B team on top after fine fightback against club-mates

Dan Smalley
Dan Smalley
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Westfield B sit at the top of the Premier Division in the Kettering & District Table Tennis League after fighting back from 4-0 down to draw 5-5 with club rivals Westfield A.

The B side got off to a nightmare start as Dan Smalley lost for just the second time this season to Kevin Bird before Brian Wooding edged out Nicole Bird in five.

Bogdan Capusa lost in straight games to Roumen Stefanov and when Bird junior lost to her senior in another game to go the distance, it looked like the A side would romp to victory.

But Westfield B had other ideas as Smalley and Capusa both bagged a brace before Smalley and Bird junior came back from 2-0 down in the doubles to avoid defeat.

The result leaves Westfield B one point clear, although Westfield A and third-placed Kettering Town have a game in hand.

In the same week, Westfield B whitewashed Burton Baptist A 10-0 in a re-arranged fixture that wasn’t as one-sided as the scoreline would suggest.

Baptist lost four games in the deciding end and five matches in four ends, with just one game failing to go beyond the customary three ends.

Thrapston Eagles picked up their best result of the season by losing 7-3 to Corby Lyveden Fields, despite only fielding two players.

Mark Stockley produced fine wins over Kyle Murie and Chris Haynes, both in five ends.

He then joined forces with Chris Warliker to win the doubles 12-10 at the last and help his side reach double figures for the season.

Westfield C still haven’t drawn a game this season as they lost 6-4 for the fifth time this year at the hands of Corby Smash A.

Steve Hobbs, Matt Rushton and Bhavika Mistry all beat Mike Ainsworth comfortably but found Ian Johnston a step too far, although Hobbs did take him the distance.

Mistry picked up the host’s fourth point with a superb 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 win over Tony West.

Higham beat Corby Rothbury 10-0 in another match that wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

Rothbury lost four games in five, including games eight, nine and 10.

Richard Bashford was given a scare by Nigel Hunt before scraping through 17-15 in a nailbiting decider against Guy Sparrow.

Richard Elliott had to come from behind to beat Aaron Moore, as did Higham in the doubles.

Results: Westfield B 5 (Smalley 2, Capusa 2, Smalley/N Bird) Westfield A 5 (K Bird 2, Stefanov 2, Wooding), Burton Baptist A 0 Westfield B 10 (Smalley 3, Capusa 3, Bird 3, Smalley/Bird), Thrapston Eagles 3 (Stockley 2, Stockley/Warliker) Corby Lyveden Fields 7 (Arthur 3, Haynes 2, Murie 2), Westfield C 4 (Mistry 2, Hobbs, Rushton) Corby Smash A 6 (Johnston 3, West 2, Johnston/West), Higham 10 (Elliott 3, Bannister 3, Bashford 3, Elliott/Bannister) Corby Rothbury 0.

Team of the week: Thrapston Eagles.

Player of the week: Mark Stockley.

We are now exactly two-thirds of the way through the Division One season so everyone has played each other twice.

While it’s still mathematically possible for any of the eight teams to win the title it would take an unusual set of results if the two Harborough teams don’t finish in the two promotion spots with a 16 point gap between them and the field.

Meanwhile, who will take the one relegation spot is still anybody’s guess with only six points separating the bottom four teams.

Leaders Harborough A had another impressive 9-1 victory considering their opponents were fourth-placed Westfield D.

Barry Thompson and Mike Brocklebank both got trebles for Harborough and Nathan Thompson beat Chris Alder and Paul Malpass but suffered a shock loss to Nitin Patel which was only his third of this season so far.

Second-placed Harborough B also had a reasonably convincing win 8-2 over Thrapston Kites.

Liam Burnham got a treble for the loss of just two games whereas Mike Brocklebank had to work harder for his winning 3-2 against Peter Briggs and 3-1 against Stewart Williams and Bob Hickson.

Kites scored their two points by Williams and Briggs beating Steve Crook.

Having looked like relegation contenders until now, Burton Baptist B have been given a boost by signing of Dave Needham who looks to be a quality player.

He and the in-form Harry Lade helped their team to a 7-3 victory over third-placed Rothborough Arrows and if either or both of those play many more matches they will probably be safe.

While nobody could take a game off Needham, only Sean Smith could extend Lade but the youngster was too good in the fifth game, winning 11-4.

A battling Steve Smith could not add to the score in the singles going down in five to both Martin Watts and Smith but he did help Needham to another 3-0 win in the doubles.

Two well matched teams on paper and on the night produced a 5-5 draw as Burton Baptist C and Thrapston Falcons shared the spoils.

Ian Baldock got his expected treble but it wasn’t easy, beating Chris Agg 11-9 in the fifth and scoring 3-1 wins against Kelvin Marshall and Paul Goodman.

Nigel Payne got the other two points for the visitors beating Goodman 3-2 and Marshall 3-0.

Overall there were five sets that went to a deciding game and Agg was involved in three of these, beating Payne 3-2, Tyler 3-0 and the doubles 3-2 with Goodman.

Marshall and Goodman both got the better of Tyler in singles.

Results: Harborough A 9 (B Thompson 3, Brocklebank 3, N Thompson 2, Thompson/Thompson) Westfield D 1 (Patel), Harborough B 8 (Burnham 3, Brocklebank 3, Crook, Crook/Burnham) Thrapston Kites 2 (Williams, Briggs), Rothborough Arrows 3 (M Watts, H Watts, Smith) Burton Baptist B 7 (Needham 3, Lade 3, Needham/Smith), Burton Baptist C 5 (Agg 2, Marshall, Goodman, Agg/Goodman) Thrapston Falcons 5 (Baldock 3, Payne 2).

