Mitchell’s the man!

Southend League Division 1

The season-long unbeaten run from Mitchell Jones showed no sign of easing this week. Leaders Stanford Le Hope A’s star player captured his tenth POM award in ten outings in his side’s 7 – 2 home win over Hadleigh Forum B. Furthermore, he hasn’t dropped a single set in this run. Surely, he is an odds on favourite to take the divisional title at the upcoming Closed Championships? Team mates Pat White and Ian Sangster won two each, but were both beaten by Forum’s Paul Fawell.

Canvey’s Andy Murray has been playing in Division 2 for some time, despite having a previous long and successful tenure in Division 1. This week saw him return to the higher level playing for Canvey A away to Lentern. His return couldn’t have gone better, winning all his contests and securing the POM prize. However, his side were unable to capitalise on his good form, going down 5 – 4 to the home side. Paul Sims and John Tendler each won two, and Peter Lucraft one for Lentern, with Ray Wilson picking up Canvey’s other success.

Hockley C’s Joseph Odegbami is another player who was unbeaten, only to see his side lose out. Visitors Brand Identity B were eventual 5 – 4 winners thanks to two wins each for Adam Jackman and Barrie Delf, with Mick Grout chipping in with one. David Chenery got the home team’s other success.

RESSC were only able to field two players for their away match at Mapledene and slumped to an 8 – 1 defeat. The home side’s Anthon Ranjit-Singh was unbeaten as was his colleague Lin Roff. Match of the evening saw the two veterans Bill Smith and Mike Worship come head to head. In a five set thriller, Mike took the last two sets to win the visitor’s only rubber.

Invicta A keep up the pressure on leaders Stanford with a comfortable 8 – 1 away win at the basement side Hadleigh Forum C. Mark Everard got the home side’s only success. Both Lee Marson and Steve Marr were unbeaten for Invicta.

The Division 2 title may well have been decided this week as Matchpoint A emerged victorious in the battle of the titans 7-2 against Basildon A. These two teams have been battling it out at the top all season but now, with just three games to go for both sides, Matchpoint have opened up a five point gap at the top of the table. Looking at their final fixtures Basildon look to have the slightly easier games against Invicta, Runnymede and Hockley whereas Matchpoint face Invicta, Stanford and, interestingly, their own B team in the last match of the season. Five points should just be enough to see them home.

The match itself featured three of the top four performers in the league this season, Les Hoey of Basildon and James Elliot and Evie Knaapen of Matchpoint and after the two matches they have played this season they are level on the number of wins. This time Les Hoey got revenge against Knaapen winning in four sets but lost to Elliot in five who claimed revenge for his defeat earlier in the season. The two wins for Hoey were all Basildon could offer as team mates Arun Joy and Szymon Jarka fell short against Elliot, Knaapen and Harry Sawford. Sawford almost matched his teammates hat tricks but for Hoey who came back from two sets down to claim victory. 

Wakering kept up the pressure on the top two cantering to a 9-0 win against Invicta B, Zac and Paul England and Stewart Mills recording their personal hat tricks. They sit eight points behind Basildon in third place whilst Invicta sit just two places above the bottom spot.

Basildon B, who occupy that bottom spot, found their attempt to pick up a much needed win prevented by having to field just two players against Canvey B. Somewhat ironic this as Canvey, also a man short, were able to call on Trevor Hayes from their C team. That move couldn’t have worked out better for Canvey as he won both his games whilst team mates Des Duffield and Tony Westwell both succumbed to Jenne Seibolt. Canvey ran out 7-2 winners.

Fellow contenders for relegation Rawreth Megazone E didn’t fare any better than Basildon in their quest for points as Matchpoint B  hammered them 8-1. Stephen Heard and Ben Murray both recorded hat tricks for Matchpoint and Debbie O’neil added two more but couldn’t overcome Richard Kidd’s steady play who came back from two sets down to record their consolation point.

There was another big win as Hockley D dismissed Runnymede 8-1 with Ben Cook taking the POTM award whilst Neal Klyman recorded his first hat trick of the season. Tony Molisso won two but eventually succumbed to Tina Hutchinson after a roller coaster five set match. Hockley go above Runnymede with this result now sitting in seventh place.

Team of the Week – Matchpoint A

Player of the Week – James Elliot

Things are hotting up at the top of Division 3 and, after this week’s round of matches, the top 3
teams are separated by a mere 6 points, with a further 4-point gap to the fourth and fifth placed
teams. Stanford ‘D’ have a 5-point lead at the top and look to be favourites to take the title as they
have played a game less than all their rivals. There are still plenty of points to play for though and
anything can happen.
On the table this week, Jan Thorpe was once again the leading light for Rawreth Megazone ‘F’ as
they overcame Stanford ‘C’ in a close match. Jan’s maximum was supplemented by a double from
Graham Back as Rawreth edged this one 5/4. For Stanford there were 2 wins for Randy Santiago and
a win each for Karen Kempster and James Parker.
There was another 5/4 scoreline in the match between Matchpoint ‘C’ and Invicta ‘C’, two of the
teams in contention at the top of the table. Despite a fine hat-trick from Invicta’s Trisha Winter, it
was Matchpoint who came out on top with Roger Sherman getting the better of Keith Baxter in the
5 th set of the last game of the match. Roger also added a win over Brendan Raja and youngsters
Lotte Mills (2 wins) and Max Mayo (1 win) also made important contributions. Keith gained the
other point for Invicta, coming from 2 sets down to beat Max in the final end.
Stanford ‘D’ moved to the top of the table following a comprehensive 9/0 win over the young
Hockley ‘F’ side. The experienced Stanford trio of David Arnett, Vaughan Chambers and Andrew
Jessop were in clinical form and wrapped up the match with the loss of only 3 sets. Vaughan
Chambers took the POTM award here.
The junior Evolve side found things equally as tough in their match against Hockley ‘E’, although they
put up a good fight and the 8/1 scoreline in favour of Hockley was hard on them. Three of the
games that went Hockley’s way were only decided in the 5 th set and, on another night, the final score
could have been a lot closer. For Hockley there were 3 wins each for Keith Denyer and Graham
Gregory, with Richard Coulon adding a double. Evolve’s only point came courtesy of a fighting, 5 th
set win for Teddy Kent over Richard.
Hadleigh Forum ‘D’s Jean Catley, who achieved her first maximum of the season last week, quickly
added another as she led her team to a 7/2 win over Matchpoint ‘D’. Her teammates Douglas Brown
and Todd Barker had two wins each, although neither could overcome Oliver Milchard who was
Matchpoint’s best player on the night.