Champions!

This is the belated and final report of the season, to celebrate the champions and commiserate the relegations. Thank you to those who attended the presentation meal at the The Warren, the photos from which are below.

Mapledene A are the Division 1 Champions and this is their fourteenth title since winning it for the first time in the season of 99/00. They finished on 171 points out of a possible 220, with 20 wins and 2 losses. They racked up lots of points in their final fixtures, and their match versus Maldon B in April was particularly well fought; captain Lee Prentice, Chris Jacob and Reece Seddon all won twice while Jon Stokes won twice for the opposition with wins over Prentice and 2017 Mens Singles Champion Reece Seddon, and Steve Whiteley defeated Chris Jacob; Mapledene won four of the five matches that were decided in the fifth end. Charles Sweeny of Mapledene A, 2017 Mens Singles Finalist, deserves some accolades having played 39 matches finishing on a 79.5% win average which included seven Player of the Match awards.

Maldon B repeat their ‘silver success’ from last season with another second place finish, and they were not all that far behind Mapledene with 151 points – an impressive performance from the core team of Steve Whiteley, Paul Stephens and Jon Stokes, with regular reserve Brian Riedling. Fambridge A – winners in 13/14 and 14/15, finish in bronze position just five points behind Maldon B. As fate would have it, the 15/16 season ended with the exact same margin between the same second and third placers. Fourth place, however, is somewhat of a surprise and a success story for Stow Maries A (who finished 8th last season) – finishing on an impressive 118 points, and it was teamwork all the way with none of their six players ending on higher than a 68% win average.

Fambridge A finished their season on a high note, as in a rearranged fixture played in May they defeated Champions Mapledene A 6-4 and on away turf no less; Keith Adams and Mark Stones won twice for Fambridge while George Reeves and Charles Sweeny equalled the feat for the losing side.

The Division 2 title returns to Champions Manor Hall, as Woodham A are the winners with 150 points and 18 wins from 22 matches. David Gatheral, 2017 Restricted Singles & Plate Singles Champion, was their leading player having played in 46 fixtures with an 85% win average. Gatheral’s teammates – George Ashley, Alan Burgess, Nat Ravlic and Alan Dadswell – should be standing alongside him when they collect their cup. Mayland A (Colin Barrell, Ralph Gibson, Ray Cheung and Steve Aspland) are second division runners-up with 133 points, and this is an impressive total in a slightly depressing sense, as they played a large number of their fixtures only fielding two players! 

Division 3 had the closest finish of the three divisions with a mere 11 points separating the top three sides. Woodham D are the Champions with 129 points from a possible 180, Mayland B are runners-up with 124 points, and West Maldon D finish third with 118 points. Woodham D’s core team - Mike Matlin, Mike Burton and Vince Gurney – ruled the roost, with some (in retrospect) incredibly valuable points picked up by some reserves Roger Maidment, Mitch Davies and Dan Harris. The battle for silver hinged on one of the season’s final fixtures, between West Maldon D and Mayland B; the division’s best player (with a 98% win average from 47 fixtures), Mayland’s Steve Aspland, was in dominating form with a fine win over 2017 Fambridge Trophy Champion Peter Mortensen. Mortensen produced probably the most impressive scoreline in the Burnham League’s history, a 11-0, 11-0, 11-1 over Mayland’s Ken Stevens.

Finishing in relegation positions, in the first division we have Stow Maries B and Maldon placing as the bottom two, on 71 points and 60 points respectively, while in the second division it is Woodham C and Stow Maries C on 91 points and 73 points respectively. And in the third division the commiserations go to Maldon U3A B and St Lawrence B on 60 points and 22 points respectively.

Now to highlight some individual successes from the later stages of the season. In Division 1, Steve Whiteley scored a fine win over Mark Stones -4, 9, 9, 7 when his Maldon B side were winners over a shortened Fambridge A team. It’s not often that a Cold Norton B side featuring John Holland does not also feature Holland as Player of the Match, but that is what happened when Neil Want scored a good hat trick over the West Maldon A trio of Glen Laing, Tim Cramphorn and Dick Wyman. Richard Storey’s superb scalp over Glenn Johnson -6, 8, 10, 7 was vital in securing his Stow Maries A team’s draw to Mapledene B. Sam Lowman was undefeated in a Cold Norton derby which included an excellent five-set win over John Holland, and he capped off his evening by also beating Lee McHugh over five ends. Maldon C went down 8-2 to fellow relegated Stow Maries B but Ciaran Whelan will have been pleased with a 10, 9, 9 victory over ace defender Ian Whiteside. Perhaps best of all in the first division round-up, Ryan Pitt of Stow Maries A defeated George Reeves of Mapledene A by a nail-biting margin: -8, 10, -11, 10, 9! In Division 2, Peter Mortensen scored a straight-sets win over the awkward Chris Crooks, and when Cold Norton C versus Woodham B finished all square it was David Hancox who shone with a treble over Crooks, Eamonn Hall and Allan Steel. Woodham’s Vince Gurney took flight to the second division for the first time this season, and it was a resounding success for him as he won the A team three points by beating Dave Goody, Richard Allen and Brian Ellis. Another Woodham player who played up a division and made his mark was Kieran Stanley whose wins included a good five-games victory over Stow’s Rod Maclennan. In Division 3, Patrick Harrington – St Lawrence A’s best player – scored a fine, hard-fought win over Maldon’s Ross Wheeler 14, -8, 8, -7, 14. Young Thomas Page of the Maldon Club had not competed in many league matches until the later stages of the season, but he displays his ability with hat tricks over both St Lawrence teams. In the youngest team performance in recent league history, a Woodham E side led by 15-year old Kieran Stanley (the oldest player!) with brothers Ben Porter (10yo) and Alex Porter (12yo) enjoyed a good evening’s table tennis as they defeated the considerably more experienced Maldon U3A B.