Players of the week: Harry Lade and Dave Needham.

Team of the week: Burton Baptist B.

Week 13’s delayed results from Division Two showed a whitewash for Corby Lakeview over club-mates Halesowen.

There was some stirring resistance from Keith McLaren as he took all of Lakeview’s players beyond three, but otherwise it was as straightforward as the scoreline suggests, and it inflicted Neil Stone’s first blank night.

It gives clear daylight between Lakeview and Corby Smash B coming up to two-thirds of the season gone.

Again from week 13 Harborough C and Rothborough Buccaneers’ match swung either way with a strong start from the home team to take a 3-0 lead before Buccaneers took over with the next four.

The last two singles went Harborough’s way to at least prevent the loss but then the tightest game of the night was played out in the doubles, with Lauren Ainsworth and Luke Saywood finishing 12-10, 14-12 to overcome Jamie Burgess and Phil Dixon and ensure it finished all-square.

This game saw no-one undefeated but also no-one draw a blank.

For Buccaneers, Saywood was the only one to bag a pair but was beaten by Dixon who was the only Harborough player not to get two.

Burton Baptist Team Jim’s youngsters took on the second childhood of Rothborough Comets and demonstrated it is better the first time round with an 8-2 win.

It all started so well with David Steele’s victory over Ben Freeman but after that it was only the doubles that scored for them again when Lee Mordecai and Gareth Lewis came from behind to beat Freeman and Jacob Tattersall.

Comets have a good doubles record, winning two thirds of their matches.

Tattersall’s treble gave him a 73 per cent win in this middle third of the season against a 53 per cent rate for the first third.

Harry Lade continues his improvement and is at 75 per cent for the season so far, the best regular player after Lakeview and Smash B.

When the unbeaten top two met it was leaders Lakeview who succumbed with the 6-4 loss, but still lie a point ahead of Smash B.

Sam Wilson remains unbeaten with a 24-0 record but was given a stern test by Rob Warrander.

Brother Adam lost to Lakeview’s Adam Bendyk and had to come from behind against Stephen Woolston who in turn had to work hard to beat the improving Lewis Hillery, playing up and losing for the first time in this division.

Their last match of the season when they meet each other is likely to decide the champions.

Corby Halesowen gained their first victory of the season 6-4 when they overturned the earlier result against Buccaneers.

John Hunt, Neil Stone and Keith McLaren all got two.

Hunt lost to Luke Saywood but beat higher placed Ainsworth and Kelvin Linnett as did McLaren, and Stone lost to Ainsworth but beat higher placed Linnett and McLaren. This was Hunt’s best result of the season having previously won only one so far this season.

Buccaneers are now level with Comets in the inter-Rothborough competition.

Results: Corby Halesowen 0 Corby Lakeview 10 (Bendyk 3, Warrander 3, Woolston 3, Bendyk/Woolston), Corby Lakeview 4 (Bendyk 2, Warrander, Woolston) Corby Smash B 6 (S Wilson 3, A Wilson 2, A Wilson/S Wilson), Harborough C 5 (Allington, Burgess, Dixon) Rothborough Buccaneers 5 (Saywood 2, Ainsworth, Jones, Ainsworth/Saywood), Rothborough Buccaneers 4 (Saywood 2, Ainsworth, Ainsworth/Saywood) Corby Halesowen 6 (Hunt 2, McLaren 2, Stone 2), Rothborough Comets 2 (Steele, Lewis/Mordecai) Burton Baptist Team Jim 8 (H Lade 3, Tattersall 3, Freeman 2). Corrected result from week 13: Corby Smash B 7 (P Hillery 3, S Wilson 3, P Hillery/S Wilson) Rothborough Comets 3 (Lewis, Mordecai, Sturges).

In-form Old Village took on an out of form Rothborough Dakotas in the first match of the week in Division Three.

Dakotas’ bad form continued with yet another disappointing performance, resulting in a 9-1 loss.

The only shining light was from Cathy Fleming who got a brilliant win over Beth Tyler.

Mike Burrows continued his unstoppable form and Richard Bryant got a superb hat-trick, securing his three points in the fifth set against Tony Yeomans.

Corby Smash C continued their unstoppable form with a 10-0 whitewash over Burton Baptist E.

Burton had their most inexperienced line-up playing and they found the class of Smash C too much.

Only one match went past three games when Dave Marks took a lead against Alex Cochrane, but it didn’t last long.

Corby sit 10 points clear at the top of the table and don’t look like stopping.

Westfield E put up a good fight against Harborough E but it wasn’t enough as they lost 7-3.

Three games went to the fifth end, where Westfield lost twice.

Sidney Wright gained good wins over Ron Palfrey and Mick Radford but impressive John McGowan was too much for the young players, winning with ease and picking up another hat trick.

Strugglers and newcomers to the league Corby Woodlands succumbed to yet another loss, this time to local rivals Corby Smash D who came out on top with a 9-1 win.

Gareth Clarke and Chris Winter both hit maximums for Smash D, with James Lock losing to Callum Donaldson in Woodlands’ only point of the night.

Results: Westfield E 3 (Wright 2, Elliott) Harborough E 7 (McGowan 3, Palfrey, Radford 2, McGowan/Radford), Corby Smash C 10 (L Hillery 3, T Hillery 3, Cochrane 3, Hillery/ Hillery) Burton Baptist E 0, Old Village 9 (Burrows 3, Tyler 2, Bryant 3, Burrows/Bryant) Rothborough Dakotas 1 (Fleming), Corby Woodlands 1 (Donaldson) Corby Smash D 9 (Clarke 3, Lock 2, Winter 3, Clarke/Winter).

Team of the week: Corby Smash D.

Player of the week: Richard Bryant.