It’s an intriguing battle for the title

Richard Elliott claimed a hat-trick in Higham's 9-1 win over Corby Town B
Richard Elliott claimed a hat-trick in Higham's 9-1 win over Corby Town B
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The race to be crowned Premier Division champions in the Kettering & District League remains an intriguing battle with with Burton Baptist A and Westfield A level on points at the top with Higham just a further five points adrift.

Baptist A lead the way after Westfield’s winning run, which stretched back to the 2011-12 season, was ended in a 5-5 draw wIth Corby Town A.

Nicole Bird stepped in for the unavailable Roumen Stefanov but it was Kevin Bird who gavce Westfield the lead with a 3-1 win over Henry Arthur.

Chris Haynes led Steve Silk 2-0 and had match point but Silk fought back from the brink to win 3-2 before Lee O’Boyle earned Corby’s first point by beating Nicole Bird.

Kevin Bird saw off Haynes 3-0 while Arthur battled back to beat Nicole Bird before Silk put Westfield 4-2 ahead.

The final four matches all went to a fifth end and Kevin Bird completed a fantastic hat-trick to keep Westfield on course.

But Arthur completed a fine victory over Silk by taking the final end 15-13 before Haynes and O’Boyle teamed up to take the doubles and secure the draw.

Burton Baptist A took full advantage of their rivals’ failure to win with a 10-0 success over Burton Baptist B.

The A team were ruthless in their demolition of their club colleagues, dropping just two ends all evening.

Dawid Przybysz extended his unbeaten run to 18 games with Alex Aston and Chris Ross also securing trebles.

Corby Town B hosted third-placed Higham and had the ‘privilege’ of playing against the county number one and Northants champion Andy Trott who was making his first appearance of the season.

Trott secured a quickfire treble and Richard Elliot dropped just one end as he matched his team-mate.

Higham were denied the 10-0 whitewash with Andy Harrison losing out in straight games to Henry Arthur.

Westfield B’s squad have been hit hard by injuries with Brian Wooding and Steve Hobbs both ruled out.

Fortunately for them, they have added a new player to their ranks in the shape of Spaniard Antonio Jaraices.

Making his debut against Arthingworth, he won twice but had to work hard for both wins, coming from 2-0 down to both Gerald Henson and Ray Kingston to claim victories.

Chris Gibbons was too consistent for Jaraices but team-mate Dan Smalley found his best form to score an excellent treble before teaming up with Jaraices to take the double and claim a 6-4 win for Westfield B.

Harborough Athletic boosted their survival chances with a credible 5-5 draw with Westfield C.

Nathan Thompson was their star man with a superb hat-trick.

Twice he came back from 2-0 down to claim the win and he completed a treble of five-end successes when seeing off Carl Leeson 13-11 after beating Sam Wildman 11-9 and Matt Horrocks 11-9 at the same stage.

Earlier in the evening, Barry Thompson gained a 3-0 win over Horrocks and the Thompsons teamed up to claim the doubles win for an important draw.

Struggling Thrapston Eagles fell to a fifth defeat of the season as they went down 10-0 to Kettering Town A.

Nigel Metcalfe, John Fuller and Mike Hawes all recorded trebles with Fuller and Metcalfe adding the doubles for good measure.

Results: Corby Town A 5 (Arthur 2, Haynes, O’Boyle, Haynes/O’Boyle) Westfield A 5 (K Bird 3, Silk 2), Burton Baptist B 0 Burton Baptist A 10 (Przybysz 3, Aston 3, Ross 3, Aston/Ross), Corby Town B 1 (Arthur) Higham 9 (Trott 3, Elliott 3, Harrison 2, Trott/Elliott), Westfield B 6 (Smalley 3, Jaraices 2, Smalley/Jaraices) Arthingworth 4 (Gibbons 2, Henson, Kingston), Westfield C 5 (Leeson 2, Wildman 2, Horrocks) Harborough Athletic 5 (N Thompson 3, B Thompson, Thompson/Thompson), Kettering Town A 10 (Metcalfe 3, Fuller 3, Hawes 3, Metcalfe/Fuller) Thrapston Eagles 0.

Player of the week: Nathan Thompson

There was very little to choose between the top four teams in Division One going into the latest round of matches.

Therefore, whichever of those four had the best week would gain a slight advantage over the other three.

That team was Thrapston Kites who are now in pole position having won all five of their matches and are the only unbeaten side.

Kites took on Thrapston Falcons in their local derby and with only one point separating them while both were just off the leaders with a game in hand, making it a crucial clash.

Kites’ Peter Briggs and Stewart Williams now have a combined singles average of 90 per cent this season and both continued their good starts with impressive trebles.

Geoff Judd picked up the other important point to make it 7-3, coming from 2-0 down to beat Alan Tyler.

Falcons’ three points were earned by Nigel Payne and Ian Baldock who both beat Judd then paired up to win a five-end doubles over Williams and Briggs.

Rothborough Arrows were top of the table before this round of fixtures and therefore needed a victory and preferably by a large margin over mid-table Corby C to maintain their good position.

But Arrows were missing their star player Julian Marlow and the highly-ranked Rob Warrender was playing only his second match for Corby C.

