It’s Rayne-ing again! Rayne A land league and cup double

Rayne A completed the double in the Braintree Table Tennis League when they won the team knockout cup at the cup finals evening to add to their league title.

The Netts club added a third piece of silverware – the C team winning the handicap cup after the B and D teams won divisions two and three – and Sudbury Wanderers, in only their second league season, took home the restricted cup.

Rayne A made short work of polishing off Sudbury Nomads in the team final.

Adam Buxton, Paul Lucas and Lee McHugh all won their first singles, Buxton and McHugh in four games and Lucas in three.

Lucas and Buxton had beaten Karl Baldwin and Ken Lewis in the opening doubles and Lucas and McHugh secured the trophy with a second doubles win, this time over Lewis and Aron Jordan.

Wanderers had to work a bit harder to overcome Rayne E. They won 5-2 but it was a bit closer than the scoreline suggests.

The opening doubles went to Rayne, and after Ian Shrubsole equalised with a win over Scott Whiteside, Alex Morgan put Rayne 2-1 up with a win over Peter Abbott.

Barry Mann then put Wanderers back on track with a win over Adam Pitt, a set that could on paper have gone either way, before Abbott and Shrubsole scored an important win in the doubles over Morgan and Whiteside despite losing the first game 11-1 and then being stretched to five ends.

Shrubsole beat Morgan before Mann clinched the trophy with the closest set of the evening, a win over Whiteside 11-5, 12-10, 6-11, 13-15, 14-12.

Netts C made it three wins in a row for Netts teams in the handicap cup, following the success of the E team last year – to which this season’s C team partly contributed – and the C team, with a different set of players, the previous year.

Their opponents, Black Notley G, started well enough, Graham Chinnery overcoming a 14-point handicap to beat Keith Rolfe, but it was all downhill from there.

Rolfe won his second set but it was Jack Dearsley and James Rissen who took the plaudits with two comfortable wins each to give them a 5-1 win.

  • Covering the individuals and the final matches at the top of each of the three divisions over the past four weeks has meant that I haven’t had space to mention some other noteworthy performances.

There was a first treble of the season for Peter Rickwood in Rayne E’s win over Notley C, including a victory over Rev Matthews, soon to be crowned division two singles champion

Another of his victims in that match, Dave Parker, came up with a rare treble of his own in Notley C’s 8-2 win over Netts C, outscoring both his teammates for the first time this season.

Rayne E’s Matthew Brown produced a late season flurry.  He did not play until mid January and then racked up 15 wins out of 15.

The venerable Peter Pond scored an excellent three wins for Notley E against champions Netts B.

And nine wins out of 12 – losing out only to the champions – gave Notley F’s Jamie Brooks, 59 years Pond’s junior, a 66.7 per cent average in his first season in division two.

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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

Denyer wins a thriller

Stupendous. Stunning. Sensational. These were just some of the superlatives from spectators after watching the Mens Singles final between James Denyer and Greg Green at the Clacton League’s Closed Championships, sponsored by The Survey Initiative, and held at the Coastal Academy Sports Hall last weekend.

With both Denyer and Green aiming for a third Men’s Singles crown, the pair produced a match of exceptional quality, Denyer winning a tense and pulsating final by the narrowest of margins, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 3-11, 13-11. 

The match between the two Nomads Panthers’ team-mates started slowly but developed into an encounter of remarkable rallies, both players making full use of the court, attacking and retrieving low over the net from seemingly ridiculous angles, with some wonderful play that had the spectators on the edge of their seats. It was so entertaining it sometimes resembled an exhibition match!

However, the stakes were much higher than that and, at 10-9 up in the final set, Green had a point for the title but was denied by an outstanding return from Denyer. But then Green foul-served at 11-all, a most unfortunate occurrence in an encounter full of excellence, but one which ultimately swung the balance in Denyer’s favour.

The match was a credit to two very likeable and talented players, and one which will certainly linger in the memory bank of the spectators for many years to come. And, as the very last match of the Championships – which was also the last event of the 2023/24 Clacton League season – it was a fitting finale to end the table tennis year.

Denyer had played impeccably all day, defeating hard-match players Pete Burrows 11-8, 11-3, 11-7 in his quarter-final, and Gary Young 11-2, 12-10, 11-4 in the semi-final, his only blemish being the loss of a set to Daryl Lott in Round Two.

But the stylish Green, who had not been expected to get past the quarter-finals, had a far tougher day. In Round Two, he was given a stern test by the much-improved Russell Hillier before taking it 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6, before taking on nineteen-year old Daniel Young, who was aiming to add the Clacton Mens Singles title to the Colchester title he’d won only last month.

But Green was in imperious form and beat off the challenge of second seed Young 9-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6 in another classic contest. And it enabled Green to enter his semi-final full of confidence where, in another demanding encounter, he defeated former champion Kevin Gowlett 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 11-6.

Denyer and Green were on the same side of the table for the Mens Doubles where they were hoping to retain the title they’d won together for the first time last year.

In the final, they met second seeds Kevin Gowlett and Gary Young, but Denyer and Green were in no mood to relinquish their title. And having survived a massive third set comeback from their opponents which briefly threatened their crown, they ran out 11-5, 11-8, 14-16, 11-7 winners.

But Denyer and Green so nearly fell at the first hurdle, when they were handed the most difficult of opening matches against the unseeded, untried but extremely dangerous pairing of Denes Somodi and John Hatley. As expected, it proved a demanding task and, after a titanic struggle, the champions came out on top by the narrowest of margins, 8-11, 14-12, 11-7, 12-14, 11-8.

Runners-up Gowlett and Young had also experienced travails of their own, finding themselves unexpectedly down two sets to one in their quarter-final encounter against Russell Hillier and Adam Wilkin, before eventually succeeding 11-4, 10-12, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5.

For the record, the Mens Doubles title for Greg Green was his eighth success in this event, having appeared in ten finals over the past thirteen seasons.

Green added to his Championship tally in the Mixed Doubles where, with Gracie Edwards, they defeated second seeds Kevin and Sharon Gowlett 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7. Green and Edwards took the first set in style and looked as though they would power their way to victory but, with a change of server and receiver, the Gowletts hit back to take the second.

However, it proved only a short reprieve, the all-round talent of Green and Edwards ultimately proving too strong. It was, surprisingly, a first Mixed Doubles title for Green, but a fifth for Gracie in seven seasons.

