Felsted RBL A’s Ashley Butler brought off the win of the week in the Braintree Table Tennis League when he became the first person since September to beat Dave Marsh.
Marsh, who topped last season’s division two individual averages, had won all 22 sets in the division since the second week of the season.
But then he ran into 18-year-old Butler.
Butler had lost the first two encounters with Marsh this season, but this time inched through a tense battle 4-11, 11-8, 12-10, 5-11, 12-10.
He also won his other two singles but father Ian and brother Nick could only add one each, which enabled Rayne F to share the points.
The other notable event in division two was a return to form for Black Notley B’s Sean Clift.
He was third in last year’s averages but has experienced an alarming slump in recent matches, in which he won only twice in 16 sets.
He got back on track against Nomads where he was undefeated while teammate Gordon Fairchild, who had lost only once in his previous 20 sets, was beaten by Kevin Saunders.
Saunders and Lorraine Burgess also beat Dave Parker to make the score 7-3 to Notley B.
Neil Freeman was unbeaten in Liberal C’s 6-4 win over Rayne E, as was Adam Purslow for Hedingham Lions against Felsted B.
Purslow also partnered Steve Willis to a win in the doubles, but Andy Laws, David Swash and Dean Wood won the rest to give Felsted their third win of the season.
In division one, leaders Liberal A needed Brandon Crouchman’s three singles to enable them to claim a draw against Netts B.
Netts A moved two points closer but may have expected better than 7-3 against bottom side Rayne C.
Rayne’s Keith Martin scored good wins over Alistair Hill and James Mullane.
Ryan Pitt was unbeaten for Rayne B but his three singles were not enough to ward off defeat against the club’s A team, who took the match 6-4.
Mike Johnston won his three singles as Liberal B overcame Sible Hedingham by the same score.
Of the six matches played in the second round of the handicap cup, only one was won by a higher placed team.
The exception was Rayne D, who beat Notley H with the help of three singles from Paul Lombardi.
Sible Hedingham declared at 6-0 against Notley A while Notley G came through 7-2 against Felsted A, with Lawrence Grantham and Martin Bragoli unbeaten.
Notley’s F team needed to win only two sets to come past a two-person Notley E. Although giving away eight points, Hannah Pitt retained her unbeaten record against division three players in winning twice for the E team.
Division three leaders Felsted C gained the necessary five wins in the first six sets against Notley B, but Notley won the three dead rubbers to make the score 5-4.
Netts D, currently footing the division three table, gained some respite from their uphill battles in the league with a comfortable 8-1 win over second division Nomads.