Weeks 17, 18 & 19

Fambridge in a comfortable lead

In Division 1 Fambridge A are in good position at the top of the table, leading second-placed Mapledene A by 3 points with a game in hand, and third-placed Maldon A by 4 points with 2 games in hand. In Fambridge’s first match of 2019 their gentlemanly captain Peter Ballard returned to the table against Stow Maries A and Ballard was unlucky to come away without a win, missing out to both Matthew Brown and Peter Layzell close in fifth end. The following week Fambridge showed no mercy against Cold Norton B when Mark Stones, John Poysden and Keith Adams defeated Eric Green, Neil Want and Tim Pang 10-0 without any of the games going to five. At the bottom of the table it is unusual to see the two relegation spots currently occupied by two Mapledene teams, which perhaps demonstrates the current strength of the top flight in the Burnham League. Recently, Mapledene C fought three points off Cold Norton A when no player on the evening remained unbeaten; when they played their own A team Simon Jacob scored good wins over Babul McLeod and Steve Muth, and most impressively of all against Maldon A, when Mapledene were 9-0 down at the end of the night Ben Matthews pulled off an 11-9 in the fifth win over the rarely beaten Trevor Lloyd. Other recent results of note in the division are Lee Prentice’s victory over Lee McHugh, McHugh in turn defeating Charles Sweeny, and West Maldon A’s Daniel Young pipping his dad Gary to a Player of the Match award on games difference, as both of them scored trebles against Cold Norton B.

Push ‘em Pulham

Not a lot of change in the divisional order in Division 2, despite a couple of rounds of fixtures – largely all going to form, although a big 9-1 victory for leaders Stow B over West Maldon C has increased the Stow lead at the top. There has been a hat-trick or 2 in every one of the 11 matches since the Xmas break – so lots of great performances, including a double hat-trick for Stow’s Nicky Reece-Ford consolidating his place in the individual rankings. Performance of the last 2 weeks must go to the young and spritely Tim Pulham – he was on fire against the Woodham B team, not dropping a leg all night and playing out of his wrinkly skin. Tim’s recent form has helped drive the momentum for the Stow C team, and with 3 wins out of the last 4 I expect them to climb up the table in the second half of the season – their most recent encounter being a 7-3 victory over a full strength Mayland trio, which in turn dented the Mayland attempts at getting up into the top 2. All to play for… In the personal averages war, there are now just 3 runners and riders over the 80% mark. Glen Laing remains atop the pile on 90%, with Woodham’s young Daniel Piglet close second on 88%, and then Nick Duce on 82%. They’ll all be worried about facing Tim ‘Kebab Run’ Pulham now tho’.

Addendum! In most recent proceedings Maldon C win 8-2 versus their cousins West Maldon C, courtesy of a Baldry Battering as Dawn only dropped one end on the evening (to the pro-Verbal Tim Huxtable), meanwhile Victor Chan was little off form and went down in five ends to both Jan Fuller and Brian Riedling. A relatively young side for local league TT, Woodham C’s Luca Bailey, Matt Saville and Allan Steel powered home to a 9-1 victory over Cold Norton C when the away team’s sole point came from the massively attacking play of Gordon Gatheral as he beat Saville. Pulham continued his Kebab Run against a dangerous Maldon D side, and in a monumental marathon Pulham got the better of young gun Thomas Page -7, 11, 10, -10, 10. Tony Forster returns to the table tennis table and in an amicable evening in the village of Stow Maries he won two out of three against clubmates Jean Chasmer and the lovable Dave Goody, missing out in the end to Mick Robinson.

Sage Mode

In Division 3 West Maldon E’s young modern defender Noah Sage has been busy so far in 2019. In a match where no player remained unbeaten, two-player West Maldon side Sage and Ollie Wylie fell 7-3 to the experience of Woodham D (Diane King, Mike Matlin and Mike Burton). Sage got the better of the two Mikes while his teammate Wylie impressed by beating the only player to have beaten Sage, Diane King. It was a humdinger too: 11, -8, -8, 14, 12! Another two-player West Maldon E side the following week (gosh!) but this time they managed a 6-4 win over Mayland B, Gary Smith undefeated while Mayland’s only table-point of the night was Jonathan Stevens’ 11-7 in the fifth success over Sage. Noah finally achieved that sought-after 2019 hat-trick but it was a unfortunately a very one-sided affair as West Maldon E beat St Lawrence B 10-0 without dropping an end on the night.

Hall & McHugh - Press & Publicity Officers - Burnham Table Tennis League    

 

Weeks 13 & 14

Handicap KO Cup Quarter Finals - Burgess The Beast

With 3 relative tame quarter-finals the real talking point was the battle betwixt the Woodham A and B teams – the match went one way then the other as the A team went 3-1 up, before the B Team fought back and went into a temporary 4-3 lead before the legend that is Alan Burgess levelled things up. The match took over 4 hours, but it all came down to the last 2 minutes, as the final Doubles end saw Alan and his partner in crime Gus Heath fight back from 0-10 to finally outwit their B team opponents Dan Piggott and Eamonn Hall 21-19. What a match, and what a fantastic advert for the handicap process with 5 of the 9 games going to the deciding leg and several of the individual games going to deuce as the A team chased their handicaps – the best example being Alan Burgess’ 26-24, 22-20 close victory over Eamonn Hall. Alan may have been a late call-up but he was the star of the show with 4/4 wins, but most crucially it was Alan that dominated the final leg of the final match. Let’s see if Mr McHugh keeps him in for the semi! If anyone finds Gus’ lungs can they please return them to Woodham’s Head Office. A full report of this game can be found on the Woodham Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/southwoodhamferrersttc/

 