This put more pressure on the dependable Helen Watts to put in a winning performance.

She had to do it the hard way against Stephen Woolston, coming from 2-0 down and 7-1 down in the fifth end to win 11-8, followed by 3-0 wins in here next two.

Ivor Jones and Luke Saywood got one win each against Keith McLaren and Saywood’s was one of three five-end sets in the match which all crucially went to Arrows meaning only a few points between victory and defeat, the third of which was in the doubles, Jones and Watts getting a crucial sixth point against Warrender and Woolston.

Promotion contenders Harborough Rangers would have hoped for a 10-0 verdict against wooden spoon favourites Thrapston Harriers.

But, without the usual Steve Crook, Samuel Burgess took his place and accounted for Keith Stockley 3-0 before a close 3-1 win over Mike Burrows.

Both Liam Burnham and Mike Brocklebank got trebles though Stockley took Brocklebank to five then the pair won the doubles to make it 9-1.

A 6-4 win looked about par for mid-table Burton Baptist C to beat Baptist D.

Kelvin Marshall was the surprise man-of-the-match for the D team with the only treble of the match.

His team-mate Steve Smith is not a great lover of long pimples and so not surprisingly didn’t manage to win a leg against either Paul Goodman or Daryl Sutcliffe but conversely had a convincing 3-0 win over the more conventional Chris Agg who had one win over Brett Owen.

Goodman and Sutcliffe both contributed two single wins before pairing up to win the doubles and the match 6-4.

With Harborough Rovers not having a match, Harborough Diamonds would have hoped to make up more ground on them in the table.

However, a 9-1 defeat to Westfield D means that they only reduced their deficit from five points to four.

Paul Malpass and Scott Dixon both got trebles for Westfield with Chris Alder claiming a brace as he lost the other one to Vaughan Allington.

Results: Thrapston Falcons 3 (Baldock, Payne, Baldock/Payne) Thrapston Kites 7 (Briggs 3, Williams 3, Judd), Rothborough Arrows 6 (Watts 3, Jones, Saywood, Jones/Watts) Corby C 4 (Warrender 2, Woolston 2), Harborough Rangers 9 (Burnham 3, Brocklebank 3, S.Burgess 2, Burnham/Brocklebank) Thrapston Harriers 1 (Tyler), Burton Baptist C 6 (Goodman 2, Sutcliffe 2, Agg, Goodman/Sutcliffe) Burton Baptist D 4 (Marshall 3, Smith), Westfield D 9 (Malpass 3, Dixon 3, Alder 2, Dixon/Malpass) Harborough Diamonds 1 (Allington).

Player of the week: Kelvin Marshall.

Comets’ anticipated Division Two match against Dakotas was more one-sided than predicted with a 9-1 win taking Comets above their opponents and level at the top.

Three of the first four games went the distance suggesting a tight result but they all went the way of Comets and set the pattern for the night.

David Steele’s early return from injury was fortunate as his defeat of Kelvin Linnett was Dakotas’ only success.

Alan Brisley and Pete Sturges were unbeaten in singles and doubles but both needed five ends to beat Steele.

It was déjà vu for Burton when they met Buccaneers and were soundly beaten as they were the previous week by Comets.

It means Buccaneers share top spot with one more week of the first third of the season to go.

Closest to gaining an end was Jacob Tattersall with a 11-13 loss against Luke Saywood in the second end but Saywood, Tom Ravenscroft and Ray Harrison were otherwise untroubled.

Harrison, Ravenscroft and the now injured Sean Smith remain the only players with 100 per cent records in the division.

A good home win for Kettering B saw them leapfrog opponents Exocets with a 7-3 victory shared between all the players, where interestingly the three games that went the distance were the only ones that the away team won, yet the eight ends that went beyond deuce were all won by the home team.

Various players upset the rankings; Helmut Salander – the only player on show yet to have a blank week – had a brace including a defeat of Jim Chatburn; Pete Scrivener then beat Salander and Ann Woolston’s good form continued with victory over Tony Yeomans in her brace.

Matt Billington’s return for Corby D – albeit only for a week – clearly inspired them as they allowed Imps only one game all night for their biggest win yet to leave the Harborough outfit as the only team without a victory this season.

Billington got two while Dan Bottrill and Nathan Brown got maximums, Brown in particular showing fighting spirit winning two in five, one of which finished 14-12 then 16-14 and beating two players above him in the rankings in the process.

Results: Kettering B 7 (Chatburn 2, Scrivener 2, An Woolston 2, Chatburn/Scrivener) Rothborough Exocets 3 (Salander 2, Yeomans), Harborough Imps 1 (Palfrey) Corby D 9 (Bottrill 3, Brown 3, Billington 2, Billington/Brown), Rothborough Buccaneers 10 (Harrison 3, Ravenscroft 3, Saywood 3, Harrison/Ravenscroft) Burton Baptist E 0, Rothborough Comets 9 (Brisley 3, Sturges 3, Linnett 2, Brisley/Sturges) Rothborough Dakotas 1 (Steele).

Player of the week: Nathan Brown.

Team of the week: Corby D.