Premier Division Champions-elect Westfield A travelled to Burton Latimer to face defending champions Burton Baptist A and they recorded their 16th successive victory in the Kettering & District Table Tennis League with an emphatic 8-2 win.
Kevin Bird was the star man for the leaders with a tremendous straight-games hat-trick. After losing to Bird, Chris Ross produced his best form, first to dispose of Roumen Stefanov in four ends and then to become only the second player this season to lower the colours of Steve Silk (11-9, 9-11, 13-11, 11-1).
The battle at the bottom between the two Thrapston sides saw the Eagles defeat SAS 7-3.
Ian Donaldson, Valdi Papeirnik and Chris Warliker won twice but all had to play second fiddle to Mark Stockley who recorded a hat-trick. Steve West twice went close to adding to the SAS tally before falling in the fifth end to Papiernik and Donaldson respectively.
Corby Town A continued their challenge for second place with a 9-1 victory over Harborough Athletic.
With Athletic only able to field two players, Corby’s task was made somewhat easier. Lee O’Boyle and Henry Arthur were both unbeaten but Barry Thompson claimed a notable 3-1 success over former Harborough player Aiden Smith.
Athletic came close to doubling their points but lost out 11-8, 5-11, 7-11, 13-11, 12-10 to O’Boyle and Smith.
Chris Gibbons put in a captain’s performance with a hat-trick for Arthingworth as they recorded a 6-4 success over Westfield B.
Steve Hobbs provided his toughest opposition as he battled back from 2-0 down to take Gibbons to a decider before succumbing 11-9.
Hobbs had earlier seen off Gerald Henson 11-8 in the decider and completed his double with a straight-games win over Michael Edwards.
Matt Rushton also beat Henson and Edwards but the promoted Tom Wildman failed to register although he did take Henson to a deciding set. After recording a hat-trick, Gibbons returned to the table to take the match-winning doubles in tandem with Henson.
In a re-arranged fixture, Burton Baptist B overcame Harborough Athletic 6-4 with Jacek Koltuniuk unbeaten.
Results: Burton Baptist A 2 (Ross 2) Westfield A 8 (Bird 3, Silk 2, Stefanov 2, Bird/Stefanov), Thrapston Eagles 7 (Donadson 2, Papiernik 2, Warliker 2, Donaldson/Warliker) Thrapston SAS 3 (Stockley), Corby Town A 9 (O’Boyle 3, Arthur 3, Smith 2, O’Boyle/Smith) Harborough Athletic 1 (Thompson), Arthingworth 6 (Gibbons 3, Edwards, Henson, Gibbons/Henson) Westfield B 4 (Hobbs 2, Rushton 2), Burton Baptist B 6 (Koltuniuk 3, Hooda 2, Crasto) Harborough Athletic 4 (Shield 2, Thompson, Shield/Thompson).
Burton Baptist C skipper Derek Muggleton featured in three of the four matches that went beyond three ends when they entertained title-chasing Westfield C in Division One.
Muggleton got the better of Stewart Williams and Nitin Patel but couldn’t stop Tom Wildman recording another treble. Chris Agg also beat Patel to record a third point for the Baptist team but Westfield retained their unbeaten record this season with a 7-3 win.
Rangers got off to a storming start against Kites in their match bought forward from Easter Tuesday, taking the first four matches without losing an end.
While Kites did pick up ends in the next four matches, Rangers won them all to lead 8-0. Paul Goodman, who had earlier lost in the fifth end to Vaughan Allington, finally got Kites’ first point of the night when he beat James Allington 11-9 in another five-ender. Goodman then joined Peter Briggs to add the doubles.
None of the players registered for third-placed Arrows made it to Church Langton for the clash against fourth-placed Rangers.
Arrows’ only point came when promoted Buccaneer Luke Saywood beat Vaughan Allington. Fellow Buccaneer Brett Owen lost in five ends to Allington and also went down in the doubles with Saywood to Mike Brocklebank and James Allington in the decider.
Chris Haynes recorded his 25th consecutive singles win as Corby C beat Buccaneers 8-2. Kyle Murie and the promoted Keith McLaren both recorded doubles but fell to Tom Ravenscroft and Paul Watts respectively. Haynes and Murie then added the doubles in four ends.
Victories over Alan Tyler and Nigel Payne, both to whom he lost to earlier in the season, gave Baz Fatania his first double of the season. Antony Marray, however, completed his treble with a four-end victory over Fatania and, with Tyler and Payne both winning twice and Marray and Tyler adding the doubles, Falcons ran out 8-2 winners.