In the other quarter-finals St Lawrence with their high positive handicaps overcame a mixed West Maldon side 5-1. Noah Sage (+10) had the only Maldon victory in a tight one against Karen Braney (+15). That loss however did given Karen the opportunity to finish off West Maldon – in the guise of Colin Barham (+2) – with an 11, 10 comfortable victory. Another highly positive team from Blackwater got off to a great start against Woodham C as they took the opening doubles in a tight-as-you-like encounter -22, 20, 19 (John Kuhl/Angela Clarke v Allan Steel/Matt Savile) – but that was it for Blackwater as Woodham took a run of 5 wins on the trot with Matt Savile (+8) bringing home the victory against Angela (+13). Allan Steel seemed to be the common denominator in the 3 games that went to deciding legs as he just about ran out victorious against John Kuhl -13, 16, 16, and then in the second doubles partnered up with young Ewan Hynd as they overcame deuce in the second leg to finish off in the decider 21-16. In the final ¼ final, the result might look like a straightforward 5-0 to West Maldon A – but in fact the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story as 4 of the 5 matches went to a deciding leg – Will Moore (+14) was West Maldon’s best point winner with 3/3 on the night including a 15, -23, 11 victory over Roger Warren (+4).

 


So for predictions for the semis – Woodham C remain the writer’s favourites for the title, and can use their squad to good effect against the mixed handicaps of the West Maldon team. The other semi is the most intriguing – based on players so far the St Lawrence team have handicaps of +13 to +15, and the Woodhamites have handicaps of -13 to -15. So do Messrs McHugh, Heath, & Burgess have the patience, and plan Bs, to win 35 out of the 40 points per game – My prediction is that Alan will in all 4 games he plays in – but can Lee or Gus temper their games to get that extra win that will be necessary? I predict an all Woodham Final!

Sleigh bells ring, are you Whelan?

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening! A beautiful site, he’s happy tonight, walking in a Whelan Wonderland. In week 13 in Division 1, it was a strong clash between cousins, third-placed Maldon A and fourth-placed West Maldon A. Led my Trevor Lloyd, you would have thought, Maldon A fielded regular Jon Stokes and B team sub Ciaran Whelan. Super-sub, it turned out, as faced with the challenge of Gary Young, Gavin Price and Tim Cramphorn, Whelan defeated all three West Maldon players in some style; beating Price -8, -9, 8, 0, 6, Young 12, -6, -2, 7, 10, and finally Cramphorn 5, -9, 0, 8 to complete an excellent evening’s work – surely the best performance of the season alongside Richard Storey’s Mapledene A treble? Maldon A finished 6-4 winners overall, the closest match of the night when Young defeated Lloyd -8, 8, 12, -6, 10. Whelan kept up the form as he returned to his B team versus Mapledene C a few days later, and secured a solid hat trick over Ben Matthews, Lin Roff and Barrie Delf, however Matthews pushed him all the way to 10-12 in the fifth. Whelan tried to repeat the same level of form the following week when his B team faced their A team, but A’s Paul Sayer was Player of the Match on that occasion and he beat Whelan 6, -6, 10, 10. Another player on fire was de facto leaders Fambridge’s Bruce Kettle, as Kettle defeated all three Cold Norton B players Eric Green, Neil Want and most impressively fighting back from 0-2 down against newcomer Chris Ballard, meanwhile Ballard scored a superb 5, 3, 8 victory over Keith Adams; a rare occasion for Adams to be defeated 3-0 by any player at this level. Stow Maries A scored a good 7-3 win over Mapledene B, Gary Brignall leading the way with a hat trick and supported by Matthew Brown and Hector Rogers who won twice and once respectively. An especially interesting scorecard arrived just before Christmas, as one of those unlikely events when no player wins all 3 but no player loses all 3 either; Cold Norton B versus Woodham A finished all square with Dan Anderson winning twice for the home team while Gus Heath and Cameron Gray each won twice for the away team, and also Woodham’s George Ashley picking up his first win of the season over Chris Hancox – a thrilling encounter which opened the evening’s play, Ashley winning -3, 9, 9, -6, 9.

 

Stow Stumble and Herbie Rides Again

An interesting set of results this period that just confirm how competitive Division 2 is. Stow B, leaders since week 3, succumbed to Tom Elder’s surprisingly low Maldon D team – with Ev Lucas winning 4/4 over the regular Stow Boys, Tom’s on good form at the mo and he chipped in with good wins over Nick Reece-Ford and Keith Flowers as well as partnering up with Ev in the doubles. Second-placed Maldon C suffered no Knightsmares as they overcame the Knights family 7-3, although none of them could outwit adopted son Dave Porter who won all his singles in 4 for an excellent hat-trick against the top team of Dawn Baldry, Roger Hance, and Bryn Thomas. This win closed the gap to just 2 points. Nick Duce’s West Maldon B consolidated 3rd spot with a hard fought 6-4 victory over Woodham C – you know it’s gonna be a long night when the first 3 games all go to 5! Nick continued his fine form with another hat-trick, as did Glen Laing (still plying his trade in Div 2), but the Woodham team all beat Louis Gunn although it took a fantastic effort from Matt Saville, playing up from Div 3, to win in 5. Woodham C remain in 4th but have drifted a little now. So the top 4 teams, and we can assume Mayland A will join them when they play their 2 outstanding games, are separated by just 8 points at the half-way point. Woodham B did all they could to keep in touch with the leading peloton with an unexpected 10-0 victory over Stow D – with hat-tricks all round for Dan Piggott, Eamonn Hall, and Chis Crooks – but the real story of the night was the return to the table of Div 2 stalwart Herbie Smith – ring rusty of course but the backhand flash was there to be seen – a very welcome return. In the individual averages all top 3 players recorded hat-tricks this week so much the same with Glen Laing (94%) still top, followed by Dan Piggott (89%), Nick Duce (82%), and then in joint 4th we have Dawn Baldry and Colin Barrell on 78%.

