The Kettering & District Table Tennis League season has reached its conclusion and, after eight months of effort from all the players, it was Westfield A who were finally crowned as the Premier Division champions.
The Westfield team of Kevin Bird, Steve Silk and Roumen Stefanov finished the season with a 100 per cent record having played 20 matches and winning all of them, dropping just 28 points in the process.
Credit must also be given to Sam Wildman, Charlotte Binley and Nicole Bird for the important cameo roles they performed in their rare appearances through the course of the season. Higham Band pushed Westfield hard but had to settle for the runners-up spot.
Westfield’s dominance of the division is highlighted in the list of individual averages, with Steve Silk being crowned as the top player having lost only two matches all season to finish with a 96.1 per cent average.
Kevin Bird finished second having lost four matches to finish with an average of 92.6 per cent. Burton Baptist A’s Chris Ross was third, John Fuller (Kettering Town A) finished in fourth with Richard Elliott (Higham Band) completing the top five.
The champions also won 19 out of 20 doubles matches with Bird and Stefanov being their preferred pairing. This duo played together on 13 occasions, suffering just one to defeat to the Higham Band pairing of Elliott and John Alsop.
At the other end of the table, the two Thrapston sides, SAS and Eagles, made an immediate return to the first division as the gulf between the top two sections was again highlighted.
The battle for the Division One title wasn’t decided until the final match of the season when Corby Town B secured the necessary points to finish ahead of Westfield C.
It was just as tight below the top two with Rothborough Arrows eventually taking third place just one point ahead of Harborough Rangers, with Corby C a further three points back in fifth.
Thrapston Kites, Burton Baptist C, Harborough Diamonds and Thrapston Falcons filled the places in the middle of the table while Rothborough Buccaneers and Burton Baptist D were relegated.
The battle to top the averages also went down to the last match of the season with long-time leader Corby B’s Aaron Moore having to settle for second place (91.11 per cent) when he lost his final match of the season leaving Chris Haynes of Corby C, to top the list (92.98 per cent).
Westfield C juniors Nicole Bird (90.91 per cent) finished third and Tom Wildman (82.22 per cent) fifth with Rothborough Arrows Julian Marlow (84.44 per cent) in fourth place.
Marlow and Helen Watts recorded the most doubles wins (11 in 13 matches) followed by Moore and Stephen Woolston (nine wins in 10 matches) while out of the pairs who were unbeaten during the season, the Derek Muggleton/Steve Smith and Chris Haynes/Kyle Murie pairings recorded the highest numbers of wins (five).
The dominant season for Rothborough Comets in Division Two can be summed up by statistics, which this time do tell the correct story.
All four of their regular players are in the list of the season’s top players, with David Simmons and Ivor Jones numbers one and two respectively. Simmons was the only player to win over 90 per cent of his matches, and the only player not to lose a game in straight ends. He also played in 19 out of the 20 doubles successes, with Pete Sturges featuring in 13 of these matches.
Comets led the division from week eight and in total they were top of the league for all but five weeks. Comets’ only defeat of the season came in the penultimate week when they lost to Harborough Imps.
Corby D finished a comfortable second in the end and again every player contributed with all of achieving a win percentage of 66.7 or better. Keith McLaren finished fourth in the overall individual percentages, with Stuart Abraham ninth.
Outside the stranglehold of the top teams, Mark Pearson’s record was impressive, at third place in the individual percentages with an average of 84.6. Ray Harrison’s return to action was also remarkable and Phantoms’ position would surely have been better if it had not been for his enforced lay-off due to injury.
Special mention should go to Pete Rowbotham who was the only player to feature in every match for his team and to Anthony Yeomans who played for all five Rothborough teams and was the hardest working player in the league, playing 21 matches, in the process winning more than half of Gladiators points.
In the annual closed tournament, Steve Silk won the Men’s singles title with a win over Kevin Bird. The paring of Mick Allsopp and Richard Elliott proved successful as they carried all before them to seal the Men’s doubles and over-40s doubles titles. Bird suffered more final agony as he lost to John Fuller in the over-40s singles event, with Fuller also taking the over-50s title with a win over Silk.
Aiden Smith took two titles as he completed the under-30 and under-18 double. Nicole Bird had the most successful day, winning five separate events including the mixed doubles with her father.
Dariusz Gulbicki was the winner of a highly competitive over-30/under-40 singles event, Sam Wildman added his name to the select few players that have won the Hardbat event and James Allington took the under-16 honours.
Rothborough Arrows were crowned Borough Trophy winners after beating Corby Town C 6-3 in the final. Kettering Town A won the Millman trophy with a close 22-18 win over Thrapston Hawks and Rothborough Exocets were the Shirley Everard Points Cup winners after seeing off Kettering Town B.