Events in last week’s Kettering & District table tennis league were overshadowed by the sudden death of popular Arthingworth captain Chris Gibbons during their match against Westfield A on Friday night.
Chris, who had led the side since 2005, suffered a heart attack during the game and unfortunately died at the venue.
He had been involved in the Kettering league since the late 1980’s, initially playing for Thrapston, before signing for Braybrooke who later became Arthingworth.
A quiet and unassuming character, Chris racked up an astonishing 663 Premier Division singles wins at an average of almost 75 per cent during his career.
Under his leadership, Arthingworth finished in the top half of the table for ten consecutive seasons.
Chris reached a best ranking of eight in Northamptonshire, with one of his best results coming as recently as last season when he beat current Kettering champion John Fuller in straight games.
Everyone on behalf of the league sends their condolences to Chris’ family and team mates at this difficult time.
As a mark of respect, there will be a minute’s silence prior to all league games this week.
Prior to Friday’s tragedy, Westfield B made it two wins from two in the Premier Division with a thumping 10-0 win over Rothborough Arrows.
Helen Watts came closest to getting the away side off the mark, taking Dan Smalley and Matt Rushton to five, while the latter was also taken the distance by Julian Marlow before prevailing.
The match of the week was played out between perennial rivals Kettering Town A and Higham with town coming out on top 6-4.
Richard Elliott claimed a fantastic hat trick, including a convincing 3-0 win over John Fuller who is still getting used to the new plastic balls.
Nigel Metcalfe added a brace and he and Fuller teamed up to take the decisive doubles after Mike Hawes had beaten Richard Bashford.
Jacek Koltuniuk gained revenge on Henry Arthur as Burton Baptist B lost 8-2 to Corby A.
Arthur had previously beaten the tricky Koltuniuk the week before, but both he and Kyle Murie failed to pick up all three wins.
Chris Haynes got back on the treble trail and was never really troubled.
The father and son duo of Barry and Nathan Thompson both scored 11-9 in the 5th wins over Alex Aston as Harborough A lost 8-2 to Burton Baptist A.
Dawid Przybysz and Dariusz Gulbicki were largely untroubled as they picked up solid trebles.
Premier Division Results:
Westfield B 10 (Wildman 3, Rushton 3, Smalley 3, Wildman/Smalley) Rothborough Arrows 0, Kettering Town A 6 (Fuller 2, Metcalfe 2, Hawes, Fuller/Metcalfe) Higham 4 (Elliott 3, Nannery), Burton Baptist B 2 (Koltuniuk 2) Corby A 8 (Haynes 3, Murie 2, Arthur 2), Harborough A 2 (B Thompson, N Thompson) Burton Baptist A 8 (Przybysz 3, Gulbicki 3, Aston, Gulbicki/Aston)
Team of the week: Westfield B
Player of the week: Richard Elliott
After the first two weeks of the season, Westfield C continue to make the early running at the top of Division One after two impressive victories.
Steve Hobbs continues to be a huge asset to the team with his second consecutive treble helping his team to a 7-3 win over Thrapston Kites.
It was Bob Hickson who shone though in gaining a brace with wins over Paul Malpass and Nitin Patel, both of whom are well above him on the ranking list.
Just one point below Westfield C are Thrapston Falcons on 16 points, who inflicted a second consecutive 10-0 defeat on newly-promoted Rothborough Comets who are finding the step up a touch difficult.
Pete Sturgess came the closest to earning his team their first point, going down 11-9 in the fifth game to Nigel Payne.
The one consolation for Comets is they have so far only played the two top teams and should have less difficult and more competitive matches to come.
Thrapston Eagles moved up to third place with a 9-1 win over Rothborough Buccaneers.
Chris Warliker bagged an impressive treble without losing a game while Mark Stockley only dropped two ends all night.
Buccaneers single point was earned by Sean Smith who claimed a four-game win over Ian Donaldson, and if he can maintain that form he may well save his team from relegation.
Burton Baptist C should be pleased with their start of the season after two 7-3 wins puts them in fourth place.
In his late seventies, David Simmons is showing no signs of slowing down with a treble against Harborough C continuing his fine start to the season.
