The Hastings & District Table Tennis League season got under way with First Division title contenders Hollington Academy A gaining an 8-2 win at Bexhillians C in which Paul Barry and Nathan Darby were unbeaten. Bexhill were close to stealing a point, only for Darby to come from 2-1 down to beat Graham Gillett in five games in the opening set of the evening.
At a packed central venue, Hastings Academy, most people’s eyes were caught by the diminutive presence of 13-year-old Fraser Kent, making his Division 1 Hastings debut for Hollington Academy C. Kent, who is ranked 42 Cadet nationally, won three games, as did Nick Standen and Scott Bills, as Bexhillians D were beaten 10-0 in a chastening opening for last year’s Division 2 champions.
League champions Saints A dropped a point in beating Tackleway B 7-3, where Dave Butler and James Winchester gained maximums.
Bexhillians A made a good start with a 9-1 win at Tigers A, thanks to three wins each for Rob Warner and Lewis Mayhew and two for new signing Dave Rayment.
A close encounter in Division 2 saw promoted Bexhillians F get a good 6-4 result against Tigers B, despite a maximum for Tigers’ Mike Charter. Harvey Webb and Malcolm Glover both won 2 for Bexhill, with Webb’s 3-1 defeat of Roger Smith clinching the win.
In another close game, Hollington A came from 3-5 down to snatch a draw against NALGO A and welcomed back unbeaten Shaun Godfrey after a long injury lay-off.
Paul Hyland and Mike Courtnage both won two for NALGO.
Relegated Tackleway C confirmed their status as favourites with a 9-1 defeat of Tackleway E when Danny Rickaby and Kevin Rowe were unbeaten and Andy Brown won two.
Division 3 arguably produced the match of the week between two title contenders when Alan Chumbley’s maximum was decisive in Bexhillian’s H’s 7-3 win at Hollington Academy D. Konrad Pieterse won two for Bexhill while the Academy’s Dave Watters and Matt Martin both lost sets by the narrowest of margins.
Willett & Philips won 7-3 at Tigers C with three from Phil Bailey and two from Ken McEwan, while Phil Talbot picked up two for the losers.