Week four in the Premier Division of the Kettering & District Table League saw two of the major title protagonists square off as reigning champions Westfield A travelled to Burton Baptist A.
Steve Silk was missing from the Westfield team so Dan Appanna made his debut.
Alex Aston got Baptist off to the perfect start defeating Roumen Stefanov in four ends.
Then, after Kevin Bird saw off Dariusz Gulbicki 13-11 in the decider, Appanna edged out Chris Ross 11-9 at the same stage.
Stefanov defeated Gulbicki by the long route as Westfield went 3-1 ahead.
Aston continued his fine start to the season by beating Abbanna in straight games before Bird took out Ross to put Westfield 4-2 ahead.
Gulbicki closed this deficit when he beat Abbanna, only for Stefanov to fight back from 2-0 down against Ross to win in five ends.
Bird completed his treble but was hard pushed by Aston before taking the honours in yet another five end finish to put Westfield 6-3 up.
After such a close match it was no surprise that the doubles rubber went to five ends which the Burton pair of Ross/Gulbicki were to win against Bird and Stefanov.
Kettering Town A and Higham were also involved in a long contest.
Richard Elliott took the man of the match honours with a hat-trick. This included fifth-end wins over John Fuller and Mike Hawes.
John Alsop and Mick Allsopp came into the Higham side and both won twice but found Fuller’s defensive game too consistent.
Nigel Metcalfe almost added to Fuller’s two wins for Kettering but lost out to Alsop in a five-set thriller. Elliott completed his night by recording a doubles success in tandem with Alsopp as Higham ran out 8-2 victors.
The match between Arthingworth and Corby Town A was switched to the Westfield venue and this seemed to work against the ‘home’ team as Corby ran out 8-2 winners.
Lee O’Boyle recorded Corby’s first hat-trick of the season, losing just one end in the process.
Chris Haynes sealed wins in four ends over Michael Edwards and Gerald Henson before losing to Chris Gibbons at the same stage.
Henry Arthur saw off Edwards and Henson in five ends but provided Gibbons with his second win of the night.
Haynes and Arthur then completed Corby’s victory with success in the doubles over Edwards and Gibbons.
Harborough Athletic secured their second victory of the season courtesy of a 6-4 success over Corby Town B.
However, it was Corby’s Mickey Clarke who took the individual honours with a hat-trick for the loss of just a single end.
James Allington and Barry Thompson both won twice before teaming up to take the match clinching doubles.
Westfield B were 9-1 winners over struggling Burton Baptist B with Brian Wooding and Matthew Rushton unbeaten in singles and doubles and Steve Hobbs recording a brace.
Jacek Koltuniuk put up the most resistance as he beat Hobbs in straight games before losing to both Rushton and Wooding in the fifth end.
Results: Burton Baptist A 4 (Aston 2, Gulbicki, Ross/Gulbicki) Westfield A 6 (Bird 3, Stefanov 2, Appanna), Kettering Town A 2 (Fuller 2) Higham 8 (Elliott 3, Alsop 2, Allsopp 2, Elliott/Allsopp), Arthingworth 2 (Gibbons 2), Corby Town A 8 (O’Boyle 3, Haynes 2, Arthur 2, Haynes/Arthur), Harborough Athletic 6 (B Thompson 2, J Allington 2, N Thompson, Allington/B Thompson) Corby Town B 4 (Clarke 3, Moore), Westfield B (Wooding 3, Rushton 3, Hobbs 2, Wooding/Rushton) Burton Baptist B 1 (Koltuniuk).
Julian Marlow completed a comfortable treble and added the doubles with Paul Watts, however Arrows still fell to their first defeat of the Division One season due to only having two players available against Rangers.
Despite also only fielding two players, Falcons fared better with Nigel Payne recording a straight game treble against Corby D.
Alan Tyler got the better of Tom Cardwell and John Hunt before going down in four ends to Eric Schwarzer. Payne and Tyler added the doubles to leave the two-man Falcons 6-4 winners.
The experienced Diamonds side edged out the more youthful Corby C in another close encounter with Mike Brocklebank hitting a treble and Dave Coombs a double. They then combined to add the doubles to give the Harborough side a 6-4 win.
