Sible Hedingham are the new division two champions of the Braintree Table Tennis League.
Relegated last season, they secured an immediate return to the top division with a 6-4 win over Rayne E in their final match.
Richard Jennings took his total to 48 wins out of 59, currently good enough for third place in the division’s averages, by winning his three sets.
It was a good evening too for 17-year-old Tom Brown, who has played very little this season but popped up with an excellent win over Paul Wellington, something his captain Roy Hooper was unable to match.
Second-placed Black Notley B are 16 points behind with only one match to play and thus unable to catch Hedingham, but they came close to securing the runners-up medals with an 8-2 win over Liberal C.
It was their fourth consecutive 8-2 win and the second time they have beaten Liberal by that score.
Liberal had only two players and it was Garry Fryatt who picked up the two wins. Martin Wells came desperately close to joining him, missing out by two points in the fifth game twice.
Notley D beat their own C team 7-3, Sean Clift and Keith Flowers both getting the better of Matt Wallace, while Notley’s E team overcame Rayne F by the same score, with Gary Jackson unbeaten.
It was a big week for Hedingham Lions. With chances of notching up their first win of the season rapidly running out, they achieved it at the 25th attempt.
They must have expected business as usual when Richard Kemp turned out for Nomads and although he took his three singles, Lions knuckled down to the task and took six of the remaining sets, including a win for Nick Readhead and Adam Purslow over Kemp and Lorraine Burgess in the doubles.
Puslow and Steve Willis won two singles each and Readhead one to put the elusive figure one in their wins column.
Felsted RBL B moved to within touching distance of the title in division three in slightly curious fashion.
The club were already down to the bare bones of six players for two teams in the division. That proved too much for one of those bones, Dean Wood’s broken ankle putting him out for the rest of the season.
As a result only five players could feature in the match between the club’s B and C teams.
With Arthur Geen and Matthew Laws having reached their permitted five wins playing up, it was Nick Butler’s turn to step up into the B team. And he promptly showed his temporary teammates how it was done by winning his two singles while Andy Laws and Dave Swash lost to Geen.
Former leaders Rayne G have been gradually on the slide since losing Tim Gowers’ services. Replacement Ian Rubens won one set against Notley I but Charles Wilkinson’s third defeat by Steve Baines this season restricted them to a 7-3 win.
Rayne H beat their I team 9-1, almost certainly consigning the I team to last place.
Adam Clift included an impressive 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 win over Helen Barnett, one place above him on the individual averages, in Notley G’s 6-4 win over Notley H and has now won 13 sets in a row.
The postponement of Netts A’s match against Notley A has left the situation at the top of division one no clearer.
Liberal A had an 8-2 win over Rayne D, but for the fourth match running managed to lose the doubles, a failing that could be decisive in their defence of the title.
After playing only once since November, Dean Andrews took to the table twice in three days, winning two sets in Rayne B’s draw with Netts B – where Alistair Hill was unbeaten for Netts – and twice in Rayne A’s 9-1 win over their own C team.
Ian and Ashley Butler both picked up a singles in Felsted A’s 8-2 defeat by Liberal B.