The battle to avoid relegation from the Premier Division of the Kettering & District Table Tennis League intensified this week and it was the players from Burton Baptist B who were the biggest winners.
Despite losing their match 7-3 against league leaders Westfield A, the three points they won enabled them to move off the bottom of the league, a position that they have occupied all season.
Dawid Przybysz beat Kevin Bird in five ends and Gerry Crasto pulled off a memorable fifth-end victory over Roumen Stefanov to earn Burton their two singles points before Przybysz teamed up with Jacek Koltuniuk to add an extra point by seeing off the highly successful pairing of Bird and Stefanov in the doubles.
Steve Silk, recovered from his illness, was in majestic form for Westfield and recorded a perfect hat-trick.
Corby Town B are just outside the relegation places and five points ahead of Burton, and they also picked up three points in their defeat to Westfield B.
Michael Clarke and Aaron Moore each picked up a single win and then teamed up to take the doubles but Matt Rushton’s hat-trick and doubles from Steve Hobbs and Scott Dixon condemned Corby to their 12th defeat of the season.
Burton Baptist A lost ground in the race to catch Westfield as they went down to a 6-4 defeat to a Corby Town A side who recorded their fifth win on the trot.
Lee O’Boyle picked up the man of the match award with a superb unbeaten performance, seeing off Alex Aston in straight games before defeating both Jacek Koltuniuk and Chris Ross in fifth-end deciders.
Chris Haynes won twice and Henry Arthur once for Corby with Ross (2), Aston and a Ross/Koltuniuk doubles win accounting for Burton’s points.
Andy Trott made his first appearance of the season for Higham and recorded a straight-games treble as his team overcame Arthingworth 8-2.
Mark Nannery and John Alsop both won twice but Chris Gibbons hit top form to defeat both Higham players.
Finally, Trott and Alsop paired up to defeat Gibbons and Gerald Henson and the result, coupled with Burton Baptist A’s defeat, leaves the race for the runners-up position wide open.
Kettering Town A remain fourth in the league after defeating Westfield C 7-3.
John Fuller dropped just one end on his way to another treble. Mike Hawes lost out to Nicole Bird before winning twice by defeating Dan Smalley and Tom Wildman in five ends.
Nigel Metcalfe added to the Kettering tally with a win over Wildman but went down to defeat against Bird and Smalley.
Results: Burton Baptist B 3 (Przybysz. Crasto, Przybysz/Koltuniuk) Westfield A 7 (Silk 3, K Bird 2, Stefanov), Corby Town B 3 (Clarke, Moore, Clarke/Moore) Westfield B 7 (Rushton 3, Dixon 2, Hobbs 2), Corby Town A 6 (O’Boyle 3, Haynes 2, Arthur) Burton Baptist A 4 (Ross 2, Aston, Ross/Koltuniuk), Higham 8 (Trott 3, Alsop 2, Nannery, Trott/Alsop) Arthingworth 2 (Gibbons 2), Kettering Town A 7 (Fuller 3, Hawes 2, Metcalfe, Fuller/Hawes) Westfield C 3 (N Bird 2, Smalley).
Falcons’ Antony Marray became the first player this season to record a treble against Division One league leaders Eagles.
Marray, number 61 on the Kettering League Ranking List, defeated the number 25, 43 and 46 on the list in the outstanding individual performance in Division One this season.
However, two wins each for Mark Stockley, Chris Warliker and Steve West together with the doubles ensured Eagles won 7-3 to maintain their six-point lead at the top of the table and they now need just four points from their final match of the season against bottom of the table Corby D to clinch the title.
Two wins each for Kyle Murie, Stephen Woolston and Nigel Hunt, together with the doubles for Woolston and Hunt, gave Corby C their seventh successive win.
Liam Burnham won twice for Rangers and Adam Campbell once but it was Corby who were celebrating with at least runners-up spot now guaranteed.
Julian Marlow’s treble against Burton C meant he returned to the top of the division’s averages although he was taken to 5 ends by David Simmons.
Chris Agg’s double for Burton included defeating Helen Watts. However, with Watts winning her other two matches, David Steele getting the better of Simmons in another five-ender and Marlow and Watts adding the doubles, it was Arrows who ran out 7-3 winners.
