Liberal A made a good choice when they asked Mike Johnston to step up to help them in their match against Rayne D in the Braintree Table Tennis League.
Regular players Simon Webber and Scott Dowsett found it hard going against Hector Rogers and Brian Riedling.
Rogers beat both of them while Riedling had a stunning 11-3, 11-1, 11-5 win against Webber and only just lost out in five games against Dowsett.
Johnston, normally to be found in the less rarefied environs of the B team, showed them both how it should be done.
He beat Riedling in four games and Rogers at 11-9 in the fifth.
Riedling and Rogers also took the doubles against Webber and Dowsett and it was only Rayne’s lack of a third player that enabled Liberal to claim a 6-4 victory.
There was no such difficulty for champions Netts A. They took all ten sets from Sible Hedingham.
And their B team were only one set worse off, Keith Martin’s win over Oliver Hicks denying them a full house against Rayne C.
Black Notley C have stolen a march on their B team in division two. The two teams had started the week sharing the top spot but the C team’s 10-0 win over a Felsted RBL A team minus Ian Butler left them out on their own up front after the B team were restricted to a 6-4 win over Liberal C.
Sean Clift was unbeaten for the B team.
At the other end of the table, the club’s D team picked up their first win of the season when they overcame Hedingham Lions 6-4. Keith Flowers was unbeaten and there were two wins for Adam Clift in his first division two season.
After three successive wins, Nomads tasted defeat for the first time against Rayne E. Richard Kemp won twice in their 7-3 defeat but he, like his teammates, could find no way past Dave Punt.
Division three leaders Felsted C took advantage of a two-man Notley G to record a 9-1 win, but not before Nguyen Tran, who has missed a number of seasons through injury and illness, registered his first win of the season.
Notley E recorded their fourth win out of four, but have still to turn out their recognised first team. Three wins for Hannah Pitt, two for Jill Canning plus the doubles saw them past Rayne H.
Rayne G also made it four in a row with a 7-3 win over Notley H while Rayne I and Notley I featured in one of those matches in which A beat B who beat C who beat D who beat A. For A and C read Ian Rubens and Barry Mouser, and for Notley Jamie Brooks and Jim Davy.
Leon Hewitt was the man in form for Notley F in their draw against Netts D, for whom 14-year-old Max Plumridge had a good win over Mike Smith.