Green’s performances during the Championships, winning two titles and coming so close to taking a third, was acknowledged when he was awarded the Victor Trophy for the outstanding performance of the Championships.

The Ladies events were once again dominated by Gracie Edwards, who having taken the Mixed Doubles title, made it a hat-trick.

She took a seventh Ladies Singles title in eight seasons, defeating Debra Found 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 in a repeat of the 2022 final. But Found is a fierce competitor who was not over-awed by the situation and she put up impressive resistance against her younger opponent, at times matching Edwards’ attacking forehand hits.

The losing semi-finalists were Isabel Barton and Tricia Salter, both aiming for a first Final appearance since they faced each other in 2005, while last year’s runner-up and second seed, Sharon Gowlett, had been unexpectedly beaten by Lynette Sparks in her qualifying Group and eliminated on count-back.

Isabel Barton and Jenny Higgins are experienced campaigners who, between them and with various different partners, have won twenty-one Ladies Doubles titles. Twice, in 2015 and 2017, they’ve won the title together, but 2024 was not to be another year, the Windsor pairing finding title-holders Gracie Edwards and Debra Found too hot to handle. And it was the reigning champions who triumphed for a third year in a row, running out 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 winners.

The top four seeds made it through to the semi-finals of the  Veterans Singles and although top seed Gary Young went safely through against Andy Vincent, Pete Burrows surprised second seed Kevin Gowlett by winning their semi-final 11-7, 11-9, 12-10. Both Young and Burrows were seeking a fourth Veterans title but the quality of Young’s play against a competitive, but tiring, Burrows was enough to give him an 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5 victory.

Number one seed Charlie Fulcher duly took the Super-Veterans Singles, beating surprise finalist Mark Ratcliffe, who had excelled by defeating seeded players Derek Willis and Andy Vincent. In the final, Fulcher needed all his quality to keep the determined Ratcliffe at bay in the first two sets before eventually running out an 11-9, 11-9, 11-1 victor.   

Daniel Young was hot favourite to take the Restricted Singles which he duly did, but not without one or two scares, none more so than in the final when John Hatley came near to edging the second and third sets. But Young’s quality shone through, winning the trophy 11-4, 15-13, 11-9. Pete Burrows and Andy Vincent were the losing semi-finalists.

Sam Plummer and Joe Sherwin qualified safely enough from their four-player Group for the semi-finals of the Junior Boys Singles, but Savindu De Silva caused a major shock in the three-player Group, defeating both Tom Bryden and Dan Grindrod, results which eliminated reigning champion Grindrod.

And De Silva compounded the shock when he beat Joe Sherwin in the semi-final, 17-15, 12-10, 9-11, 5-11, 11-8 to take an unexpected place in the final. Alas, Sam Plummer proved a stumbling block and it was the talented Plummer who took the title 11-6, 11-6, 11-7, a worthy winner.   

Sam Plummer and Dan Grindrod were favourites to take the Junior Doubles ahead of Tom Bryden and Joe Sherwin. But the less-fancied pair put up stern resistance, so much so that the match went down to the wire. And, after an entertaining match of high-class rallies with the result in doubt until the very end, under-dogs Bryden and Sherwin came out on top, winning a knife-edge battle 9-11, 11-9, 14-16, 11-9, 11-9.

It was a second victory in this event for Bryden, having won it last year partnered by Grindrod.  

For a second year, Ruby Gallagher and Lucy Carvell met in a one-match shoot-out in the Junior Girls Singles. And the two young women produced a highly entertaining match which swayed first one way and then the other.

But the result ended in a repeat of the 2023 final, Gallagher winning a tough five-setter 6-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, where the pattern of the match and the scores had an uncanny resemblance to those of the previous year’s final (where Gallagher had won 5-11, 11-5, 8-11, 14-12, 11-4).

Harindu De Silva caused an upset in the Cadets Singles, defeating Lucy Carvell in the semi-finals. But the unassuming Ruby Gallagher proved too canny in the final, her League experience helping her to an 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 victory for a second success in the 2024 Championships.   

Simon Smith-Daye has lost only once in Division Two this season and was seeded number one in the Division Two Singles. He got to the final, but not without a fight, having to get past a gritty Barry Allen 11-6 in the fifth in the quarter-final, and then Daryl Lott 12-10, 11-4, 7-11, 12-10 in a highly-competitive semi-final.

But Smith-Daye reckoned without the challenge of reigning champion Mark Salter, who’s had a comparatively average League season, who was determined to hold on to his title, reaching the final after getting the better of second seed Sam Plummer 11-7 in the fifth.

And the final turned out to be a cracker, with Smith-Daye and Salter going hammer and tongs, and the match see-sawing throughout. Salter took the first set with ease and Smith-Daye did the same in the second. Salter edged a nail-biting third set 18-16 but Smith-Daye hit back immediately. The result was in doubt until the very end but Salter showed his winner’s mettle, taking it 11-1, 3-11, 18-16, 7-11, 11-8, a superb contest between two hard-hitting players.

The Division Three Singles always looked something of a lottery and so it proved. In the top half of the draw, third-equal seed Dan Grindrod struggled to get past Gerry Widnell 11-7 in the fifth in Round One, before winning his semi-final 11-5 in the decider against top seed Isabel Barton. In the bottom half of the draw, third-equal seed Lynette Sparks fell at the first hurdle to Alex Baldock.

 

But Lucy Carvell proved the surprise package, defeating Danny Still 11-5 in the decider, then Baldock 11-7 in the decider, before disposing of second seed Bob Jillins in four sets in the semi-final. And Carvell continued the carnage in the final, beating an unsettled Grindrod 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7 to take a wholly unexpected, but hard-earned, trophy.

 

And a special word of praise for Lucy who played despite having been delayed the previous day when travelling back from France, only getting back home at 2 o’clock on the first morning of the Championships! Well done, Lucy.

Overall. the Championships attracted an excellent entry of 64 players, with some 220 individual matches played over the two days. The Tournament was once again sponsored by The Survey Initiative and the League is most grateful to Gary Cattermole for his most generous sponsorship.

Thanks also go to Phil Smith and Jenny Higgins for their sponsorship of individual events, and to Mark Salter who provided individual commemorative medals.

At the end the Tournament, there were several unclaimed raffle prizes :

Pink 960

Yellow 580

Yellow 584

Yellow 586

Pale Green 350

Blue & White 937

There was also a ‘Next’ grey hoodie left at the venue. Contact Jenny Higgins by e-mail or phone (07790 240566) to arrange collection of this and any of the raffle prizes.

