With Mick Ball stranded down south, Old Grammarians found the going tough as they went down 9-1 to Wanderers A in Division One of the Wellingborough & District Table Tennis League.
Perce Sharp took Gene Brown to five, but Stewart Williams and Tony Wharton cruised home.
A feature of the season to date has been the number of doubles won by the struggling sides and this was another as Phil Laurence and Sharp edged out Williams and Brown.
Steve West battled hard for visitors Thrapston in their 6-4 defeat at Chesterwell A but failed to register, although he took Stan Galkowski and Valdi Papiernik to five.
Mark Stockley surprisingly went down to Galkowski in five and to Mike Pond in four after easily seeing off Valdi Papiernik.
Chris Warliker, at his best a match for anyone, edged out Galkowski and Pond in five, but in a night of the unexpected, went down 2-11, 13-11, 9-11, 10-12 to Papiernik.
Thrapston gained their fourth point in a tremendous doubles victory with Stockley and Warliker winning out 11-6, 10-12, 5-11, 11-5, 12-10 over Pond and Papiernik.
Steve Hobbs, in his first outing for Westfield A, and Alex Aston scored easy trebles as they beat Chesterwell B 7-3.
However, Mike Ainsworth was well off his normal form and conceded a treble to the struggling Chesterwell side for whom Carl Singh scored his second ever win.
It takes a good side to concede a game and win out against a Grant Timms-inspired St John A side.
In the game of the night of Westfield B’s 6-4 success, Patryk Polanski went down in five to Timms but saw off Pete Boustred as did Will Shepherd.
Jon Perkins once again failed to register on the night and Westfield clinched the victory with Shepherd and Polanski taking the doubles over Boustred and Timms.
Results: Wanderers A 9 (Gene Brown 2, Stewart Williams 2, Tony Wharton 2, + 3 points by default) Old Grammarians A 1 (doubles Laurence/Sharp); Chesterwell A 6 (Stan Galkowski 2, Valdi Papiernik 2, Mike Pond 2) Thrapston 4 (Mark Stockley 2, Chris Warliker, doubles Stockley/Warliker); Westfield A 7 (Steve Hobbs 3, Alex Aston 3, doubles Aston/Ainsworth) Chesterwell B 3 (Carl Singh, Graham Ellson, Luke Hughes); Westfield B 6 (Scott Dixon, Will Shepherd 2, Patryk Polanski 2, doubles Shepherd/Polanski) St John A 4 (Pete Boustred, Grant Timms 3).
The bottom-of-the-table clash in Division Two saw St John B claim the spoils in an 8-2 victory against Wanderers D.
Singles for both Roger Ellingham and Mike Howorth was as good as it got for the visitors as all other points went to St John.
A brace each for Steve Mansfield and David Hatherall, was capped by a hat-trick for Paul Lipczak. Lipczak and Mansfield took the doubles in four ends over Ellingham and Babbage.
There was a long-awaited hat-trick for David Bayes, his first in two years, and that was enough to seal a6-4 victory for Old Grammarians B against Higham Band A.
Chris Smith scored a brace and a single for Martin Rice made up the six points.
Nigel Magee won twice for the visitors and had a hand in winning the doubles with Pete Martin in three, against Bayes and Smith.
A Maxine Shears treble wasn’t enough to save Chesterwell C from going down 6-4 to Westfield D as both Milan Modha and Peter Sheldrick won twice for the home side, while Modha and Charlie Morrow added the doubles in four against Shears and Stuart Coles to seal the victory.
Promoted Higham Harriers A, continued their impressive start to the season by inflicting a first defeat this term of the highly fancied Wanderers C by a 7-3 scoreline.
Graham Bird, Norman Wooster and Bob Collyer each won twice for the visitors, but nobody bettered ‘Mr Reliable’ Jon Taylor-Burt, who gained his third hat-trick of the season.
Wooster and Bird finished off a fine victory by winning the doubles 12-10 in the last end.
Results: St John B 8 (Steve Mansfield 2, David Hatherall 2, Paul Lipczak 3, doubles Mansfield/Lipczak) Wanderers D 2 (Roger Ellingham, Mike Howorth), Old Grammarians B 6 (Chris Smith 2, David Bayes 3, Martin Rice) Higham Band A 4 (Pete Martin, Nigel Magee 2, doubles Martin/Magee), Westfield D 6 (Charlie Morrow, Peter Sheldrick 2, Milan Modha 2, doubles Morrow/Modha) Chesterwell C 4 (Stuart Coles, Maxine Shears 3), Wanderers C 3 (Jon Taylor-Burt 3) Higham Harriers A 7 (Graham Bird 2, Norman Wooster 2, Bob Collyer 2, doubles Bird/Wooster).
Wanderers F moved off the bottom of Division Three by winning 6-4 at higher-ranked Stanwick TTC.
Brian Pearce scored the most points when hitting his second hat-trick, incuding a tough set against Carl Eaves (11-9, 12-14, 11-4, 14-16, 11-9).
Diana Wiseman won twice, losing out to Eaves in the fourth end. The two ladies teamed up for the doubles against Eaves and Al Hayes but bowed out in the fourth.
Westfield F were fortunate to gain a 5-5 draw with Wanderers E when having only 2 players but Joel Storr was on top form as he hit his second hat-trick.
Mark Holly picked up a single point from the scoreless Steve Hoole and, with Storr, took the doubles in a close match.
Chesterwell D sit in second place as braces from Bryan Farrar and Henryk Schmied sent them to a 6-4 success over WDHA Superkins.
No-one got the better of Superkings’ Rishan Patel, who hit a perfect hat-trick without losing an end. The doubles went to Chesterwell for the advantage.
Higham Harriers B moved up two places into third spot and are only six points away from The Royals with a game in hand after an 8-2 win against Westfield G as Martyn Reeves claimed his third hat-trick and Bob Collyer his second.
For Westfield, Stewart Jones and Linda Freeman had a single each over Anthony Stevens who lost out in the fifth and fourth ends respectively.
Results: Stanwick TTC 4 (Carl Eaves 2, Al Hayes, doubles Eaves/Hayes) Wanderers F 6 (Brian Pearce 3, Heather Sawyer, Diana Wiseman 2), Wanderers E 5 (David May, Derek Shears + 3 points by default) Westfield F 5 (Mark Holly, Joel Storr 3, doubles Holly/Storr), Chesterwell D 6 (Bryan Farrar 2, Peter Atkins, Henryk Schmied 2, doubles Farrar/Schmied) WDHA Superkings 4 (Rishan Patel 3, Milan Pandya), Higham Harriers B 8 (Bob Collyer 3, Martyn Reeves 3, Anthony Stevens, doubles Collyer/Reeves) Westfield G 2 (Stewart Jones, Linda Freeman).