar Pearson excelled for Panthers and won his 3 singles matches against Stuart Sarre, Darren Sarre and Matthew Board. Indeed, it was only Stuart's second defeat of the season. Under-13 player Shelby Timms picked up the 4th match for Panthers with a win over Darren Sarre. For Whistlers, Board's results were crucial as he edged past both Timms sisters in tight 5-game affairs to wrap up victory. Lions K remain in the mix, currently lying in third place as they beat Whistlers H 7-3. Graham Mallett, Damien Fitzgerald and Derek Cave all picked up 2 wins, but for Whistlers, Mark Bideau continued his excellent return to table tennis and was undefeated on the night. The results mean that the battle for the individual averages is also a close one as Pearson, Bideau and Board are all in contention behind leader Stuart Sarre.