Whistlers Table Tennis Club are close to securing their second consecutive top flight crown of the Doric Insurance sponsored leagues.
The title however is not set to go to the defending champions Whistlers A, it is instead heading towards Whistlers B, who now hold a commanding 7 point lead at the top, with just 1 further rotation of matches to be contested. The clash between 2nd placed side Whistlers A and 3rd placed side Lions A did not take place this week however, so they each have a game in hand on the leaders.
The league leaders did just enough this week to battle past a stubborn 5th placed Lions C side 6-4. In the end the match was settled by the outcome of 2 close 5 set battles and it was Josh Stacey that came out on the right side in both of them. First up was his clash with Andy Gill and after the left-handed veteran forced the decider, Stacey raised his level to win the deciding end 11-6. His other 5 set win came against Paul Hainsworth, but in this encounter he needed to battle back from 2-1 down before winning the final end 11-7, having earlier trailed 4-2. His other singles win was more decisive as he defeated Charlotte Casey in straight sets. Mark Pipet played good table tennis during straight sets wins over Gill and Casey and it came to the combination of Stacey and Ellis Tomlin to pick up the decisive 6th rubber when they beat Gill and Casey in straight sets in the doubles match. For the Lions side, Hainsworth earned matching straight set wins over Pipet and Tomlin, whilst Gill overcame Tomlin in 4 sets and Casey earned herself a straight sets win over Tomlin in the penultimate match of the night.
The only other top flight match of the week saw a landmark victory achieved by the bottom placed side Lions D. The D side picked up their first win of the season at the 20th attempt and it was an impressive 6-4 win over 4th placed side Lions B. Liam Robilliard and reserve Steve Ozanne both earned singles wins over Dan Collenette and Andre De Carteret, whilst Corey Brouard added a 4 set win over Collenette. Robilliard and Brouard earned themselves a nice straight sets doubles win over Ogier and De Carteret to seal the win. Despite the defeat for his side, Ogier was in fine form and defeated all of the D side players in singles action without dropping an end. De Carteret added a win of his own against Brouard and came back from 2-0 down in the process.
League leaders Lions F slipped to a 5-5 draw with 3rd placed side Lions E, but remain top by a single point. Tim Le Page was the catalyst for the E side due to his superb 5 set win in the opening match of the night over Jez Powell. He held his nerve well in the deciding end of the game to clinch it 11-7 and inflict Powell's 3rd singles loss of the season. He followed this up strongly with straight sets win over Caden Brouard and also teamed with Steve Ozanne to earn an excellent 5 set doubles win over Powell and Andy Ferbrache. He had the change to get the win for his team in the penultimate match of the night against Ferbrache, however Ferbrache kept his composure excellently to close out the deciding end 14-12. Ozanne also contributed strongly to the result for his side due to his straight sets win over Brouard and 4 set win over Ferbrache. He too had the chance to close out the win in the final match of the night, however Powell was too strong and won in straight sets. The leaders had actually fought back from 5-2 down, as Brouard defeated reserve Terry Trustum in straight sets.
Whistlers C just about held their nerve to close the gap on the leaders after they squeezed past Whistlers D 6-4. Kay Chivers was in top form for her side due to straight set wins over Martin Sarre, Craig Dunning and Paula Le Ber. Ben Sharp added a pair of crucial 5 set wins over Dunning and Le Ber and particularly the latter encounter which he trailed 2-0. Chivers and Sharp won the important doubles rubber in 4 sets over Sarre and Le Ber.
Lions H have all but sealed the 3rd Division title after their win this week opened up a 10 point lead ahead of the final 5 matches of the season.
Their 9-1 win over Ravenscroft Panthers D put them in this strong position and Brian Ferbrache and Jonah Ingrouille were both unbeaten courtesy of singles wins over Marli Barker and reserves Shelby Timms and Tia Timms. Steve Potter added wins over the Timms sisters, but lost to Barker in 4 sets. Potter and Ingrouille won the doubles rubber against Barker and Shelby in straight sets.
Whistlers G hold a commanding 5 point lead at the top after they defeated Lions K 8-2 this week. Stuart Sarre was unbeaten after earning straight sets wins over Graham Mallett, Derek Cave and Damien Fitzgerald. Matthew Board added wins over Fitzgerald in 5 sets and Cave in straight sets, whilst Darren Sarre overcame Cave in 4 sets and Mallett in 5 sets. The doubles rubber was won by Stuart and Board in straight sets over Mallett and Fitzgerald. Mallett overcame Board in 5 sets and Fitzgerald beat Darren in 4 sets to prevent the whitewash.