West Maldon C are the 2017 Team Handicap Cup Champions. In the final the trio of Neil Freeman (-9), Louis Gunn (+2) and Peter Mortensen (+3) got the better of the Cold Norton B side of Lee McHugh (-14), Chris Hancox (-11) and Dan Anderson (-8). Things got off to an unexpectedly positive start for Norton as McHugh/Anderson won the opening doubles 21-19, 21-15 against Gunn/Mortensen which – it has to be said – is a great win. From there onwards though, it was one-way traffic on the West Maldon Motorway as Freeman, Gunn and Mortensen brushed aside their foes to win the next five matches to take the trophy. In the sealing of the deal, the modestly handicapped Mortensen defeated Chris Hancox 21-5, 21-13.

The remaining pictures from presentation evening...

Lee McHugh - Press & Publicity Officer - Burnham Table Tennis League

Man Of Steel – The Return Of Allan

 (Report for week ending March 12)

Division 2 has seen a couple of surprising results in the latest week of fixtures, foremost amongst them was bottom-half dwellers Woodham B scoring an excellent 7-3 victory over leaders and title favourites Woodham A. Leading the B side to stardom was their very own Superman; Allan Steel scored a brilliant hat trick including wins over David Gatheral and Nat Ravlic. (The scorecard of that match has not been uploaded yet so I am essentially plagiarising the SWF Club’s own Press). Third-placed Maldon D suffered a potentially disastrous 8-2 defeat to the lower-placed West Maldon C; Victor Chan gave a clinical performance dissecting the opposition of Mark Shorney, Roger Clarke and Bob King all three straight, and he received outstanding support from Gary Smith and Steve Siggs who picked up two wins each.

In Division 1 Maldon C’s Ciaran Whelan has recently proven that he is Wheley good in the fifth, as he raced home in the final ends against Cold Norton B’s Chris Hancox and Lee McHugh, and even more impressively he pulled through to score superb wins over Fambridge’s John Poysden and Gurjit Bhambra. In Maldon’s 8-2 defeat to Fambridge there was very nearly one of the biggest form book upsets of the season, when Colin Napper led Keith Adams in the fifth end before Adams used his experience and guile in deuce to scrape home 12-10. West Maldon A went down 9-1 to the strong Maldon B team of Paul Stephens, Jon Stokes and Steve Whiteley; Dave Calleja was the scorer of the home team’s sole point and it was a cracking win over Paul Stephens when he stormed home 11-2 in the fifth end.

The Division 3 table could hardly be any tighter at the top as first, second and third are all on an equal amount of matches played and Mayland B lead Woodham D/West Maldon D by a singular point. The bottom two sides met this week and it was a decisive 8-2 victory for Maldon U3A B over St Lawrence B; Alan Mills was unbeaten for the winners.

Keep your eyes peeled for a preview article ahead of next weekend’s Individual Closed Championships.

Lee McHugh - Press Officer


It's Mostly About February! (Insert More Creative Title Here)

(Report for weeks ending February 19, 26 and March 5)

Division 1's Mapledene A have now thoroughly consolidated their lead and look uncatchable. Their most recent three victories weren't without challenges however as they came up against a West Maldon A that featured Gary Young, a Cold Norton A with Duncan Taylor and a Maldon A with Alex Abbott/Trevor Lloyd, which demonstrates the strength that is dotted around the division this season. Ben Warner scored a treble in their encounter with Maldon A while Lee Prentice continued his brilliant record this season by getting the better of Trevor Lloyd over five ends. Kevin Read was their leading man when they beat Cold Norton A 7-3 while the battle between the "youngsters" saw a superb straight-games win for Norton's Sam Lowman over Reece Seddon. In a match that saw West Maldon A's Gary Young defeat Kevin Read and Lee Prentice, Mapledene's Andrew Halling was not to be denied and completed his hat trick by beating Young - after losing the third and fourth ends 1-11 and 5-11 - finishing game-6 in the fifth.

Third-from-bottom Cold Norton B have picked up the pace in the second half of the season and managed to pull away from the relegation scrap, at the expense of Stow Maries B and Maldon C who have been left in their dust. However, Norton B versus Stow B saw a couple of surprising results as an in-form Herbie Smith and all-firing Dave Marsh (who I don't recall shouted "tart!" at all?!) both got the better of the experienced John Holland, while Lee McHugh was unbeaten for Norton and Neil Want picked up two. Holland returned to winning ways against Mapledene C scoring a trio of wins over Lin Roff, John Tendler and Tony Jacks without dropping an end, while on this occasion apprentice defender Dan Anderson picked up two wins.

A mere singular point separates Maldon C and Stow B at the bottom and I expect the most influential result for the final standings will be when the two teams play each other in a few weeks. Maldon C held Mapledene B to a draw; Ben Matthews was on good form winning his three for Mapledene while for Maldon Ciaran Whelan won twice, and Dawn Baldry and Steve Scholz scored fine wins over Ian Rattray and Paul Brown respectively.

A strong Fambridge A side of Mark Stones, Keith Adams and John Poysden beat Mapledene C 9-1, the home team's sole point earned by Dave Bassett with an impressive straight-sets win over Poysden.

Maldon B are solid favourites to take silver in the top division this season and they recently beat a shortened Maldon A side for whom Alex Abbott was unbeaten, and the Abbott/Jan Fuller pairing edged an impressive doubles win over Steve Whiteley/Jon Stokes 9, -10, 8, 10.

My personal favourite success story of this season in the top flight is Stow Maries A who look in great position to take third place, and their rotating squad of six players continue to perform. One of the most competitive matches of recent weeks saw Stow A defeat Cold Norton A 7-3, which included a whopping six five-setters and three four-setters! Every player won at least once and Gary Brignall was deservedly Player of the Match and also winner of my unofficial "Strong Finisher" award as he won all three of his singles in five!

Division 2 "Champions-Elect" (well, probably) Woodham A have fallen off the pace slightly having been downed 7-3 by Maldon F which featured trebles from Bryn Thomas and Roger Hance, both of who managed to close out marathon matches with Woodham's Nat Ravlic. Woodham rebounded with a closely shaded 6-4 victory versus West Maldon C; the closest game of the night was the penultimate and it was exceptionally close indeed as David Gatheral beat Victor Chan 7, -10, 9, -9, 9 - an encounter that surely belongs in the top flight.

