Just 6 days into 2021 saw the return of competitive table tennis action in the form of the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues.
Lions A started off the year in the same vein as they had finished 2020 - with a win. The 7-3 victory over 5th placed side Lions C ensures that they remain 4 points clear at the top, but the leaders did not have everything their own way in the fixture. There was an unbeaten evening of singles action for Paul Hainsworth for the defeated C side as he battled back from 2-0 down to overcome Ryan Bichard in the opener in 5 sets before beating Ben Foss in 4 sets and reserve Luke Bichard in straight sets. The victors owe a lot to the excellent form of reserve Luke who played some superb table tennis on the night on the way to a 4 set singles win over Andy Gill and a 5 set win against Sam Clark. Foss and Ryan also added singles wins against the duo to make sure of the win and combined well in the doubles to battle past Hainsworth and Gill in 4 sets.
3rd placed side Lions B battled past bottom placed side Lions D 7-3 in a fixture including 3 reserves. Phil Ogier led his team strongly with comfortable straight sets wins over Steve Ozanne, Charlotte Casey and reserve Jonah Ingrouille. Brian Ferbrache performed well as reserve during his 5 set win over Casey and straight sets win over Ingrouille, whilst the other reserve for the B side, Ian Le Page added a straight set win over Ingrouille. Ogier and Ferbrache won the doubles against Ozanne and Casey in straight sets. For the defeated side, Ozanne beat Ferbrache and Ferbrache and Le Page in straight sets, whilst Casey edged through against Le Page in 5 sets.
Lions D struck a decisive blow to prior league leaders Whistlers D this week after edging them out 6-4 in the top of the table clash. The result is the first defeat of the season for the Whistlers outfit, who are off the top of the table for the first time this season, a single point adrift of the Lions side. Jez Powell was in strong form all evening during his singles wins over Martin Sarre, Paula Le Ber and Craig Dunning as he lost just a single leg to Dunning in the process. Caden Brouard was also in good form and he started with a hard fought 5 set win over Dunning and finished strongly with a pivotal 5 set win over Le Ber in the 8th match of the night whilst his side was 4-3 up, having trailed 2-1 in that encounter. Powell combined strongly with Brouard in the crucial doubles match against Sarre and Dunning and they prevailed in another important 5 set encounter. Each of the Whistlers players defeated James Crocker and Sarre added a strong straight sets win over Brouard.
League leaders Ravenscroft Panthers D were held to a 5-5 draw with a third placed Whistlers G side missing Ken Falla. Youngster Max Burrows played some superb table tennis to pick up a well deserved hat-trick. He beat Mark Windsor and Steve Martin in 5 sets and Shaun Mosley in 4 sets. Erik Teteruck also played some strong table tennis during his 5 set win over Martin and straight sets win over Windsor. He too came close to going unbeaten in singles action on the night, but was edged out in 5 sets by Mosley. The match which included 6 matches to go the full distance had another in the doubles and this was crucially won by Martin and Mosley, who had trailed Teteruck and Burrows 2-1 in that encounter. Each of the Panthers players defeated reserve Pierre Jehan, however Windsor needed to battle back from 2-1 down to come through yet another 5 setter.
Whistlers F took full advantage of the slip and are now just a single point off the top after they put a stop to the impressive unbeaten run of Lions I 7-3. The Lions side had won their last 5 matches and were the form side of the Division, however Stuart Sarre led his side strongly with singles wins over Carly Tucknott, Jayden Tucknott and Erin Vaudin. Darren Sarre also had won of his best matches of the season thus far with excellent straight sets wins over Carly and Vaudin. Matthew Board made sure of the win when he defeated Carly in 4 sets whilst he also teamed with Stuart to defeat Vaudin and Jayden in straight sets in the doubles rubber.