Paul Goodman recorded a straight-games treble against Buccaneers but six of the other seven matches went beyond three ends.
The Rothborough team took both the matches to go the full distance with Brett Owen and Ivor Jones getting the better of Peter Briggs and Geoff Judd respectively. Owen also beat Judd but Kites took all the other matches to record a 7-3 win.
Leaders Eagles maintained their unbeaten start to the season with an 8-2 win over Burton C however the score could have been much closer with only one of the singles being decided in straight ends. Derek Muggleton and David Simmons recorded Burton’s points, both beating Steve West in the fifth end.
Results: Harborough Rangers 6 (V Allington 2, Burnham 2, Crook 2) Rothborough Arrows 4 (Marlow 3, Marlow/P Watts), Corby D 4 (Schwarzer 2, Cardwell, J Hunt) Thrapston Falcons 6 (Payne 3, A Tyler 2, Payne/A Tyler), Corby C 4 (Murie 2, Cassidy, Woolston) Harborough Diamonds 6 (Brocklebank 3, Coombs 2, Brocklebank/Coombs), Thrapston Kites 7 (Goodman 3, Briggs 2, Judd, Briggs/Goodman) Rothborough Buccaneers 3 (Owen 2, Jones), Thrapston Eagles 8 (Warliker 3, Baldock 3, West, Baldock/Warliker) Burton Baptist C 2 (Simmons, Muggleton).
At Montsaye the four Division Two matches played were equally shared between home and away teams.
Phantoms beat Harborough Imps 7-3 with a treble for Will Ravenscroft, playing in the absence of Cathy Fleming. His victory over Jamie Burgess was the longest of the match and was between the two best players on the night, as Burgess won all of his other games including an excellent doubles win with David Patmore over Lauren Ainsworth and Ravenscroft.
Exocets’ win was more comprehensive over Kettering Town B as they dropped only three ends all night.
Pete Scrivener was closest to a victory with an end and 12-14 loss in the fourth to Phil Tomlin, but Tomlin, Ray Harrison and Lee Mordecai were imperious and they go above Dakotas in the table.
Gladiators also failed to trouble the scorers when Harriers came to play, in the shortest match of the night. Thrapston’s top team were untroubled and Paul Blantern and Alan Tyler have still only dropped one game in nine this season, Tyler only dropping four ends, and Blantern five.
It was nip and tuck at Montsaye when Dakotas hosted Burton Baptist D and with the match tied at 3-3 it was unclear who would go on to win.
Burton then accelerated away with the rest of the games, although none of these games were over in three ends.
Kelvin Marshall beat Tom Ravenscroft in the battle of the unbeaten players but only gained the win after Ravenscroft had recovered from 7-1 down in the fourth end and Marshall won the match with a shot that was clearly going out, hit the widest part of the net and deflected on to the table!
Comets played the next night at Kingswood and cemented their position at the summit with a comfortable win over Corby E.
Dan Bottrill recorded Corby’s only two ends, against Gareth Lewis and Alan Brisley, but otherwise it was plain sailing for Comets. Lewis and Pete Sturges remain the only players in the division to be unbeaten after three or more games with Lewis dropping seven ends and Sturges dropping only five ends.
Results: Corby E 0 Rothborough Comets 10 (Brisley 3, Lewis 3, Sturges 3, Brisley/Lewis), Rothborough Dakotas 3 (T Ravenscroft 2, Smith) Burton Baptist D 7 (Marshall 3, Smith 2, Sanders, Marshall/Smith), Rothborough Exocets 10 (Harrison 3, Mordecai 3, Tomlin 3, Harrison/Mordecai) Kettering B 0, Rothborough Gladiators 0 Thrapston Harriers 10 (Blantern 3, Burrows 3, A Tyler 3, Blantern/Burrows), Rothborough Phantoms 7 (W Ravenscroft 3, L AInsworth 2, Rowbotham 2) Harborough Imps 3 (Burgess 2, Burgess/Patmore).
Player of the week: Richard Elliott.
Team of the week: Thrapston Falcons.