Westfield B staged an exhilarating comeback as they thrashed Corby A 8-2 in the Kettering & District Table Tennis League Premier Division.
The visitors shot into a 2-0 lead after wins for Chris Haynes and Henry Arthur over Dan Smalley and Matt Rushton respectively.
But that was as good as it got as Westfield won the next eight on the trot – five of them going the distance.
Rushton’s fight back from two games down against Haynes was the most surprising, with Smalley also coming from 2-0 down to sneak home against Arthur 11-8, 13-11, 11-8.
Richie Bailey was the star with a treble, before Rushton and Smalley scraped the doubles 12-10 in the fifth against Haynes and the fruitless Nigel Hunt.
Burton Baptist B claimed four vital points in the battle to avoid the drop as they were edged out 6-4 by Corby B.
Jacek Koltuniuk and Martin Hall each bagged a brace for the hosts, with Arthur and Aaron Moore also claiming two wins.
Gerry Crasto almost claimed the scalp of Guy Sparrow, leading 2-0 before losing 11-7, 11-9, 11-5, before the visitors won the doubles to get the win.
Westfield A have a strong grip on the title already and proved why they are top with a 10-0 win at struggling Harborough A.
There was a shock on the cards when Barry Thompson led Nicole Bird 2-1, before the youngster fought back to win 11-6 in the fifth.
The returning Steve Silk and Roumen Stefanov were largely untroubled as they claimed straightforward trebles.
Kettering Town A eased to a 10-0 win over Rothborough Arrows to move into second place with one point more than eternal rivals Higham.
The trio of John Fuller, Nigel Metcalfe and Shandor Czuczor were never threated, with the visitors taking two ends all evening.
Results: Westfield B 8 (Bailey 3, Smalley 2, Rushton 2, Smalley/Rushton) Corby A 2 (Haynes, Arthur), Burton Baptist B 4 (Koltuniuk 2, Hall 2) Corby B 6 (Arthur 2, Moore 2, Sparrow, Moore/Sparrow), Harborough A 0 Westfield A 10 (N Bird 3, Silk 3, Stefanov 3, Silk/Stefanov), Kettering Town A 10 (Fuller 3, Metcalfe 3, Czuczor 3, Metcalfe/Fuller) Rothborough Arrows 0.
Team of the week: Westfield B
Player of the week: Richie Bailey
In the first week of the second half of the season, the top three teams were all victorious in Division One.
Thrapston Eagles and Westfield C are both on 96 points but Eagles are on top by virtue of having one more win, with Harborough B not too far behind on 87 points.
The match between Eagles and Harborough C was 9-1 to Eagles and a success for Dennis Millman's ranking list as all 10 sets were won by the higher ranked player, including the only one for Harborough.
Sam Burgess is one place above Ian Donaldson and Burgess won 3-0.
Both Steve West and Mark Stockley are ranked above all three Harborough C players and they duly got trebles and Donaldson got a brace against Jamie Burgess and Mark Pearson who are ranked below him.
Given that there is such a big difference in standard between the teams at the top and bottom of the division, the 10-0 victory by Westfield C over bottom markers Rothborough Comets was predictable even without Steve Hobbs for the visitors, although Scott Dixon had to work hard for his treble and had to fight back from 1-2 down in games to beat Kelvin Linnett.
Neither Paul Malpass or Chris Alder managed to keep a clean sheet in terms of games and Lauren Ainsworth and Pete Sturges managed to win two and one games respectively.
Despite Harborough B's 6-4 victory over the now fifth-placed Thrapston Falcons the only treble in the match was achieved by Ian Baldock on the losing side, despite being only the third highest ranked player in the match.
Perhaps more surprising was that Alan Tyler beat Mike Brocklebank who is 23 places higher.
Harborough were fortunate that Antony Marray had an off day and could not add to the score.
After such a poor start Thrapston Kites have been moving up the table all season and for the third consecutive week have gone up one place.
They have just overtaken Falcons up to fourth place which is where they finished last season.
Their 9-1 win over Rothborough Buccaneers at home was in stark contrast to the reverse fixture played at Rothborough which Buccaneers won 7-3, although Kites only fielded two players on that occasion.
Buccaneers main contributor of points Sean Smith beat Geoff Judd 3-0 but this time found Stewart Williams and Peter Briggs too good.
On paper Corby C should be the happier team to get a 5-5 draw with Burton Baptist C who are considerably higher in the table both in terms of position (sixth compared to ninth) and points (63 to 44) , although it could be argued that they were fielding a stronger side than usual with Rob Warrender playing in his first match of the season.
For Corby Stephen Woolston was in such fine form that he managed to beat all three of Chris Agg, Derek Muggleton and Steve Smith without losing a single game.
In contrast Dan Bottrill had an off day and got his first blank of the season.
Warrender beat Muggleton and Agg but failed to even win a game against Smith.
Corby looked the likely victors when Bottrill and Woolston went 2-0 up in the doubles but Muggleton and Agg fought back to earn a draw.
