Almost perfect as the leaders march on in style

Alex Aston
Alex Aston

Westfield A and Burton Baptist A, the joint leaders in the Premier Division of the Kettering and District Table Tennis League, both recorded 9-1 victories to cement their position at the head of the table.

The Wellingborough side are still without their injured captain Kevin Bird so Stefan Dabev stepped in to make his Kettering League debut in their clash with Harborough Athletic. Steve Silk maintained his unbeaten record for the season, though he did drop an end to all three Harborough players. Romen Stefanov’s treble came for the loss of just one end but Dabev found things slightly tougher. After beating Kevin Shield in five ends and Nathan Thompson in four, he found Barry Thompson a step too far and went down in four ends. Stefanov and Dabev then teamed up to edge out the Thompsons 11-9 in the fifth end of the doubles.

Burton Baptist A’s 9-1 success came against Westfield B. Chris Ross continued his unbeaten run to match Steve Silk. Alex Aston put in a typically hard working performance to record his treble. After trailing Brian Wooding 2-0 he fought back to take the match to a decider which he would claim 12-10. His straight games win over Steve Hobbs included a 16-14 scoreline, before he finally completed his treble with a five end win over Matt Rushton, but only after letting a 2-0 lead if his own slip by. Dariusz Gulbicki added a double but found Wooding to consistent for him on the night.

Corby Town A and Westfield C played out an entertaining and very competitive 5-5 draw in a match that had to be completed on two tables. Westfield’s Dan Smalley took the individual honours with an unbeaten display which included deciding end wins over Henry Arthur (11-7) and Chris Haynes (11-9), before completing his treble with a fantastic display to beat Lee O’Boyle in straight games. Nicole Bird’s double also saw her defeat Arthur 11-9 in the decider after losing to O’Boyle in four very close ends. With O’Boyle picking up two wins and Haynes and Arthur a win apiece, it was left to the Arthur/Haynes doubles partnership to secure the draw for Corby which they managed by defeating Bird/Smalley 11-9 in the decider.

Arthingworth travelled to Kingswood to take on a Corby Town B side that were without the skipper Aaron Moore. Chris Gibbons recorded his first hat-trick of the season but was hard pushed by Michael Clarke before winning 11-9 in the decider. Clarke was involved in all three Corby successes; defeating both Andy Wood and Gerald Henson before teaming up with Rob Warrander to take the doubles. The promoted Kyle Murie came close to adding a further point but lost out at deuce in the decider to Henson.

Higham recorded the first 10-0 whitewash of the season in the Premier Division with Burton Baptist B their unfortunate victims. Only Mark Nannery’s fifth end win over Nash Hooda was ever in doubt with the rest of the matches won in straight games.

Results: Westfield A 9 (Silk 3, Stefanov 3, Dabev 2, Stefanov/Dabev) Harborough Athletic 1 (B Thompson), Westfield B 1 (Wooding) Burton Baptist A 9 (Aston 3, Ross 3, Gulbicki 2, Ross/Gulbicki), Corby Town A 5 (O’Boyle 2, Arthur, Haynes, Arthur/Haynes) Westfield C 5 (Smalley 3, N Bird 2), Corby Town B 3 (Clarke 2, Warrander/Clarke) Arthingworth 7 (Gibbons 3, Wood 2, Henson 2), Burton Baptist B 0 Higham 10 (Elliott, Nannery, Harrison, Elliott/Harrison).

In Division One, Diamonds’ Mike Brocklebank didn’t drop an end on the way to his treble against Corby D. However despite taking three of the other six singles matches to a deciding end neither Mark Pearson or the promoted Dave Patmore could get the better of the Corby trio of Keith McLaren, Stewart Abraham and John Hunt. Brocklebank returned with Pearson to add a fourth point for the Harborough side when they did finally win a fifth end (15-13) in the doubles.

Nigel Hunt’s treble against Arrows included fifth end wins against both David Steele and Helen Watts on a night where all six players recorded at least one win. With Corby C leading 5-4 Hunt returned for the doubles with Ryan Cassidy but Steele and Helen Watts gained revenge, winning in five ends, to leave the match all square.

Trebles from Liam Burnham and Steve Crook helped Rangers to a 9-1 win over Buccaneers. Ivor Jones providing the Rothborough team with their only point when he got the better of Dave Coombs in four ends.