 

It’s a Page Turner

In Division 3 the top two teams pulled away over the period as they inflicted very heavy defeats on the teams in 3rd and 4th – Leaders Stow E were convincing 8-2 winners over a Scammelless Blackwater A, with the only resistance coming from a new debutant youngster by the name of Norman Hayes (ho ho). Second place Maldon E inflicted an unexpected 10-0 drubbing to the pre-season favourites from Woodham D. Both of the top teams have their talisman, for Stow E Denis Balic has hit 5 hat-tricks on the spin, and for Maldon young Thomas Page has hit 6 hat-tricks on the bounce to keep him on the 100% mark. Other notable events including Mayland stalwart Ken Stevens getting off the mark for the season with a 9, 4, 7 win over Burnham’s Charlie Matthews to see his team home for a draw. Andrea Alleyne was the star billing in her West Maldon E team’s visit to Woodham as they defeated the Woodham E team 6-4, with Alleyne coming from 2-0 down in the final match against Scott Perry to win the point and take the 6-4 advantage. In the St Lawrence derby the spoils were shared but the bragging rights went to Karen Braney as she remained unbeaten in the singles all night, although she needed all 5 sets to outwit David Siggins in a fluctuating -4, 14, 8, -5, 2 victory. In the battle for averages crown Thomas Page stays level with the absent Alan Scammell on 100%, closely followed by Burnham’s Michael Pratley, and Woodham’s Sanjay Saptarshi both on over 90%. In fact we have 12 regular players on higher than 70% win ratios which shows how may hat-tricks are being scored. Of those 12, 9 different teams are represented!

 

 

 

Hall & McHugh - Press & Publicity Officers - Burnham Table Tennis League   

 

 

Weeks 11 & 12

Handicap KO Cup – Round of 16

In the Team Handicap KO Cup, after 2 very closely fought preliminary matches the results in round one seem very clear cut – West Maldon A, Blackwater, Woodham C all winning love matches (suggesting perhaps a closer review of individual handicaps for next year….. we say that every year of course!). Dan Piggott’s Woodham B have now completely wiped out the Handicappers from Cold Norton – seems a tad harsh! But for their rewards have an exciting clash against current holders, and stablemates, Lee McChoker’s Woodham A - it’ll be fireworks for sure! The sensible money is now on a Woodham victory – with 4 teams left in the hat, however watch out for the West Maldon A side, if they keep their team they’ll be hard to beat on those handicaps – Dave Razzell + 2, Ollie Wylie +14 , & Blaydon Farmer on +15. The Quarter Finals are all lined up for Week 14 (w/c 17 December), weather permitting!

 

 

Maldon E catapult with a 10-0 win

There were a lot of Division 3 players in action in last week’s Handicap Cup, and it’s great to see both Blackwater and St Lawrence flying the Div 3 flag in the quarter-finals. Woodham E’s Sanjay Saptarshi was the star of the Woodham B team in their victory over Cold Norton B. The League performance of the period must surely go to the Maldon E team (Thomas Page, Roger Warren & Denis Crapnell) for their crushing defeat of a very strong looking West Maldon trio of Gary Smith, Blaydon Farmer and Andrea Alleyne (all on very high percentage wins themselves) – the score was a shocking 10-0. This result and the show-stopping form of young Thomas Page have catapulted Maldon E into 2nd place in the league standings, and although a fair few points behind leaders they now have momentum going into the second half of the fixtures. The Woodham D trio had a good points victory over Burnham A but none of the Woodhamites could find a knockout blow against Burnham talisman Michael Pratley who took home the match ball with a fine hat-trick of wins! In the individual averages, Maldon’s Thomas Page has now joined divisional supremo Alan Scammell on 100%. These trailblazers are quickly followed by Burnham’s Michael Pratley, and Woodham’s Sanjay Saptarshi both on > 90%, and then Stow’s Denis Balic on 85% - high scores indeed, don’t these guys ever play each other?

 

 

It's a Gray Area

In Division 1 Woodham A’s Cameron Gray registered his first wins of the season, and fine ones they were; 6, 11, 9 over recently in-form Richard Storey and -9, 3, 5, 4 over the always-tricky Matthew Brown. Lee McHugh picked up three wins and for Stow Maries A Gary Brignall picked up two which resulted in a fair 5-5 draw between the two mid-table sides. It was a real family affair for West Maldon A (Gary Young, Daniel Young, Chris Buer) against Mapledene C (Simon Jacob, David Jacob, Susan Body) which resulted in a 9-1 victory for West Maldon; Simon saved the whitewash for his side by beating Chris 9, 6, 8 meanwhile within West Maldon’s nine points they were a couple of hard-fought ones as Daniel just got the better of David -8, 6, -6, 9, 5 and in the doubles the two Youngs defeated the two Jacobs 9, 6, -9, -9, 7. In Mapledene B’s 8-2 defeat to Cold Norton A, Ian Rattray impressed with a quickfire 9, 5, 7 win over Sam Lowman, and in a real clash of styles Barrie Delf did well to get the better of Mike Hayes 9, -5, 8, 6. Cold Norton B impressed by taking three points off of Mapledene A; Eric Green opened proceedings with a fine 10, 7, -5, 8 win over Charles Sweeny, meanwhile Chris Hancox scored an equally excellent result over Lee Prentice 6, -7, 4, 7. The real humdinger in the top flight over this period though was a battle of the titans between Fambridge A and Maldon A where no player remained unbeaten; Maldon’s Paul Sayer made his season debut and was first defeated by John Poysden over four ends, but then beating both Bruce Kettle over five ends and, most impressively so, also Keith Adams over five ends inflicting his first defeat of the season. Adams, in turn, inflicted an only second defeat of the season on Trevor Lloyd, meanwhile Lloyd got the better of Poysden – the match ended in a 5-5 draw.

