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!
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
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.
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.
Hall & McHugh - Press & Publicity Officers - Burnham Table Tennis League
Weeks 1 & 2
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