Top-four hopes are alive as Dan inspires Westfield

Corby A's Nigel Hunt claimed his first-ever Premier Division hat-trick

Corby A's Nigel Hunt claimed his first-ever Premier Division hat-trick

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Westfield B kept up their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier Division of the Kettering & District Table Tennis League with a 7-3 win over Burton Baptist A.

Dan Smalley was the Wellingborough side’s key man as he picked up a treble, although he had to come from 2-1 down to beat Dariusz Gulbicki.

He was ably assisted by a brace from youngster Richie Bailey and single win for Matt Rushton over Gerry Grasto.

Alex Aston picked up a brace to go with Gulbicki’s win over Rushton for the visitors’ three points.

Kettering Town A kept alive their hopes of the title with an 8-2 win over two-man Harborough A.

John Fuller and Nigel Metcalfe were both untroubled but Barry Thompson and Nathan Thompson reduced the deficit with wins over Mike Hawes.

Higham came from 3-2 down to win 7-3 at Corby B in a late finish at Kingswood.

Richard Bashford was unbeaten for Higham with Henry Arthur picking up a fine win over Richard Elliott.

It could be said that Elliott was lucky to win two after he scraped home against Aaron Moore 15-13 in the decider, with Guy Sparrow coming from 2-0 down to beat Andy Harrison.

Kyle Murie and Nigel Hunt both hit their first-ever Premier Division trebles as Corby A thrashed Rothborough Arrows 10-0.

Hunt was made to work hard for his maximum, scraping past Martin Watts 11-9 in the decider and then Helen Watts 11-6 at the same stage having trailed 2-1.

Chris Haynes hit his customary treble to help his side sail home.

Results: Westfield B 7 (Smalley 3, Bailey 2, Rushton, Smalley/Rushton) Burton Baptist A 3 (Aston 2, Gulbicki), Kettering Town A 8 (Fuller 3, Metcalfe 3, Hawes, Metcalfe/Hawes) Harborough A 2 (B Thompson, N Thompson), Corby B 3 (Arthur, Moore, Sparrow) Higham 7 (Bashford 3, Elliott 2, Harrison, Bashford/Elliott), Corby A 10 (Haynes 3, Murie 3, Hunt 3, Haynes/Murie) Rothborough Arrows 0.

Team of the week: Corby A.

Player of the week: Nigel Hunt.

Thrapston Eagles extended their lead at the top of Division One to five points after a comprehensive 9-1 victory over Burton Baptist D.

Both Mark Stockley and Ian Donaldson got trebles although Stockley found it less easy than usual, being extended to five games by both Chris Agg and Derek Muggleton who also took Donaldson to five.

Agg avoided the whitewash with a surprisingly one-sided 3-1 victory over Chris Warliker.

The match between second-placed Westfield C and second from bottom Harborough D saw both teams strengthened by the inclusion of the leading two players in the averages, with Steve Hobbs returning from injury for Westfield C and occasional player Rhys Emery making his fifth appearance this season for Harborough D.

The result between the two was a surprisingly one-sided victory for Hobbs and he completed his treble for the loss of just one game thus maintaining top spot in the averages.

Emery’s brace in beating Paul Malpass and Chris Alder moved him down to fourth.

Malpass and Alder both got braces with the final score being 8-2 to Westfield C.

Harborough B remain in contention in third place and are just eight points below the leaders after a 7-3 victory over fifth-placed Thrapston Kites.

For Harborough B Steve Crook is often the only player opponents can score points against but this time the opposite happened with Crook getting the only treble.

He did this the hard way, beating both Peter Briggs and Stewart Williams 11-9 in the fifth game and this was after Williams had done the same to both Mike Brocklebank and Liam Burnham 13-11 and 11-9, with Thrapston scoring their third point when Briggs beat Brocklebank.

Fourth-placed Thrapston Falcons had a 7-3 victory over Burton Baptist C but this was despite Harry Lade’s most successful match so far in his short career.

Lade showed resilience and came back from 5-0 down to beat Antony Marray 12-10 in the fifth game and Nigel Payne 3-1 and was unlucky not to get his first-ever treble in Division One with Ian Baldock twice getting an edge at 10-9 up to win both the first and second games and eventually winning in five games.

Bottom side Rothborough Comets fought hard against Corby C with the latter’s Dan Bottrill being extended to five games by both Kelvin Linnett and new signing Lee Rowbotham but they had to wait until the doubles for their first win of the match.

