Westfield A’s undefeated streak of more than three years was brought to an abrupt halt as they went down 6-4 at home to Corby Smash in the Premier Division of the Kettering & District Table Tennis League.
Colin Wilson claimed a treble for the visitors but was taken the distance by Nicole Bird, who bagged a brace with a fine win over Tony West.
West scored fantastic victories over Kevin Bird and Roumen Stefanov, who has lost his way after a magnificent start to the season.
With the Corby side leading 5-4 going into the pivotal doubles, Wilson and West came from 2-1 down to win 12-10 in the fifth end and inflict a shock defeat on the hosts.
Higham strengthened their grip on second spot after a resounding 10-0 win over a weakened Burton Baptist A team.
Missing star men Dawid Przybysz and Chris Ross, the away side were always going to struggle but the match was far closer than the scoreline suggests.
Martin Hall twice missed out in five ends, first 13-11 to Peter Bannister, and then 11-6 to Richard Elliott having led 2-0.
Bannister had to work hard for his treble, coming from 2-0 down to beat Jacek Koltuniuk, with Richard Bashford’s maximum far more straightforward.
Kettering Town A turned a 1-0 deficit into a 9-1 win with a fine performance against Corby B.
Henry Arthur gave the hosts the lead with a win over Nigel Metcalfe despite losing an end 11-0, but that was as good as it got for the hosts.
John Fuller and Shandor Czuczor were never really troubled for their wins, with Fuller securing all of his singles matches for the loss of no ends.
Westfield B were also 9-1 winners with their defeat of Burton Baptist B.
Jacek Koltuniuk scored the hosts only victory with a five-end win over youngster Richie Bailey, with Dan Smalley and Matt Rushton remaining undefeated.
Nash Hooda and Gerry Crasto took ends for the hosts but failed to register any wins.
Results: Westfield A 4 (N Bird 2, K Bird, Stefanov) Corby Smash 6 (C Wilson 3, West 2, Wilson/West), Higham 10 (Elliott 3, Bashford 3, Bannister 3, Bannister/Bashford) Burton Baptist A 0, Corby B 1 (Arthur) Kettering Town A 9 (Fuller 3, Czuczor 3, Metcalfe 2, Fuller/Metcalfe), Burton Baptist B 1 (Koltuniuk) Westfield B 9 (Smalley 3, Rushton 3, Bailey 2, Smalley/Bailey).
Team of the week: Corby Smash.
Player of the week: Colin Wilson.
With one round of fixtures to go before the Christmas break, Westfield C have a five-point lead at the top of Division One.
This is largely due to Steve Hobbs who leads the averages on 92.6 per cent and he was unbeaten yet again against Burton Baptist D as his side won 8-2.
Things were not going well for the leaders early on with the Burton Latimer team going 2-1 up after Steve Smith beat Paul Malpass 3-1 and Chris Agg won an 11-9 decider over Chris Alder.
But the Wellingborough side fought back, winning all of the remaining sets.
Hobbs is due to have an operation which is going to put him out of action for some time and this may give the chasing pack a chance.
Second-placed Thrapston Eagles boosted their chances with an impressive 9-1 victory over Burton Baptist C.
Although David Simmons took Chris Warliker to a deciding game which Warliker narrowly won 11-9, Eagles then raced into a 7-0 lead before Kelvin Marshall converted a 2-0 advantage into a 3-1 victory over Warliker, who is currently 30 places above him in the rankings.
Mark Stockley and Steve West both achieved trebles, the former without losing a game and West for the loss of two.
Third-placed Harborough B equalled Eagles’ score with a 9-1 victory of their own against third-from-bottom Buccaneers to remain just two points below Eagles and seven behind Westfield C.
Without Buccaneers’ leading player Sean Smith in the ranks any points gained would be unexpected and against the rankings but Luke Saywood upset the form guide when he beat Steve Crook.
Liam Burnham had a very easy treble, not losing a game, while Mike Brocklebank had to work harder for his after being taken to five games by Gareth Lewis.
This result leaves Buccaneers just one point above Harborough D but they will hope for a convincing victory in the final match before Christmas against bottom side Rothborough Comets.
Fourth-placed Thrapston Falcons are not really challenging the top three but are the best of the rest so far.
Corby C would have been the happier team of the two sides with the score at 3-3 after an in-form Stephen Woolston had beaten Ian Baldock 3-2 and Antony Marray by a surprising 3-0 scoreline.
Keith McLaren had an unexpected 3-2 win over Nigel Payne but Payne later prevented Woolston achieving his treble with a 3-0 success.
All three Falcons players achieved a brace followed by a five-game doubles win for a 7-3 victory.