Baldry pips Piggott

In Division 2 with only one league match in this period the top 3 stay as is, and Allan Steel’s Woodham C leapfrog Mayland into 4th spot – allowing for Mayland’s game-in-hand, the Top 5 have now pulled away to form their own peloton with only 8 points separating them. It’s the half-way stage now so everyone has played everyone and the batting and betting is pretty even still, with 2 key unknowns dominating proceedings – the previously mentioned fear of Mayland’s ability to field a full team each game (ref this week’s defeat to top of the table Stow B, and Maldon C’s rotation policy, although they have an amazing bench to choose from! Lots of hat-trick action this week across the board and these have impacted the individual rankings – Glen Laing remains atop the pile courtesy of not playing, but will drop off next week if he doesn’t play as we base on a 50% participation. Nick Duce and Dawn Baldry both move up the pecking order courtesy of their unbeaten outtings this week. In the match of the week Dawn just about pipped Woodham’s Dan Piggott 7, -6, -9, 10, 10 – and in the deciding leg looked out of it at 6-9 down but our Dawn is made of stern stuff, she gave herself a good talking too and with some fine forehand winners took the leg, the point, and the bragging rights!

 

And finally it wouldn’t be right to discuss this Division without noting Steve Siggs’ brace against Stow C last Monday, in the week he so sadly passed away whilst playing his beloved table tennis – a competitor for sure, but more importantly a really nice bloke – we remain in shock, and our thoughts are with your teammates, friends and family.

 

Hall & McHugh - Press & Publicity Officers - Burnham Table Tennis League   

 

Weeks 9 & 10

Firstly a big thank you to all who supported the Burnham League Quiz Night on Friday 23rd November, and another big thank you to Dawn Baldry for organizing the event.

Let me tell you a Storey

In Division 1 the performance of the season came recently when Stow Maries A’s Richard Storey scored a sensational treble against table leaders Mapledene A. Stow didn’t win on the night, losing 6-4, as the only other point they picked up was when Matthew Brown defeated Steve Muth (12-10 in the fifth no less); Storey also beat Muth 12-10 in the fifth, however he also beat Chris Jacob 9, 9, 5 and most impressively of all Kevin Read 7, 6, -3, 9; a superb scalp. Stow A also put in a fine performance against Maldon B who are at the moment just outside of the relegation zone; this time Ryan Pitt joined Richard Storey in treble honours as they both beat Ciaran Whelan, Colin Napper and Steve Scholz, meanwhile Whelan and Scholz both got the better of Matthew Brown. The defence of Eric Green proved too much for  Maldon B as they faced Cold Norton B, Green walking away with a hat trick of 3-0 wins. Another player who registered a couple of top wins recently was Cold Norton A’s Matthew Stringer who took two points away from Mapledene A when he defeated Charles Sweeny, coming back from 2-0 down to win -4, -8, 14, 4, 6, and Steve Muth 4, 9, 6. Stringer’s teammate Sam Lowman was man of the hour when Cold Norton A defeated Woodham A 7-3; Stringer fell to Lee McHugh but beat Alan Burgess by the sizzling scoreline of 3, 9, -4, -11, 13, meanwhile Lowman defeated both McHugh and Burgess, and completed his hat trick by beating Chelmsford league teammate George Ashley. McHugh was on fluctuating form for Woodham A when they lost 7-3 to third-placed Maldon A, falling to Steve Whiteley (once again on fine form with a hat trick) -8, 7, -12, 4 but then causing Trevor Lloyd’s first defeat of the season 9, 9, -5, 6. Title hopefuls Fambridge A addressed the strong prospect of second-placed West Maldon A who did not disappoint in turning out Gary Young, Daniel Young and Chris Buer; Buer recorded a fine five-games win over John Poysden, and Gary Young also got the better of Poysden as well as Mark Stones, however none of the West Maldon players could get near Keith Adams; Daniel being the only one to take an end off Adams and going down -3, -1, 9, -5. Last but certainly not least, it is well worth mentioning West Maldon’s Louis Gunn’s first foray into the first division on behalf of the A team; Gunn’s win average in the second division thus far this season is 47% so it was an impressive feat for him to take away 2/3 wins against Mapledene B, scoring fine wins over Michael Tappenden and Anthon Ranjit-Singh, both in the fifth end; Player of the Match was Gunn’s teammate Dave “The Trout” Calleja who went one further than Gunn in also defeating the awkward chops of John Tendler, again in the fifth end.

 

A Barrell of Laughs

In Division 2, allowing for games in hand Stow B and Mayland A are fighting it out for top spot, but the play-off places below them are being well contested with only 11 points separating the next 5 teams. And each of these teams have players that can take lots of points off the top teams – just ask Stow B who managed to beat their stable mates of the C kind 7-3 but all the B team lost to the fashion prince himself Mr Rod Maclennan! Of course I have assumed Mayland will take points from their game in hand, and that was a safe bet until they dropped their 100% record last week when they succumbed to the Woodham C youngsters – where Allan Steel and Luca Bailey both took a brace and combined to win the doubles, but no-one could stop the mighty Colin Barrell as he completed another hat-trick. The top 2 teams finally met and the result was more decisive than expected. Maldon C’s 7-3 victory over leaders Stow B certainly puts the open top bus parade of Stow Maries on hold – Dawn Baldry was the star with 4/4 on the night – she said it was a great distraction from the Quiz Nite chasing! On the individual averages front Glen ‘the smash’ Laing and Dan Piggott retain top spots but, courtesy of the only 6/6 over the period, Mr Barrell storms up into 3rd, and Nick Duce and Allan Steel jump into joint fourth spot having both won 5/6 over the period.

