At the Christmas break in the Hastings & District Table Tennis League, the top of the Division One table looks very similar to the end of last season.
Favourites Hollington Academy A have won all eleven games but lead Bexhill A by a mere three points with a further ten points gap to third-placed Saints A.
For the Academics, Paul Barry has lost only once and, with Nathan Darby and the much-improved Basher Obeyed both averaging in the eighties, they will be hard to stop.
Despite losing 8-2 to Academy A in the second week, Bexhill have only dropped two points since and are still in contention; a remarkable achievement considering they have used a reserve on seven occasions, including the Academy A match. Rob Warner averages 94%, despite struggling with injury, but David Rayment has been their most consistent player.
Four points cover the next four places, with Saints A, led by Dave Butler, edging into third, but have surely left themselves too much to do.
Hollington Academy C are fourth, due mainly to the form of fourteen-year-old Fraser Kent who is yet to lose a set and leads the averages having beaten most of the league’s top players. Kent’s form will certainly add spice to the League Closed Men’s Singles.
Graham Gillett’s Bexhill C and Hollington Academy B are fifth and sixth respectively, but both may be disappointed not to be better placed. Academy B will be looking for more appearances from Tony Catt
The foot of the table promises an interesting battle with four teams in the relegation mix. Tackleway B’s 3-7 defeat at the hands of Bexhill B this week, in a postponed match, sees Tackleway as back markers, three points adrift of both Bexhill G and Tackleway C, with these two a point behind Bexhill B.
Roger Pingram’s availability will be key for Tackleway C’s prospects.
A six point buffer between them and the bottom four should ensure no sleepless nights for Saints B and Tackleway A, although Saints B may lose the services of Gary Pells, who is due to relocate imminently.