With the departure of David Simmons from Burton Baptist C, hopefully only temporarily, Team Jim's Harry Lade was brought into the side and he showed that he is ready for the challenge of Division One next season by getting a brace against Harborough D,
This was equalled by Paul Goodman and Kelvin Marshall went one better and got a treble and then the two veterans teamed up to win the doubles for an 8-2 win.
Phil Dixon was the one to deny Lade's treble as was Mark Pearson for Goodman's.
Results: Thrapston Eagles 9 (West 3, Stockley 3, Donaldson 2, West/Stockley) Harborough C 1 (S Burgess), Rothborough Comets 0 Westfield C 10 (Malpass 3, Alder 3, Dixon 3, Malpass/Dixon), Harborough B 6 (Burnham 2, Crook 2, Brocklebank, Brocklebank/Burnham) Thrapston Falcons 4 (Baldock 3, Tyler), Thrapston Kites 9 (Briggs 3, Williams 3, Judd 2, Williams/Briggs) Rothborough Buccaneers 1 (Smith), Corby C (Woolston 3, Warrender 2) Burton Baptist D 5 (Smith 2, Muggleton, Agg, Muggleton/Agg), Burton Baptist C 8 (Marshall 3, Goodman 2, Lade 2, Goodman/Marshall) Harborough D 2 (Dixon, Pearson).
Team of the week: Thrapston Kites
Players of the week: Ian Baldock and Stephen Woolston
Prior to Christmas, Rothborough Dakotas in second led Corby D in third by two points when they hosted them at Montsaye and they extended that lead in overturning one of only two defeats they have suffered this season in Division Two.
David Steele’s maximum was instrumental in the 7-3 victory and he only dropped one end, and that wasn’t when he took Neil Stone’s previously unbeaten record.
Pete Rowbotham’s brace and doubles with Cathy Fleming confirmed Corby’s second loss, although Stone still won two and John Hunt one.
Dakotas’ New Year started even better inflicting Westfield’s first whitewash.
The first game and last game were close; Sidney Wright pushing David Steele 12-14, 17-19, 4-11 in the first and then losing in five to Cathy Fleming, but to no avail.
Fleming thus achieved her fourth maximum, Pete Rowbotham his third and Steele his sixth from nine outings.
All three of Corby’s players gained a brace and they took the doubles to secure a 7-3 victory over top of the shop Burton ‘s Team Jim.
Ken Murie, Ken Knott and Tom Cardwell used their experience to force the result in a match which was a draw earlier in the season.
Ken Knott came from behind to win in five against Jacob Tattersall and Harry Lade – Lade’s only defeat – but he needed five to overcome Cardwell.
The two Kens then teamed up to extend the victory margin.
Dakotas win, coupled with Team Jim’s defeat, means the Rothborough outfit go top and the top four in the league are covered by just 10 points.
Old Village caught up to just one point behind their opposition when a completely different team beat Kettering Town 7-3, overturning the 1-9 loss to Town’s same players earlier in the season.
Mike Burrows’ recent return to the team has seen an upturn in results, and paired with Beth Tyler again they shared 6 points.
This time it was Burrows who got the treble and Tyler who just missed hers in losing the first game in five to Jim Chatburn, one of his two.
Chatburn also took Burrows the distance, as did Barry Davis to ensure it wasn’t comfortable for Burrows.
Richard Dybal contributed his first victory of the season to the success.
Old also move up a place and leapfrog Exocets as the Rothborough team lost at Montsaye to Harborough 3-7.
John McGowan was again largely untroubled for a treble and Ben Baker outscored Ron Palfrey for only the second time this season for a pair, mainly due to Sally Taylor’s first ever defeat of Palfrey.
Baker’s fifth end defeat of David Marshall nearly came unstuck after he let a 9-1 lead slip to win 11-9 at the end.
The McGowan/Baker doubles again tasted victory, only having lost once this season together and could yet be a factor in where they finish this year with one point separating them from third place.
Results: Corby D 7 (Cardwell 2, Knott 2, Murie 2, Knott/Murie) Burton Baptist Team Jim 3 (H Lade 2, B Lade), Old village 7 (Burrows 3, Tyler 2, Dybal, Burrows/Tyler) Kettering Town B 3 (Chatburn 2, Davis), Rothborough Dakotas 7 (Steele 3, Rowbotham 2, Yeomans, Fleming/Rowbotham) Corby D 3 (Stone 2, Hunt), Rothborough Exocets 3 (Mordecai 2, Taylor) Harborough E 7 (McGowan 3, Baker 2, Palfrey, Baker/McGowan),Westfield D 0 Rothborough Dakotas 10 (Fleming 3, Rowbotham 3, Steele 3, Fleming/Rowbotham).
Player of the week: Ken Knott
Team of the week: Old Village
Players are reminded that entry forms are being circulated for the 2016 Kettering League tournament, with forms also available online.
The tournament will take place on Saturday, February 6 at Westfield’s Weavers Leisure Centre home.
The closing date for entries is Friday, January 22, with the draw expected to be made on January 25.
No entries will be accepted once the draw has been made.