2024 CHAMPIONSHIPS

(sponsored by The Survey Initiative)

RESULTS

Mens Singles (sponsored by Phil Smith) : J Denyer beat G Green 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 3-11, 13-11.   

Ladies Singles : G Edwards beat D Found 11-9, 11-4, 11-8.       

Mens Doubles : J Denyer/G Green beat K Gowlett/G Young 11-5, 11-8, 14-16, 11-7.   

Ladies Doubles : G Edwards/D Found beat I Barton/J Higgins 11-6, 11-4, 11-7.    

Mixed Doubles : G Green/G Edwards beat K Gowlett/S Gowlett 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7.    

Veterans Singles : G Young beat P Burrows 6-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5.     

Super-Veterans Singles : C Fulcher beat M Ratcliffe 11-9, 11-9, 11-1.   

Junior Boys Singles (sponsored by Jenny Higgins) : S Plummer beat S De Silva 11-6, 11-6, 11-7.     

Junior Doubles : T Bryden/J Sherwin beat D Grindrod/S Plummer 9-11, 11-9, 14-16, 11-9, 11-9.    

Junior Girls Singles (sponsored by Jenny Higgins) : R Gallagher beat L Carvell 6-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5.      

Cadets Singles : R Gallagher beat H De Siva 11-4, 11-6, 11-4.     

Division Two Singles : M Salter beat S Smith-Daye 11-1, 3-11, 18-16, 7-11, 11-8.   

Division Three Singles : L Carvell beat D Grindrod 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7.

Restricted Singles : D Young beat J Hatley 11-4, 15-13, 11-9.

Victor Trophy : G Green.

Gracie Edwards – a hat trick of titles

Double delight for Netts

After a couple of slight blips, Netts’ B and D teams rediscovered their shooting boots to grab the title in divisions two and three of the Braintree Table Tennis League.

Netts B had an uncertain February when they lost to Black Notley D and just scraped home against Notley’s C and E teams 6-4.

But they came good over the final stretch when they gained 26 points out of a possible 30 in their last three matches.

Rayne F and Notley F were dispatched 8-2 and 10-0 respectively before Netts stamped their authority on the division by beating Sudbury Wanderers, the team that had once threatened to depose them, by 8-2.

Joe Meleschko and Szczepan Ziobro, their mainstays throughout the season, both won all nine games over the three matches.

Wanderers had played themselves into contention with four matches to go but stumbled on the run-in where they recorded 15 points fewer than their rivals, precisely the gap between them at the end of the season.

They ran into an in-form Rev Matthews at Notley C, where they lost 7-3, and a similarly unbeaten Sean Clift at Notley D, where they were held to a draw, before Netts B applied the coup de grace.

It was a run that cost them second place as Rayne D finished strongly with a 9-1 win and two 8-2s in their last four matches.

They too ran into Matthews but three wins from Richard Whiteside in each of their other three matches opened up a five-point gap on Wanderers.

In division three, Netts D’s slip-ups came in 6-4 defeats to Notley G and Great Yeldham shortly before the final run-in, but they swept to the title with a sequence of 9-1, 10-0 and 9-1 in their final three matches against Rayne H, Netts E and Notley H respectively.

Jimmy Calisin and son Charles were unbeaten in all three matches.

Great Yeldham, who had at one point threatened to overtake them, were slowed down by draws against Notley G and Finchingfield, where they fell foul of two of the division’s most consistent players, Graham Chinnery and John Barrett respectively.

But a 6-4 win over Rayne G and a 9-1 victory over Notley I – Doug Sanders unbeaten in both – earned them the runners-up trophies.

Walton C heroes rise to the occasion

A superb all-round team performance from Walton C saw them take the Clacton League’s 2024 Handicap Knock-Out Cup, defeating fellow-Division One side Windsor Hawks 5-3 in the final.

It was a well-deserved triumph for Walton C’s unsung trio of Mark Gale, Mark Ratcliffe and Paul Meikle, none of whom has enjoyed major success in the Clacton League before. They become the first team from the Walton Club to win the Cup for twenty years.

It was fitting that Paul Meikle, the only Walton player with Cup Final experience having been a runner-up in 2015, clinched the victory in match eight. And it was even more appropriate as Meikle, the oldest of the players on show, was the only one to stay unbeaten on the night.

But it was an evening of disappointment for Daniel Young, Andy Vincent and Felipe Rodriguez of Windsor Hawks, although they had ridden their luck during the Group stage of the competition, having qualified for the Knock-Out stage only by virtue of being one of the best third-placed teams.

The final saw under-dogs Walton C get off to a flyer, with Ratcliffe and Meikle (+2) scarcely needing their handicap advantage to take the opening doubles 11-0, 11-6, 11-0, benefitting from a nervous and error-strewn performance from Vincent and Rodriguez (-6)

The first of the singles matches paired up Mark Gale and Daniel Young, two players unbeaten in singles in this year’s Cup competition. It was always going to be a tense struggle, and Young (-6) needed patience and skill to blunt the dogged determination and defending of Walton skipper Gale (+2). The opening set proved pivotal, Gale saving four set points before Young settled it. And with fearsome forehands also in his armoury, Young was able to take the match 16-14, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9.

The Hawks took the lead as Rodriguez (-3) edged out Ratcliffe (+1) 13-11, 0-11, 11-7, 17-15 in a topsy-turvy match. Rodriguez came back from 6-0 down to take the first set, won just one actual point in a disastrous second set, but then took the third with ease after retrieving the handicap at 2-all. The final set was a spectator’s paradise, with the pair producing tremendous rallies, as Ratcliffe went on the attack with Rodriguez forced to retrieve from deep. But Rodriguez eventually took his third match point at 17-15 to put the Hawks ahead for the only time in the final.

Walton C hit back immediately before the interval when Meikle (+2) made full use of his handicap start, defeating Vincent (-8) 11-0, 11-0, 11-2. Vincent resolutely refused to sacrifice his natural aggressive style, which produced rat-a-tat table tennis, full of sharp rallies. But Meikle’s excellent left-hand looping winners ultimately proved the key to a straightforward victory.     

Gale and Meikle (+2) made it 3-2 for Walton in the middle doubles, their excellent combination of defence and attack overcoming Young and Rodriguez (-6) 11-4, 12-14, 11-9, 11-5, although they will feel fortunate to have scraped the third on a net. Nevertheless, they matched their Windsor opponents throughout and importantly continued their excellent record in the doubles.

