Higham Harriers C maintained top spot in Division Three of the Wellingborough & District Table Tennis League with a 7-3 success at WDHA Knightriders.
Harriers are well clear at the summit with no fewer than five teams battling it out for the runners-up spot below them.
Despite only fielding a two-man team, David Cowl and Tim Hearson won all points available and took the doubles in three ends.
Westfield E sit in second place after a 6-4 win over Higham Band B, who were only able to field two players.
Deirdre Kiziak won her points in three ends but lost out to Stuart Holroyd in the fourth.
Holroyd and Amrat Mistry took a point from Fred Sorrell who in turn defeated Linda Freeman in a close five-end game.
Kiziak and Sorrell took the doubles to lessen the gap with four-end victory.
Stanwick maintained their challenge with an 8-2 verdict at Higham Harriers D.
Geoff Neville and Carl Eaves took maximum points without much effort for Stanwick.
Oli and Katie Hicks picked up their team’s only points with wins over Jon Tuplin but fought well in the doubles against Neville and Eaves, going down 7-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-13.
Another team bidding for second place are WDHA Challengers as they claimed an 8-2 win over Chesterwell D.
Daniel Bain and Tarun Mistry scored hat-tricks but had to fight hard to get them.
Bain beat David Carrigan 11-9 in the fifth and was taken the distance by Duncan Wright before winning out 9-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 16-14.
Daniel Mann gained a victory for Chesterwell with a single win over Kishan Mistry, who went down 8-11, 13-11, 11-4, 9-11, 9-11 in an epic battle against Wright.
The doubles went to the Challengers 12-10 in the third end.
Results: Higham Harriers D 2 (Oli Hicks, Katie Hicks) Stanwick VHTTC 8 (Geoff Neville 3, Carl Eaves 3, Jon Tuplin, doubles Neville/Eaves), Westfield E 6 (Stuart Holroyd 2, Amrat Mistry, + 3 points by default) Higham Band B 4 (Deirdre Kiziak 2, Fred Sorrell, doubles Kiziak/Sorrell), WDHA Challengers 8 (Kishan Mistry, Tarun Mistry 3, Daniel Bain 3, doubles Mistry/Bain) Chesterwell D 2 (Duncan Wright, Daniel Mann), WDHA Knightriders 3 (3 points by default) Higham Harriers C 7 (David Cowl 3, Tim Hearson 3, doubles Cowl/Hearson).
Thrapston moved up to third in Division One after a fine 7-3 win over St John A was followed by a 5-5 draw at Wanderers A.
In the first match, St John’s Richard Wills returned after knee surgery with a good 13-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9 win over Chris Warliker but was well beaten by Steve West and conceded to Ian Donaldson.
Grant Timms has been below his best since returning from surgery and went down to West and Warliker and needed a five-set win over Donaldson to avoid his first blank for some years
Jon Perkins, off pace, failed to gain a leg in his singles, but helped in gaining St John’s third point as he and Timms won out 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 in the doubles over Warliker and West.
In the draw that followed, Wanderers owed much to Tony Wharton who scored an excellent treble, dropping only one leg, his highlight being a tremendous opening win over Donaldson.
His colleagues found the going much tougher with Jon Taylor-Burt going down twice at the last hurdle against Donaldson and Warliker respectively.
Wharton and Taylor Burt saved the match with a doubles win over Donaldson and Warliker.
In their second match, two-man St John beat Higham Harriers A 6-4.
The visitors opened well with Graham Bird winning out 11-4 in the fifth over Perkins.
However, Martyn Reeves and Bob Collyer never threatened and Timms enjoyed a comfortable treble and an easy doubles win by Perkins and Timms over Colllyer and Bird saw the hosts home.
Leaders Westfield A achieved the rare feat of not dropping a leg in the entire match as they beat club-mates Westfield B 10-0.
With Stephen Woolston missing from the ’ line-up, there was only one outcome with Travis Holly scoring his first-ever top division treble against a demoralised trio of Peter Sheldrick, Leigh Clements and Lawrence Howlett.
Westfield A have also been awarded the Team of the Month for December, sponsored by L&M Waters (Trophy Specialists).
