It was a dramatic week in Division 1 of the Hastings & District Table Tennis League as leaders Saints A virtually ended the chances of defending champions Bexhill A with a stunning 9-1 victory. Bexhill A, enduring wretched luck with player availability, found themselves without Martin Kellaway but responded with the registration of Emma Tovey, the No. 17 ranked England lady player who is studying at Eastbourne College. All to no avail, as maximums from Ritchie Venner and Dave Butler and two wins for James Winchester left Saints in control. It could have been so much closer as Lewis Mayhew, unbeaten before this match, lost twice by the narrowest margin in the 5th set, including a defeat to Venner from 2-0 up. Tovey lost by a similar margin to Butler and Rob Warner gained Bexhill’s only success.
Hollington Academy A slipped up with a 5-5 draw against Bexhill C but still moved above Bexhill A into second place. With both sides missing their top players, Paul Barry and Graham Gillett, this result leaves the Academics seven points in arrears but with a game in hand and with Saints A to play twice.
Tackleway A showed no mercy to struggling Tackleway C in a 9-1 win in which Roy Funnell and Roger Pingram were unbeaten and Mike Funnell won two games.
Hollington Academy B beat Tigers A 7-3, with another maximum for Rose Rainton and Jamie Martin winning twice, as did Tony Catt for Tigers.
Tackleway B and Saints B drew 5-5 with Saints’ Ron Davenport picking up a maximum and Adrian Goodrum and Kevin McEwan winning two apiece for Tackleway. Saints will be without John Wond for the rest of the season after a knee operation.
The draw for the Watts Cup knockout competition Quarter Finals has, once again, kept the three favourites apart. Holders Saints A face a derby against Saints B as do Hollington Academy A who play their C team, after edging out Academy B in the last round. The only Second Division survivors, Hollington Academy D, face Bexhill B while Bexhill A visit Tackleway A.