In his singles matches, Young (-6) looked unbeatable and, despite his handicap disadvantage, was impressive as he levelled the score against Ratcliffe (+2). Ratcliffe showed his mettle in taking the game to Young with some hard-hitting backhands, but Young displayed his tactical nous and that, allied to tricky serves which proved a reliable points-winner, enabled him to retrieve his handicap early in each set to win 11-9, 11-9, 11-7.

That was to be the end of the Hawks’ success as Gale (+2) breezed past Vincent (-5) who seemed unsure whether to employ his normal offensive strategy or use a more defensive tactic. Either way, it was Gale who in the end took it comfortably 11-0, 11-6, 11-7 against a below-par Vincent.

And so it was left to Meikle (+1), now constantly utilising his trademark left-hand loops, to administer the coup de grâce as he faced Rodriguez (-6). Meikle’s all-or-nothing approach produced dividends, as well as a match of much entertainment and tension for the spectators, the two players attempting to out-loop the other for crucial points. But despite a valiant display by Rodriguez, it was Meikle who took the honours, clinching the Cup for Walton 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6.

Final results : (Walton C players named first):

Match 1 : M Ratcliffe/P Meikle (+2) beat A Vincent/F Rodriguez (-6) 11-0, 11-6, 11-0;

Match 2 : M Gale (+2) lost to D Young (-6) 14-16, 7-11, 11-7, 9-11;

Match 3 : M Ratcliffe (+1) lost to F Rodriguez (-3) 11-13, 11-0, 7-11, 15-17;

Match 4 : P Meikle (+2) beat A Vincent (-8) 11-0, 11-0, 11-2; Match 5 : M Gale/P Meikle (+2) beat D Young/F Rodriguez (-6) 11-4, 12-14, 11-9, 11-5;

Match 6 : M Ratcliffe (+2) lost to D Young (-6) 9-11, 9-11, 6-11;

Match 7 : M Gale (+2) beat A Vincent (-5) 11-0, 11-6, 11-7; Match 8 : P Meikle (+1) beat F Rodriguez (-6) 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6.

Walton reserve Mo Hardy, who stepped in as a reserve in one of Walton’s knock-out matches, also received a winner’s trophy, while runners-up trophies were presented to Windsor Hawks’  non-playing squad members, skipper John Barton and Ian Fielder.

Finally, thanks go to the loyal band of spectators who supported the event, as well as to Tricia Salter and Dave Wright who did a splendid job sharing the umpiring duties.    

Going up! Stanford A take Div 1 title

Southend and District Table Tennis League

Congratulations to Stanford Le Hope A on winning the Division 1 title. They go into the Premiership next season for the first time in the club’s history. Also, they have managed to recruit Mitchell Jones, a player who will grace the higher echelon, underlined by his winning this year’s SDTTL Closed Championship’s Men Singles title.

It is a measure of how well Invicta A did this year, and how hard they pressed the leaders all the way, that the final standings showed Invicta only five points behind. (Due to Rawreth Megazone D retiring their team mid-season, expunging their results from the table would mean the gap was only three points). This was achieved with a squad of only three players.

Both leaders and runners-up won 9 – 0 this week. Invicta went to Lentern and gained a very impressive win, whilst Stanford overcame Mapledene at home.

At the other end of the table, Hadleigh Forum C picked up the wooden spoon, collecting only two wins during the whole campaign. However, they came quite close this week, when they visited close rivals Hockley C. There were some quite close five-setters, but eventually Forum went down 5- 4. Mark Everard put up the most resistance, winning two in a POM performance. However, Paul Ogden and Ollie George mirrored this for the hosts, with Ollie’s father, John, adding a decisive single. Tony Mace and Satwant Gill contributed one each for Forum.

In what may well turn out (sadly) to be RESSC’s last competitive match in the league, their visit to Rawreth Megazone C resulted in a 6 – 3 defeat. Skipper Bob Skews has had an excellent season, but was only able to record one win; whilst colleague John Holland managed two (including a marathon five-setter against Trevor Ward which he took 12 – 10 in the fifth). Gary McCarthy was the host’s star, winning all his games and taking the POM award. He was backed up by Trevor with two wins, and George Davis with one.

In a close match between Hadleigh Forum B and Brand Identity B, Forum edged it 5- 4, despite a hat trick from the visitor’s POM Barrie Delph. His teammate John Lott was unfortunate to miss out, losing all his games in the fifth set. Two wins from Dave Woolmer and Tony Jacks and a single from Mick Tappenden gave Forum the win, whilst Mick Grout got Brand’s other win.

Old Chelmsfordians A and Danbury M take the honours.

Two more divisional winners crowned as the 2023/2024 season reaches its climax

Old Chelmsfordians A successfully defended the division 1 league title they won last season while Danbury M improved upon last year’s third place finish (as Danbury N) by winning division five – registering just one defeat from their 18 matches.  The destination of the division two and division three titles is still undecided with two rounds of matches remaining.

Division 1

OCA A clinched the division one title with a 9-1 home win over Danbury B – Paul Lucas and Mark Mulley earned trebles while Scott Dowsett won twice.  The closest singles match of the night was Mark Mulley’s 3-2 win over Dan Anderson whereby Anderson had taken a 2-1 lead.   Later, Anderson and partner Sam Lowman took a 2-1 lead over Lucas and Mulley in the doubles only for the OCA pairing to come through for the win.  Two wins apiece for Aidan Lees and Omar Wasi boosted sixth-placed Chelmsford B to a 6-4 home win over Galleywood A.  Lees recovered from 2-1 down to beat Peter Barrett but later was on the wrong end of another 3-2 scoreline – James Hicks clinching the decider 13-11 in their clash.  Wasi had earlier beaten Hicks in four but fell to Barrett in their contest.  Hicks also saw another five-game match whereby he fought back from 2-1 down against Wiktor Delimat. 

Standings div 1: C: Old Chelmsfordians A 153 points (from 20 matches), 2: Chelmsford A 126 points (19 matches), 3: Danbury A 123 points (21 matches).

