Table Tennis - 14 in a row for Westfield C

Richard Elliott helped Higham Band to a 6-4 victory at Kettering Town A
Richard Elliott helped Higham Band to a 6-4 victory at Kettering Town A
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Division One leaders Westfield C recorded their 14th consecutive victory, this time 9-1 at relegation threatened Rothborough Buccaneers in the Kettering & District Table Tennis League.

Only three matches went beyond three ends with Tom Ravenscroft gaining the only win for the home side when he defeated Paul Malpass in four.

Tom Wildman and Nicole Bird both recorded straight-game trebles for the Wellingborough team, who are now 12 points clear of second-placed Corby B, who have a game in hand.

Third-placed Harborough Rangers faced a two-man Burton D side struggling with illness and injury.

Kelvin Marshall did manage to take James Allington to five ends and the promoted Jim McNeely battled enthusiastically. But the other six matches played were all decided in straight ends with Rangers running out 10-0 winners.

Top of the division’s averages, Chris Haynes last tasted defeat back in November against Arrows’ Julian Marlow.

This time it was Haynes who came out on top and he also added the doubles with Kyle Murie. Marlow did win twice but with Helen Watts falling to Ryan Cassidy in four ends, the two-player Rothborough team slipped to a 7-3 defeat.

While Liam Burnham recorded a blank when playing up in the Premier Division for Athletic against Burton A, he fared much better on the other side of the road recording a treble for Diamonds against Burton C.

Steve Crook beat Chris Agg in straight games but the lack of a third player due to illness helped the home side to a 6-4 win with Derek Muggleton and Steve Smith both recording two wins.

Paul Goodman was the star performer in the all-Thrapston clash between Falcons and Kites, recording a treble and adding the doubles with Geoff Judd.

Bob Hickson, making his first appearance since October, won twice for Kites before going down in five ends to Alan Tyler, who recorded a double for Falcons. Holidaying Kites skipper Peter Briggs will no doubt be pleased on his return to hear his side won the local derby 7-3.

Results: Rothborough Buccaneers 1 (Ravenscroft) Westfield C 9 (Wildman 3, Bird 3, Malpass 2, Wildman/Malpass), Harborough Rangers 10 (J Allington 3, V Allington 3, Brocklebank 3, J Allington/Brocklebank) Burton Baptist D 0, Corby C 7 (Haynes 3, Cassidy 2, Murie, Haynes/Murie) Rothborough Arrows 3 (Marlow 2, H Watts), Burton Baptist C 6 (Muggleton 2, Smith 2, Agg, Muggleton/Agg) Harborough Diamonds 4 (Burnham 3, Crook), Thrapston Falcons 3 (A Tyler, Payne) Thrapston Kites 7 (Goodman 3, Hickson 2, Judd, Goodman/Judd).

The closest match of the week in the Premier Division saw Higham Band record a 6-4 win over a full-strength Kettering Town A side.

Higham started the match in fine form, taking a 4-1 lead courtesy of Richard Elliott’s wins over Mike Hawes and Carl Leeson and John Alsop’s victories over Hawes and John Fuller.

Kettering’s only success in the opening stages saw Leeson defeat Andy Harrison in straight games.

Fuller began the Kettering recovery as he too saw off Harrison, before Leeson recorded a superb victory over Alsop and then Fuller returned to the table to defeat Elliott in four ends to bring the match back to 4-4.

Higham regained the lead with Harrison’s success over Hawes and the victory was confirmed when Elliott and Alsop won the doubles with a win over Fuller and Hawes.

Burton Baptist A enhanced their prospects of finishing third with a 9-1 victory over a Harborough Athletic side that has struggled to field a full-strength team in recent weeks.

Barry Thompson put Burton ahead with a straight-games win over Gerry Crasto. It was one-way traffic after that with Chris Ross and Dariusz Gulbicki untroubled and Crasto dropping just one further end against the promoted Liam Burnham.

Thrapston Eagles are still battling to avoid relegation but their plight was not helped as they could only field two players for their match against the league leaders Westfield A.

Ian Donaldson and Chris Warliker fought hard to overcome the odds with Warliker taking ends off all three Westfield players. But the closest Eagles came to avoiding the 10-0 whitewash was when Warliker fought back from 2-0 against Roumen Stefanov to level at 2-2, before losing 11-6 in the decider. Westfield now require a maximum of seven points from their two remaining matches to secure the title.

Like their Eagles club-mates, Thrapston SAS could only field two players in their match against Westfield B as they went down to a 7-3 defeat.

