Thrapston Harriers, with no wins all season and way adrift at the foot of Division One in the Kettering & District Table Tennis League, nearly created the shock result in the quarter-finals of the Borough Trophy.
However, they eventually lost out 5-4 to Westfield D with a player short.
Making full use of his +13 handicap, skipper Mike Burrows was undefeated and did not drop an end. Keith Stockley scored their fourth point when defeating Bhavika Mistry 21-9, 21-18 but lost his other two matches to Chris Alder and Paul Malpass.
Helen Watts was the only unbeaten player in Rothborough Arrows’ 6-3 loss to Harborough Rangers.
Team-mates Julian Marlow and Ivor Jones could not add to her tally although five of their six losses all went the distance. Liam Burnham’s 21-17, 21-16 victory over Jones was the only match not needing a deciding end.
In a similar match, Steven Woolston’s maximum by the long route scored all of Corby C’s points in the 6-3 defeat to Kettering Town B.
Jim Chatburn, Barry Davis and Pete Scrivener all scored doubles for Kettering.
Corby D secured the remaining semi-final spot with a 7-2 victory over Thrapston Falcons.
Ken Murie and Dan Bottrill both got maximums with Nathan Brown beating Alan Tyler for the other point. Steve West and Nigel Payne replied for Falcons with wins over Brown.
Results: Westfield D 5 (Malpass (+5) 2, Alder (+6) 2, Mistry (+5)) Thrapston Harriers 4 (Burrows (+13) 3, Stockley (+12)), Harborough Rangers 6 (Brocklebank (+5) 2, Burnham (+5) 2, Crook (+7) 2) Rothborough Arrows 3 (H Watts (+3) 3), Kettering Town B 6 (Chatburn (+12) 2, Davis (+14) 2, Scrivener (+13) 2) Corby C 3 (Woolston (+1) 3), Thrapston Falcons 2 (West (-2), Payne (SCR)) Corby D 7 (Murie (+10) 3, Bottrill (+8) 3, Brown (+12)).
The closest match in the second round of the Shirley Everard Points Cup was between Thrapston club-mates Eagles and Falcons.
After the completion of the nine singles, Eagles had chipped away at Falcons’ 80 points starting advantage and reduced the lead to 11.
The final outcome was decided in a thrilling doubles between Chris Warliker and Steve West for Eagles and Falcons duo Ian Baldock and Nigel Payne.
Warliker and West took the first end 21-11 and the match score was now 385-384 in favour of Falcons and Eagles were now favourites.
Baldock and Payne had other ideas though and produced an unexpected 21-17 win in the final end to run out 406-401 winners.
Another inter-club match between Rothborough Exocets and Comets also produced a close battle, again only being decided in the doubles.
Exocets started with a +200 handicap and after completion of the singles Comets had reduced that deficit to 23.
Again the underdogs prevailed and Anthony Yeomans and Helmut Salander scored 24 points against Martin Watts and Alan Brisley’s 42 to secure a five-point win.
Westfield D started their clash as underdogs having already lost twice to Rothborough Arrows in league matches but they reversed their form and ran out 366-355 winners.
Nitin Patel was their match-winner, only dropping one end 21-19 to Helen Watts to pick up a total of 24 points in his three games.
The doubles again proved decisive as Paul Malpass and Scott Dixon beat Watts and Julian Marlow 21-10, 21-8 to overturn a 13-point deficit after the singles into an 11-point victory.
Corby C suffered a second disappointment when losing 448-404 to club colleagues Corby D after being beaten two nights earlier by Kettering Town B in the Borough Trophy.
Dan Bottrill and Tom Cardwell did not concede as many points as their league rankings would suggest and held out for a fairly comfortable 44-point victory.
Burton Baptist D and Thrapston Kites fought out a close battle with the scoring 377 points and Baptist D 359.
All nine singles games were shared with only the doubles producing a clear advantage with Geoff Judd and Pete Briggs winning 21-16, 21-7 but this was not enough to overhaul their 60-point starting deficit.
In the other two matches, Rothborough Dakotas and Harborough Athletic performed way above their league rankings and opponents Harborough Rangers and Kettering Town A were never able to make any inroads on their starting deficits, losing by 109 and 139 points respectively.
Results: Burton Baptist D (+60) 419 (Muggleton 118/106, Smith 106/119, Owen 112/110, Muggleton/Owen 23/42) Thrapston Kites 377 (Briggs 122/107, Judd 110/114, Hickson 103/115 Briggs/Judd 42/23), Rothborough Exocets (+200) 430 (P Ainsworth 45/126, Yeomans 92/131, Salander 69/126, Yeomans/Salander 24/42) Rothborough Comets 425 (M Watts 126/51, Brisley 127/71, Sturgess 130/84, Watts/Brisley 42/24), Rothborough Arrows 355 (Jones 85/124, H Watts 120/103, Marlow 132/97 Watts/Marlow 18/42) Westfield D 366 (Malpass 91/107, Dixon 99/122, Patel 134/108, Malpass/Dixon 42/18), Kettering Town A 342 (Hawes 106/110, Harradine 110/119, Fuller 126/74) Harborough Athletic (+180) 483 (Shield 102/97, N Thompson 109/119, J Allington 92/126), Westfield C w/o Burton Baptist E, Rothborough Dakotas (+100) 451 (Rowbotham 99/106, Smith 106/88, L Ainsworth 108/105, Smith/Ainsworth 38/43) Harborough Rangers 342 (Crook 126/88, Brocklebank 124/99, Baker 49/126 Crook/Brocklebank 43/38), Thrapston Eagles 401 (Donaldson 105/99, West 130/102, Warliker 128/93, West/Warliker 38/32) Thrapston Falcons (+80) 406 (Baldock 108/117, Payne 96/116, Tyler 90/130 Baldock/Payne 32/38), Corby C 404 (Warrander 122/98, McLaren 115/101, Woolston 125/80, Warrander/Woolston 42/29) Corby D (+140) 448 (Bottrill 109/121, Cardwell 120/115, Brown 50/126 Cardwell/Bottrill 29/42).