 

Stow Blimey

Well Stow E have certainly taken the bull by the horns over the past fortnight with two love victories to storm ahead in a fragmented Division 3 – Denis Balic is Stow’s talisman with 23/27 wins so far this season and he scored a double hat-trick in the victories over the B teams from Burnham & St Lawrence. Alan Scammell and his Blackwater boys are in second (allowing for a missing scorecard which will show a 9-1 victory over Mayland), and the Woodham D yoyo team are now in 3rd following their own 10-0 victory over St Lawrence A. Most games went to form with many decisive margins, the only tight one being the Woodham off between the D and E teams – the star attraction was Woodham E’s Sanjay Saptarshi who scored a hat-trick and partnered up with young Ben Porter to take the doubles. Ben finished the scoring for the E team to create the draw with a 5 set victory over Mike Matlin, but could have had more as he lost out in the deciding leg of both of his other singles matches. Blackwater’s Alan Scammell continues to dominate the division and remains unbeaten after 27 matches – will he do it we hear you say? Leicester fans say yes, others think there’s a banana skin along the way. Paddy Power are offering odds of 11-8 for an unbeaten season! Close behind Alan and on very impressive stats themselves are Burnham’s Michael Pratley 21/23, Woodham’s Sanjay Saptarshi 19/21, and Stow’s Denis Balic on 23/27. There is a tie in 5th spot betwixt young Ewan Hynd, Phil West, and Andrea Alleyne all on 12/15 (80%).

 

Hall & McHugh - Press & Publicity Officers - Burnham Table Tennis League   

 

Weeks 7 & 8

Watch out, there’s a Whiteley about!

That’s what Mapledene A – Charles Sweeny, Glenn Johnson, Lee Prentice – should have been thinking when approaching the Maldon Pigsty on a gloomy November evening in Division 1. Steve Whiteley took no prisoners, beating Prentice in straight games, Johnson -9, 17, 8, 10 (who gets tired from reading that scoreline?) and rounding off a fine evening’s work by defeating Sweeny over four ends. With Jon Stokes picking up a singles win, and pairing up with Whiteley for the doubles, Maldon A impressively held Mapledene A to a draw. Curiously, last season’s runners-up and many-times-champions Mapledene have only picked up 11 points in the last two weeks, as they just shaded a 6-4 victory over West Maldon A, for whom Gary Young was on relentless form, and his son Daniel scored a fine five-set win over Babul McLeod; Mapledene captain Lee Prentice got his team over the line for a win in the final match of the night, scoring an equally fine five-set win over Daniel. Mapledene’s slower-than-normal accumulation of points gives current champions Fambridge A an opportunity in which to strike and perhaps get a good lead on what could be a successive title – that is once they manage to play some matches! – Fambridge have managed consecutive league victories before, in the seasons 2013/14 and 2014/15, but before that not since the mid-nineties. Other notable scorecards from the past fortnight, one being Chris Ballard’s Burnham league debut and duly despatching the Stow Maries A team; for the losers Richard Storey scored a superb and hard-fought win over Eric Green 4, 9, -12, -5, 9. In a Mapledene derby between B and C, it was C who came out on top 7-3 and Player of the Match Ben Matthews put in a fine evening’s work with a treble, closing out with a win over the very tricky and very tall Ian Rattray -8, 4, 9, -10, 10. West Maldon’s Gary Young was totally unfazed by the prospect of Woodham A’s Lee McHugh, Alan Burgess and Gus Heath, not dropping an end during proceedings, meanwhile Eric Green returned to winning ways versus Mapledene C as he was unbeaten and received good support from Tim Pang who won twice and Chris Hancox who won once. Finally, in the battle of the (relatively) young attackers, Ciaran Whelan very impressively bulldozed Sam Lowman 6, 10, 12 – Cold Norton’s Mike Hayes showed his teammate how it’s done, defeating Whelan, -7, 4, 10, 11.

 

It’s a Numbers Game!

Maldon C are an enigma in Division 2 – you never quite know what you’re gonna get from them. Their rotation policy has seen them use 10 players already, with no consistent line-up – however they have a bench akin to Man City so it seems to be working at the mo. They were the most successful team over the past fortnight picking up 16 points to push them up into 3rd place, including an impressive 9-1 victory over the early pace setters Woodham C with Jan Fuller on fire with 4/4 teaming up with Dawn Baldry in the doubles. It will cost the club a fortune in extra trophies should this team go all the way! The league is starting to take shape now with Dave Marsh’s Stow B firmly ensconced at the top of the table. Dave himself leading from the front as the only Div 2 player to take 6/6 wins in the last fortnight pushing himself into the top 5 of the players averages. In second place are the perennial almost team of Mayland A – suffering from fielding a full and consistent team each week, Colin Barrell and his trusty team mates of Ralph Gibson and Steve Aspland, have slowly climbed to what most of us think is their rightful level. The Mayland Trio have also given this division its first 10-0 of the season against Stow D last week. The other notable performance of the last fortnight was the Cold Norton C team’s 9-1 demolition of West Maldon D – Roy Gandy was the Player of the Match with an excellent hat-trick but still his team-mates wouldn’t let him play in the doubles! So the top 3 have yet to meet each other in battle – but that all kicks off this week so let’s see how the cookie crumbles. The Players Averages league still jumps around – but Glen Laing (that Div 2 perennial I hear you say) has taken over at the top with 11/12 wins, his only loss being a week one defeat to Gordon Gatheral – some of us still wonder if that game has actually finished yet! Close behind is Woodham’s new starlet Dan Piggott on 16/18, followed by the rocket of Nicky Reece-Ford on 14/17. Dave ‘T’ Marsh has pushed himself up to 4th with that recent 100% spell on 16/20, and Allan Steel and Nicky Duce share 5th slot on 16/21. Still lots to play for!

 

Page Power!