The battle for second place and promotion is a proper rat race: Cold Norton C on 94 points, Mayland A 92, Maldon D 91 and Maldon F 90. Exciting times lie ahead in the remaining weeks of fixtures. Relegation places are also tentative with only 9 points separating the bottom five teams. In a slightly suspicious-looking result (opinions are that of the press and do not represent an authoritative body) bottom-placed Stow Maries C won 6-4 over their D team counterparts who could only field two players; D's Ken Sheard dispelled all reasonable doubt by taking a hat trick from Mick Robinson, Brian Ellis and Dave Goody, beating Robinson and Ellis comprehensively in the fifth ends.

In a superb two-man result third-placed Mayland A defeated second-placed Cold Norton C 6-4, where Norton's only non-defaulted success of the night was Dave Hancox's five ends victory over Colin Barrell. In a starkly contrasting result a bolstered Mayland side with the addition of Ray Cheung could only muster four points against two-man West Maldon B, as both Neil Freeman and Nick Duce were on scintillating form with Freeman unbeaten and a straight-games success in the doubles. Duce got the best value for money as his 3-0 win over Ray Cheung totalled almost to the same amount of points as his 3-2 loss to Ralph Gibson: 12-10, 11-7, 20-18!

The most interesting second division scorecard of late depicts an exciting encounter that took place at Drapers Farm, where Maldon D beat Woodham C 7-3. Five matches went the distance (four of which went in Maldon's favour) and no player was undefeated nor un-undefeated. Woodham's successes came by way of Scott Perry over John Moore, Alan Dadswell over Bryan Speller and, most impressively of all, Luca Bailey defeating 75% Mark Shorney 14-12 in the fifth!

West Maldon D are the new leaders in Division 3, knocking Maldon U3A down to second spot. Having racked up 93 points from 10 wins out of 14 played matches, the WMD exploded an excellent 7-3 win over challengers Woodham D. Peter Mortensen was Player of the Match with an unphased hat trick, while Mike Burton won two for Woodham which included a straight games win over Louis Gunn. In the closest game of the night John Macmorland got the better of Mike Matlin 7, -6, 13, -6, 8. The same WMD side with Macmorland subbed for Sean Bannister followed up with an 8-2 victory over U3A B; Gunn did well to fight back from 2-1 down against Alan Mills to win the decider 11-9, and in an extremely close encounter Bannister just defeated Kath Little -11, 11, 12, -7, 9.

Woodham D quickly bounced back from their defeat to West Maldon D with a flawless whitewash of St Lawrence B, and there has been no messing around from Mayland B who look to pose the biggest threat to the leaders as we approach the end of te season. They recently beat both St Lawrence sides by large margins with Steve Aspland and Jon Stevens unbeaten on both occasions; David Siggins scored the A team's solitary point with a win over Ken Stevens.

In a mid-table clash Maldon G pipped Woodham E to the post 6-4 by winning the last couple of games of the night; Maldon's Steve Lucas was involved in the closest frays and he fought back from 2-1 down against both Kieran Stanley and Roger Maidment to take both in five ends.

Watch out next weekend for a preview article about the upcoming Individual Championships!

Lee McHugh - Press Officer


A Bannister Always Pays His Debts

(Report for weeks ending January 29 and February 5)

The Division 3 table looks a bit like a shady betting shop; whereas the first and second divisions have solid title favourites in Mapledene A and Woodham A, the third division is a different kettle of fish and rather difficult to predict as a mere eight points separate the top three sides although they have all played a different amount of games, and fourth placed Woodham D is well behind having played five less matches than leaders Maldon U3A. Some of the top teams are due to play each other in the coming weeks so things are all to play for!

Sean Bannister – enjoying his first season in the league and representing the West Maldon club - did very well to secure his first hat trick; the shortened West Maldon D team of Bannister and Louis Gunn managed a maximum 7-3 victory over St Lawrence B.

On an occasion that spanned the ages another player on his debut season, the youngest player in the league – Conor Hall – faced one of the loudest---sorry I mean oldest  – John Skuse – and youth won the day -6, 7, 9, 7. In Conor’s impressive debut appearance he also defeated Richard Skidmore, but could not get the better of the tricky Bill Puxley.

An important result for Woodham D saw them defeat Maldon U3A 7-3 in a match that included five five-setters which the teams shared between them. Woodham’s Mike Burton was Player of the Match. Philip Bevan scored an excellent and hard-earned win over Brian Dixon to earn his St Lawrence B side their sole point against Maldon G.

In Division 2 Maldon F beat their E team colleagues 6-4 which featured hat tricks for F’s Bryn Thomas and Roger Hance, while E’s Shirley Carroll pipped Mervyn Perriman to the post in a particularly fluctuating match that went -1, -7, 3, 3, 9.

Player of the Match Ray Cheung was on good form for Mayland A as he bagged three wins and their opposition Stow Maries C’s Dave ‘The Lovable’ Goody was his team’s saving grace scoring an impressive straight-sets win over league stalwart Colin Barrell in the final game of the evening as they went down 9-1.

In a Woodham derby between their A and C sides David Gatheral displayed his usual pimple power while Alan Dadswell picked up the losers solitary point by coolly despatching George Ashley – I suspect a bit of coach’s insider knowledge may have been applied here – Ashley bit back by getting the better of John Bond and Eamonn Hall.

Tim ‘West Ham’ Pulham was unstoppable when his Stow Maries D team held leaders Woodham A to a draw and he was well supported by Ken Sheard who picked up two wins. The closest game of the evening was the first which saw Pulham get the better of Eamonn Hall over five ends.

Division 1 saw Alex Abbott cause a second loss of the season to the league’s top averager – Gary Young – when his Maldon A team beat their cousins West Maldon A 7-3; West’s Glen Laing pushed Alex Abbott to a fifth end and his teammate Chris Buer did the same to Trevor Lloyd.

Master defender Eric Green displayed fine form in scoring a treble against the Maldon B trio of Jon Stokes, Steve Whiteley and Brian Riedling. In the final game of the evening Stokes had to pull out the stops to get the better of Dave ‘The Tart’ Marsh as he won 11-9 in the fifth.

An all-Mapledene clash saw their A side defeat their C side 7-3. Charles Sweeny uncharacteristically only put one point on the board while Andrew Halling was undefeated which included a fiercely contested -10, 9, -10, 7, 9 match with Dave Bassett. Benjamin Matthews scored a fine win over Charles Sweeny, also by very fine margins at deuce in the fifth.

