The fixtures computer threw up a great encounter in Week 1 of the premier division as title contenders Hullbridge A and Thorpe Bay A went head to head. Unfortunately for Thorpe Bay they came up against an in-form Kevin Caldon and Stuart Gibbs who, by winning all of their games, helped Hullbridge to a 7-2 victory. The scoreline felt a bit harsh on Thorpe Bay who came out on the wrong end of two games that finished 14-12 in the 5th end, Gibbs over John Poysden and Dave Bowles getting the better of John Monk.
New boys Stanford Le Hope put in a good effort in Week 1 pushing Rawreth B all the way in a 5-4 defeat. Rawreth’s Eric Green put in a strong performance winning his three, while Rahal Sharma played well for the home team, only losing out to Eric in 5 sets.
A Colin Chatfield hat-trick helped Rayleigh Mill see off Premier Division new boys Customs A 7-2. Roy Thomas scored two impressive wins for the away side over Steve Maltby and Rob Harris.
A monumental battle in Week 1 for last season’s champions Rawreth A as they edged past a strong Lentern A team of Terry Guymer, Django Fung and Keith Adams, 5-4. Six of the nine games went to five sets and it was left to Kevin Read to win the final game of the night against Guymer and take the spoils. If Lentern can turn out this quality of team on a regular basis they will be there or thereabouts come the shake up for the title.
Kim Shead and Martin Turner were in good form for Warehouse as they both recorded 2 wins a piece against Hadleigh Forum. One win each for John Tendler, Neil Barker and Hamish Innes completed a 6-3 win for the away side.
The final game of Week 1 saw Castle Point A emerge victorious, 6-3 over Hockley A. The Hockley youngsters acquitted themselves well against their more experienced opponents. Each of the Castle Point side made a contribution to the win column but the difference was Richard Jackman who took all three of his games.
Duncan Taylor, Prem. Div. Results Secretary (DRS).
A flying start from strong contenders Hadleigh Forum B with a convincing 8-1 win over Hullbridge C who welcomed back Maxine Abbott after a season lay-off. New winter player Gus Heath scored a convincing 3 for Forum and Mick Tappenden also scored a maximum but being made to fight all the way with two games going to 5 sets over Bill Smith and Maxine Abbott and one to 4 over Lin Roff. Dave Woolmer chipped in with two wins to make up the tally, losing the final game against Lin Roff to save a whitewash.
Canvey A have had a solid start to the season with a 7-2 win over Invicta A. Peter Cray and captain, Ray Wilson each were unbeaten on the night although both were taken to 5 sets by Steve Marr. Gavin Warner added one for the islanders to put them near the top of the table, with none of the Invicta players able to make any impact.
Lentern C join Canvey in joint second place after a 7-2 win over newly-promoted Castle Point B but didn’t have it all their own way with 5 games going to 5 sets, all falling in favour of the Lentern team. Mark Jupe earned player of the match with an unbeaten night, although Tony Ayliffe and new signing Mick Grout took him to 5 sets. Wayne Farmer and Martin Archie both added two for the Lentern side but neither were able to overcome former Lentern man Mick Grout who scored two for the Castle Point team. Tony Ayliffe was particularly unlucky not to gain a point losing all three games in 5 sets.
Warehouse B took a good win 6-3 against Lentern D, with Martin West scoring a maximum for the Warehouse team who look to have a strong squad this year. Harry Small was able to take two wins to continue where he left off last year with Berti Makoli adding the final point. For the Lentern team, Peter Pond, Sue Body and Chris Crooks all won one game to make up the points.
After finishing bottom last year, Hockley B have started with a 5-4 win over relegated Lentern B showing that they could be capable of securing a spot in Division 1 next year. A strong hattrick for Dave Colwill formed the basis including two 5 setters against Sue Body and Steve Appleby, and will be a good addition to the B team who have swapped Liam Squirrell who has moved up to the A team. Paul Strutt and Keith Abbott added one each for the Hockley team. Steve Appleby and John Lott scored two apiece but neither were able to get the better of Dave to make up the 4 points for Lentern.
Barrie Delf, 1st Div DRS
The new season kicked off with a close match between RESSC and visitors Wakering. It was the visitors who just edged things 5 – 4, thanks to two wins each from Paul and Zac England. Veteran Stan Dyson offered the most resistance for RESSC with a pair of wins himself.
The youngsters of Hockley C look like a force to be reckoned this term. Martin Scarfe turned in a man of the match performance when his team visited Castle Point D, winning all three of his matches. Josh Copeland matched his feat in an 8 – 1 away win. John Beddow avoided the home team’s blushes with a single victory.
Hullbridge E are another team of youngsters with aspirations, following a good 2015/6 season. They were too strong for newly promoted Invicta B, winning 7 - 2. Only the home team’s David Barnes offered any effective opposition. However, James Goddard was the star winning all his games.
Canvey staged a local derby with the C team hosting their B team. Although it was not enough to save his side from a 5 – 4 defeat, Harry Keys’ maximum made him man of the march. Lee McGonagle and Talbot Wiseman did most of the damage for the B team with two wins apiece.
Dmitry Kisil’s three wins in Runnymede’s home game against Warehouse C gave him the plaudits, but it was not enough to stop his side going down 5 – 4. Two wins each from Jonathan Allen and Graham Back ensured the win for Warehouse.
Chris Jacob starred for Castle Point C, after recuperating from a summer shoulder injury. His three wins gave his side a 5 – 4 win away to Basildon Hospital. Chudi Ukpaka got two for the home team.
The final match in the Division saw Rawreth D just edge the clash with their Club colleagues Rawreth E 5-4, Dave Barnes 3 and Caroline Cole 2, on good form for the D's whilst Andy Deadman played well for his brace for the E's
David Barnes, 2nd. Div DRS
Two new teams made their debut in Division 3 this week but it was a case of strongly contrasting fortunes for the newcomers. Stanford le Hope B, made up of experienced league players, had a convincing 7-2 win away at Invicta C with John Handscombe taking the man of the match award with 3 wins backed up by braces from Dan Harris and Mark Farley. John Golding got both points for Invicta. Rochford LTC, however, made up of players with no league experience, crashed 9-0 at home to Hockley D. David Chenery, Dan Patynski (on his debut) and David Cross made up the winning team.
There were two more clean sweeps as Hullbridge G brushed aside Warehouse E 9-0, Bill Hoy, Dave Booroff and Tony Molisso doing the damage, and Canvey D did likewise against Hockley F, Geoff Banthorpe, Steve Robinson and Steve Parker bringing home all 9 points.
Closest match of the week was the clash between Hullbridge H and Hockley E with Hockley winning 6-3 against the Hullbridge youngsters for whom William Skelt was the star of the show. He took the man of the match award winning all his games,coming back from deficits in all 3 and finally winning in 5 sets each time. A tremendous performance by the youngster. Gary Linzell, Andrew Strutt and Kevin Blythe all finished with 2 wins each.
Paul Strutt, 3rd Div. DRS