In the Premier Division this week the first two games resulted in 7-2 wins for Rayleigh Mill and Brand Identity A. In a somewhat surprising scoreline the Millers overcame title hopefuls Rawreth A who were without a few of their regular players but were still able to field a strong team of Liam Squirrell, Mike Hayes and Kim Shead. Hayes was unlucky to come out of the evening empty handed as he came out on the wrong side of two tight battles with Eric Green and Bruce Kettle. Green and Kettle picked up two wins each, both losing out to Squirrell who in turn was unable to get the better of Duncan Taylor who recorded 3 wins.
Brand Identity overcame Hockley B by the same scoreline but the main news in this one was the return of Chris Jacob to the Southend League. This may be Chris’s last game in the league and what better way to do that than playing with his two sons David and Simon. All 3 Jacobs beat Keith Abbott but only Simon was able to defeat the in-form Dave Colwill who registered the two wins for Hockley.
The final game of the week was more straight forward as league leaders Thorpe Bay A beat Hockley A 9-0. John Poysden, Ian Wall and Paul Sayer all won 3 but Hockley’s Dan Patynski will feel particularly unfortunate as he went down in 5 close games to both Sayer and Wall with the latter finishing 15-13 in the decider.
In Division 1 top team Invicta A visited second place Stanford Le Hope A. Mitchell Jones was again the home side’s star extending his unbeaten run to five matches. A somewhat weakened Invicta side put up a reasonable showing though, with Steve Marr getting two successes and Lee Marson one. However, with support from Ian Sangster and Dave Hancox, Stanford came out 6 – 3 winners. This now puts both teams level at the top with the same number of points.
Dave Woolmer, Hadleigh Forum B’s captain was, at 69 years and 6 months, the youngest of the 6 players in their home match against RESSC. Considered a mere fledgling compared to the visitor’s 83 year old John Holland, who deservedly won all his 3 rubbers. Everyone contributed to some excellent games with exciting rallies that Forum won 6 – 3. Unfortunately, Mike Worship, a late call up when RESSC’s Bob Skews sent in a sick note, had to concede his last game due to a dodgy knee.
Hockley C seem to have found an asset in Joseph Odegbami. His second hat trick in two outings inspired his team to a 5 – 4 victory over Mapledene. The visitor’s skipper Andy Seaman won two and Dawn Baldry and Anthon Ranjit-Singh one each, but a creditable pair from Brian Bissenden ensured the Hockley win.
Canvey A’s recent improved form continued with a highly creditable 5 – 4 win at home to Brand Identity B. Yet again their success was due, in no small part, to a hat trick from their captain Ray Wilson. One each from Peter Cray and Lee McGonagle completed Canvey’s scoring, whilst Jenny Harrison and Mick Grout got two each for the visitors.
Bottom side Hadleigh Forum C were thumped again this week. Despite putting up a valiant resistance, they went down 9 – 0 away to Rawreth Megazone C, for whom Garry Hartgrove, Trevor Ward and Gary Hartgrove, we’re all unbeaten.
There were four close games in Division 2 this week two of which were decided in the final game of the evening and the others both finished 6-3 in favour of the top two sides Matchpoint A and Basildon A. This left Matchpoint top of the table by virtue only because of their unbeaten record.
Leaders Matchpoint had to overcome their own B team to keep their position at the top of the table and it was James Elliot who led the way with a hat trick supported by two wins for Harry Sawford and one for Lucy Elliot. Alexander Deacon did the best for the B team with two wins and Jack Riley got the other point. It was close up to the final two games of the evening when, leading 4-3, the A team pulled away to clinch victory.
Rivals Basildon A, without big hitters Les Hoey and Szymon Jarka, still managed to keep the pressure on Matchpoint by beating Invicta B 6-3. Their other top player, Arun Joy, led the way with a hat trick and a brace from Robert Platt and a single win for Stephen Walters gave them the win. Barbara Chabior kept her fine record in the league this season by winning two games and Sarah Ball got the other point.
In the first of the two 5-4 results the revitalised Canvey B team just edged out promotion hopefuls Wakering inspired, as they have been over the last five games, by Andrew Murray. It was a strange match in that despite the closeness of the result the individual games were remarkably quick only the final game going the full five sets. Canvey led 2-0 and 4-2 before Wakering levelled the scores and it was left to Murray to take on Stewart Mills to decide the match. Mills did well to fight back from 1-0 and 2-1 down but ran out of steam in the decider losing 11/1. Des Duffield and Tony Westwell got a point each for Canvey whilst father and son duo Paul and Zac England got a brace each for Wakering. Despite their recent run Canvey stay sixth in the table Wakering are fourth.
The final match featured two teams looking at the bottom of the table rather than the top as Hockley D took on Rawreth Megazone E. Unlike the previous match this was a long, hard fought game with the home side fighting back from 3-1 and 4-3 down to take it to the deciding game. Four matches went to five sets and in the evening’s longest game the third set lasted an incredible 10 minutes on it’s own. Possibly not surprising as two resolute defenders, Richard Kidd and Paul Strutt, battled it out. That levelled the match at 4-4 and it was left to Hockley’s Ben Cook and Rawreth’s Graham Back to decide the overall winner. Despite losing the first set Cook came out on top to give Hockley only their second win of the season. Paul Strutt finished with a hat trick and Cook had two wins for Hockley whilst Kidd won a brace and Back and Amar Al-Soufi took a point each for Rawreth.
Team of the Week – Canvey B
Player of the Week – Andrew Murray