A match with four men’s singles winners in action is always likely to produce a highly competitive encounter, and so it proved when Netts A hosted Liberal A in the Braintree Table Tennis League.
It was the current holder of the title, Brandon Crouchman, who was the decisive figure in Liberal’s 6-4 victory, winning his three singles and joining Simon Webber in adding the doubles.
He beat Paul Davison, winner of the title five times, and Terry Dowsett in four games and Gary Cattermole in three.
Webber beat Dowsett in one of the evening’s tightest sets, 11-9 in the fifth, while Dowsett and Peter Hayden, both six-time winners, matched that scoreline, with Dowsett getting the vital final touch.
Hayden beat Cattermole for Liberal’s sixth point.
Rayne A are 15 points behind Liberal with a match in hand after their 9-1 win over Netts C.
After four matches undefeated, Nikki Davison was on the receiving end twice, losing in five games to both Adam Buxton and Steve Pennell, but she had the last word in getting the better of Alan Burgess for Netts’ only point.
Netts B and Rayne B are fourth and fifth but it was the lower placed team who emerged 6-4 better off when they met.
Ian Whiteside’s three singles were instrumental in his side’s victory.
Steve Siggs, now in division two, joined his old teammates at Rayne D for their match against Liberal B and it was he who registered his side’s only victory, beating Mike Johnston in four games.
Lucy Wang was in devastating form for Black Notley A in their 8-2 win over Rayne C. In nine games, she conceded only 30 points - 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 against Peter Hance (who won his other two sets), 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 against Brian Riedling and 11-7, 11-4, 11-1 against Keith Martin.
There was a close encounter between the two teams vying for the runners-up spot in division three.
Jamie Brooks held Notley E together with his three singles and the doubles with Stewart Ireland in their 6-4 win over Rayne H.
Ireland won his other two sets but missed out in five games against Peter Taylor.
Notley F split the two teams at the moment but they have played two matches more than Rayne H.
They beat their own G team 7-3.
Alan Billing, who has been in good form recently, was found out in three games by Declan Baines, who won his three singles for the F team.
Baines had more trouble with Max King, where he triumphed only at 11-8 in the fifth.
The bottom two teams, Netts F and Notley H, played each other. With only six wins out of 30 behind him, Peter Lewis hit top form with three wins for Netts F in a 6-4 victory that lifted them one point ahead of their opponents.
It was back to normal for leaders Felsted RBL C. After dropping four points in their previous match, they took all ten against Rayne J.