Division 2

Hatfield Peverel A moved to the top of division two with a 6-4 away victory at third-placed Maldon A – Julie Johnson fired a hat-trick on her return.  Johnson beat both Chris Hancox and Dawn Baldry in four and just about edged out Colin Napper over five close games.  Baldry won her other two games – an epic 3-2 win over Alastair Piper was followed by a four game win over Martin Archie who won his other two matches.  Another player who returned to action this week was Gary Ward who won all three of his matches in Writtle C’s 5-5 draw with OCA B.   Ward won each of his matches in four games while teammate John Parodi lost out to Michael Hayes over five games before edging David Porter in the decider.  Sanjay Saptarshi clinched three wins as his Danbury D beat Danbury G 6-4. Peter Chastin was unfortunate not to get a win on the board having played in three five-gamers.  Three wins by Adi Kamma backed up by two from Sami Osman helped Chelmsford D earn a 6-4 home victory over Danbury E.  Chelmsford’s Kamma dropped just two games during the evening while Danbury’’s Tony Forster’s two successes were both earned the hard way – over five games. 

Standings div 2: 1:  Hatfield Peverel A 121 points (from 19 matches), 2: Chelmsford C 119 points (from 18 matches), 3: Maldon A 105 points (19 matches)

Division 3

Ian Whiteside won all three of his singles matches as fourth placed Danbury H beat tenth placed Danbury J 6-4 in division three.  Whiteside dropped just one game while J’s Peter Hance and H’s Alan Scammell both recovered from 2-1 down in their respective matches against Ken Sheard and John Robinson.  Felix Reeve and Pav Srinivasamurthy were both unbeaten as Chelmsford F beat Writtle E 7-3.  Reeve dropped just one game in his three wins while two of Srinivasamurthy’s wins were not secured until a fifth game decider – his match against Malcolm Storey was a close 6-11, 13-11, 13-11, 9-11, 13-11.  Jarek Pietraszuk won three, James Grimston two and Andy Swales two as Chelmsford E won 8-2 against Danbury K.  Grimston was denied a treble by Alan Dadswell who battled back from 2-1 down to take the win while Dave Oxley-Goody got the better of Swales in three.

Standings div 3: 1: Galleywood B 135 points (from 18 matches), 2: Buttsbury A 125 points (18 matches), 3: Danbury H 101 points (from 18 matches).

Division 4

Fourth placed OCA D finished their season in style with a 10-0 away victory against winless Hatfield Peverel E as David Bishop, Russell Hall and Farooq Ahmed did the business for the visitors.  Davina Brazier was the best performer for the hosts – taking both Russell Hall and David Bishop to five games.  A Peter Mortenson treble wasn’t enough to prevent his Hatfield Peverel C side from going down 6-4 at Danbury L.  Mortenson beat Paul Thirkettle in three, John Manning in four and Greg Cooper in five, while teammate Richard Drozd had two matches which went to a decider – winning one.  Roger Patient didn’t drop a game as Highwood A won 6-4 at Hatfield Peverel D.  Highwood’s Keith Fitz-John went winless but saw two of his losses go to deciders while Melanie Bonnett edged Deb Ginn over five games.

Standings div 4: C: Galleywood C 139 points (from 17 matches), 2: Chelmsford G 120 matches (from 17 matches), 3: Maldon B 117 points (from 17 matches)

Division 5

Graham Naggs, Steve Martin and David Smith earned two wins apiece as Danbury M became division five champions with a 7-3 away win at Maldon C.  Shirley Carroll bagged two wins for Maldon – both in fifth game deciders while her teammate Ross Kirby beat Martin before missing out in five against Smith.  Buttsbury C moved up into second place with a 9-1 win over Galleywood D on Friday thanks to three wins each for Oscar Hutt and Francesca Hart as well as two wins by Freya Hart.  Galleywood D had played earlier in the weeks whereby Nick Rounce won all three of his singles matches in the 6-4 home victory over Chelmsford H.  Rounce had to fight back from 2-1 down for his victory against Peter Davenport who won two matches himself.  Anglia Ruskin University cruised to a 9-1 victory over winless Hatfield Peverel F – trebles by Kelvin Edeh and Douglas Bawuah were backed up by a double by Connor Case.  Chelmsford J and Highwood B shared a 5-5 draw – Chelmsford’s Shweta Lees and Mark Nolan as well as Highwood’s Keith Pallett and Nicola Pippen all won two games each.    

Standings div 5: C: Danbury M 131 points (from 18 matches), 2: Buttsbury C 107 points (19 matches), 3: Chelmsford J 106 points (18 matches).

Chelmsford Junior League division 2A

All to play for still in CJL division 2A as the Hutton Hawks stay top despite slipping to a 3-2 home defeat by the Chelmsford Eagles.  Joshua Freeman won twice for the visitors – his victory over Charlie Gould in the opener was after going 2-0 down.  The Danbury Dragons leapfrogged the Buttsbury Bears into second place with a 4-1 home victory – Oliver Martin won both of his matches by a 3-1 scoreline while Peter Harverson beat Thomas Lewis before Vivaan Babbar earned the only win of the night for the visitors. 

Standings CJL 2A: 1: , Hutton Hawks 20 points (7 matches), 2: Danbury Dragons 16 points (from 7 matches)

Chelmsford Junior League division 2B

Martis Heyes and Hugo Perry went undefeated as the Hutton Harriers extended their lead at the top of CJL 2B with a 5-0 home win over Chelmsford Leopards.  Heyes withstood a George Gregory comeback from 2-0 to clinch the decider in the closest contest.  Lewis Woods won both of his matches as the Buttsbury Bulldogs won 4-1 at Hutton Hyenas on Wednesday night.  The tightest match was Hugo Perry edging past Vivaan Babbar in a fifth game decider.

Standings CJL 2B: 1: Hutton Harriers 26 points (7 matches), 2: Buttsbury Bulldogs 21 points (from 6 matches)

Chelmsford Junior League division 2C

Ethan Collins won twice and Amelie Lucas once as the Chelmsford Panthers retained top spot in CJL 2C with a 4-1 away win at the Hutton Hornets, while the Hutton Hammerheads beat the Chelmsford Rhinos by the same scoreline thanks to an Archie Giles double backed up by a victory for Spencer Giles.

Standings CJL 2C: 1: Chelmsford Panthers 28 points (from 7 matches), 2: Chelmsford Jaguars 23 points (6 matches)

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Brotherhood E take battle honours – and title!

Brotherhood E are the new Division Three champions after  beating nearest rivals Windsor Harriers 8-2 in the final week of the Clacton League season.

Fred Gallone and Duncan Dunne remained unbeaten, whilst Tricia Salter recorded an important psychological win over Ferdy Rodriguez early in the encounter to set the trio on their winning way.

But the match was closer than the score-line suggests, with Brotherhood winning four of the five matches which went the distance.