Stow Maries B versus Mapledene B ended all square and Cameron Gray looked to have an especially gutting night as he missed out in the fifth to all of his opponents – although a fine effort against the tough squad of Eric Green, Tony Forster and Dave Marsh.

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

January Review

(Report for weeks ending January 8, 15 and 22)

Division 1 – Outstanding performance by Maldon C

Second-placed Mapledene A are in a good position to take their fourteenth league title as they trail Maldon B by eight points but with three matches in hand. Maldon B’s solid squad of Paul Stephens (78%), Jon Stokes (75%), Steve Whiteley (68%) and Brian Riedling (26%) are favourites to take silver and are once again doing very well this season, being eight points above their own ‘A’ team. Maldon B had a couple of tough matches in January as they were held to a draw by a Mapledene B side that featured an all-firing John Monk, and then going down 4-6 to Fambridge A who had John Poysden unbeaten, although Paul Stephens scored a fine win over Mark Stones fighting back from a two-game deficit. Stow Maries A scored a sensational 9-1 win over Cold Norton B when both Matthew Brown and Hector Rogers scored trebles including excellent victories over John Holland. Cold Norton A’s Rob Harris was Player of the Match in their closely fought encounter with Mapledene C where every player won at least once, which included a fine win for Harris over Barrie Delf. Fambridge A edged it 6-4 versus a strong Mapledene B team where the first three matches were five-setters; Keith Adams’ hat trick opened with a victory against John Monk, whilst Dave Bassett scored a last-gasp 15-13 in the fifth over John Poysden, and Peter Ballard won a hard-earned point against Glenn Johnson winning 12, -7, 12, -8, 9. My nomination for performance of the month goes to the whole Maldon C team who are second from bottom but scored their first win of the season - a truly superb 8-2 win - over fourth-placed West Maldon A; Dawn Baldry was Player of the Match (pipping teammate Ciaran Whelan who also won all three) by only dropping one end against the tough opposition of Glen Laing, Tim Cramphorn and Dave Calleja, while the improving Colin Napper also had great scalps over Laing and Calleja.

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

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Division 2 – Is there any stopping Wily Woodham?

Woodham A continue to dominate the second division and, with a brace of good 7-3 wins over two of their nearest rivals, they have now pulled further away from the chasing pack – which basically is everyone else. Roy Gandy’s Cold Norton C, and Ralph Gibson’s Mayland A suffered at the hands and wrists of Woodham, but along with Mervyn Perriman’s Maldon F brigade, remain vying for the runner-up slot. In the chasing peloton only ten points divide the next seven places, and there are still some catch up games to be played. This leaves the ‘lovable’ Dave Goody and his merry Stow C band languishing at the foot of the table… The most unexpected result over recent weeks came in the all Woodham clash when the relatively inexperienced Woodham C team defeated the strong B team – with Luca Bailey and Eamonn Hall taking a brace each and the doubles over Chris Crooks and Allan Steel. However, the individual best result of recent weeks has to go the long suffering John Knights of Stow Maries fame, who after 20 years of trying finally did one over Tom Elder – but had to work hard for it taking the game all the way 10, 8, -4, -9, 8. On the individual averages front, Scott ‘Skippy’ Perry of Woodham C, and David ‘Pimples’ Gatheral continue to hold top spot on 85% averages – but this may well change soon as the two teams come face to face next week!

Eamonn Hall - Press Officer

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Division 3 – Age Before Beauty

A strange few weeks in the third division as the top four teams ( U3A, Mayland B, West Maldon D, & Woodham D) have each had chances to pull away but have succumbed to unexpected defeats leaving them in a dogfight as we move deeper into the second half of the season. Division 3 is much more strung out than other divisions with clear delineation within the field. The top players are expected to take hat tricks most weeks so the match scores are more decisive. So it was a big shock last week when Mr 100%, Mayland’s Steve Aspland, dropped his first point of the season in a 3-1 loss to Woodham new boy Vince Gurney. This leaves Steve on 95%, closely followed by the huffing and puffing of the excellent Louis Gunn on 94% - although the two have yet to meet this year! Some very notable individual performances of late, Steve Lucas’ double hat trick for Maldon G over league leaders U3A and a very strong West Maldon D side, Mayland’s Ken Stevens hat trick in the encounter with St Lawrence B, and Mike Matlin of Woodham D taking a hat trick against Burnham A, as well as Vince Gurney’s hat trick against Mayland B. However, the most eye-catching match of late really has to be the Octogenarian Off betwixt U3A’s John Skuse and St Lawrence’s Dave Toe – with a grand combined experience of 171 years - what an inspiration they are!

Eamonn Hall - Press Officer

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THE CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES TO THE TOURNAMENT IS FEBRUARY 10TH – PLEASE SEE THE NEWS SECTION FOR MORE INFORMATION. ALSO PLEASE SAVE THE DATE FEBRUARY 24TH IN YOUR DIARIES FOR THE ANNUAL QUIZ AT CHAMPIONS MANOR HALL.

First Half Round-Up

(Report for week ending December 18)

Happy new year Burnham ping pongers from your friendly neighbourhood press officers. Here is our round up from the last matches played before Christmas which mark an end to the first half of the season.

Division 1

A tense encounter between West Maldon A and Cold Norton B ended in festive cheer in Maldon high street’s Wetherspoons, where Glen Laing regaled his fellows with how he out-attacked Chris Hancox. An hour after the fact, Hancox was still in some disbelief: “I can’t believe it”, he said, “it’s never happened to me before”. Dick Wyman picked up two wins for the home side while Norton’s Holland, McHugh and Hancox did a 3-2-1. Cold Norton A beat Stow Maries B 8-2 and they had leading man Duncan Taylor out who as yet is undefeated this season; Stow’s Eric Green scored two points for his team with wins over Stephen Sawyer and Stephen Maltby, and Green just succumbed to Taylor 13-11 in the fourth end. Maldon A had a couple of Santa’s helpers playing up from their C team and, together with a stable hat trick from Trevor Lloyd, Dawn Baldry and Ciaran Whelan delivered the presents with Whelan defeating Matthew Rolfe and Barrie Delf, and Baldry scoring an excellent scalp over Benjamin Matthews.