Rothborough Buccaneers seem to be steering themselves towards safety after a good result of 5-5 against Harborough C.

Luke Saywood hit his first treble of the season and Sean Smith added a brace for Buccaneers.

But Smith could not get the better of Sam Burgess who also got a brace before teaming up with his brother to win the doubles and get the draw.

Results: Thrapston Eagles 9 (Donaldson 3, Stockley 3, Warliker 2, Stockley/Donaldson) Burton Baptist D 1 (Agg), Harborough C 2 (Emery 2) Westfield C 8 (Hobbs 3, Malpass 2, Alder 2, Hobbs/Malpass), Thrapston Kites 3 (Williams 2, Briggs) Harborough B 7 (Crook 3, Burnham 2, Brocklebank,Burnham/Crook), Burton Baptist C 3 (Lade 2, Marshall) Thrapston Falcons 7 (Baldock 3, Payne 2, Marray, Baldock/Marray), Rothborough Comets 1 (Brisley/Rowbotham) Corby C 9 (Warrender 3, Woolston 3, Bottrill 3), Harborough C 5 (S. Burgess 2, J.Burgess, Pearson, S.Burgess/J.Burgess) Rothborough Buccaneers 5 (Saywood 3, Smith 2).

Team of the week: Rothborough Buccaneers.

Player of the week: Harry Lade.

Burton Baptist Team Jim had another good win in Division Two to keep the pressure on at the top, repeating their 9-1 victory over Kettering Town B when both teams fielded exactly the same players.

This time though Jim Chatburn beat Jacob Tattersall for Kettering’s point but Tattersall got revenge for Ann Woolston’s previous victory.

Harry Lade dropped only one end but Ben Freeman had to work harder for his second treble – his previous one was against the same opposition - and was match point down against Woolston.

Team Jim had to fight hard for their usual doubles when Lade and Freeman came from two ends down to beat Chatburn and Woolston.

However, Rothborough Dakotas stay top but on equal points by virtue of more wins after recruiting Lee Rowbotham for his first game for a number of years and he rewarded their faith by getting a nine-end hat-trick against club-mates Exocets.

The ninth game against namesake Mordecai was to decide the maximum man and Rowbotham sneaked through 14-12.

In the first game, Mordecai came from two down to overcome Tony Yeomans, and two games later dad Pete Rowbotham did the same to Dave Marshall.

Pete Rowbotham got a pair and teamed up with Tony Yeomans for the doubles and the 7-3 victory.

Earlier, Marshall got a good win over Yeomans for Exocets’ third point.

The teams with the most draws this season were at it again when third faced fourth.

There was never more than a point in it as another seasonal debutant gained a hat-trick when Corby D’s Stewart Abraham overcame all opposition, including inflicting John McGowan’s fifth defeat.

But even pairing up with two-win John Hunt they couldn’t dislodge the rock that is the Ben Baker/McGowan partnership for Harborough E.

The aggregate scores over the season between these two teams is 16-14 to Harborough.

As Old move past Kettering Town B into fifth, there are five games left for them to make up the 15-point difference to Harborough in fourth, having made up nine points in the last two weeks.

This week’s victory was at the expense of Westfield D with Beth Tyler and Mike Burrows maintaining their good form with successive trebles. They take on leaders Dakotas next week to add to their challenge.

For Westfield, Sidney Wright and Evie Elliott scored victories over Richard Drybal.

Results: Burton Baptist Team Jim 9 (Freeman 3, H Lade 3, Tattersall 2, Freeman/H Lade) Kettering Town B 1 (Chatburn), Harborough E 5 (McGowan 2, Baker, Palfrey, Baker/McGowan) Corby D 5 (Abraham 3, Hunt 2), Kettering Town B 1 (Chatburn) Burton Baptist Team Jim 9 (Freeman 3, H Lade 3, Tattersall 2, Freeman/ H Lade), Old Village 8 (Burrows 3, Tyler 3, Dyball, Burrows/Tyler) Westfield D 2 (Elliott, Wright)

Player of the week: Lee Rowbotham.

Team of the week: Harborough E.

The league is sad to inform of the death of Hugh Morgan, who played in the league many years ago.

He moved back to Wales before his passing, having previously been league secretary for a number of years.