The big game at the top of Division One in the Wellingborough & District Table Tennis League went the way of Westfield A as they edged out Chesterwell A 6-4.
Westfield resisted the temptation to play a stronger than normal side but Kevin Bird cruised to a treble while sterling support was provided by Patryk Polanski, who shook off a heavy defeat to Stan Galkowski to edge out Valdi Papiernik 12-10 in the fifth and see off Mike Pond.
Possibly the shock result of the season was in game nine when Travis Holly beat Papiernik 5-11, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 14-12 and, in the process, ensured that Papiernik drew his first blank for a considerable period of time.
WDHA Royals’ habit of fielding sides of variable ability tends to distort the league table and this was a case in point, as struggling Wanderers B gained a 7-3 victory.
Nitin Patel sealed a reasonably comfortable treble but Abin Islam and Shyam Bavalia failed to register.
Islam and Bavalia both took Bob Hickson to five but were well beaten in their other games against Paul Goodman and Richard Adams.
Despite sustaining their ninth consecutive defeat, Westfield B gave an improved display against a weakened Chesterwell B side, who picked up a 6-4 success.
New signing Mike Ainsworth opened with a heavy defeat of Maxine Shears and was unlucky in his other two, winning the first two legs in both instances but going down to Graham Ellson and Luke Hughes.
Ellson won his other two matches for a competent treble but Hughes, looking nothing like the improved player of the last two seasons, gave Peter Sheldrick his first-ever top division win and also lost heavily to Stephen Woolston.
Needing a doubles win, Chesterwell’s Ellson and Hughes scrambled home in five 4-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 over Sheldrick and Woolston.
Results: Westfield B 4 (Stephen Woolston 2, Peter Sheldrick, Mike Ainsworth), Chesterwell B 6 (Graham Ellson 3, Luke Hughes, Maxine Shears, doubles Ellson/Hughes), Wanderers B 7 (Paul Goodman 2, Richard Adams 2, Bob Hickson 2, doubles Goodman/Adams) WDHA Royals 3 (Nitin Patel 3), Chesterwell A 4 (Stan Galkowski 2, Mike Pond, doubles Papiernik/Pond) Westfield A 6 (Kevin Bird 3, Travis Holly, Patryk Polanski 2).
Two-man St John B battled back from 5-0 down to claim a 5-5 draw with Old Grammarians A in Division Two.
Two victories each for Paul Lipczak and Alan Hill plus a doubles win saw St John claw it back to share the points.
Phil Laurence and Roger Fleming, both with a single win each, also contested the doubles.
Hat-tricks for both Mick Malins and Martyn Reeves and a double for Neil Stevens enabled Higham Harriers B to seal an 8-2 victory over Old Grammarians B and move up to third in the table.
Martin Rice had a hand in both of the home team’s points with a singles win while also taking the doubles with David Bayes 16-14 in the fourth end over Reeves and Stevens.
Maxine Shears started the second half of the season with a hat-trick and Clare Coles had a brace as Chesterwell C edged out Westfield C 6-4.
This pair also joined forces to add the doubles against Lawrence Howlett and Charlie Morrow, the latter winning twice for the visitors.
Pete Martin and Keith Stockley produced trebles for Higham Band A, who proved too strong for Westfield D in a 7-3 victory as the visitors completed the double over their rivals by the same scoreline as the reverse fixture.
Mark Holly and Tim Mason took the doubles 11-3 in the fourth end against Martin and Nigel Magee.
Results: St John B 5 (Alan Hill 2, Paul Lipczak 2, doubles Lipczak/Hill) Old Grammarians A 5 (Phil Laurence, Roger Fleming + 3 points by default), Old Grammarians B 2 (Martin Rice, doubles Rice/Bayes) Higham Harriers B 8 (Neil Stevens 2, Martyn Reeves 3, Mick Malins 3), Chesterwell C 6 (Maxine Shears 3, Clare Coles 2, doubles Shears/Coles) Westfield C 4 (Lawrence Howlett, Charlie Morrow 2, Charlie Clements), Westfield D 3 (Mark Holly, Tim Mason, doubles Holly/Mason) Higham Band A 7 (Pete Martin 3, Nigel Magee, Keith Stockley 3).
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Division Three leaders Higham Harriers C as WDHA Challengers gave them a good run of their money in the 7-3 verdict.
Craig Hartwell was the only unbeaten player for Harriers, winning out against Manav Pandya and Kyle Ghanie.
David Cowl and Phill Inman gained two points apiece after losing to Ghanie and Pandya respectively.
Daniel Bain was unlucky not to pick up any points, but had a hand in the doubles with Ghanie.
Wanderers E moved back into second place after David May, Derek Shears and Brian Pearce take all available points in the 10-0 whitewash of WDHA Knightriders.
Rishan Ganatra played well, taking an end from each player and teamed up with Bipasha Ganatra in the doubles, losing out 9-11, 4-11, 10-12.
Westfield E moved up three places to third with an outstanding 8-2 success at Higham Harriers D.
Linda Freeman and Amrat Mistry scored hat-tricks with Stuart Holroyd picking up two points, losing to Harriers D’s only scorer Matt Hicks.
Surprisingly, Matt and Katie Hicks won the doubles against a Mistry and Freeman combination 13-11, 11-9, 11-4.
Higham Band B also moved up the table with a 9-1 victory over Chesterwell E thanks to perfect hat-tricks from Deirdre Kiziak and Devlin Whitmore.
Raylee Burton won a brace, losing out 13-11, 9-11, 9-11, 10-12 to Chesterwell’s Stuart Rae, who played well on the night.
Results: Higham Harriers D 2 (Matt Hicks, doubles M Hicks/K Hicks) Westfield E 8 (Stuart Holroyd 2, Amrat Mistry 3, Linda Freeman 3), Higham Harriers C 7 (Phill Inman 2, David Cowl 2, Craig Hartwell) WDHA Challengers 3 (Manav Pandya, Kyle Ghanie, doubles Ghanie/Bain), Chesterwell D 4 (Duncan Wright, Daniel Mann 3) Westfield E 6 (Stuart Holroyd, Linda Freeman 2, Amrat Mistry 2, doubles Holroyd/Mistry), Higham Band B 9 (Deirdre Kiziak 3, Devlin Whitmore 3, Raylee Burton 2, doubles Kiziak/Whitmore) Chesterwell E 1 (Stuart Rae), Wanderers E 10 (David May 3, Derek Shears 3, Brian Pearce 3, doubles Shears/Pearce).