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

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Division 2

As the season flitters towards its Winter Break very little has been decided in a remarkably close division. Woodham A, despite their staffing issues, sit proudly atop the division at least 11 points clear and, with recent stellar signings Alan Burgess and Gordon Gatheral, would seem an odds-on bet going into the second half. Fielding a team of ‘Alans’ this week (what is the collective nouns for a team of Alans? – answers to the Facebook page pls.), they remain unbeaten with a 7-3 victory over a tricky Maldon D side - another hat trick for Alan Burgess seems to have been the deciding factor – in support Allan won two, Alan won one, and the two Alan/Allans won the doubles! The battle for second place is really between the next 10 teams with only about 10 points separating them all (allowing for games played) – and even bottom placed Stow C shouldn’t be written off as on their day that team can beat anyone. In the other matches played this week all three results went against the odds, which only goes to support the notion its anyone’s game! Maldon E thumped two-man West Maldon B 8-2 to push themselves several places up the league ladder – Ev Lucas taking all his points without dropping a set. Nick Duce took the two points for the West Maldonites, but only just overcame Tom Elder in the last match on the scorecard in a tense finish coming from 2-0 down to win -9, -7, 7, 8, 7. West Maldon C upset the form book beating two-man Mayland A 6-4, with Maldon’s Robin Armstrong unbeaten. Mayland’s Dynamic Duo Colin Barrell and Ray Cheung both defeated Pete Mortensen and Bradley Smith – so it came down to the doubles to sort out the spoils; West Maldon took to the battlefield with confidence and despite a little third game hiccup secured the victory 9, 7, -8, 9. In the final match of 2016 High Flying Maldon F hosted the young Woodham C team. In a fun filled evening at Drapers Farm no one player came away unbeaten but the spoils went to Woodham C with Scott Perry and Eamonn Hall each winning two singles, young Luca Bailey took a good point off Roger Warren, and Eamonn and Luca overcame Dave Whiting and Mervyn Perriman in the doubles. With only two games finishing relatively quickly it was reportedly a long night, but there were some highlights for the crowd – including Scott Perry playing shots off the floor and whilst falling over (nothing new there).

Eamonn Hall - Press Officer

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Division 3

It’s that time of year when everyone in St Lawrence battens down their hatches for the annual St Lawrence Off – but more of that later. The only other match of the week produced a potentially tide-turning result as Mayland B trounced two-man top of the table West Maldon D 8-2 to maintain their unbeaten status and dent the confidence of their opponents. With games in hand, and if Mayland can keep their regular players, the title should be in their grasp! Steve Aspland and Jon Stevens both won all their matches and the doubles, just dropping one set all night. Steve remains top of the averages with a stunning 100% record. In the St Lawrence Off the A team retained the bragging rights as they won out 8-2, with Patrick Harrington and David Siggins winning all their singles and the doubles. But spare a thought for their third member Ivan Joslin; whilst seeing his colleagues win in double quick time he had to endure three five setters – losing to Stanley Moore and Barry Doane, but victorious over Roy Hutchins.

Eamonn Hall - Press Officer

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Remember to save the dates in your diaries for the Individual Championships on 18/19 March!

Gordon Blocks His Socks Off

(Report for week ending December 11)

Gordon Gatheral made his Burnham season debut for Woodham A after being drafted in by his son David – I heard there was begging – to help keep hold of their lead in Division 2. Daddy Gatheral put his patented block to good use as he swept aside the Stow Maries C challengers Dave Goody, Mick Robinson and Craig Foster. The loveable Goody was not to be denied in his other singles as he beat Alan Dadswell and Eamonn Hall, and Stow’s Robinson also got the better of Hall over five ends. The match ended 6-4 in Woodham’s favour.

Maldon U3A’s 9-1 hammering of Burnham A have put them at the top of the Division 3 table on 53 points, although they have played four more matches than second-placed West Maldon D. Burnham’s sole point came when Terry Frost scored a good five-games win over Bill Puxley. U3A’s Norman Hayes made his second appearance of the season and was in sparkling form, not dropping an end against any of the opposition. You might say it was like his Hayday (ba dum tss).

In Division 1, a strong Mapledene A side of Ben Warner, Reece Seddon and Kevin Read scored a convincing 8-2 win over Maldon B, but not without a fight from the home team as the match featured a superb scalp for Steve Whiteley over Kevin Read, not to mention an equally impressive straight-sets doubles win for Whiteley/Paul Stephens over Read/Seddon.

Mapledene C defeated Maldon C by the same margin and Maldon’s two points were earned by the ever-improving Ciaran Whelan who beat Barrie Delf and David Bassett. Simon Jacob was unbeaten for the winners. Maldon C’s Dawn Baldry and Steve Scholz also featured for their A team alongside stalwart Hamish Innes and their encounter with Stow Maries B finished all square.

Third-placed Stow Maries A had a Gary Brignall hat trick to be thankful for when they shaded a 6-4 victory versus Mapledene B in Bill’s Back Yard. Brignall was supported by Richard Storey and Peter Layzell who both won once. Mapledene’s John Tendler and Ian Rattray each one twice for the home team and Tendler definitely got his money’s worth with three marathon matches; I imagine his 9, -10, -9, 4,  11 win over Layzell must have taken some time!

[A message to all players: We like to brighten up our reports with photos, so please feel free to take some snaps at your next match and email them to leemchugh@yahoo.co.uk, along with any comments or anecdotes about what made the evening memorable!]

