Action this week has seen 2 x Lions teams move extremely close to league titles in Divisions 1 and 4 of the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues, whilst it could not be tighter in Divisions 2 and 3 in the race for the title.
Lions A maintained their 6 point advantage at the top with just 4 fixtures left to play this season. They were 8-2 winners over 4th placed side Whistlers B this week in a fixture which saw averages leader Ben Foss maintain his unbeaten streak since the return of table tennis action. He didn't drop a set in singles action last week and this feat was impressively replicated here with straight sets wins over Joshua Stacey, Ellis Tomlin and Ben Sharp. Ryan Bichard and Jamie Ferbrache each added wins over Tomlin and Sharp, with Sharp narrowly losing out in 5 sets to Febrache. Foss and Bichard comfortably won the doubles encounter against Stacey and Tomlin in straight sets. Stacey salvaged wins over Bichard and Ferbrache, however he needed the full 5 sets in the latter encounter.
Whistlers A had a tough tussle with the bottom placed side Lions D but squeezed through 6-4. Matt Casey earned a win over sister Charlotte in straight sets before crucially edging out Liam Robilliard 12-10 in the deciding 5th set of their encounter, which came in the penultimate match of the evening whilst delicately poised at 4-4. Ryan Gilson defeated Charlotte in straight sets, whilst reserve Mark Pipet held his nerve strongly in the final match of the night to overcome the in-form Steve Ozanne in straight sets. The doubles was also to be a decisive rubber as it was won by Casey and Gilson over Robilliard and Casey in 4 sets. Ozanne had a good evening which included 5 set wins over both Gilson and Casey, whilst Robilliard defeated Pipet and Gilson comfortably in straight sets.
3rd placed side Lions B had a tough encounter with 5th placed Lions C this week but edged through 6-4. Phil Ogier continued his good form and this included straight sets singles wins over Andy Gill and reserve James Rabey and a 4 set win over Paul Hainsworth. Dawn Morgan added straight sets wins over Gill and Rabey, whilst Andre De Carteret edged out Rabey 12-10 in the 5th set of a pivotal encounter. For the beaten Lions side Hainsworth and Gill each defeated De Carteret in straight sets and Hainsworth added a further 4 set win over Morgan. Hainsworth and Gill also won a topsy-turvy doubles match over Ogier and De Carteret in 4 sets.
The first week back has seen a change in the league leaders after a slip for Lions E during their shock 5-5 draw with 6th placed side Lions G. The result sees Whistlers D now lead the way on games ratio.
Despite the draw, The E side were well led by Jez Powell who defeated Nye Matthew, Jonah Ingrouille and Ian Le Page in singles action. Caden Brouard defeated Ingoruille in 5 sets in the match opener, whilst Powell and Crocker combined strongly in the doubles to defeat Matthew and Ingrouille in straight sets. Matthew and Le Page both had strong evenings which saw them defeat Brouard and Crocker in singles action, whilst Ingoruille earned an important 4 sets win over Crocker to secure the draw. The result was even more impressive for the G side in that they trailed the match 4-1 at the half-way stage.
The Whistlers side took full advantage of the slip and comfortably beat Lions F 8-2. Martin Sarre and Craig Dunning each earned wins over Andy Ferbrache, Brian Ferbrache and reserve Connor Powell in singles action. The duo also teamed to beat the Ferbraches in 5 sets. Paula Le Ber added a win over Powell in straight sets, however she was beaten by Andy in 4 sets and Brian in straight sets.
Like Division 2, the third division is extremely tight and saw a twist in the title race this week.
In an almost identical scenario to the 2nd, the league leaders Whistlers F were held to a surprise 5-5 draw in their match with 5th placed side Ravenscroft Panthers C, which enabled Ravenscroft Panthers D to move top of the table on games difference.
Despite the draw, Stuart Sarre was uneaten in singles action for his side with wins over Brandon Ferbrache, Richard Edwards and Mick Ingrouille. Matthew Board and Darren Sarre each defeated Mick Ingrouille to secure the draw. Both Edwards and Ferbrache were in good form for their side as they each beat Darren and Board in singles action. They also won the crucial doubles match over Stuart and Board in straight sets.
New leaders Ravenscroft Panthers D took full advantage of the slip as they beat Whistlers E comfortably 8-2. Shaun Mosley was unbeaten with wins over Shane Cotter, Hedley Watson and Robert Naftel, whilst Steve Martin and Mark Windsor each beat Watson and Naftel. Mosley and Windsor won the doubles rubber against Cotter and Naftel in straight sets, Cotter prevented the whitewash due to his straight sets wins over Windsor and Martin.
Lions J are on the brink of the 4th Division title after they kept their strong 6 point lead intact courtesy of a 7-3 win over Lions K. Derek Cave was the man of the match due to his singles wins over Val Guilbert, Alex Paul and Diane Le Page. Graham Mallett added wins over Paul and Le Page, however the averages leader was defeated impressively in straight sets by Guilbert. Lionel Jones added a win over Le Page in 4 sets to secure the victory, whilst the doubles was won by Mallett and Cave in 4 sets against Paul and Le Page.