Dunne defeated Rodriguez 11-8 in the decider and Isabel Barton 11-4 in the decider, Dunne and Gallone took the doubles 11-8 in the decider, whilst Gallone had a titanic struggle against Rodriguez in match ten before edging it 10-12, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 12-10.

Isabel Barton, the only player to have beaten Gallone this season, succumbed this time but had the satisfaction of beating Salter 11-8, 12-14, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9.

So congratulations go to the Brotherhood E trio, along with their two other squad members, Rodney Betts and Tony Edmonds, worthy Division Three champions, while Windsor Harriers will have to settle for the runners-up spot.

Brotherhood G have shown a remarkable improvement in form over the season and they went into their last match against Walton E needing a clean sweep of the points to secure third place at the expense of Nomads Leopards.

Leading 9-0, it was up to Dan Grindrod to secure the crucial final point, but opposing captain Lynette Sparks was not going to concede without a fight. In an intense match which see-sawed throughout, Grindrod eventually clinched his team’s 10-0 win, and overall third position, but only by the narrowest of margins 11-7, 16-18, 12-10, 10-12, 11-8.

There was a third victory for a Brotherhood team as the ‘F’ side defeated Nomads Bobcats 7-3, Tom Bryden taking his maximum, Joe Sherwin winning two and JJ Barry one. For the Bobcats, Matt Sage won a couple whilst Jack Riddleston edged out JJ Barry 12-10 in the fifth for the Bobcats’ third point.

In Division One Brotherhood A, already confirmed as runners-up, concluded their season with a 7-3 victory over a two-player Walton A, Kevin Gowlett and Russell Hillier unbeaten. Hillier defeated Derek Willis 11-3 in the fifth in the only match which went the distance. Willis and Colin Dearman, on what may be his final League appearance, each took one for Walton.

Walton B defeated Windsor Buzzards 9-1. Gavin Price and Pete Burrows took hat-tricks, and Paul Newbould two, with the Buzzards’ sole success coming from reserve Scott Campbell. Thus ends a season for the Buzzards in which they have battled hard but found the going just a little too tough. And alas, they finish as the only team in all three Divisions without a win to their name.

Windsor Eagles could only field two players against Walton C, and Mark Gale, Mark Ratcliffe and Paul Meikle took full advantage, warming up for their Cup Final appearance with a 10-0 win. Meikle defeated John Pattrick 11-6 in the fifth while Ratcliffe defeated the same player 11-4 in the fifth.

These results mean that Walton B finish sixth and the highest of the three Walton teams, seven points ahead of the seventh-placed ‘C’ team, and ten points ahead of the ‘A’ team in eighth position.

Just one result in Division Two saw Nomads Tigers take the last four matches of the evening to edge out Walton D 6-4, with every player picking up at least one point. Denes Somodi took his three for the Tigers, with Dave Miller and Zein Shafat taking one each, Shafat having a tight 11-9 in the decider victory over Paul Woolnough in match ten. Clive Allenby won a couple for Walton, with Woolnough and Mo Hardy picking up one each. Woolnough had another close match before edging out Miller 11-9 in the decider. The result means both teams finish level on 73 points but the Tigers take precedence, having won one more match.   

* The last, and busiest, week of the League’s season kicks-off next Tuesday (2nd April) with the Handicap Knock-Out Cup final between Walton C and Windsor Hawks. It should be a cracking match and it would be good to see a healthy crowd supporting the two teams. The venue is the Brotherhood Hall, with play starting at 7.30 pm.

* The League’s season concludes the following weekend with the Closed Championships on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th April at the Coastal Academy Sports Hall. For a third year the tournament is being sponsored by The Survey Initiative and the League is extremely grateful to Gary Cattermole for his most generous support of the event.

Play starts at 9.00 am on both Saturday and Sunday, with sixty-five players competing for fourteen titles. Nine events take place on Saturday and five on Sunday. The finals are scheduled to start from about 2.30 pm on Saturday and 3.00 pm on Sunday.

Further details, including information about check-in times, will be sent to all entrants by 2nd April.

RESULTS

Division 1

Walton B 9 Windsor Buzzards 1;

Walton A 3 Brotherhood A 7;

Windsor Eagles 0 Walton C 10.

Division 2

Nomads Tigers 6 Walton D 4.

Division 3

Brotherhood G 10 Walton E 0;

Brotherhood E 8 Windsor Harriers 2;

Nomads Bobcats 3 Brotherhood F 7.

Chelmsford A – unbeaten but title hopes fading!

Chelmsford A remain one of just two teams who remain unbeaten through 18 league matches this season (the other being Galleywood C of division four) however with an 18 point gap (and just one game in hand) their hopes of overtaking the league leaders before time runs out look to be slim.

Division 1

A Harry Chivers treble kept second-placed Chelmsford A’s title hopes alive in their 6-4 home win over division one leaders OCA A.  Chivers beat Mark Mulley in four games before recovering from 2-1 down to beat Keiran Lally (13-11 in the decider) and later seeing off Paul Lucas in four (two games saw the incredibly close 19-17, 16-14 scorelines).  Lally fought back from 2-0 down to beat Josh Bickles while Mulley was able to weather a Bickles comeback from 2-0 down to clinch the decider.  A fourth successive hat-trick by Chris Penrose fired Danbury A to an 8-2 away win at Galleywood A.  Penrose beat both James Mullane and James Hicks in three straight games and took just one game more to get the better of Peter Barrett.  Barrett won his two other matches – the first of which was a five-gamer with Eric Green who himself saw deciding game action in his win over Hicks.  Danbury C won a close contest with Chelmsford B by a 6-4 scoreline.  Danbury’s David Gatheral played in two five-gamers – missing out against Kim Shead having held a 2-1 lead and later taking the decider against Adi Kamma 13-11.  Danbury’s Peter Harverson had earlier earned a maiden division one win over Kamma.

Standings div 1: 1: Old Chelmsfordians A 144 points (from 19 matches), 2: Chelmsford A 126 points (18 matches), 3: Danbury A 113 points (20 matches).

