Westfield C have hit a rich vein of form to record their fourth successive win in the Premier Division of the Kettering and District Table Tennis League. Their latest win saw Sam Wildman, Matt Horrocks and Dan Smalley all record hat-tricks in their 10-0 win over Thrapston Eagles. Smalley had to survive a minor scare against Steve West before sealing his treble 11-4 in the deciding end and the doubles pairing of Wildman and Horrocks were also taken to five ends by West and Ian Donaldson but held on to complete the rout.
Westfield’s run of victories include an 8-2 win over Higham, a 7-3 win over Burton Baptist A, a 9-1 win at Harborough Athletic and now this 10-0 win over Thrapston Eagles and they must surely be in with a great chance of claiming the Evening Telegraph Trophy if their current form continues through to the end of the season.
Although Corby Town B succumbed to a 6-4 defeat at home to high flying Burton Baptist A, the four points they gained could prove very valuable as they continue to keep their heads just above the relegation zone. Baptists were without Dawid Przybysz and Dariusz Gulbicki so John Aberra was called up from their relegation threatened B team to complete a line-up that included regular players Chris Ross and Alex Aston.
Guy Sparrow picked up two victories with wins over Aberra and Aston and pushed maximum man Chris Ross hard before falling 5-11, 5-11, 11-5, 13-15. Aaron Moore picked up his first ever win over Aston with an 11-6 deciding end success and Murie picked up his seventh win of the season when he ousted Aberra 3-1.
With Burton leading 5-4, the successful Corby duo of Sparrow and Moore would have fancied their chances of earning their team a draw when they faced off against the untried pairing of Ross and Aberra but it was the Burton pair who edged the win with a 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 11-3 win.
Third placed Corby Town A slipped to their second loss on the trot as Higham claimed a 6-4 victory. Despite the defeat, Corby’s Lee O’Boyle took the individual honours with a hard earned treble. Trailing Andy Harrison 9-7 and then 10-0 in the fifth end he sneaked through to win 12-10 and followed this up with an 11-8 win in the decider over Richard Bashford. The eighth rubber of the night saw O’Boyle take on Richard Elliott and the Corby man made sure of his treble with a 6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9 win.
For the second time this season, Henry Arthur led Richard Elliott 2-0 but failed to complete the victory but he did score Corby’s fourth point with a 3-0 win over Harrison.
Bashford (2 wins), Elliott (2) and Harrison (1) ensured Higham were guaranteed a draw at the very least but they confirmed the win when Elliott and Bashford destroyed Chris Haynes and Arthur in the doubles rubber.
Kettering Town A are now only four points behind Corby Town A and have a game in hand following their 8-2 win over Arthingworth.
John Fuller again proved to be the main man recording a hat-trick for the loss of just one end. In the process, Fuller gained a measure of revenge for his defeat to Arthingworth’s Chris Gibbons in the reverse fixture, one of only three defeats he has suffered all season.
Nigel Metcalfe came within two points of matching his team-mate’s performance but lost out to Gibbons in a classic match 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12. Mike Hawes also won twice but lost out to Gibbons and Metcalfe/Fuller rounded off the victory with a 3-0 defeat of Gibbons and Gerald Henson.
Westfield A continue their incredible march to the title with a 7-3 win over Westfield B. The main story in this match was in the battle between the A team’s Kevin Bird and his daughter Nicole Bird who represents the B team. Going into the match, Bird Snr had lost only twice all season, and in their previous encounter saved six match points before defeating his offspring. The two Birds again produced another titanic encounter but this time it was the younger Bird that took the bragging rights with an 8-11, 11-3, 12-10, 11-6, 8-11 success.
Miss Bird had opened up with a 3-0 win over Sam Wildman but found Roumen Stefanov too consistent and he included her as one of his victims as he completed another hat-trick.
Antonio Jaracies added the B team’s third point with a win over Wildman but it seems nothing can stop the champions march to retaining their title.
