Lions table tennis club has secured the first 2 x titles of the Doric Insurance sponsored senior leagues this week.
The victories came at the top and bottom of the GTTA leagues, with Lions A taking the honours in the top flight and Lions J the title in the 4th Division.
Lions table tennis club have historically been the club to beat in the top flight having taken the crown 22 times in the past 25 seasons. Whistlers table tennis club however had clinched the title for the previous 2 seasons, but the Lions A side who had been close challengers during those prior campaigns have been the best side this time around and re-gained the title for their club.
Ben Foss, Ryan Bichard and Jamie Ferbrache have each played strong parts in the title winning effort with important victories obtained by each.
This week saw a narrow 6-4 win over Lions B in a fixture where a player was missing from each side. Lions B star Phil Ogier who currently occupies second in the averages was missing, whilst Ferbrache was missing for the newly crowned champions. Ben Foss is the current averages leader and he continued his impressive unbeaten record since returning to lockdown with another trio of singles wins. He comfortably overcame Dawn Morgan, Andre De Carteret and reserve Terry Trustum without dropping an end and he also combined with Bichard to defeat Morgan and De Carteret in straight sets in the doubles rubber. Bichard himself added wins over De Carteret and Trustum in straight sets, but had a 2-0 advantage clawed back well by Morgan during her comeback 5 set win. Each of the defeated Lions B side earned wins over Lions A reserve Brian Ferbrache however Trustum needed 5 sets and De Carteret 4.
A combination of the defeat for Lions B and the victory for Whistlers A this week has also seen them officially claim the runners-up honours for the season. They were 7-3 winners over 5th placed side Lions C this week despite an unbeaten evening for Paul Hainsworth. Hainsworth was in good form during his hat-trick of straight sets wins over Lawrence Stacey, Matthew Casey and Ryan Gilson. Each of the Whistlers players defeated Andy Gill and Sam Clark in singles action, however Casey and Gilson each needed the full 5 sets to defeat Gill, with Casey edging through 12-10 in the decider saving a match point in the process and Gilson 11-9 in the deciding end. Clark too was competitive in his matches having won the opening set in each before losing over 4 sets. The doubles rubber was a third such encounter to be edged by the Whistlers side over 5 sets. Stacey and Gilson were 2-1 down before edging a tight 4th 12-10 and then battled back incredibly from 7-2 down in the decider to nick it 11-8.
4th placed side Whistlers B were the final winners of the week but they had a real tough test against bottom placed side Lions D who pushed them to a close 6-4 finish. Josh Stacey was key for his team as he earned wins over Liam Robilliard, Steve Ozanne and Charlotte Casey, dropping just a single end to Robilliard during a hard fought 4 set win in the process. Ben Sharp and Ellis Tomlin each contributed with wins over Casey in 4 sets and straight sets respectively and the youngsters also combined well to win the crucial doubles rubber against Ozanne and Casey in straight sets. Robilliard and Ozanne showed good form on the night as each earned singles wins over Sharp and Tomlin.
Whistlers D have taken a huge stride towards the 2nd Division title after they won this week and title rivals Lions E slipped to defeat by their club rivals Lions F. Such is the large games ratio advantage, the Whistlers side will clinch the title if they defeat Ravenscroft Panthers A next time out.
The Whistlers side took full advantage of the slip as they comfortably powered past Ravenscroft Panthers B 9-1. Martin Sarre and Paula Le Ber were unbeaten due to singles wins over Oscar Pearson, Richard Edwards and Juliette Yeaman, whilst Craig Dunning added wins over Edwards and Yeaman. Sarre and Le Ber won the doubles rubber over Pearson and Yeaman in 4 sets. Pearson prevented the whitewas with a tidy 4 set victory against Dunning.
The triumph by the Lions F side was 7-3 and a true team effort with all players earning 2 singles wins a piece. Andy Ferbrache, Brian Ferbrache and the strong reserve in the form of Luke Le Tissier all defeated Caden Brouard and James Crocker in singles action, however for both Ferbraches this came over the full 5 sets against left-handed youngster Crocker. In a night where the 5 set matches made all the difference, it was the Ferbrache brothers who prevailed in a topsy-turvy doubles match against Powell and Crocker. They fought back from a 2-1 deficit to take the final 2 ends 13-11, 11-5. Powell had a good evening despite the defeat as he won all 3 of his singles matches, dropping just the single end to Andy in the process.
In the Division set for the closest finish in recent history there were further twists in the tale this week.
Previous joint leaders Ravenscroft Panthers D were dealt a calamitous blow this week when they slumped to a costly 6-4 defeat by their C side. Brandon Ferbrache made all the difference as he contributed to 4 of the 6 wins for the 5th placed side. He played some excellent table tennis during 4 set wins over Steve Martin and Mark Windsor and an even better straight sets win over Shaun Mosley. He teamed well with 4th division reserve Shelby Timms to earn an excellent straight sets win over Martin and Mosley. Timms had further impact on the night due to a super straight sets win over Windsor in the important penultimate match of the night to give her side a 5-4 lead. Earlier in the fixture it was Mick Ingrouille that picked up the decisive 6th win for his side courtesy of a 4 set win over Windsor.
The result has enabled Whistlers F to move to top of the table with a 2 point advantage after they came through a tough test of their own with a similarly tight 6-4 win over 3rd placed side Whistlers G, who were just a single point adrift prior to the fixture. Matthew Board played his best match of the season for the victors and earned nice singles wins over Ken Falla, Erik Teteruck and Max Burrows. Stuart Sarre added wins over Teteruck and Burrows, whilst the duo sealed the deal when teaming to beat Falla and Teteruck in 4 sets in the doubles match. All of the defeated Whistlers side beat Darren Sarre in singles action, whilst Falla added a strong straight sets wins over averages leader Stuart.
The penultimate week of matches coming up this week will see the most decisive match across all Divisions as Whistlers F and Panthers B meet. The Panthers side have an advantage in the games ratio column so a victory here could see them return to the top of the table. For the Whistlers side they must look to ensure they obtain at least a draw.
Lions table tennis club have had the best record of title wins in the 4th Division since inception in 1953 and they regained the title last won 3 seasons ago this week courtesy of triumph for Lions J.
The team were closing in on a perfect season of 100% wins, however this record attempt was spurned by the now also confirmed runners-up Ravenscroft Panthers E who held the champions to a 5-5 draw. Graham Mallett is leading the averages and he was in good form for the champions due to his singles wins over Shelby Timms in 4 sets, reserve Connor Powell in straight sets and Huxley Le Conte in 5 sets. Lionel Jones edged past Powell in 5 sets and Cave also earned a pivotal 5 set win over Le Conte to make sure of the title.