Division 2

Chelmsford C extended their lead at the top of division two thanks to an 8-2 home win over Writtle C while title rivals Hatfield Peverel A could only draw 5-5 with Danbuy E – the gap between the two is a mere four points with two matches remaining.  Victor Chan won both of his games against the two-man team of Writtle C while Writtle’s John Webber beat Waseem Qureshi and Mark Allaway.  Martin Archie saw victory in all three of his singles matches as Hatfield Peverel A drew 5-5 at home with Danbury E.  Neil Want and Tony Forster won two apiece for the visitors but were both undone by Archie in three straight games – Archie has an 87% win rate from 45 individual matches in the league this season.  Writtle B made it two wins in a row by edging Maldon B 6-4 at home.  Trevor Collin, Richard Storey and Phil Smith all won two matches apiece for the hosts while Maldon’s Lloyd Bennett-Smith did likewise for the visitors – Storey getting the better of Bennett-Smith over four games.  The spoils were shared between Danbury G and Chelmsford D with two wins apiece for Danbury’s Denis Balic and Peter Harverson –  Chelmsford’s Adi Kamma also won twice – his second victory over Balic going the distance. 

Standings div 2: 1: Chelmsford C 119 points (from 18 matches), 2: Hatfield Peverel A 115 points (from 18 matches), 3: Maldon A 101 points (18 matches)

Division 3

John Holland and Mark Glenister won three apiece as division three leaders Galleywood B extended their lead to ten points with an 8-2 away win at Danbury H.  Holland and Danbury’s Ken Sheard saw five-game action in both their singles and doubles encounters – both matches going in the favour of the Galleywood player.  Buttsbury A lost pace with the leaders despite more trebles from Jamie Elliott and Evie Knaapen in their 7-3 win over Chelmsford E.  Elliott has a 100% win rate from his 41 individual league matches this season while Knaapen has 84% from her 38.  The top two sides still have to meet once more this season. Felix Reeve hit a hat-trick as Chelmsford F got the better of OCA C by a tight 6-4 scoreline.  Reeve dropped just one game during the evening and he was backed up by Pav Srivasamurthy who won twice – the second of which was a 3-2 win over Richard Baxter.  Neil Freeman won three as Hatfield Peverel B earned a 5-5 draw at Danbury K despite only fielding two players.  Freeman’s biggest test was from Dave Oxley-Goody who took their match to a decider – Oxley-Goody had earlier beaten Paul Mulley over five games also. 

Standings div 3: 1: Galleywood B 135 points (from 18 matches), 2: Buttsbury A 125 points (18 matches), 3: Chelmsford E 99 points (from 19 matches).

Division 4

Division four champions Galleywood C lost their perfect record this season as Buttsbury B held them to a 5-5 draw.  In what looked like an epic encounter, Garry Carr won three matches for the visitors while Galleywood’s Will Goodchild won twice for the hosts.  Galleywood’s Colin Blore and Phil Shippen saw five-game action on two occasions – once when facing each other which Blore won having trailed 2-0.  Nathan Blore lost in five against Shippen but had earlier beaten Caroline Cole by the same scoreline. Second placed Chelmsford G cruised to a 10-0 win over Hatfield Peverel E with Cleon Fernandes, Salih Salim and Vishnu Surendran dropping just one game between them during their individual matches.  Fernandes holds a 92% win rate from 48 division four matches this season.  Maldon B ensured they cannot finish below third place following their 9-1 win at Hatfield Peverel C.   Chris Ravenhill and Marty Englander won three individual matches apiece and teamed for victory in the doubles contest.  Farooq Ahmed and Russell Hall earned hat-tricks as OCA D beat Danbury L 8-2 at home.  OCA’s John Manning extended both Ahmed and David Bishop to five games but couldn’t quite get over the line – Bishop rallied from 2-0 down for his win. 

Standings div 4: C: Galleywood C 139 points (from 17 matches), 2: Chelmsford G 120 matches (from 17 matches), 3: Maldon B 108 points (from 16 matches)

Division 5

Danbury M’s wait to clinch the division 5 title goes on as their fixture with second placed Chelmsford J was postponed – they should get over the line finally in week 28.  Kelvin Edeh and Douglas Bawuah won three games apiece as ARU beat Highwood B 6-4.  Highwood’s Nicola Pippen beat Connor Case over fives then teamed with David Cockrell to win the doubles in five before falling to Kelvin Edeh 11-9 in the decider of their match. Suzanne Shaw and Matthew Porter both scored hat-tricks as OCA E won 9-1 on the road at Hatfield Peverel F.  Shaw won her first two matches 3-0 but had to recover from 2-1 down to beat Jackie Treacy – Treacy had earlier beaten Stuart Wintle in five from the same position but later missed out over five games against Porter.  Wintle and Porter took the doubles over Treacy and Peter Hughes – also in five games.  Oscar Hutt was victorious in all three of his matches as Buttsbury C won 7-3 at Maldon C.  Hutt beat Garry Eames in four and Kym Eames in three but had to recover from 2-0 down against Shirley Carroll – Carroll had earlier lost 3-2 against Richard Pond but beat Torsten Greenan by the same scoreline.  Galleywood D’s New Year acquisition of Nick Rounce must go down as the best bit of business made over the 2024 transfer window – Rounce fired another hat-trick and moved to 13 wins from 16 matches as his side were held 5-5 at Writtle F.   Michael Anthony won two games for the hosts but was edged in a fifth game decider by Rounce.

Standings div 5: 1: Danbury M 124 points (from 17 matches), 2: Chelmsford J 101 points (17 matches), 3: Chelmsford H 101 points (from 18 matches).

Chelmsford Junior League division 2A

Charlie Ware won twice as CJL 2A leaders Hutton Hawks gained some breathing space over second-placed Buttsbury Bears with a 4-1 victory in the top of the table clash.   Ware beat Callum Walker in four games and Joseph Hutt in three while Jago Ware earned a five-game win over Walker.  Luka Ha’s two wins weren’t enough to prevent his Chelmsford Cougars team falling to a 3-2 defeat at Danbury Dragons.  Ha won both of his singles matches 3-0 but he and teammate Ishar Srivastava were beaten by the duo of Oliver Ware and Oliver Wyman in the crucial doubles.

Standings CJL 2A: 1: , Hutton Hawks 18 points (6 matches), 2: Buttsbury Bears 14 points (from 5 matches)

Chelmsford Junior League division 2B

Billy Andrews won twice as CJL division 2B leaders Hutton Harriers earned a 3-2 win at second placed Buttsbury Bulldogs.  Martis Heyes was involved in three five-gamers seeing both Thomas Lewis and Lewis Woods fight back from 2-1 for their wins but gaining a win alongside Andrews in the decisive doubles contest.  Two 3-0 wins for Ben Robinson helped the Chelmsford Tigers to a 4-1 win over the Hutton Hyenas.  Oliver Davies scored the only point for the Hyenas – beating George Gregory 3-2 in the opener.  