In Division 3 young Thomas Page of Maldon Club demonstrated his power, getting off his would-soon-to-be hat trick off to a cracking start by defeating the even younger and upcoming star Ben Porter -8, 8, -10, 9, 9 – what I imagine to have been a thrilling encounter of attacking play. Page also defeated Woodham’s Jo Hart and finally another rising star Sam Mortimer-Ford, a bit more comfortably 5, 9, 4. Page wasn’t done there though, as the following week he shone with another treble and Player of the Match award against St Lawrence A, pipping his teammate Steve Lucas on sheer points difference. The notable and excellent result on that scorecard though was St Lawrence’s David Siggins and Jacqueline Treacy pairing up to very impressively defeat Page and Lucas in the doubles, -8, 8, 8, 9. Ben Porter of Woodham was also in action for the F team, and again he met his match, this time in the form of Burnham A’s Michael Pratley, missing out -9, -12, 6, 9, -7; Pratley also defeated Roger Maidment over five ends, but Porter and Maidment did well to secure an overall draw given they were their team’s only two players. Things are very tight in the top half of the table which is great to see, with the top six sides only separated by eight points, and what makes it even better is the fact that these top six are represented by six different clubs! Just about ahead at the top, Stow Maries E were recent convincing 10-0 winners over Mayland B, meanwhile it was a much closer encounter between Blackwater A and Woodham D; Alan Scammell completed his evening’s treble over league stalwarts Diane King, Mike Matlin and Mike Burton, but it was not enough to prevent Woodham securing a 6-4 win; Blackwater’s Kath Little also scored a fine win over King, and in a widely fluctuating doubles scoreline Burton/Matlin defeated Scammell/John Kuhl, -4, 4, -10, 4, 10. The match between St Lawrence B and Woodham F finished all square, and in the closest game of the night newcomer Jasmine Brown snuck past the one of league’s longest standing players, Dave Toe, -10, 7, -5, 5, 7.

 

Hall & McHugh - Press & Publicity Officers - Burnham Table Tennis League  

 

Weeks 5 & 6

Napper and Whelan: Giant Killers

Alternative title – Alan with one L or two? The result is the same

In Division 1 the table is rather skewed due to the disparity in matches played/results entered, however Mapledene A continue to lead with 35 points scored from four fixtures most recently defeating their own B team 9-1, with B’s Paul Brown saving the whitewash and carrying on his good start to the season with a hard fought win over Lee Prentice. Brown’s win over Prentice is arguably the best individual result in week 5, but a strong contender is Peter Layzell getting the better of Matthew Stringer 11-7 in the fifth when his Stow Maries A side lost 6-4 to Cold Norton A. The best doubles performance is rather obvious though; Maldon B’s Colin Napper/Ciaran Whelan scoring a stonking victory over Fambridge’s John Poysden/Mark Stones 9, 9, -8, 11, preventing the defending champions achieving the maximum. Stringer also played for Cold Norton’s B team and after yet another 9-1 result he finished the night on a high both for himself and his team by beating Jon Stokes impressively 11, 6, 4. Woodham A picked up some points to help lift them from the bottom of the table, beating Mapledene C 8-2 and they called upon a Reserve of Steel; Gus Heath’s and Dan Piggott’s hat tricks receiving good support from Allan Steel as he defeated Mick Tappenden 11-8 in the fifth – Mapledene’s David Jacob was involved in several close matches, missing out to Heath 5, -12, -7, 9 as well as losing to Piggott 14-12 in the fifth and beating Steel 14-12 in the fifth. In week 6 Woodham called upon yet another one of their Alans – Dadswell, this time – when they faced Mapledene B, and Dadswell helped his team to four points by scoring a fine win over Anton Ranjit-Singh, meanwhile Mapledene’s Glenn Johnson was unflappable not dropping an end in the evening. In two close 6-4 encounters, between West Maldon A/Maldon B, and Cold Norton A/Cold Norton B, the result went in favour of the “home” team on both occasions, and what is most notable in both fixtures is that it was the youngest players involved who displayed the best class and composure, West Maldon A’s Daniel Young scoring a solid treble over Hamish Innes, Colin Napper and Ciaran Whelan, while Cold Norton A’s Sam Lowman scored an equally fine treble over his clubmates Neil Want, Dan Anderson and Eric Green.

This Little Piggott went to Market

Stow Maries B remain top of Division 2 by five points thanks to a close 6-4 victory over nearest rivals Woodham C – although it looked a lot more ominous when Stow went 5-0 up in the top of the table clash before the Woodham youngsters pulled themselves together and won all the remaining singles including 2 excellent wins for Allan Steel over Peter Hance and Dave ‘T’ Marsh. So long at the top of the Divisional averages, Mr Steel has relinquished top spot to stable mate Dan Piggott who had 6/6 wins over the recent period, and this shoots him up to the leader board summit with 11/12 for the season so far. Dan’s form is largely behind the surprisingly lofty position of the Woodham B team who have leapt up to 4th spot with fine wins over Cold Norton C and Maldon D. Mayland remain the only 100%ers in Div 2 but they were made to work hard for their most recent victory as the struggling West Maldon C team took a fantastic 4 points off the pre-season favourites including an excellent brace for team captain Louis Gunn with the scalps of Ralph Gibson and Colin Barrell. At the other end of the West Maldon spectrum the B team’s Nick Duce also scored a perfect 6/6 over this trading period against the C teams from Maldon and Stow Maries. This haul puts Nick in the top 5 averages, with the other top players being Glen Laing (8/9) and Nicky Reece-Ford (12/14). A big shout out to Stow D who managed their first victory of the season against the D side from West Maldon – the Stow trio of the Lovable Dave Goody, Jean Chasmer and Mick Robinson all claimed victories on the night – but alas they remain at the bottom by one point, but it’s all getting very tight down there!

