Kettering’s title hopes are hit by Westfield

Richard Elliott

Richard Elliott

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Kettering Town’s hopes of winning the Premier Division of the Kettering & District Table Tennis League suffered a huge blow as they were beaten 7-3 by Westfield B.

Bogdan Capusa notched a superb maximum after two deciding-game wins.

After beating Mike Hawes he came from behind to beat Nigel Metcalfe 11-9 at the death.

But he saved the best game until last, again coming from behind to beat the defence of John Fuller.

Fuller avenged an earlier defeat to beat Dan Smalley, who almost missed out on a brace in scraping past Metcalfe in the opener.

Burton Baptist A avoided a catastrophe as they lost 6-4 at home to Corby Rothbury.

Relegation-threatened Baptist went 6-1 down despite Alex Aston winning the opening game, as Guy Sparrow picked up an impressive treble.

But just as the hosts looked set to implode they fought back with three narrow victories.

Dave Needham beat Aaron Moore, Aston beat Chris Robertson and Baptist won the doubles, all in five ends, in what could be three huge points come the end of the season.

Relegation rivals Westfield C lost 8-2 against Higham as their struggle for wins continued.

Bhavika Mistry and Matt Rushton both beat Pete Bannister but Westfield missed out in five in a theme that has been all too recurring this season.

First Steve Hobbs let a 2-0 lead slip against Bannister, before Mistry wasted three match points in a loss to Richard Bashford.

Richard Elliott gained a maximum, dropping just two ends.

Thrapston Eagles increased their season’s points tally to 13 in a 7-3 loss to Corby Smash A.

Mark Stockley bagged a brace, beating Mike Ainsworth before scraping past youngster Sam Wilson in five ends.

Chris Warliker picked up a second win of the season by beating Ainsworth, but Pete Briggs couldn’t quite match his efforts.

Results: Westfield B 7 (Capusa 3, Smalley 2, Horrocks, Capusa/Smalley) Kettering Town 3 (Fuller 2, Metcalfe), Burton Baptist A 4 (Aston 2, Needham, Aston/Needham) Corby Rothbury 6 (Sparrow 3, Robertson 2, Moore), Higham 8 (Elliott 3, Bashford 3, Bannister, Elliott/Bannister) Westfield C 2 (Mistry, Rushton), Thrapston Eagles 3 (Stockley 2, Warliker) Corby Smash A 7 (C Wilson 3, S Wilson 2, Ainsworth, C Wilson/Ainsworth).

Team of the week: Westfield B.

Players of the week: Bogdan Capusa and Guy Sparrow.

With just five weeks to go in Division One, the promotion race looks fairly predictable with second-placed Harborough B 20 points ahead of Rothborough Arrows in third.

But the title race could still be close with Harborough A seven points ahead and the relegation battle is still intriguingly poised with four teams in contention and just 10 points between them.

For the first time this season Burton Baptist C have moved off the bottom of the table and they achieved that against the unlikeliest opponents, Harborough A.

However, three of Burton’s four points were gifted to them because Harborough only had two players and the fourth point was a shock win for Paul Goodman against Barry Thompson.

Son Nathan Thompson got a comfortable treble as he came from 1-0 down to beat Goodman 3-1 and beat both Derek Muggleton and Chris Agg 3-0.

Now that Burton C have seen off both of the Harborough teams for the season they have reason for optimism.

Thrapston Kites became the division’s new bottom side.

They are level on points with Burton C but in that case the next criteria is matches won and Burton are 3-2 up on that count.

They could only scrounge a solitary point against a stingy Rothborough Arrows.

Both Martin and Helen Watts gave them nothing, remaining unbeaten, and Julian Marlow beat Peter Briggs and Alan Tyler but lost in four close games to Stewart Williams.

The good news for Kites though is, like Burton, they have also already played two of the top three teams all three times.

Burton Baptist B sit third from bottom and five points ahead after they did well to get three points against a strong Westfield D side.

Harry Lade got two good wins for Burton, beating Patryk Polanski and Paul Malpass, but lost 3-0 to Nitin Patel who got a treble.

Polanski usually plies his trade in the Wellingborough League where he has an impressive 81 per cent average in the top division and after losing 3-2 to Lade, he beat Nash Hooda 3-2 and Gerry Crasto 3-1.

Hooda got Burton’s third point by beating Malpass 3-0 but Malpass did the same to Crasto.

Thrapston Falcons are in a slightly more comfortable position, 10 points off the bottom in fifth place after they got a good result against Harborough B, only losing 6-4.

That looked unlikely with Ian Baldock unavailable but Trevor Beard proved to be a more than capable replacement by beating both Mike Brocklebank and Steve Crook, but Liam Burnham was too good on the day and was the only one to get a treble.

Anthony Marray also won a very hard-fought battle with Crook winning 19-17 and 11-7 in the fourth and fifth games and though unsuccessful in singles, Alan Tyler assisted Beard to a five-game win over Brocklebank and Crook in the doubles.

Results: Burton Baptist C 4 (Goodman 2, Muggleton, Agg) Harborough A 6 (N Thompson 3, B Thompson 2, Thompson/Thompson), Thrapston Kites 1 (Williams) Rothborough Arrows 9 (M Watts 3, H Watts 3, Marlow 2, Marlow/Watts), Westfield D 7 (Patel 3, Polanski 2, Malpass, Malpass/Polanski) Burton Baptist B 3 (Lade 2, Hooda), Thrapston Falcons 4 (Beard 2, Marray, Beard/Tyler) Harborough B 4 (Burnham 3, Brocklebank 2, Crook).

Team of the week: Rothborough Arrows.

Player of the week: Trevor Beard.

Leaders Corby Smash B cemented their place at the summit of Division Two with a 9-1 victory over Rothborough Buccaneers.

The Wilson brothers both only dropped an end when playing together in the doubles, but Andrzej Michalski lost ends to Lauren Ainsworth and Luke Saywood, and three to Kelvin Linnett in the only success on the night for the visitors.

In the three matches this season between these teams the Rothborough outfit have scored just two points, Lee Mordecai gaining the other, playing up.

Harborough C, in third, hosted fourth-placed Burton Baptist Team Jim and although they lost, remain a point ahead of their rivals.

Harry Lade was untroubled in singles but had to concede to Phil Dixon and Dave Coombs in the doubles, alongside Ben Freeman.

Earlier, Dixon had got a double, including against Jacob Tattersall who is higher ranked, and Coombs had beaten Freeman.

The unluckiest player was Mick Radford, playing up.

He lost in five to both Tattersall and Freeman, having been two up against the former.

These two teams are playing for bragging rights for third in the division.

Results: Corby Smash B 9 (A Wilson 3, S Wilson 3, Michalski 2) Rothborough Buccaneers 1 (Linnett), Harborough C 4 (Dixon 2, Coombs, Coombs/Dixon) Burton Baptist Team Jim 6 (H Lade 3, Tattersall 2, Freeman).

Player of the week: Phil Dixon.

Team of the week: Burton Baptist Team Jim.