The penultimate week of the season prior to the Christmas/New Year break was extremely fruitful for the leading side at the top of the leading Division of the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues.
Lions A are the side in question and they extended their lead to a hefty 6 points following an additional victory in a match which was re-scheduled and played a week early.
The re-arranged match in question took place on Monday evening and ended with a narrow 6-4 victory over Whistlers B. Ben Foss was critical to the win as he won all of his singles matches, which most importantly included a 5 set win over the reigning Men's Island Singles champion Joshua Stacey in the final match of the night. His earlier wins had come in straight sets over Ellis Tomlin and Ben Sharp. Ryan Bichard added a 4 set win over Sharp, whilst Jamie Ferbrache battled past Tomlin in 5 sets. The other important match was the doubles rubber and it was Foss and Bichard that battled back from 2-0 down to overcome Stacey and Sharp in 5 sets. Stacey earned singles wins over Bichard and Ferbrache, whilst Sharp played well during a 5 set win over Ferbrache. Tomlin added an excellent 5 set win of his own over Bichard, overturning a 2-0 deficit in the process.
The scheduled match for the week was the important top of the table clash against Whistlers A and the result was also edged 6-4 by the leaders. Foss finished off the perfect week by once more remaining unbeaten. He was in emphatic form and did not drop an end during his wins over Lawrence Stacey, Matt Casey and Ryan Gilson and also combined strongly with Bichard to defeat Stacey and Gilson in 4 sets in the doubles rubber. Bichard had a tough initial test against Gilson, but battled through in 5 sets before sealing the victory for his team with an impressive straight sets win over Casey. Each of the defeated Whistlers side picked up singles wins over Ferbrache, whilst Stacey also defeated Bichard in 4 sets.
Whistlers B made up for their defeat to the leaders by earning their best result of the season due to their 6-4 win over 3rd placed side Lions B. Stacey showed some great form during his singles wins over Phil Ogier, Dawn Morgan and Andre De Carteret as he only dropped a single end to Morgan in the process. Tomlin and Sharp each defeated De Carteret in 4 sets and the doubles encounter was won by Stacey and Tomlin over Morgan and De Carteret in straight sets. Ogier and Morgan both earned straight sets wins over Sharp and Tomlin.
The final match of the week saw 5th placed side Lions C pick up their first victory of the season and this was done emphatically during their 8-2 triumph over Lions D. Paul Hainsworth led his team strongly with a trio of straight set singles wins over Liam Robilliard, Steve Ozanne and Charlotte Casey. Andy Gill and Sam Clark both played some good table tennis during their singles wins against Ozanne and Casey and the pair also combined well in the doubles during a straight sets win against Robilliard and Ozanne. Robilliard defeated Gill in straight sets before overcoming a scare from Clark in which he battled back from 2-1 down before edging the decider 12-10.
It remains tightly contested at the top with Whistlers D leading Lions E by just a single point.
The Whistlers side were in great form as they whitewashed Ravenscroft Panthers B 10-0. Martin Sarre, Paula Le Ber and Craig Dunning all beat Amy Wesley, Oscar Pearson and Juliette Yeaman in singles action, however Le Ber needed to battle back from 2-0 down to get the better of Wesley in the opener. The doubles was won by Sarre and Dunning over Pearson and Wesley in 4 sets.
Lions E meanwhile ended out as comfortable 7-3 winners over Lions F despite some close matches. Junior James Crocker played his best table tennis of the season due to him recording 3 impressive singles victories over strong opposition. He beat reserve Luke Le Tissier and Andy Ferbrache over the full 5 set distance and this included coming back from 2-0 down against Ferbrache. His final win came over Brian Ferbrache in straight sets. Jez Powell was also unbeaten on the night and dropped sets only during his 4 set wins over Le Tissier and Andy. Powell and Crocker teamed to win the doubles match over Andy and Brian in 4 sets. Caden Brouard experienced a tough evening and failed to register any wins. His closest match was against Le Tissier, who edged through in 5 having trailed 2-1.
Ravenscroft Panthers D are still tied at the top with Whistlers F after each picked up further wins this week.
The Panthers side are still mathematically top due to their superior games ratio and they were 7-3 winners against their C side this week in a match where an incredible 6 matches went the full 5 set distance. Shaun Mosley was the best performer for his side due to his wins over Brandon Ferbrache, Mick Ingrouille and Melissa Johns. Mark Windsor added 5 sets wins against Johns and Ingrouille, but lost to Ferbrache in 4 sets. Steve Martin finished the win due to his 5 set win over Johns, but he was edged in 5 sets by both Ferbrache and Ingrouille. Mosley and Martin extended the margin of victory during their 4 set doubles win over Ingrouille and Johns.
Whistlers F were faced with an extremely tough test against the form side of the Division, but managed to successfully navigate past Whistlers G 6-4. Stuart Sarre has been the catalyst for the joint league leaders, but it was Matthew Board who proved to be the main man on the night. Board held his nerve brilliantly during 5 set singles wins over Max Burrows, Erik Teteruk and Ken Falla. He had found himself 2-1 behind in the 2 latter encounters before battling through strongly. Stuart still had a strong evening which included a 4 set win over Burrows and a straight sets win over Falla, however the averages leader lost just his 2nd singles match of the season so far when Teteruck came through in 5 sets. Board and Stuart won the important doubles rubber against Falla and Teteruck in 4 sets to make sure of the win.
4th placed side Lions I are now just 2 points off 3rd now after recording their 4th consecutive win of the season. They were 8-2 winners over Lions H this week in a match which saw both Carly and Jayden Tucknott pick up wins over Mike Brehaut, Lynn Finn and Dave Finn. They also teamed to win the doubles against Brehaut and Lynn in 4 sets. Erin Vaudin added a straight set win over Dave, but was narrowly edged in 5 sets by both Lynn and Brehaut.