Swings and Roundabouts

There’s been a bit of a shake-up in the pecking order in Division 3 over the past fortnight as the boys from Stow Maries E have replaced Maldon E following two convincing wins over their closest rivals – most recently a thumping 7-3 over West Maldon E with Simon Quelch leading the way with another hat-trick, and a 6-4 win over previous leaders Maldon E where teamwork prevailed as all the Stow boys bagged a brace but none could outfox Maldon’s young star Thomas Page. Maldon E suffered further misery when they were thoroughly upended 8-2 by Alan Scammell’s Blackwater A. Mr Scammell continues to dominate the players averages with an impressive 100% 15/15 so far – with Stow’s Simon Quelch and West Maldon’s Andrea Alleyne close behind on 8/9. Alan may need to watch out for some of the youngsters playing in Div 3 this year – both Maldon’s Thomas Page (14) and Woodham’s Ben Porter (12) are both on 6/6, and Woodham’s Ewan Hynd (12) is still racking up the wins on 9/12. Ewan and Ben, with the older head of Roger Maidment, pulled off the only love result of the period against St Lawrence A.

 

 

 

Hall & McHugh - Press & Publicity Officers - Burnham Table Tennis League 

 

 

Weeks 3 & 4

Handicap Cup

Only two matches in the first round of the Handicap Cup with Woodham B and Burnham A both progressing by the narrowest of margins 5-4, both in the deciding leg of the 9th frame. Burnham were grateful to the form of David Bateman as he bagged 3 of his 4 points against West Maldon C. Whereas Woodham were the Doubles kings winning all 3 against last year’s runners-up Cold Norton A. Woodham’s Eamonn Hall and Dan Piggott taking the extra singles points against Dan Anderson, and Neil Want respectively – no-one could get near Eric Green in the singles. The final point was played at 11.30pm on a cold night in the dark country lanes of Latchingdon.

 

Stringer Stinger

In Division 1 I will start by praising Peter “Oyster Expert” Layzell for his superb three-straight win over Maldon A’s Jon Stokes within their 3-7 loss to the Heybridge side; it was a team effort for Stow Maries A as Layzell’s teammates, Richard Storey and Hector Rogers, each picked up a win over Martin Hogg, while Maldon’s Trevor Lloyd, not unusually, reigned supreme. In my last report I neglected to mention the exploits of Cold Norton A’s latest signing, Matthew Stringer, as he scored good wins over Steve Scholz and Steve Whiteley, and more recently took Player of the Match award for Norton A against Mapledene C when Stringer secured an impressive hat trick against Barrie Delf, Lin Roff and Michael Tappenden to help his team to a 6-4 win, meanwhile Mapledene’s Delf, in the closest and final game of the night, defeated veteran player Mike Hayes. The Young father and son due continue to dominate on behalf of West Maldon A, and as their team is currently tied on points with Mapledene A that is a good example of their status this season; Daniel got off their evening vs Cold Norton B to a good start when he impressively dismissed the defensive prospect of Eric Green in straight sets, meanwhile Green picked up his side’s sole point by defeating Dave Calleja. For Mapledene B, Paul Brown continues his strong start to the season with a solid hat trick over Maldon B’s Jan Fuller, Hamish Innes and Steve Scholz, meanwhile all three of the Maldon players got the better of Anthon Ranjit-Singh, and Scholz avenged his teammates defeat to Ian Rattray by beating Rattray over four ends in the final game of the night. Woodham A salvaged two points against many-times champions Mapledene A, when Kevin Read carried all before him but Lee McHugh beat Lee Prentice and Babul McLeod; in the closest game of the night McHugh defeated McLeod 9, -7, 14, -8, 11.

Steeling the Averages

Dave Marsh’s Stow B continue to set the pace in Division 2, as Dave and Nicky Reece-Ford rack up the points against all-comers. If they maintain this form they will be tough to catch. Woodham C and Cold Norton C lead the chasing pack although an honourable draw betwixt the two saw them both lose ground to Stow – although you can’t blame any of that on the Divisional hot shot so far as Allan Steel bagged another hat-trick to maintain his lead in the players averages. The last couple of weeks have seen Tom the Elder back on form for his Maldon side with a fine hat-trick against the Knights of Stow. But spare a thought for the Stow D team who have tumbled down the rankings having taken two heavy beatings from their own stable-mates winning just 3 points over the two contests – with only the lovable Dave Goody showing real resistance! Mayland A remain the only 100% record team in the division but are a game behind at the mo – Ralph Gibson was at his spinniest best last week taking a well earned hat-trick against the improving Woodham B side. 

Sage and Farmer Trebles

As is oft the case Division 3 has the biggest score margins with BDTTL this year – close games are hard to come by.  There are players of quality (young and old) and players still learning the game.  Over the past two weeks every match has been decisive and there has been a hat-trick or two in every match. Ross Wheler’s Maldon E lead the pack having dropped only 4 points – but perhaps benefitting from the fixture list so far.  Close behind and also on 100% after 3 matches is Alan Mills’ Stow E.  I wouldn’t rule out the West Maldon E team – they have a good mix of youth and experience and the younger plays will only gain in confidence as they win more matches. Alan Scammell of Blackwater A leads the averages chart on 9/9 and is looking a god bet for that particular honour.  Close behind are the ever consistent Michael Pratley of Burnham A on 8/9, and Roger Warren from the E team at Maldon on 6/6.  I would expect Denis Balic 7/9 of Stow E to keep pace with these guys as the season progresses.  Roger, Alan, and Denis all hit hat-tricks over the past fortnight – as did Sanjay Saptarshi and young Ben Porter from Woodham E in the defeat of their F rated stablemates.  Noah Sage and Blaydon Farmer both hit hat-tricks in their 9-1 victory over St Lawrence B, and finally season debutant Simon Quelch took the hat-trick honours against Woodham E although it took a last gasp 5th set decider against the in-form Sanjay Saptarshi to secure those bragging rights. 