Westfield C 10 (Wildman 3, Horrocks 3, Smalley 3, Wildman/Horrocks) Thrapston Eagles 0
Corby Town B 4 (Sparrow 2, Moore, Murie) Burton Baptist A 6 (Ross 3, Aston, Aberra, Ross/Aberra)
Corby Town A 4 (O’Boyle 3, Arthur) Higham 6 (Elliott 2, Bashford 2, Harrison, Elliott/Bashford)
Kettering Town A 8 (Fuller 3, Hawes 2, Metcalfe 2, Fuller/Metcalfe) Arthingworth 2 (Gibbons 2)
Westfield A 7 (Stefanov 3, K Bird 2, Wildman, Bird/Stefanov) Westfield B 3 (N Bird 2, Jaraices)
Player of the week: Lee O’Boyle
Three unexpected individual trebles against higher ranked opposition have resulted in the following things happening:
1. With Thrapston Kites and Thrapston Falcons both having bad weeks leaders Harborough Rangers who had a week off now have one hand on the division one title trophy.
2. The race for the 2nd promotion place is now closer than ever with Rothborough Arrows coming into contention and to a lesser extend Westfield D.
3. Though Thrapston Harriers look certain to finish bottom, the other relegated team could be either Harborough Rovers and Harborough Diamonds.
4. Player of the week is too close to call.
With Harborough Rangers a long way in front on 121 points with 4 matches left to play Rothborough Arrows have gone into second place but only because they have played one more match than the others. They are on 111 points with 3 matches to play with Kites on 107 with 4 to play, Falcons 105 with 4 to play and Westfield D on 96 with 4 to play. When Arrows have a week off next week both Thrapston teams will fancy their chances of overtaking them when they take on the two Burton Baptist teams. The second promotion place looks likely to be decided on the final day of the season 15th April when Arrows are at home to Kites and Falcons may also be in the running having travelled to Harborough to take on Rangers the day before. Rangers may have already amassed enough points by then to be uncatchable and if not they may do so during their match with Falcons. The third and least likely outcome is that they are less than 11 points clear after that and therefore have to sweat it out and hope the result on 15th goes their way.
Julian Marlow and Helen Watts both got their expected singles trebles and doubles against Thrapston Harriers although Marlow was taken to a deciding end against Alan Tyler though he won it 11-1. They were also helped by 'Supersub' Ray Harrison playing up from division two in place of Ivor Jones who accounted for both Keith Stockley and Mike Burrows before Tyler easily avoided the whitewash beating Harrison 3-0.
For 5th placed Westfield D Paul Malpass was delighted with his treble being his seventh of the season but the best in terms of the opposition being 2nd placed Thrapston Kites. Two wins for Bhavika Mistry over Geoff Judd and Peter Briggs and one win for Scott Dixon over Judd sealed a 6-4 victory for the Wellingborough side. For Kites, Williams scored a brace over Dixon and Mistry and Briggs single win was over Dixon.
Thrapston Falcons could have taken advantage of Kites slip up and an 8-2 or better win over mid table Corby C would have seen them move above them in the table but Corby's Stephen Woolston was having none of that. His treble was only his third of the season and the other two were against relegation contenders. The third singles that he won to bring up his treble was against Ian Baldock who was attempting his fifth consecutive treble. Keith McLaren also had a good 'scalp' beating Nigel Payne at deuce in the fifth. Payne's night became more painful as he was forced to retire injured against Rob Warrender trailing 1-2 and 4-7 resulting in his first blank night of the season. Antony Marray picked up two singles wins over Warrender and McLaren before adding a vital fifth point with Baldock 11-9 in the fifth end in doubles.
Contrasting results by Harborough Diamonds and Harborough Rovers against mid table Burton Baptist's C and D respectively resulted in the latter overtaking Diamonds by one point into third from bottom although Diamonds still have a match in hand. Jamie Burgess who often plays second fiddle to brother Sam claimed player of the family of the week as he achieved his first treble of the season bettering Sam on this occasion who won two singles but lost out to Derek Muggleton. Mark Pearson got one win against Brett Owen but the Burgess brothers were unsuccessful in the doubles. However with a 6-4 win this was the best result of the season for both Jamie Burgess and Harborough Rovers.
