Division 3 title goes to the wire

With the top two divisional winners already crowned all eyes are on the bunfight that has developed at the top of Division 3 in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League.  The battle betwixt bookies favourites St Lawrence and the tortoise like Blackwater D is set to go to the final match of the season with Blackwater D needing a convincing win to secure the most unexpected of titles.

Runaway Division 3 leaders St Lawrence have faltered of late dropping points willy nilly when least expected and this has left a window of opportunity for the chasing pack.  With the 3 Blackwater teams continually taking points off each other it was hard to see if anyone was going to take advantage of the little chink that St Lawrence were leaving.  Eventually Blackwater D found their game face and with 4 decent wins on the bounce have now put themselves in with a shot at the title.   St Lawrence travelled to Blackwater E this week needing a minimum of 6 points to secure the title, but even with their strongest team out they failed to complete the task at hand and must now wait for Blackwater D’s final match against bottom of the table Woodham E.  For Blackwater E the mighty Peter Davenport was in unstoppable form as he clinched a remarkable hat-trick of wins and was ably supported by the rarely seen Jason Bush who was able to take 2 points against Mick Robinson and Steve King, but lost out in 5 sets to St Lawrence’s best player on the night Mick Pratley.  These points and an extra one for David Sage against Robinson were enough to record a 6-4 win for Blackwater E and send the Baysiders home quaking at the thought of clutching defeat from the arms of victory.  So Blackwater D now need a hefty 9 points or above against Woodham E next week should they wish to confound the bookies and so-called experts and clinch the title.  ‘Baited breath’ doesn’t do it justice!

In a busy week for Division 1 the big story was Mapledene A beating champions Woodham A to secure the runner-up slot but more importantly for them breaking Woodham A’s 100% win rate.  Have you ever seen a squirrel smile?  Well if you were part of the crowd at the Mapledene Arena this week that is exactly what happened as Mapledene’s Liam Squirrell blasted his way past all 3 of the Woodham stars for a stunning hat-trick – although he did need all 5 sets against Harry Chivers and Daniel Piglet.  Squirrell was ably wingmanned by Daniel Young who had victories over Piglet and Lee McHugh.  The final score was 6-4 to Mapledene with Chivers and McHugh just squeezing through the doubles 15-13 in the decider to keep the score respectable.  Cold Norton C did a job on their A team winning 6-4 on the night but of course none of them were able to get the better of hat-trick merchant Duncan Taylor.  Fambridge closed out their rollercoaster season with a comfortable 9-1 victory against Maldon A.  Hat-tricks for John Poysden and Keith Adams with Maldon’s Harrison Hill taking their sole point against Mark Stones.  Cold Norton B look certain to take 3rd place this season and their latest 9-1 triumph over Stow Maries A went a long way to secure that position.  Cold Norton’s Eric Green and Ian Wall went unbeaten throughout and it was left to Stow’s Richard Storey to save the whitewash blushes as he came from behind to beat the in-form Dan Anderson in 5 sets.

In Division 2 Champions Woodham C finished off their season with a tricky encounter against a stacked Woodham D side.  Much banter about this one before a ball was served but the Woodham C boys held firm for a 7-3 victory that sees them through the season unbeaten – and with the A team losing their final game this makes the Woodham C team the only unbeaten side across the whole league – that is some achievement giving the competitiveness of this division.  For the C team both Adi Kamma and the fast and furious Chris Hancox notched hat-tricks whilst the D team’s Trevor Collin and Gus Heath both defeated Graham Briggs in 5 sets.  Collin and Heath combined for the doubles to complete the D sides scoring and Briggs beat Malcolm Henstock in 4 sets for the final point.  Mapledene C finished off their season with  a good 6-4 win over Stow Maries B to secure 3rd place.  Lin Roff starred with a hat-trick including a fine victory over Peter Hance.  Blackwater A ended their season with an 8-2 triumph over Cold Norton D.  Hat-tricks for Blackwater’s Denis Balic and Neil Freeman with Cold Norton’s Pete Lucraft picking up a point against Alan Scammell.  Two man Maldon C went unbeaten through the card against Maldon D for a 7-3 victory with hat-tricks for Colin Barrell and Steve Aspland.  They didn’t have it all their own way though as Barrell needed to come from behind to beat Chris Ravenhill in 5 tense sets with the final two going his way 13-11, and the usually prolific Aspland struggled against Ella Sach as he too needed to come from behind to win this one in the deciding set.  Stow C bowed out with a 7-3 victory over Blackwater B.  The lovable Dave Goody was the star of the show with an impeccable performance for 4 wins across singles and doubles, with Blackwater’s Noah Sage putting up the most resistance with 2 wins of his own.

Pic 1 – Mapledene’s smiling Liam Squirrell

Pic 2 – Fambridge Captain John Poysden bowing out with hat-trick

Pic 3 – Another hat-trick for Cold Norton A’s Duncan Taylor

Pic 4 – Woodham C’s player of the match – Adi Kamma