Standings CJL 2B: 1: Hutton Harriers 21 points (6 matches), 2: Buttsbury Bulldogs 17 points (from 5 matches)

Chelmsford Junior League division 2C

Nathanael Slade won both of his matches as the Chelmsford Panthers were able to hold on to top spot in division 2C despite a 3-2 loss by Hutton Hammerheads.  Hutton’s Spencer Giles and Chelmsford’s Archie Spurrier were involved in the closest singles match of the afternoon which Giles won 11-9 in the decider.  Archie and Spencer Giles fought back from 2-1 down to win the crucial doubles match. Atharv Srivastava and Ethan Li went undefeated as the Chelmsford Jaguars closed in on the leaders with a 5-0 home win against the Hutton Hornets. 

Standings CJL 2C: 1: Chelmsford Panthers 24 points (from 6 matches), 2: Chelmsford Jaguars 23 points (6 matches)

Chelmsford Junior League division 2D

It’s as you were in CJL division 2D as leaders Chelmsford Pumas and second-placed Buttsbury Bats both won 5-0 in their respective matches.  Ishar Srivastave and Archie Spurrier won two apiece for the Pumas in their victory at Buttsbury Bees – the closest contest of the fixture was Spurrier’s 3-2 win over George Murphy.  Zac Berry and Shay Coughlan dropped just one game between them in their win over the Hutton Hares.

Standings CJL 2D: 1: Chelmsford Pumas 24 points (6 matches)  2: Buttsbury Bats 21 points (from 5 matches)

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Braintree finals night – it’s Davison again!

Paul Davison proved once again his ability to rise to the occasion when he was crowned Braintree Table Tennis League singles champion for the eighth time at the league’s finals night.

Davison has lost four times in league matches this season and currently stands only sixth in the individual averages but he had his championship head on on Friday as he came through two tough encounters to lift the trophy.

Paul Lucas tested him to the full in the semi-final where he refused to succumb easily.

After losing the first game 11-3, Lucas came back strongly to take the match to five ends after saving two match points in the fourth.

He stretched it all the way to deuce in the fifth but Davison stayed in attacking mode and took the final two points.

In the final against Lee McHugh, it was Davison who had to come from behind. With a mixture of aggressive attack, classical defence and disguised chop, McHugh took the first game 12-10.

But Davison gradually found a way past his opponent’s defences, won the second game 11-6 and again showed his coolness in the vital points when he took the third and fourth games 11-9 and 13-11.

McHugh had earlier nullified the challenge of Brandon Crouchman, who could not find the form that had eliminated second seed Harry Chivers the previous weekend and this time it was McHugh who won the vital points, winning all three games at deuce.

Curiously, after winning his semi-final against Lucas, Davison went on to lose to the same player in the final of the veterans’ singles, an illustration perhaps of where his focus for the evening lay.

Lucas got his attack going far more effectively than in their earlier encounter and registered a relatively comfortable 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3 win.

It ended a run of five successive wins in the event for Davison, who has won it every year since he has been eligible. His defeat meant he missed out on equalling Ian Whiteside’s record of six successive wins from 1995 to 2000.

Many years before his singles successes, Davison had gained his first senior title when he shepherded a nine-year-old Vicki Stredder to a win in the mixed doubles in 1997. This year Lucas was attempting the same feat with his 14-year-old daughter Amelie.

It was not to be, however, as Louise Hartshorn and Ian Shrubsole proved far too steady at the other end.

Mixing some containing play with occasional heavy smashes, they refused to allow Paul Lucas to dominate and ran out comfortable winners 11-5, 11-5, 11-5.

Hartshorn had a harder time of it in the ladies’ singles where she was initially discomfited by Lorraine Burgess’s cultured all-round game.

Burgess took the first and third games before Hartshorn found any sort of rhythm.  At last in the fourth, she was able to bring her trademark smashes into play and held on for a five-game victory.

It was one of the near-upsets of the evening but did not come close to matching Omar Wasi’s near success in the junior boys’ singles.

As the No.2 open singles seed and reigning Brentwood men’s singles champion, Harry Chivers was assumed to be a shoo-in to take the title.

But Wasi didn’t see it that way.

He matched his more illustrious opponent shot for shot and stormed into a most unlikely two-game lead.

He started well in the third game as well but Chivers appeared to regain confidence paradoxically for a naturally attacking player from a cracking rally at 1-3 down where he won the point with a dogged defensive display.

He moved into gear after that to win 11-6 and when he took the fourth game 11-2, normal service appeared to have been resumed.

But no. Wasi hit back in the fifth and held a match point at 10-9 when, with Chivers marooned at the back of the court, he missed what looked like a straightforward smash.

Reprieved, Chivers held his nerve to win at 13-11.

It was a more confident Chivers who turned out in the men’s doubles final a quarter of an hour later.

He and Kaung Paing settled more quickly and stayed in charge against the No.1 seeds Crouchman and Scott Dowsett.  Their speed about the table and snappy returns proved too much for the Liberal A pair and it was all over in three games, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7.

The evening’s opener saw Adi Kamma progress from last season’s runners-up berth to champion in the restricted singles final.

His calm approach overcame Sean Clift’s normally solid defence where the essential difference was his ability to finish off a point with a heavy smash, a weapon Clift lacks in his armoury.

The trophies were presented by president John Mills, umpires were James Hicks, David Gatheral, Paul Lombardi and Oliver Hicks and the event was organised by league competition secretary Keith Martin.

Results:

Open singles final: Paul Davison beat Lee McHugh 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11. Semi-finals: Davison beat Paul Lucas 11-3, 10-12, 12-10, 10-12, 12-10; McHugh beat Brandon Crouchman 14-12, 12-10, 12-10.

Ladies’ singles: Louise Hartshorn beat Lorraine Burgess 6-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-3, 11-7

Men’s doubles: Harry Chivers and Kaung Paing beat Crouchman and Scott Dowsett 11-8, 11-5, 11-7

Mixed doubles: Hartshorn and Ian Shrubsole beat Amelie Lucas and Paul Lucas 11-5, 11-5, 11-5

Veterans’ singles: Paul Lucas beat Davison 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3

Junior boys’ singles: Chivers beat Omar Wasi 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 13-11

Restricted singles: Adi Kamma beat Sean Clift 11-7, 11-9, 11-9

Ian Shrubsole and Louise Hartshorn – mixed doubles winners