Lee McHugh - Press Officer


Lowman Flying High

(Report for weeks ending November 20 and 27)

In Division 1, if I were to pick out the shining performances from the past fortnight then the honours would go to Sam Lowman of Cold Norton, and the Stow Maries players Dave Marsh and Matthew Brown. Lowman was Norton A’s leading man when they defeated Mapledene B 6-4, and the feathers in his cap were wins over John Monk, Barrie Delf and Dave Bassett. Stow’s Dave Marsh has fallen on some hard times in the first half of this season as he has failed to capitalize on numerous close matches, however in the recent relegation clash between Stow B and Maldon C, Dave could not have chosen a better moment to find form as he despatched Colin Napper, Steve Scholz and Maldon C’s best player Ciaran Whelan, who himself scored fine wins over Dave’s comrades Eric Green and Peter Hance. Second-placed Mapledene A did not have it all their way when they faced off against Stow Maries A, and the thorn in their paw was Matthew Brown who scored two excellent wins over Charles Sweeny and Andrew Halling, having to fight back from a two-game deficit versus Halling to win 12-10 in the fifth end; none of the Stow players could get the better of Lee Prentice, however. Cold Norton B achieved a couple of much needed victories which have moved them to safety up the table; a booming performance from Chris Hancox, John Holland and Dan Anderson saw them home to a 10-0 win against Maldon C, and Holland along with Neil Want and Lee McHugh also shaded a 6-4 win over Maldon A for whom Alex Abbott was undefeated. Fambridge A have caught up well and now only trail Mapledene A by two points, but when they put out the side of Mark Stones, Keith Adams and Gurjit Bhambra I doubt many would have a predicted a 7-3 loss for them, but that is what happened when they faced Cold Norton A (Duncan Taylor, Minda Sinkus, Sam Lowman) and Sinkus in particular was relentless and did not drop more than seven points per game the entire evening.

In Division 2 things are looking extremely tight leading up to the Christmas break with a mere 17 points separating top from bottom, although Woodham A still command a decent lead. Woodham’s latest signing Alan Burgess proved very quickly to be a good acquisition for the club as Burgess turned out for the A and C sides in the same week, scoring trebles in both matches; but the two-man Mayland A team of Ralph Gibson and Colin Barrell still managed to hold Woodham C to a draw as both players got the better of Alan Dadswell and Eamonn Hall as well as winning the doubles. Roger Hance is showing himself as a player to beat this season and his Maldon F side also faced a two-man team in Cold Norton C (Peter Lucraft, Simon Lowman); Hance displayed fine finishing skills as he defeated both Norton players by fine margins over five ends. Maldon E did well to stomp Stow C 9-1, courtesy of hat tricks by Tom Elder and Jan Fuller; Dave Goody was Stow’s sole point earner and he defeated Ev Lucas winning 16-14 in the fourth. West Maldon C just lost out 6-4 to higher placed Cold Norton C but not without a superb effort from Gary Smith who scored fine wins over Simon Lowman and David Hancox. In what looked to be a long and hard-fought match Maldon F beat West Maldon B 6-4 with Bryn Thomas taking all three and Mervyn Perriman supporting with two wins, and they had new signing Kelly Yuenyongpknan making her debut and Yuenyongpknan was unlucky not to get on the scoreboard as she just lost to Peter Mortensen and Colin Barham both over five ends.

In Division 3 table leaders West Maldon D look untouchable at this stage with 45 points scored from a possible 50, although they have not had any league fixtures in the last couple of weeks. The team that currently seem to pose the biggest threat are Mayland B on 33 points as they have two matches in hand over the teams above them. Mayland B most recently scored two 6-4 wins over second-placed Maldon U3A A and third-placed Burnham A, with Mayland’s Steve Aspland undefeated on both occasions and receiving good support from Jonathan Stevens who won four out of his six singles. Woodham’s Dan Harris appeared for the first time this season for the D team in a derby against Woodham E and he proved too strong for Mitch Davies, Tom Butcher and Roger Maidment.

[A message to all players: We like to brighten up our reports with photos, so please feel free to take some snaps at your next match and email them to leemchugh@yahoo.co.uk, along with any comments or anecdotes about what made the evening memorable!]

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

“SON OF A GUNN!”

(Report for week ending November 13)

West Maldon’s secret weapon Louis Gunn has fired on all cylinders and displayed where he ought to be placed next season, because on a single night he achieved a hat trick each in two different divisions. For the D team Louis and his comrades Peter Mortensen (who also scored a treble) and Sean Bannister (season debut) ran out 8-2 winners over Maldon U3A B, where the closest match of the night was a victory for Bannister over U3A’s Philip West. Over to the other table for the Gunn for his Division 2 effort for the C team playing alongside Gary Smith and Captain Tim Huxtable; together with Smith’s and Huxtable’s wins over Mick Robinson, Gunn’s trio of wins helped secured a draw against Stow Maries C. The most notable win of the match was the first one, where Gunn defeated Stow C’s best player, (the lovable) Dave Goody, over five ends; notable indeed as only a few weeks ago Goody easily disarmed the Gunn 11-1, 11-3, 11-8, but it was a different story this time around.

Hold onto your hat (or bat) for this next event, because in the most shocking news since the U.S. Election the Woodham C side of Alan Dadswell, Eamonn Hall and Luca Bailey cooked up a storm to overcome higher-placed West Maldon B 6-4 in a closely fought second division encounter. Hall added a terrific scalp to his record when he beat one of the second division’s best players, Neil Freeman, by a nail-biting margin. The young talent Bailey also recorded his two best wins of the season so far over Chris Ciniglio and Nick Duce, while coach Dadswell also repeated the feat by getting the better of Ciniglio and Duce.

Elsewhere in Division 3; Woodham E’s Mitch Davies, Tom Butcher and Roger Maidment hammered home to a 10-0 result of over bottom-placed St Lawrence B when Maidment earned his first Player of the Match award this season. Two wins apiece by St Lawrence A’s Patrick Harrington, David Siggins and Alan Petfield earned them a 7-3 victory over Burnham A, although Malcolm House was undefeated for the losers. Meanwhile, in Division 2, just twenty-one points separate top and bottom and when you look at the week’s results it’s not difficult to understand why, as there were three matches that ended 6-4 and a draw. Woodham A, though, have started to pull away from the pack and have solidified their lead somewhat with an 8-2 win over bottom-placed Maldon E; a good result for the Woodham team considering they managed to win all four matches that went to five. Maldon’s Shirley Carroll and Mervyn Perriman picked up wins over George Ashley and Allan Steel respectively, while David Gatheral picked up three for the victors.