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 Hall & McHugh - Press & Publicity Officers - Burnham Table Tennis League 

Weeks 1 & 2 

Youngs Dominate 

Battle has commenced for the 2018/19 season and in Division 1 there have been a fair few notable individual performances already. Anton Ranjit-Singh has been busy representing two Mapledene sides in the first week and for the C team he scored an excellent win over Maldon A’s crash-bang-wallops of Steve Whiteley 4, 8, -7, 11, and then for the B team he fought back from 2-1 down to defeat a very different style of player, defender Dan Anderson of Cold Norton B. Paul Brown was Mapledene B’s star though and after beating Anderson and Neil Want he finished with a cracking 11-8 in the fifth victory over ace defender Eric Green. Gary Young has returned to the ranks of West Maldon A, after helping Fambridge A secure the title last season, and is playing in the same team this season as his son Daniel. The Youngs have racked up two trebles each in their first two fixtures and Daniel, fresh from his exceptional performance at the Essex Junior Assessment Trials last weekend, has got some fine wins on the board to add to his Trials success and excellent results from the Chelmsford League. Daniel defeated Cold Norton A’s Steve Maltby 8, -11, 7, 12 and Sam Lowman by the finest margin -7, 12, 9, -6, 10, and perhaps most impressively of all Stow Maries A’s Gary Brignall three straight 8, 8, 10. Mapledene A did not have it all their own way against their C team and, although they won 8-2 with Babul McLeod taking PotM, Barrie Delf got the better of Lee Prentice and Simon Jacob defeated Steve Muth. Woodham A has received a bit of a revamp this season, not only having their notorious white walls covered with a shade of grey, but also with their players as Cameron Gray has transferred back to the club from Mapledene and new signing Daniel Piggott has bolstered their ranks (two lefties!). Their match with Maldon B was fought out to a 5-5 draw, Alan Burgess on great form to secure a hat trick against Colin Napper, Hamish Innes and Ciaran Whelan (14-12 in the fifth, no less), and new signing Piggott also impressed with four-game victories over Whelan and Napper.

Stanley starts strong 

So off we go again in Division 2 – some familiar faces, some new faces, and plenty of old faces.  Buoyed by their finish to last season Woodham C are the early pace setters with 2/2 and 15 points, and surprisingly are a decent each-way bet for the title this year – with Captain Allan ‘Man Of’ Steel on fire with 8/9 wins already ably supported by the ever improving Luca Bailey, and the explosive and now more available Kieran Stanley.  Dave ‘tart’ Marsh’s Stow B are also on 15pts courtesy of a thumping whitewash over a short staffed West Maldon C team.  The other surprise team has been Cold Norton C – strugglers and stragglers for a lot of last season, they seem to have found a new spirit and a new talisman in a resurgent Terry Hylands on 5/6 already – Cold Norton also helped by new Nortonite Gordon Gatheral 3/3 – the Godfather of awkwardness.  With Allan Steel leading the individual averages it is worthy of note that so far no-one is 6/6 which shows the depth and range of styles of this division.  In close proximity are Terry Hylands, Kieran Stanley, Glen Laing [sic], and new Woodham B player Dan Piggott – all on 5/6.   Notable performances in first couple of weeks include Cold Norton’s 7-3 victory over West Maldon B incl both Glen Laing and Nicky Duce;  Mayland’s 7-3 victory over a Maldon C team including Div 1’s Jan Fuller and Dawn Baldry, and finally Woodham B’s 6-4 win over a Stow team featuring Dave ‘flat bat’ Porter and Tim ‘the headband’ Pulham – all great wins against good opposition.  Its all set up nicely!  

Hynd Hat Trick 

In Division 3 there are some new faces, in both teams and players. Blackwater join the league and with Alan Scammell on their side you can expect them to do plenty of damage, as Scammell has displayed his strength at this level already with two hat tricks, only dropping one end so far to Woodham F’s Matt Saville, who is another new signing for Woodham F and you can also expect Saville to be high up the averages as the season progresses. For Woodham E’s first match it was Burnham League debuts for all three players – a wonderful sight! – with Jo Hart, Sanjay Saptarshi and Jasmine Brown getting three points against Blackwater, Saptarshi winning twice and Hart once, while Brown just missed out over five ends to Angela Clarke. It’s two fixtures, six players, and two 9-1 wins for early division leaders Maldon E, so you can expect them to be there or thereabouts. Young and quickly improving Thomas Page (who also recently competed at the Essex Junior Assessment Trials) scoring a treble against Mayland B. Second-placed Burnham A are just behind after two 8-2 victories, Michael Pratley and David Bateman unbeaten on both occasions, while Burnham B’s William Hitchcock fought hard to get past Terry Frost -7, 10, 11, -9, 7, meanwhile St Lawrence B’s Jacqueline Treacy scored their sole point against Maldon E when she defeated Brian Dixon over five ends. For West Maldon E Bob King led the way against Mayland B and he was well supported by his younger counterparts Noah Sage and Blaydon Farmer who both won twice; Sage also impressed against Woodham D with a fine win over Mike Matlin 10, -9, 8, 7. I have saved the best til last though and the third division’s star of the opening weeks is Woodham F’s young Ewan Hynd who lifted his team up to a 5-5 draw against the strong and well experienced Woodham D; Hynd’s superb hat trick of wins included an 8, 8, 8 win over Mike Matlin, an 8, 8, -6, 6 win over Mitch Davies and finally fighting back from 2-1 down against wiley chopper Mike Burton 5, -7, -10, 7, 4.

Some early season photos from photographer Hall of Woodham Realm:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press reports will be fortnightly this season. We'd love to receive any pics and match reports from you to be included. 

Hall & McHugh - Press & Publicity Officers - Burnham Table Tennis League 

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