After finishing fourth last season, Thrapston Kites made a bad start to this campaign but have slowly recovered and have moved up to the top half of the table for the first time after an 8-2 win over Harborough D.
The underdogs kept it close early on, with Phil Dixon and Vaughan Allington both beating Geoff Judd to make it 3-2 to Kites.
But Judd won his third set against Dave Coombs and Peter Briggs and Stewart Williams held firm for a treble despite being tested.
The scorecard between eighth-placed Harborough C and bottom side Rothborough Comets looks highly unusual as the home team won every singles set by the score of 3-1 in games which must be some kind of record.
Had they played only the first game of each set, the match score would have been a close 6-4 to Harborough but over the longer distance the favourites came out on top every time for a 10-0 win.
Sam and Jamie Burgess and Mark Pearson all achieved trebles, the sixth so far for Sam and the first for the other two. Only in the doubles did the Burgess brothers win 3-0.
Results: Westfield C 8 (Hobbs 3, Malpass 2, Alder 2, Malpass/Alder) Burton Baptist D 2 (Smith, Agg), Burton Baptist C 1 (Marshall) Thrapston Eagles 9 (Stockley 3, West 3, Warliker 2, Stockley/West), Rothborough Buccaneers 1 (Saywood) Harborough B 9 (Burnham 3, Brocklebank 3, Crook 2, Burnham/Crook), Thrapston Falcons 7 (Baldock 2, Marray 2, Payne 2, Baldock/Marray) Corby C 3 (Woolston 2, McLaren), Harborough D 2 (Allington, Dixon) Thrapston Kites 8 (Briggs 3, Williams 3, Judd, Briggs/Williams), Harborough C 10 (S.Burgess 3, J.Burgess 3, Pearson 3, S.Burgess/J.Burgess) Rothborough Comets 0.
Team of the week: Harborough C.
Player of the week: Kelvin Marshall.
Burton Baptist E dedicated their win in Division Two to their much loved team-mate Jim McNeely who passed away on Monday, December 7.
He was a significant contributor to Burton Baptist Table Tennis Club and captained the E team last year, passing on the role this year in acknowledging, much as he enjoyed playing, he wasn’t as successful as he would like to have been for the team.
In memory of Jim the team wish to henceforth be referred to as Burton Baptist Team Jim.
It was the youngest players who took on the honour of representing Jim and beat Rothborough Exocets 6-4.
Harry Lade’s hat-trick eased them to the victory, although that was nearly spoiled by Lee Mordecai, Lade needing the fifth end to prevent Mordecai’s own maximum.
He was ably supported by Jacob Tattersall’s double and Ben Freeman, who added the sixth to ensure victory before they lost their first doubles of the season. Kettering Town B’s game against Harborough E was almost a déjà vu situation as the result from the earlier match was the same – 7-3 to Town B – when Harborough fielded the same team and Town only replaced Alan Woolston with Barry Davis.
Again, Jim Chatburn’s only victory was in five ends against Ben Baker and again Ann Woolston beat Baker and Ron Palfrey.
Palfrey repeated his double, Baker his single and John McGowan his maximum, although only taking 10 ends this time instead of 13 in the last match.
There were two significant differences though - Ben Baker used three bats during the match, his first gradually deteriorating as the night went on, contributing to his loss to Chatburn when he was two ends up.
As it disintegrated completely, he borrowed McGowan’s halfway through the game against Barry Davis which he won in four tight ends, before then borrowing Palfrey’s for the doubles, he and McGowan won 25-23 in the fifth end.
Before the cup week, when Rothborough Dakotas took on their Exocets club-mates, it was a tussle between Cathy Fleming and Mordecai to see who won the individual honours.
Mordecai started the evening with an impressive defeat of David Steele from two down and finished by pairing up with Sally Taylor in beating Fleming and Tony Yeomans, again in five.
The only other game to go the distance was when Fleming met Mordecai, the latter won the closest end 18-16, but it was to no avail as Fleming’s victory ensured that she went home with a treble and Mordecai a hard-fought brace and the doubles.
Steele and Yeomans added two apiece to contribute to the 7-3 result to stay second ahead of Corby D.
Results: Kettering Town B 3 (An Woolston2, Chatburn) Harborough E 7 (McGowan 3, Palfrey 2, Baker, Baker/McGowan), Rothborough Dakotas 7 (Fleming 3, Steele 2, Yeomans 2) Rothborough Exocets 3 (Mordecai 2, Mordecai/Taylor), Rothborough Exocets 4 (Mordecai 2, Marshall, Marshall/Mordecai) Burton Baptist Team Jim 10 (H Lade 3, Tattersall 2, Freeman).
Player of the week: John McGowan.
Team of the week: Burton Baptist Team Jim.