Division 1 went mostly with the form book, however there were a few gems hidden in the pages. Dick Wyman and Tim Cramphorn both picked up good wins over Lee Prentice when their West Maldon A side went down 8-2 to Mapledene A. Maldon C’s Ciaran Whelan prevented a whitewash by Fambridge A when he picked up a superb scalp over John Poysden (only Poysden’s second loss of the season – out of seven five setters! – the other being Lee McHugh), and Whelan almost did further damage when in the final game of the night he just missed out 11-9 in the fifth to Mark Stones; the closest anyone has come to beating Stones so far this season. In a match where everybody picked up a singles Mapledene C edged out Cold Norton B 6-4, David Bassett making his season debut and he pulled out all the stops to beat McHugh 12, -8, 9, -11, 11. Burnham 2016 Men’s Singles Semi-Finalist Alex Abbott displayed truly unplayable form when his Maldon A side drew with Mapledene B, as he breezed past Glenn Johnson, John Monk and Colin Chatfield without dropping an end; Mapledene on the other hand took all three singles that were decided in the fifth.

[A message to all players: We like to brighten up our reports with photos, so please feel free to take some snaps at your next match and email them to leemchugh@yahoo.co.uk, along with any comments or anecdotes about what made the evening memorable!]

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

Firework Displays From Green, Cramphorn, Hancox And Steel

(Report for week ending November 6)

There were a number of stand-out performances in the latest week of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. In a Division 1 bottom-table clash, Eric Green was his Stow Maries B team’s saving grace as they went down 7-3 to rivals Cold Norton B. Norton’s John Holland, Chris Hancox and Dan Anderson put in a strong team performance to all beat Green’s teammates Peter Hance and Dave Marsh, but the scorelines depict Green comfortably sweeping aside all three Norton players and most notably a 5, 9, 4 win over fellow defender John Holland. West Maldon A’s two-man side of Tim Cramphorn and Dick Wyman impressively held second-placed Stow Maries A to a draw; Cramphorn carried all before him as he defeated Peter Layzell, Richard Storey and Matthew Brown, and he was supported by Wyman who also beat Layzell. Another match that ended all square was between Mapledene B and Maldon C; Ciaran Whelan and Colin Napper both scored fine five-games wins over Mapledene’s Matt Rolfe, and Glenn Johnson displayed unplayable form as he swept aside all three Maldon players in straight sets. Over in Fambridge the home team (Mark Stones, Keith Adams, Peter Mynard) showed themselves to be a notch above challengers Mapledene C (Barrie Delf, Simon Jacob, Dave Moles) as they comprehensively won 9-1, the away team’s sole success coming when Jacob got the better of Mynard over five ends.

In Division 2, Cold Norton C had David Hancox on form as they defeated Woodham C (Alan Dadswell, Eamonn Hall and Luca Bailey) 8-2. Hancox powered through the evening without dropping an end and he received great support from Simon Lowman who also scored a treble and Roy Gandy who won twice. For Lowman it was a night where hard work paid off as he defeated Dadswell and Hall both over five games and needed four games to get past the young improver Luca Bailey. Woodham’s A and B teams fared better with 8-2 and 7-3 victories over West Maldon C and Maldon E respectively, and six of their fifteen points were owed to Allan Steel who played in both matches on the same night! One might call him ‘Woodham’s Man of Steel’ but unfortunately that would mean plagiarising from another publication. In a match where every player won at least one singles Stow Maries D edged a 6-4 win over Maldon D, on an evening that involved numerous close games. Ken Sheard and Rod Maclennan each won twice for Stow while Roger Clarke picked up two for Maldon; in the night’s final match Stow’s John Marshall showed no signs of giving in against Clarke during an end that lasted forty points but eventually succumbed 9, 9, -19, 7. Over in the chilly conditions of Smythe Hall where they no doubt had those red heaters on, home team Stow Maries C went down in flames 9-1 to Maldon F, as the opposition won all four matches that were decided in five; the lovable Dave Goody was his side’s sole point earner as he defeated Roger Warren in the evening’s closer.

In Division 3 there are only two results in from last week’s fixtures, and one of those was a whitewash of Maldon U3A B by Maldon G, as the trio of Ross Wheeler, Rob Sach and Denis Crapnell defeated Alan Mills, Philip West and Kath Little without ever really looking in trouble. In a much closer encounter, Mayland B just nipped home 6-4 against St Lawrence A; Mayland’s Steve Aspland kept his undefeated Div 3 record intact with a hat trick while St Lawrence’s Patrick Harrington picked up two wins over the father and son duo Ken and Jon Stevens.

Lee McHugh - Press Officer


Woodham A Make A Strong Campaign

(Report for week ending October 23)

In Division 2, Woodham A, who came third last season narrowly missing out on promotion, have made a great start to this season as they lead the division with three wins and one draw scored from their first four matches (Mayland A are hot on their tail with just one point less). The addition of David Gatheral (who played for West Maldon last season), is proving invaluable to their promotion hunt, and together with teammates Chris Crooks and George Ashley they form a squad strong in depth. Their most recent challenge presented itself as the strong Maldon F side of Roger Hance, Bryn Thomas and Roger Warren; in a match where no player was unbeaten, Gatheral suffered his second loss of the season at the hands of Hance, and Crooks was involved in the closest games of the evening beating Hance over five-ends (impressively closing out 11-3) and losing to Thomas in the final game of the evening also in five ends. Chris Crooks also featured in Woodham B’s match versus West Maldon C, where his and Allan Steel’s hat tricks, supported by Val Board’s win over Bradley Smith, brought their team home to an 8-2 victory; Tim Huxtable and Gary Smith picked up one each for West Maldon. Stow Maries C’s David Goody turned up in fine form for their derby clash against Stow D, with a fine trio of wins against Ken Sheard, Tim Pulham and Martin Knights. For Woodham C Scott Perry earned his second player of the match award, continuing his excellent season near the top of the averages with a hat trick of wins over Maldon D’s Mark Shorney, Roger Clarke and Bob King, helping his team scrape home to a 6-4 victory.

