Ron Fosker’s Weekly League Report 17-12-17

The Felsted RBL C  juggernaut rolls on – and even Shirley Carroll, who is a cut above most in division three of the Braintree Table Tennis League, could do nothing about it. Apart from their opening fixture, when they ran into a top-form Peter Taylor, Felsted have won every match 9-1 or 10-0 and Rayne I were the latest team to fall into the latter bracket.

In her first appearance of the season, Carroll took Andy Laws to four games, lost to Dean Wood 11-5 in the fifth and stretched Nick Butler to 11-9 in the fifth. She came close to beating Butler after taking the first two games and reaching deuce in the third, but he just scraped home and, like Wood, still only has that defeat by Taylor against his name.

Rayne H climbed into second place, but not in a manner they would have wished.  They lost 7-3 to Black Notley F and moved just two points ahead of Notley E, who did not play and now have a match in hand. Declan Baines was unbeaten for Notley F.

Dave Whiting turned out for Rayne J for only the second time this season and his three sets helped them to an 8-2 win over Netts F.

Alan Billing was undefeated in Notley G’s 6-4 win over their own H team.

Leaders Notley B were in ruthless mood in division two, taking all ten from Rayne G, while chasing Liberal C, with only two players, were restricted to a 6-4 win over Rayne F’s team.

Gareth Davies took his three singles while Garry Fryatt just failed to follow suit after losing at 12-10 in the fifth against Dave Moles.

Ken Lewis made a rare appearance for Nomads, who beat Notley C 8-2, while Netts D scored only their second win of the season, 6-4 against Notley D, despite three defeats against Sean Clift.

In division one, any lingering hopes Netts A may have had of making a challenge for the title have surely disappeared after a surprise 6-4 defeat to their own C team.

With both Andy Holmes and John Cleasby in the side that was hardly a result they would have expected.  But Nikki Davison beat both of them, as well as reserve Steve Buer, and James Mullane joined in with a win over Holmes that must rank as one of the best of his career.

Notley A are making a determined effort to get away from danger.

After only one win in their first ten matches, they made it two wins in two matches – and it is no coincidence that Lucy Wang played in both.  She was joined by Victor Chan in winning three singles and the doubles in the 7-3 success over Liberal B.

Rayne D could also enjoy a modest celebration.  Their 6-4 defeat by Rayne C was their closest so far.  Unusually it was an undefeated Paul Lombardi, normally in the shadow of his teammates, who did the damage.

Ron Fosker’s Weekly League Report 3-12-17

When Netts E lined up for their Braintree Table Tennis League handicap cup match against Black Notley F, they were carrying 95 years of inaction between them. All three players had retired from the game but have recently taken it up again after a prolonged absence.  Joe Meleschko took out his bat again last year after 25 years while Fred Evans made his comeback at the start of this season after 20 years..

But their absence was a mere blink of the eye compared with their new teammate.  The match marked Tony Smith’s return to the game after 50 years. And he found that his knack had not deserted him as he took his three singles. There was to be no happy ending, however, as Notley took five of the other six to move into the next round.

It was one of no fewer than six matches that was decided at 5-4, a tribute to the accuracy of the handicap system.

Black Notley teams were on the right end of two more of those, the G team beating Rayne G and the C team beating their own B team. Max King was unbeaten for the G team while Dave Parker won his three singles in vain for the B team.

Notley’s H team will not be joining their clubmates in the next round after a tight match with Liberal B in which they twice lost at deuce in the third game.  Robin Armstrong won both of those and took his other set at 12-21, 25-23, 21-17 to help his side through.

Netts F suffered a similar fate to their E team when Felsted RBL A came back from 3-1 down to clinch victory in the final set, Haydn Upson’s second win of the night to go alongside Richard Baxter’s three.

Rayne E were the other team to record a 5-4 win, in their case against their own A team. Their victory was a complete turnaround.

At 4-0 down, the E team looked to be on their way out of the competition when in the next set Steve Pennell clawed back his 10-point handicap against Richard Whiteside to reach deuce in the third game.  But it was Whiteside who hung on to claim it at 23-21. They were nearly out again two sets later when Dean Andrews also found himself at 20-20 with Pennell, but he too pulled through – 25-23 in his case.

In other matches, Netts D beat Rayne F 6-1, Notley A beat Rayne B 5-2 – Lucy Wang unbeaten – Rayne J beat their own H team 7-2 – Chris High unbeaten – and Nomads beat Rayne C 5-2

In the league division one, Dave Punt scored one of the wins of his career when he got the better of Peter Hayden in Rayne D’s 7-3 defeat by Liberal A. It was the first time Rayne D had scored more than two sets in an evening, but neither Rayne A nor Netts A were able to take advantage as both dropped four points.

Netts beat Rayne C, with Andy Holmes unbeaten, while Adrian Pitt took his three singles for Liberal B against Rayne A.

Netts B also had a 6-4 win against Notley A, for whom Lucy Wang was unbeaten, while Rayne B took all ten against Netts C.

In rearranged matches, Netts A beat Netts C 6-4 – Holmes again unbeaten –  while Rayne B beat Rayne D 8-2.