Top of the first division averages, Haynes produced a straight-games treble against Diamonds when called up to replace the unavailable Corby B skipper Aaron Moore. Rob Warrander also recorded a treble but needed four ends in all his matches.
Stephen Woolston found the going somewhat tougher, beating Steve Crook in five ends before falling to Liam Burnham at the same stage. Warrander and Haynes took the first two ends in the doubles before Steve Crook and John McGowan came back to take the last three ends and leave Corby B 8-2 winners.
Results: Burton Baptist C 3 (Muggleton 2, Agg) Westfield C 7 (Wildman 3, Williams 2, Patel, Wildman/Williams), Corby B 8 (Haynes 3, Warrender 3, Woolston 2) Harborough Diamonds 2 (Burnham, Crook/McGowan), Harborough Rangers 8 (V Allington 3, Brocklebank 3, J Allington 2) Thrapston Kites 2 (Goodman, Briggs/Goodman), Harborough Rangers 9 (J Allington 3, Brocklebank 3, V Allington 2, J Allington/Brocklebank) Rothborough Arrows 1 (Saywood), Thrapston Falcons 8 (Marray 3, Payne 2, A Tyler 2, Marray/A Tyler) Burton Baptist D 2 (Fatania 2), Rothborough Buccaneers 2 (Ravenscroft, P Watts) Corby C 8 (Haynes 3, Murie 2, McLaren 2, Haynes/Murie).
It was doubles all round for Rothborough Dakotas in their defeat of second-placed Corby D in Division Two, which pushed them past the 100 point mark this season.
It was an excellent start that sealed it as Dakotas won the opening four matches, although Corby won three of the five full distance ties in this close match. Andrew Dorrian was the main spoiler, preventing Pete Rowbotham and Gareth Lewis from maximums, although Keith McLaren prevented Kelvin Linnett’s treble. A rare blank night for Stewart Abraham was eased slightly with victory when paired with Dorrian for the doubles.
A real team performance from Rothborough Phantoms ensured a sixth draw in the second division against Kettering B, which represents an improvement on their 7-3 loss in the reverse fixture, which had included their now-injured best performer Ray Harrison.
Lee Mordecai’s double included a win over higher-ranked Jim Chatburn and, with Helmut Salander, he also won a tight game to beat Chatburn and Dennis Millman to secure the draw. All Phantoms’ players contributed but the player of the night was Kettering’s Millman who only dropped one end in the singles and Salander had to score 14 to win that end.
Another good team performance ensured another draw at Church Langton when Thrapston Hawks visited and it was the Wright family who took the main honours.
Alfie’s accomplished performance meant he dropped one end only for his fourth hat-trick and Sidney finished strongly in securing a deciding end victory in the last singles of the night – her first of the season – then teaming up with Alfie for another fifth-end victory in the doubles to achieve the draw.
This draw matched the earlier stalemate when the same players played for Imps, but this time Hawks had a completely different team.
Martin Bradford celebrated his first hat-trick for Rothborough Exocets, matching team-mate Sean Smith, whom he then paired up with for an unbeaten night for both of them.
Once Bradford overcame Edward West in five ends in the opening game it was plain sailing and he was the main reason Exocets improved on their earlier showing and the 9-1 win represents their best result of the season.
With the full contingent now fit and playing regularly, Thrapston Harriers have moved up to fourth with their latest victory over Burton Baptist E.
James Young was the main resistance for Baptist but he was denied the maximum when playing Mike Burrows, who recorded his own treble, to go with a pair each for Muriel Cox and Paul Blantern.
Results: Harborough Imps 5 (Burgess 2, Palfrey 2, Lauder) Thrapston Hawks 5 (A Wright 3, S Wright, A Wright/S Wright), Rothborough Dakotas 6 (Lewis 2, Linnett 2, Rowbotham 2) Corby D 4 (Dorrian 2, McLaren, Abraham/Dorrian), Rothborough Gladiators 1 (Yeomans) Rothborough Exocets 9 (Bradford 3, Smith 3, Ravenscroft 2, Bradford/Smith), Rothborough Phantoms 5 (Mordecai 2, Powdrill, Salander, Mordecai/Powdrill) Kettering B 5 (Millman 3, Chatburn 2), Thrapston Harriers 8 (Burrows 3, Blantern 2, Cox 2, Blantern/Burrows) Burton Baptist E 2 (Young 2).
Player of the week: Martin Bradford/Kevin Bird.
Team of the week: Rothborough Dakotas.