At the heights of Division 1, Stow Maries A continue to set an impressive pace as leaders, with 40 points scored so far from a possible 60. Although the teams below them have matches in hand, Stow still look well established in the top third of the table. An eclectic team of styles, Brown, Pitt, Layzell, Storey, Rogers and Brignall are all contributing to their piggy bank of points, their most recent result holding Cold Norton A to a draw, in a match where Ryan Pitt and Hector Rogers picked up two wins, while Duncan Taylor was unbeaten for the opposition. Down the bottom of the table an early relegation contest has begun between three teams – Maldon C, Stow Maries B, and Cold Norton B – who are all due to play each other within the next month, and it will be interesting to see who can break away from the struggle. Maldon C helped their cause this week by taking four points off of second-placed Maldon B, with Ciaran Whelan turning in a strong performance by winning two singles including a fine-margin victory over Steve Whiteley, and partnering with teammate Steve Scholz in the doubles to score a superb straight-sets win over Paul Stephens/Steve Whiteley. Elsewhere in Division 1 this week, Burnham League newcomer and Maldon A’s new signing, Trevor Lloyd, has already proven a useful addition to their roster by turning in a trio of wins over the Mapledene A side of Lee Prentice, Chris Jacob and Reece Seddon; the Maldon team won 7-3 as captain Alex Abbott was also unbeaten. The Mapledene derby between the B and C teams ended all square, and the C team’s Barrie Delf produced a scintillating hat trick with hard-fought wins in the fifth end against Glenn Johnson and Ian Rattray.

West Maldon D are powering ahead in Division 3, scoring 37 points so far out of a possible 40, marking them as the most obvious shoo-in in the Burnham League this season. The team featuring the so far hundred percenters Louis Gunn and David Razzell, are progressing through their fixtures relatively unfazed, recently hammering home to a 10-0 whitewash against St Lawrence B; St Lawrence’s Philip Bevan just missing out 11-9 in the fifth to West Maldon’s Neil Salmon. Elsewhere in the division this week, second-placed Maldon U3A A defeated U3A B in a derby clash where John Skuse and Richard Skidmore were undefeated for the winners, league stalwart Skuse showing he’s still got the style by winning an end 11-0. Woodham E defeated Maldon G 7-3 in a match where Mitch Davies and Roger Maidment proved too strong for the opposition, although Maidment had to pull out the stops in the final game of the evening to beat Rob Sach 10-12, 13-11, 11-9, 12-10.

There are no league fixtures in the week commencing 24th Oct as we begin Round 1 of the Handicap KO Cup. For information on fixtures and each player’s handicap, please see the Knockout Cup section on the website. Good luck to all players competing. 

Lee McHugh - Press Officer

Gary Young Dominates The Averages

(Report for week ending October 16)

Last week some saw decisive action in Division 1 as Mapledene A continued their charge to catch early leaders Stow Maries A. The Mapledeners recorded a 9-1 victory over Maldon C with hat-tricks for both George Reeves and Andrew Halling. There were also high scoring wins for Maldon B as they overcame Mapledene C 9-1, and Maldon A were in fine form as beat a 2 man Stow Maries A 8-2. Gary Young of West Maldon A continues to dominate the playing averages with a phenomenal 15 straight wins, keeping his team in the chasing pack. At the other end of the table Stow Maries B team got their first win of the season with a 6-4 victory over the B team from Mapledene.

In Division 2 the pre-season favourites are all doing well as Mayland A and Woodham A both had strong wins this week. Top of the table Mayland A had a comfortable 9-1 victory over Maldon D with hat-tricks for Steve Aspland and League averages leader Ralph Gibson, Maldon’s Roger Clarke taking the solitary point for his team with a fifth set decider against Colin Barrell. Woodham A stormed to an impressive 8-2 win against in form Stow Maries D with hat-tricks for man of the match Chris Crooks and his partner in crime David Gatheral.

Eamonn Hall - Press Officer

League September 2016 Review

(Report for week ending October 2)

The new season is well upon us now and in Division 1 Stow Maries A have launched themselves into this campaign with an impressive run of 4 straight wins only dropping 7 points along the way with Matthew Brown winning 9/9 of his singles matches – this could be a good year for the Maries’ if they can keep Matthew on active duty.  In contrast to the A team the Stow Maries B team provide the other bookend to Division 1 as they are 0/3 but having played the 3 top teams at present, so perhaps better fortune lays ahead for Dave Marsh and his merry band.  Other early contenders are West Maldon A, who seem to be coping without the services of their loyal but injured captain Glen Laing, with the ever dependable Gary Young also on 100% for his singles to date.  Of course no early season report could fail to mention the impressive start of the 3 Mapledene teams including pre-season favourites Mapledene A and their Burnham Globetrotters.  Early doors but things may soon change as Fambridge A have yet to start their campaign and all the teams settle down into regular playing formations.  The strangest result yet came in the Cold Norton A v Maldon A doubles where Sam Lowman and Duncan Taylor defeated Alex Abbott and Hamish Innes 11-3 10-12 11-0 11-0 – a strange scorecard indeed!

Division 2 is usually the closest division and this rule of thumb appears to be in place this year as the teams are already bunched with only 4 points separating the top 6 teams with numerous matches being drawn.  Local bookmakers have Mayland A and West Maldon B as pre-season favourites with Woodham A as a dark horse especially now they have pressganged the ever improving David Gatheral into their ranks.   Mayland’s firebrand Ralph Gibson leads the averages at the early stages with 7/8 singles victories – with ladies-in-waiting honours for 3 of the league’s biggest characters, Dave Goody, Nicky Duce & Scott ‘Skippy’ Perry all on an impressive 5/6 wins so far.  The surprise package in Division 2 has been the introduction of Woodham’s 14 year old Luca Bailey – perhaps not getting the wins just yet, but some very impressive play that will undoubtedly yield better results as the season progresses – one to watch for sure.

In Division 3 you have to feel for the experienced Maldon G team as they faced possibly the strongest Division 3 side for several years in Dave Razzell, Louis Gunn & Peter Mortensen in the West Maldon D corner.  So with that line up, the early signs are a two-way battle with Woodham D – but the Maldon U3A youngsters may yet have a say in matters pewter.  Both David and Louis are on 100% wins so far, and joining them is Woodham’s gentle giant Roger Maidment.  Just behind lurks West Maldon’s third musketeer Peter Mortensen on 5/6 so far.  Results have been much more decisive in this division with a couple of 10-0s already.

Eamonn Hall - Press Officer

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