After their opening two games, Higham Harriers A must have feared the worst when they went up against reigning Division One champions Westfield A in the Wellingborough & District League.
However, heartened by the absence of Kevin Bird, the visitors put in their best performance for some time and could well have snatched a draw before they slipped to a 6-4 loss.
Graham Bird opened his account with an 11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7 win over the inconsistent Stephen Woolston and followed with a five-set victory over the much-improved Travis Holly but disappointed in a heavy loss to Patryk Polanski, who gained an excellent treble, edging out Norman Wooster 11-8 in the fifth.
Wooster had earlier also beaten Holly 11-8 in the fifth end and joined with Bird for an 8-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-9 doubles win over Holly and Polanski.
Unfortunately Mick Malins failed to follow his team-mates’ improvement as he failed to gain a leg.
Old Grammarians B players Phil Laurence and Mick Ball had a torrid evening as both were well beaten in their team’ 8-2 home loss to Chesterwell A.
However, Steve Kendall shook off an 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 8-11 opening defeat to Mike Pond and saw off Valdy Papiernik and Stan Galkowski without conceding a leg for a brace to earn the home team two points.
In Thrapston’s 6-4 success over Wanderers B, Ian Donaldson went down to a shock defeat in the opener 9-11, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11 to Paul Goodman but won out in five 11-7 and 11-4 against Stewart Williams and Bob Hickson, respectively.
An on-form Chris Warliker gained an excellent treble but Alan Tyler went down 12-10 in the fifth against Williams and was well beaten 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 by Goodman but avoided a blank in a five-set victory over Hickson.
The visitors achieved their fourth point with the Goodman/Williams pairing winning out 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 in the doubles against Warliker and Donaldson.
Results: Old Grammarians A 2 (Steve Kendall 2) Chesterwell A 8 (Valdy Papiernik 2, Stan Galkowski 2, Mike Pond 3, doubles Papiernik/Pond), Thrapston 6 (Ian Donaldson 2, Chris Warliker 3, Alan Tyler) Wanderers B 4 (Paul Goodman 2, Stewart Williams, doubles Goodman/Williams), Westfield A 6 (Stephen Woolston 2, Travis Holly, Patryk Polanski 3) Higham Harriers A 4 (Graham Bird 2, Norman Wooster, doubles Bird/Wooster).
The all-Westfield clash in Division Two went the way of the B team as they defeated their C counterparts 7-3.
Only the opening game went the full distance and it saw Mark Ramsden emerge victorious over Mark Thomas 11-8 in the fifth.
Steve Fuller scored the visitors’ other singles win, taking Charlie Morrow to four with their final point being won in the doubles with Ramsden and Fuller winning out over Charlie Clements and Morrow.
With the regular players on holiday, Stuart Futrill played up for the Higham Band A in their 6-4 home defeat to Old Grammarians B.
Although he came away scoreless, Futrill forced both Colin Lord and Adrian Howes to a fourth end.
Keith Stockley and Deirdre Kiziak registered two wins apiece against Howes and Roger Fleming but couldn’t get the better of Lord, who secured a hat-trick.
Lord and Fleming added the doubles against Kiziak and Futrill to seal the win.
A doubles victory for Higham Harriers B’s Phil Inman and Craig Hartwell closed the scoreline to 6-4 in their match against Wanderers C, with only Tony Wallis unbeaten on the night.
James Findlay, with two wins, lost out to Harriers’ Bob Collyer and Carl Singh had to settle for a single over Craig Hartwell, who was scoreless.
Results: Higham Band A 4 (Deirdre Kiziak 2, Keith Stockley 2) Old Grammarians B 6 (Colin Lord 3, Roger Fleming, Adrian Howes, doubles Lord/Fleming), Wanderers C 6 (James Findlay 2, Tony Wallis 3, Carl Singh) Higham Harriers B 4 (Bob Collyer 2, Phil Inman, doubles Inman/Hartwell), Westfield B 7 (Mark Thomas 2, Charlie Clements 3, Charlie Morrow 2) Westfield C 3 (Mark Ramsden, Steve Fuller, doubles Ramsden/Fuller).
Chesterwell D have started well in Division Three this season and after three matches, have dropped only two points.
Higham Harriers C were without Oli Hicks and their match was a little harder as they went down 10-0 to the early leaders.
Katie Hicks put up a good fight against Duncan Wright, after losing her first end 11-2, and pulled back 11-3, 10-12 and 8-11.
There were easy hat tricks for Jonathon Driscoll, Wright and Daniel Mann and a surprising result in the doubles as the Wright and Mann combination struggled 11-5, 11-9, 12-14, 9-11, 11-9 against Matt and Katie Hicks before adding the final point.
Stanwick also enjoyed a whitewash as they won at Chesterwell E.
Carl Eaves and Jon Tuplin took their hat tricks without losing an end while Al Hayes lost one end in each of his games against Petr Atkins, Gavin Birmingham and Katie Coles.
The doubles went to Stanwick with an easy 11-4, 11-5, 11-3 win for Eaves and Tuplin.
Results: Chesterwell E 0 Stanwick VHTTC 10 (Carl Eaves 3, Al Hayes 3, Jon Tuplin 3, doubles Eaves/Tuplin); Chesterwell D 10 (Johnathon Driscoll 3, Duncan Wright 3, Daniel Mann 3, doubles Wright/Mann) Higham Harriers C 0.