Defending champions Chesterwell A met a stronger than normal WDHA Royals side and must have been glad of the inclusion of Shyam Bavalia, who has only two wins to his credit and failed to register, or gain a leg.
However, his team mates were of a different calibre as they claimed a 6-4 success with Nitin Patel gaining a hard-fought treble with his victory including a five-set comeback againstMike Pond.
New signing Wlodek Tarnowski saw off Valdi Papiernik and Stan Galkowski in the fifth but went down 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 8-11 to Pond.
The hosts clinched victory with Bavalia and Patel taking the doubles in four ends over Pond and Galkowski.
Chesterwell A followed that with a somewhat flattering 8-2 success over their B team.
Graham Ellson saw off Papiernik and won out 11-8 in the fifth over Stan Galkowski but found Pond at his best in a 6-11, 9-11, 8-11 defeat.
Carlton Ellwood was unlucky, going down 5-11 in the fifth to Pond while Luke Hughes also lost at the last to Stan Galkowski.
Results: Thrapston 7 (Ian Donaldson 2, Steve West 3, Chris Warliker 2) St John A 3 (Grant Timms, Richard Wills, doubles Timms/Perkins), St John A 6 (Jon Perkins 2, Grant Timms 3, doubles Perkins/Timms) Higham Harriers A 4 (Graham Bird, + 3 points by default), WDHA Royals 6 (Wlodek Tarnowski 2, Nitin Patel 3, doubles Bavalia/Patel) Chesterwell A 4 (Mike Pond 2, Valdy Papiernik, Stan Galkowski), Westfield A 10 (Kevin Bird 3, Patryk Polanski 3, Travis Holly 3, doubles Bird/Holly) Westfield B 0, Chesterwell A 8 (Valdy Papiernik 2, Stan Galkowski 2, Mike Pond 3, doubles Pond/Galkowski) Chesterwell B 2 (Carlton Ellwood, Graham Ellson), Wanderers A 5 (Tony Wharton 3, Gene Brown, doubles Wharton/Taylor Burt) Thrapston 5 (Ian Donaldson 2, Chris Warliker, Steve West 2).
Division Two leaders Westfield C beat club-mates Westfield D 7-3 to remain on top of the table.
New signing Steve Fuller won twice for the D team with Mark Thomas notching the third point.
Each of the C team - Lawrence Howlett, Charlie Morrow and Charlie Clements - won twice and they also took the doubles 12-10 in the fourth end.
Second-placed WDHA Superkings were forced to battle back for a 5-5 draw against Chesterwell C who led 4-2 and then 5-3.
But the hosts fought back to parity with a doubles victory by Abin Islam and Milan Pandya, with both players claiming two wins in the singles.
The visitors’ points coming from another Maxine Shears treble and singles for both Clare and Stuart Coles.
Colin Lord stepped up for the third time this season and contributed a hat trick for the Old Grammarians A as they beat Wanderers D 6-4.
Phil Laurence won twice and, with Roger Fleming, took the doubles against Roger Ellingham and Graham Babbage.
Lord’s treble was a long process, each game being won in the fifth end. Mike Howorth added two wins for the visitors.
Wanderers C completed the double over Old Grammarians B with a 6-4 victory.
Martin Rice scored his fourth hat-trick for OGs with David Bayes notching the fourth point.
For the home side, both James Findlay and Tony Wallis won twice with Maurice Jones adding a single win over Pranab Mohanty.
Findlay and Wallis added the doubles in three ends against Rice and Bayes.
Results: Old Grammarians A 6 (Phil Laurence 2, Colin Lord 3, doubles Laurence/Fleming) Wanderers D 4 (Roger Ellingham, Graham Babbage, Mike Howorth 2), Wanderers C 6 (James Findlay 2, Maurice Jones, Tony Wallis 2, doubles Findlay/Wallis) Old Grammarians B 4 (David Bayes, Martin Rice 3), WDHA Superkings 5 (Milan Pandya 2, Abin Islam 2, doubles Islam/Pandya) Chesterwell C 5 (Maxine Shears 3, Stuart Coles, Clare Coles), Westfield C 7 (Lawrence Howlett 2, Charlie Morrow 2, Charlie Clements 2, doubles Howlett/Clements) Westfield D 3 (Mark Thomas, Steve Fuller 2).