Mark Stockley has won the majority of his team’s points this season and he recorded another two wins with victories over Matt Rushton and Tom Wildman. Steve West picked up a single success with a win over Wildman but Brian Wooding proved too much for the Thrapston side and recorded a hat-trick.

Burton Baptist B were another side to turnout with only two players and they found themselves up against an Arthingworth side that had Andy Wood making his seasonal debut.

Wood was to remain undefeated though Jacek Koltuniuk ran him close before losing 11-7 in the decider. Chris Gibbons was also unbeaten but Gerald Henson couldn’t quite match his colleagues as Koltuniuk gained Baptist’s solitary success with an 11-9, 4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9 victory.

Results: Kettering Town A 4 (Fuller 2, Leeson 2) Higham Band 6 (Elliott 2, Alsop 2, Harrison, Elliott/Alsop), Burton Baptist A 9 (Ross 3, Gulbicki 3, Crasto 2, Ross/Gulbicki) Harborough Athletic 1 (Thompson), Thrapston Eagles 0 Westfield A 10 (Bird 3, Stefanov 3, Silk 3, Bird/Stefanov), Thrapston SAS 3 (Stockley 2, West) Westfield B 7 (Wooding 3, Rushton 2, T Wildman, Wooding/Rushton), Arthingworth 9 (Wood 3, Gibbons 3, Henson 2, Wood/Henson) Burton Baptist B 1 (Koltuniuk).

With the home teams playing their penultimate home matches of the season, third entertained fourth at Montsaye in Division Two.

It was plain sailing for the Dakotas until the last two games when Kettering B finally got some points on the board with a hard-fought full distance win for Alan Woolston against Pete Rowbotham.

Woolston then teamed up with Jim Chatburn to win the doubles in four against Sean Smith and Gareth Lewis. The Dakotas pair were otherwise unbeaten but Smith was yet again the star with the impressive achievement of straight game hat-tricks on adjoining tables in the 8-2 success

Smith was the only hat-trick man in the Phantoms’ match with Exocets, which finished closer than it looked like it might at one stage when Phantoms won the last two games but still lost 6-4.

Will Ravenscroft and Lee Mordecai fought it out for best supporting act as they both won doubles but Mordecai won their individual battle, though needed to come from two down to do so. He also teamed up with Roger Powdrill for the doubles and ensured they maintain a greater than 50 per cent victory percentage in their doubles matches this season.

Martin Bradford was involved in the most dramatic end of the night when he beat Powdrill 21-19 in the highest single-end winning score of the season so far in the second division on his way to his sole success.

There was a first full house for Harborough Imps when Baptist E could only muster two players and it takes them a place higher than Rothborough Exocets in the table, despite Exocets’ victory.

Jim McNeely, playing for the D team, could not force an end but Nick Loake got one off Jamie Burgess, directly after losing 18-20 in the second end. Burgess – now over 50 per cent wins - and Ron Palfrey got their second trebles and Mark Pearson his sixth of the season.

The division’s hardest working player, Anthony Yeomans, who has played most matches, was again offering his services to club colleagues – this time Comets. And he got a point to aid their title push.

He couldn’t better Paul Blantern or Mike Burrows but his team-mates did and David Simmons and Ivor Jones went on to secure their maximums. Beth Tyler’s first outing this year nearly paid dividends as she took both Yeomans and Jones to deuce in the fifth in another match finishing after 11pm.

There was another family outing for Thrapston Hawks but, despite the considerable efforts of big brother Alfie Wright with two fifth-end defeats, they returned with nothing from Kingswood.

Sidney and Evie also gave their best but the more experienced trio of Stewart Abraham, John Hunt and Tom Cardwell had too much. It consolidates Corby D in second but nothing is decided yet, although Comets only need 12 points from their last 4 matches to ensure promotion.

Results: Corby D 10 (Abraham 3, Cardwell 3, Hunt 3, Abraham/Hunt) Thrapston Hawks 0, Harborough Imps 10 (Burgess 3, Palfrey 3, Pearson 3, Palfrey/Pearson) Burton Baptist E 0, Rothborough Dakotas 8 (Lewis 3, Smith 3, Rowbotham 2) Kettering B 2 (Al Woolston, Chatburn/Al Woolston), Rothborough Phantoms 4 (Mordecai 2, Salander, Mordecai/Powdrill) Rothborough Exocets 6 (Smith 3, Ravenscroft 2, Bradford), Thrapston Harriers 2 (Blantern, Burrows) Rothborough Comets 8 (Jones 3, Simmons 3, Yeomans, Jones/Simmons).

Player of the week: Sean Smith.

Team of the week: Rothborough Exocets.