Luke Saywood’s first treble of the season included defeating Mike Brocklebank who is ranked 32 places above him.
Brocklebank won twice for Diamonds and added the doubles with Dave Coombs who got the better of Ivor Jones 11-9 in the fifth end.
However, Saywood’s treble along with two wins for Tom Ravenscroft and one from Jones gave already relegated Buccaneers a 6-4 win.
Results: Thrapston Falcons 3 (Marray 3) Thrapston Eagles 7 (Stockley 2, West 2, Warliker 2, Stockley/Warliker), Corby C 7 (Murie 2, Woolston 2, N Hunt 2, N Hunt/Woolston) Harborough Rangers 3 (Burnham 2, A Campbell), Burton Baptist C 3 (Agg 2, Muggleton) Rothborough Arrows 7 (Marlow 3, H Watts 2, Steele, Marlow/H Watts), Harborough Diamonds 4 (Brocklebank 2, Coombs, Brocklebank/Coombs) Rothborough Buccaneers 6 (Saywood 3, T Ravenscroft 2, Jones).
Late rallies made a difference in a couple of Division Two matches this week with the standout result being Corby E’s first victory of the season against Rothborough Gladiators, although they may have left it a bit late to catch them in the league.
There was a fourth brace for Dan Bottrill and a first for Matt Billington while Nathan Brown chipped in with his second victory of the season against the same team but this time beating Pete Ainsworth.
They also won their second doubles of the season and may cause surprises in the season follow on competition. Gladiators’ Sally Taylor also got her second win when beating Brown.
At 5-3 up, Comets were on for another victory but Imps won the last two games to force a very honourable draw.
John McGowan was the architect, undefeated on the night and never taken to five ends against two higher ranked players.
Jamie Burgess was involved in the only two full length matches, losing the first game of the night to Alan Brisley but winning his only game in the last singles 12-10 versus Gareth Lewis.
McGowan and Burgess then inflicted Comets fifth doubles defeat, thus securing Imps’ first draw of the season and they have now won and lost the same number of games this season.
After no draws this half of the season, there were two this week with Phantoms and Exocets repeating their earlier result and they now have three draws each.
The ladies led the way for Phantoms with a pair each for Lauren Ainsworth and Cathy Fleming, although it was Pete Rowbotham who ensured the draw.
At the top, Thrapston Harriers were fielding the same team as in the 9-1 reverse victory against Dakotas but, even though Dakotas only fielded two players, they improved the result to 7-3.
Alan Tyler got his customary treble and if he wins all three in the next game will be the most successful player in the division this season.
Keith Stockley and Mike Burrows got a pair but both lost to Tom Ravenscroft and Harriers also lost their fourth doubles to the Ravenscroft brothers.
Burton Baptist therefore extended their lead to a slim two points with a 8-2 win over Kettering B.
Jack Wright came good with his first hat-trick and joined the other maximum man Kelvin Marshall in a fifth-end doubles win.
Harriers and Burton have secured the top two places but Rothborough next week will host the overall winners with Harriers taking on third-placed Comets and Burton visiting fourth-placed Exocets.
Results: Burton Baptist D 8 (Marshall 3, Wright 3, Sanders, Marshall/Wright) Kettering Town B 2 (Chatburn, Scrivener), Harborough Imps 5 (McGowan 3, Burgess, Burgess/McGowan) Rothborough Comets 5 (Brisley 2, Linnett 2, Lewis), Rothborough Gladiators 4 (Yeomans 3, Taylor) Corby E 6 (M Billington 2, D Bottrill 2, Brown, Billington/Bottrill), Rothborough Phantoms 5 (L Ainsworth 2, Fleming 2, Rowbotham) Rothborough Exocets 5 (Harrison 3, Mordecai, Harrison/Mordecai), Thrapston Harriers 7 (A Tyler 3, Burrows 2, Stockley 2) Rothborough Dakotas 3 (T Ravenscroft 3, T Ravenscroft/W Ravenscroft).
Player of the week: John McGowan/Anthony Marray.
Team of the week: Corby E.