A match in which the form book was about as much use as a London Underground map in the Arctic may have sealed one team’s fate while giving the other a slender thread of hope in division two of the Braintree Table Tennis League.
The result means that Netts D, third division champions last season, look likely to make a quick return, while Rayne G just about live to fight on.
The individual results looked so unlikely that the league’s fixtures secretary had to make a phone call to ensure they were accurate.
But yes, Steve Siggs, Rayne G’s best player, did have worse results than both his teammates and Max Plumridge, Netts D’s most successful player, repeated that experience for Netts D.
The evening was a personal triumph for Steve Willis, who won his three singles for the first time this season to help his team to a 6-4 win.
Dave Allison won two singles for only the fourth time this season while Siggs, in the Rayne D team that won the division last season, lost in three straight games to Joe Belsom and Kierlan Richards.
The form book was a much more reliable guide in the other match in the division, a 6-4 win for Nomads over Rayne F, in which Ken Lewis won three and Kevin Saunders two for Nomads and Dave Marsh two for Rayne F.
In division one Liberal B had a 6-4 win over Black Notley A while Netts A were surprisingly held to a draw by their own C team.
Nikki Davison and Hannah Pitt both beat Andy Holmes and Antonio Beckles. They missed out against James Hicks but he in turn was downed by James Mullane.
The Rayne A v Rayne B match pitted Steve Pennell against his long-term teammates Ian Whiteside and Jon Hill for the first time.
He justified the club’s decision to keep him in the A team by beating both of them, although Hill stretched him to 17-15 in the fifth game. The A team won 6-4.
In division three Felsted RBL C dropped more than one point for only the third time this season when both Matt and Jamie Brooks, of Notley E, got the better of Mike Pitt.
Rayne H and Netts F played each other twice in eight days with the same six players involved and the same result: 10-0 to Rayne.
Rayne H also beat Notley G 7-3, all their players having to give second best to Alan Billing.
Mark Jackson and Barry Mouser were unbeaten as Rayne J beat Notley H 9-1 – but the division’s bottom team gave them a real workout. Six sets went to five games and the other four to four games.
Results in the second round of the handicap cup: Liberal B 6 Notley G 3 (three wins for Robin Armstrong); Rayne E 6 Notley E 3; Notley C 8 Rayne D 1; Netts D 5 Felsted A 1; Rayne J 0 Notley A 5; Notley F 5 Felsted C 4 (three wins for Mel Cooch); Rayne I 4 Notley D 5 (three for Adam Clift, including a win over Roger Hasler at 22-20 in the third game with the match score at 4-4)