In the penultimate week of the season in Division 1 of the Hastings & District Table Tennis League, the two title contenders met twice in the space of eight days at Hastings Academy. In the first, a rearranged fixture, a superb display from Saints A saw them cruise to a 9-1 victory over Hollington Academy A in which Ritchie Venner and Dave Butler were unbeaten and James Winchester won two. Paul Barry took the Academics’ consolation win but could not prevent his first league loss to Butler.
Eight days later, in an astonishing turnaround, Saints were without Butler, through illness, and Venner, who was unavailable, which opened the door for Academy to reverse the scoreline. Barry and Stacey Furnival, who had a fine win over Winchester, recorded maximums while Basher Obeyed won twice.
The win in the first game is probably enough to secure the title for Saints, who need five points from their remaining two matches.
Tigers A’s 9-1 defeat of Tackleway C has probably ensured their safety while consigning the losers to bottom place in their first season in the top division. Tony Catt and Dave Mitchell were unbeaten for Tigers while Sheila King won two and Andy Brown picked up Tackleway’s consolation.
Second Division champions Bexhill D lost for the second time this season when a maximum for Andy Syrett led Saints C to a 6-4 win. John Bradbury and Brian Beaney both won two for Bexhill.
NALGO A won 8-2 at Hollington A with Paul Hyland winning three and Mick Lane and Mike Courtnedge both winning two. Kieran Gibbs, playing up from Division 3 had a fine win over Lane.
Focus in this Division is now on second place where four teams are in with a shout.
NALGO’s win lifts them to third but they will have to beat second placed Tackleway D 10-0 to go level with them. Hollington Academy D and Saints C both have games in hand and play each other on the last day of the season.
In Division 3, Saints E and Tigers C drew 5-5 with a maximum from Saints’ Neil Pankhurst and two wins each for Tigers from Bryan Tichband and Chris Floyd.