It was a successful period for the 2 x leading sides at the top of the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues, as each won both of their fixtures.
The results mean that Lions A remain top of the league by a single point, however they were tested in each of their encounters before coming through 6-4 on both occasions. The first result came against 5th placed side Lions C in a fixture where the leaders were missing Ryan Bichard. Ben Foss led the way strongly for his side here with singles wins over Paul Hainsworth, Andy Gill and Sam Clark, dropping just a single end to Hainsworth along the way. Jamie Ferbrache added wins over Gill and Clark and it was the latter encounter which proved pivotal as he battled back excellently from 2-0 to come through in 5 sets. Foss and Bichard also combined well to win the equally important doubles rubber against Gill and Clark in 4 sets, having dropped the opener. Each of the C side earned wins over reserve Brian Ferbrache, whilst Hainsworth added a further straight sets win against Jamie.
The other 6-4 result for the leaders came against 3rd placed side Lions B in what was a tough test for the full strength side. It turned out however to be a real team performance as each member of the team finished the evening with 2 singles wins. Foss, Bichard and Ferbrache all played good table tennis to defeat Dawn Morgan and Andre De Carteret. Morgan's 5 set loss to Bichard was the closest that either player got during these encounters. Phil Ogier continued the good form he showed during the Island Championships with an unbeaten evening of action. He impressively defeated Foss, Bichard and Ferbrache for the loss of just 1 end to Bichard. In addition, he also combined well with Morgan as they battled back from 2-0 down to overcome Foss and Ferbrache in the doubles match.
2nd placed side Whistlers A had more comfortable victories during the period and this started with a decisive 8-2 victory against Whistlers B. Lawrence Stacey was in good form due to his wins over twin Joshua in 5 sets and Ben Sharp and Ellis Tomlin in 4 sets. Matt Casey and Ryan Gilson added wins against Sharp and Tomlin and it was the duo of Lawrence and Gilson which overcame Joshua and Sharp in the doubles over 4 sets. Joshua restored some pride for his side due to his wins against Casey and Gilson.
Their other win came against 5th placed side Lions C 7-3 despite an unbeaten evening of singles action for Hainsworth. Hainsworth did it the hard way as he needed 14 sets to come through as victor in the 3 encounters. He opened with a 4 set win over Gilson before battling back from 2-0 to Casey before edging a monumental 5th set 21-19 following numerous match points for both players. His final match of the night came against Stacey and he earned his 2nd win against the averages leader in 5 days, following the previous 7 set thriller in the Island Championships Men's Singles. Stacey had looked in prime position to make amends for the previous loss when leading 2-0, however Hainsworth battled hard and stuck in where required and managed to edge the final 3 ends all by the narrow scoreline of 12-10. The Whistlers players all picked up singles wins against Gill and Clark to make sure of the 2 points and Stacey and Casey made a comeback of their own in the doubles as they reversed a 2-0 deficit against Hainsworth and Clark in the doubles to win in 5 sets.
The remaining first Division fixtures saw the side at the foot of the table, Lions D, suffer 2 defeats. Lions B ran out 8-2 winners prior to the Championships in a match where Phil Ogier and Dawn Morgan earned wins against Liam Robilliard, Steve Ozanne and Charlotte Casey. Andre De Carteret added a 5 set win against Ozanne and a 4 set win against Casey, but was defeated in 4 sets by Robilliard. Robilliard and Casey played well in the doubles where they impressively defeated Ogier and De Carteret in straight sets.
Whistlers B were the other side to win against the Lions side and it was a matching 8-2 result in a fixture where both sides were missing players. The Whistlers side were led strongly by recently crowned Island Men's Singles champion Joshua Stacey who defeated Casey, Ozanne and reserve Luke Le Tissier, however he overcame a scare during his match with Casey, which went the distance and also dropped an end to Le Tissier. Sharp also had a unbeaten evening of singles action, whilst Whistlers reserve Pipet competed in his first league action of the season and earned a straight sets win against Ozanne. Stacey and Sharp won the doubles against Ozanne and Casey in 5 sets having been 2-1 down. Casey made the most of her good form on the night as she finished with a straight sets win against Pipet, whilst Le Tissier also played some good table tennis to defeat Pipet in 5 sets.
Whistlers D remain top of the table, but their lead was reduced to a single point due to their 5-5 draw against 3rd placed side Whistlers C. Averages leader Kay Chivers was the difference for her C side as she won all 3 of her singles matches against Martin Sarre, Craig Dunning and Paula Le Ber. Her wins against Dunning and Le Ber were in straight sets, whilst she needed to battle back from 2-1 down before edging the 4th and 5th ends 11-9, 13-11 to defeat Sarre. Keith Opie opened the evening with a strong 4 set win over Le Ber and he combined well with Chivers to see off the challenge Sarre and Le Ber in 5 sets, crucially coming back from 2-1 down in the process.
Lions E made the most of the slip and are now in 2nd place. Jez Powell, Caden Brouard and James Crocker picked up comfortable wins against Ravenscroft Panthers B and Lions G to make sure of this. Powell won all 6 of his singles matches during these matches, whilst Brouard won 5, only losing out to Nye Matthew from Lions G.
It has been an eventful period of fixtures in the third Division which now has the top 3 sides separated by just a single point.
Ravenscroft Panthers D remain top on games ratio from Whistlers F, however they were stunned by 4th placed side Lions I who put in a superb performance to win 9-1. Carly Tucknott and son Jayden each had excellent evenings due to them earning singles wins against Steve Martin, Shaun Mosley and Mark Windsor. They also joined to win the doubles against Martin and Windsor in 5 sets. Erin Vaudin also had a decent evening due to her wins against Mosley and Windsor. She came close to making it a shock whitewash, but was reeled back by Martin, who won in 5 sets having trailed 2-1. The Panthers side will rue the tight encounters as from the 6 encounters that went the full 5 set distance, they only won 1 of these matches. Lions I followed up with a strong matching 9-1 win over St Pauls B.
3rd placed side Whistlers G were the other big winners due to them winning both of their matches. The team of Ken Falla, Erik Teteruck and Max Burrows defeated Whistlers E 7-3 despite an unbeaten evening of singles action for Shane Cotter, before whitewashing Lions H 10-0.
Lions J are in a strong position 4 points clear at the top following their important 6-4 win against 2nd placed title rivals Ravenscroft Panthers E. Graham Mallett was the star performer due to his wins against Shelby Timms, Tia Timms and Huxley Le Conte. His victory against Shelby in the final match of the night came from a 2-0 deficit and was the first singles defeat of the season for the youngster. It leaves the paid tied at the top of the averages, with both having just lost once to each other thus far this season. Derek Cave beat Tia in 5 sets and Huxley in 4 sets, whilst Lionel Jones won an important 4 set match against Le Conte to make sure of the win.