Paul Goodman and Kelvin Marshall each weighed in with a brace, with Sam Burgess and Mark Pearson picking up singles wins for the Harborough side.
Harborough B got their season back on track with an 8-2 win over Burton Baptist D, although the match only started at 8pm due to the late arrival of the key holder.
Liam Burnham and Mike Brocklebank both got trebles which were far from easy as Derek Muggleton was unlucky to lose to both of them 11-9 in the fifth game.
The only singles win for Burton was a straight games win for Chris Agg over Steve Crook, with Agg then helping Muggleton finally win a close five game encounter in the doubles.
Division One Results:
Burton Baptist C 7 (Simmons 3, l Goodman 2, Marshall 2) Harborough C 3 (S Burgess, Pearson, S Burgess/J Burgess), Rothborough Comets 0 Thrapston Falcons 10 (Baldock 3, Marray 3, Payne 3, Baldock/Marray), Harborough B 8 (Burnham 3, Brocklebank 3, Crook 2) Burton Baptist D 2 (Agg, Agg/Muggleton), Thrapston Eagles 9 (Warliker 3, Stockley 3, Donaldson 2, Warliker/Stockley) Rothborough Buccaneers 1 (Smith), Thrapston Kites 3 (Hickson 2, Briggs), Westfield C 7 (Hobbs 3, Malpass 2, Patel, Hobbs/Malpass)
Team of the week: Thrapston Falcons
Player of the week: Bob Hickson
Victories for Old Village debutants Charlie Poppy and Charlie Edwards, along with Beth Tyler’s second consecutive maximum, ensured their first win of the season, 7-3 over Westfield D.
Both Edwards and Poppy beat Bronwen Grigg and Poppy also beat Evie Elliott in five close ends.
Elliott actually lost her first two games of the night 11-9 in the fifth but her perseverance paid off when she beat Edwards in straight ends.
Sidney Wright beat both debutants without dropping an end, although endured three deuces, but couldn’t force the treble against imperious Tyler, who also teamed up with Edwards for the doubles.
Rothborough Dakotas jumped straight to the top of the table by beating club mates Exocets 9-1.
David Marshall gained Exocets’ single point over Cathy Fleming but there was a blank night for last week’s player of the week Sally Taylor and Helmut Salander.
Dakotas’ David Steele and Pete Rowbotham gained hat-tricks but Taylor pushed Steele all the way in their first game of the night.
Playing a completely different team to last week, Burton Baptist kept up their winning start 6-4 over Kettering Town as Jon Sanders dropped one end all night and was ably supported by Jacob Tattersall – who only won three last season – with a double against husband and wife duo Alan and Ann Woolston.
Mr Woolston got his sole victory over Jim McNeely 15-13 in the fifth, so making McNeely await his first victory for over a year, and Mrs Woolston also gained a point over the same player.
Jim Chatburn was the one who denied Tattersall his first ever maximum, and nearly forced the draw in the doubles.
Harborough E jumped three places from third bottom to third top with an 8-2 defeat of Corby D, already matching their single victory from last season.
John McGowan followed up his double from last week with four victories dropping only one end, and Ron Palfrey and Ben Baker weighed in with a brace each.
Baker was denied his hat-trick by a fifth end 11-13 loss to Nathan Brown and Palfrey thwarted by Ken Knott’s first win on his debut appearance for Corby.
Division Two Results:
Harborough E 8 (McGowan 3, Baker 2, Palfrey 2, McGowan/Palfrey) Corby D 2 (Brown, Knott), Kettering Town B 4 (Chatburn 2, Al Woolston, An Woolston) Burton Baptist E 6 (Sanders 3, Tattersall 2, Sanders/Tattersall), Old Village 7 (Tyler 3, Poppy 2, Edwards, Edwards/Tyler) Westfield D 3 (Wright 2, E Elliott), Rothborough Exocets 1 (Marshall) Rothborough Dakotas 9 (Rowbotham 3, Steele 3, Fleming 2, Fleming/Rowbotham)
Team of the week: Old Village
Player of the week: John McGowan