Burton C and Falcons played out a marathon contest with six of the ten matches going the full distance. The result was in doubt until the ninth match when Chris Agg took the fifth end 12-10 against the previously unbeaten Nigel Payne to put Burton 6-3 ahead. Payne however gained some revenge when he and Alan Tyler beat Agg and Derek Muggleton 12-10 in the fifth end of the doubles.

Mark Stockley completed a comfortable treble in the local derby between Eagles and Kites. However five of the other seven matches went the full distance with Peter Briggs recording two wins for Kites and Paul Goodman one. Briggs and Goodman returned to play the doubles but Stockley partnered by Chris Warliker took it in five ends to secure the bragging rights with a 7-3 win.

Results: Harborough Diamonds 4 (Brocklebank 3, Brocklebank/Pearson) Corby D 6 (McLaren 2, Abraham 2, J Hunt 2), Rothborough Arrows 5 (H Watts 2, Steele, P Watts, H Watts/Steele) Corby C 5 (N Hunt 3, Murie, Cassidy), Rothborough Buccaneers 1 (Jones) Harborough Rangers 9 (Burnham 3, Crook 3, Coombs 2, Burnham/Crook), Burton Baptist C 6 (Muggleton 2, Simmonds 2, Agg 2) Thrapston Falcons 4 (Payne 2, A Tyler, Payne/A Tyler), Thrapston Eagles 7 (Stockley 3, Warliker 2, Baldock, Stockley/Warliker Thrapston Kites 3 (Briggs 2, Goodman).

In Division Two, Harborough Imps gained their first win this season, and how! David Patmore returned from University to join Jamie Burgess and they gained a treble apiece, ably supported by Ron Palfrey’s brace to overcome Gladiators, for whom Anthony Yeomans gained the consolation. There was nothing to choose between Patmore and Burgess as they both needed 10 ends to win their singles and then teamed up for their team’s first doubles success of the season.

Despite Kettering B drawing with Phantoms, none of the rubbers went the full distance. Both Alan and Ann Woolston obtained doubles for the home team but couldn’t team up for a doubles victory. Ann was only beaten by Pete Rowbotham and Alan lost only to Cathy Fleming, both of whom got braces for the Rothborough outfit. Lauren Ainsworth chipped in for an all ladies doubles win in a match where half the players were women, and women won half the games.

A match between two of last week’s top three saw Burton Baptist D triumph, but lose their top spot. It was nip and tuck all the way and 4-4 after eight games. Then Burton’s top-ranked player Steve Smith just edged out Thrapston Harriers top man Alan Tyler in five close ends to tip the balance towards Burton. Smith then teamed up with Kelvin Marshall to complete the victory. Debutant Keith Stockley had an excellent start to his season with wins over Smith and Jon Sanders.

Comets secured an 8-2 victory over Exocets, but the match was much closer than the final score suggests with six if the rubbers going the full distance. All of these were won by Comets as they sit at the pinnacle of the table but they were pushed all the way by their club colleagues. Lee Mordecai and Helmut Salander were particularly unfortunate to lose in two five enders each. Gareth Lewis was the only maximum man and is the only player to remain unbeaten in all three matches so far. Special mention goes to Alan Brisley who got a pair on his return after breaking his arm.

Dakotas leapfrogged clubmates Exocets in the fledgling table after a comprehensive win over Corby E. Martin Bradford gained his first hat- trick since February and teamed up with Tom Ravenscroft in the doubles and Will Ravenscroft to ensure Corby left empty-handed this time.

Results: Burton Baptist D 6 (Marshall 2, Smith 2, Sanders, Marshall/Smith) Thrapston Harriers 4 (Stockley 2, A Tyler 2), Harborough Imps 9 (Burgess 3, Patmore 3, Palfrey 2, Burgess/Patmore) Rothborough Gladiators 1 (Yeomans), Kettering Town B 5 (Al Woolston 2, An Woolston 2, Scrivener) Rothborough Phantoms 5 (Fleming 2, Rowbotham 2, L Ainsworth/Fleming), Rothborough Comets 8 (Lewis 3, Brisley 2, Linnett 2, Lewis/Linnett) Rothborough Exocets 2 (Mordecai, Tomlin), Rothborough Dakotas 10 (Bradford 3, T Ravenscroft 3, W Ravenscroft 3, Bradford/T Ravenscroft) Corby E 0.

Player of the week: Alex Aston/Dan Smalley.

Team of the week: Harborough Imps.