As the Hastings & District Table Tennis League takes a Christmas break, Hollington Academy A look clear favourites as they lead Division One by six points from nearest rivals Bexhillians A. Defending champions Saints A are eleven points off the pace but have a game in hand over both leading teams.
Academy A, who have won all ten matches for the loss of only two consolation points, have been boosted by the return to league action of Nathan Darby alongside Paul Barry, both players having lost only once. With Bashar Obeyed also having a good season and depth to their squad it is hard to look beyond them for the title.
Watts Cup holders Bexhillians A, who went down 6-4 to the leaders, have had Rob Warner, who has also lost just once, and ever-present new signing David Rayment in good form. Bexhill will regret the limited availability of Lewis Mayhew and Martin Kellaway but may still have a say in the destination of the title.
The same could be said for Saints A who have had to defend their title without Ritchie Venner, the League’s top player for many years, who has relocated to Merseyside.
Hastings champion Dave Butler (two defeats) and James Winchester have responded well to the challenge.
Hollington Academy B and C teams are still in touch with the leaders; the B side, despite Rose Rainton’s limited availability and having extended their squad to include Sam Collins. A feature of the C side has been the performances of thirteen-year-old Fraser Kent.
Bexhillians C, Tackleway A, Bexhillians B and Saints B have contested mid-table, not threatening the major teams nor in too much danger of being sucked into the relegation zone.
At the foot of the table, Tigers A have a single point to their name after losing their top player, Tony Catt, after wrist surgery. Four points better off are Bexhillians D, who took their five points from the first four matches but have since had to endure six heavy defeats.
Tackleway B, with seven points will rue their loss to Bexhill D in week two and will see the return as a crucial fixture.