Harborough Diamonds didn't fare so well against Burton Baptist C losing 2-8 thanks largely to trebles by David Simmons and Paul Goodman. The other Burton player Darryl Sutcliffe missed out on a treble by the closest of margins. In his first singles against Vaughan Allington which Darryl lost on deuce in the 5th, his net play was hugely admired by his opponent. Steve Crook snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when he came back from around 5-10 down in the 5th end against Darryl to win on deuce. Crook was also full of admiration for Suttcliffe's net play, and to prove it he used his bat to bounce one of the new plastic balls and converted it into 2 hemispheres.
Rothborough Arrows 9 (Watts 3, Marlow 3, Harrison 2, Watts/Marlow) Thrapston Harriers 1 (Tyler)
Westfield D 6 (Malpass 3, Mistry 2, Dixon) Thrapston Kites 4 (Williams 2, Briggs, Briggs/Williams)
Thrapston Falcons 5 (Baldock 2, Marray 2, Baldock/Marray) Corby C (Woolston 3, Warrender, McClaren)
Harborough Rovers 6 (J. Burgess 3, S.Burgess 2, Pearson) Burton Baptist D 4 (Muggleton 2, Marshall, Muggleton/Marshall)
Burton Baptist C 8 (Simmons 3, Goodman 3, Sutcliffe, Goodman/Simmons) Harborough Diamonds 2 (Allington, Crook)
Players of the week: Paul Malpass/Stephen Woolston/Jamie Burgess
There’s still parity between Comets and Buccaneers at the top as both had resounding 10-0 wins against their opponents this week. In the final 3 weeks they both play Burton and Dakotas but Buccaneers take on Town B and Comets take on Corby, so it may be these matches that make the difference.
Hat-tricks for Gareth Lewis, Luke Saywood and Tom Ravenscroft for Buccaneers against Exocets, and Alan Brisley, Martin Watts and Kelvin Linnett for Comets versus Kettering B were predictable although Exocets took five of their games beyond three ends, but none the full distance. Closest was Helmut Salander when he lost the fourth end in the first game of the night 17-19 facing Lewis. Town B only took two games beyond the basic three ends and the best of these was in the doubles when Ann Woolston and Pete Scrivener took Linnett and Watts the full distance.
All the games between the bottom two this year have been close but Burton have yet to be beaten and so it was again with the narrowest victory over Imps, but it could have been much worse when Imps went 4-0 down. Every player won at least one game but only Harry Lade was unbeaten in all four matches, though he wasn’t at his best after last week’s excitement in the higher division. Ben Freeman got revenge for an earlier defeat to Ron Palfrey but only just; 16-14 in the fifth. Then David Patmore got retribution for his previous defeat to Freeman. Patmore was Imps most successful participant in also beating Bryan Lade, who beat Ben Baker, who in turn beat Freeman in five. Thus, with Baker winning his second game of the season and taking Harry Lade to deuce in two ends he is the player of the week. With 17 points between them and only three matches to go it looks like Imps will prove the “strongest” team in the league by holding up everyone else. Burton also move above Exocets for the first time since week 4.
Harborough Imps 4 (Patmore 2, Baker, Palfrey) Burton Baptist E 6 (H Lade 3, Freeman, B Lade, H Lade/Freeman)
Rothborough Buccaneers 10 (Lewis 3, Ravenscroft 3, Saywood 3, Ravenscroft/Saywood) Rothborough Exocets 0
Rothborough Comets 10 (Brisley 3, Linnett 3, Watts 3, Linnett/Watts) Kettering Town B 0
Player of the week: Ben Baker
K.D.T.T.L. Team of the week: Harborough Rovers