Westfield B suffered just their second loss of the season as they were thumped 7-3 by Higham in the Kettering & District Table Tennis League’s Premier Division.
And it could have been much worse for the hosts had Dan Smalley not kept up his incredible record of just one defeat all year.
Smalley beat both Pete Bannister and Mark Nannery in straight games but was staring down the barrel when he went 2-0 down to Richard Elliott.
But he came storming back to win 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 as he claimed a treble.
Nannery and Bannister both bagged excellent braces with wins over the luckless Bogdan Capusa and Matt Horrocks, as Higham creep closer to second place.
Kettering Town are also chasing a top-two finish and remain in contention after beating Corby Lyveden Fields 6-4.
John Fuller claimed yet another maximum and was ably assisted by Nigel Metcalfe, who lost only to Chris Haynes having led 2-1.
Haynes, Henry Arthur and Kyle Murie all beat Mike Hawes but the visitors’ hopes of snatching a draw were ended in the doubles when Arthur was forced to concede with an injury.
Westfield A look unbeatable in their quest for another title and they whitewashed bottom-markers Thrapston Eagles 10-0.
Chris Warliker, Ian Donaldson and Mark Stockley all pushed Brian Wooding past three ends but the hosts never looked like losing a game.
Steve Silk and Roumen Stefanov both picked up their customary trebles without dropping an end.
Corby Smash A beat town rivals Corby Rothbury 8-2, although their feat was made easier by the hosts not putting out a full team.
Aiden Smith got the two for Rothbury with wins over Anthony Ellis and Adam Wilson, but found Tony West a step too far.
Ellis and Wilson both beat Nigel Hunt, a great scalp for Wilson considering he normally plies his trade in Division Two.
Results: Westfield B 3 (Smalley 3) Higham 7 (Elliott 2, Bannister 2, Nannery 2, Elliott/Bannister), Kettering Town 6 (Fuller 3, Metcalfe 2, Fuller/Metcalfe) Corby Lyveden Fields 4 (Haynes 2, Arthur, Murie), Westfield A 10 (Silk 3, Stefanov 3, Wooding 3, Silk/Wooding) Thrapston Eagles 0, Corby Rothbury 2 (Smith 2) Corby Smash A 8 (West 3, Ellis 2, Wilson 2, Wilson/West).
Team of the week: Higham.
Player of the week: Mark Nannery.
In the Division One top-of-the-table derby between Harborough B and Harborough A, both teams took it in turns to win alternate sets.
Every time the match was level Harborough B won but then the A team won the next one to draw level all the way to 5-5.
The B team’s Liam Burnham was the star of the show as he was the only player to score a treble.
His toughest match was unsurprisingly against Nathan Thompson in which he just got over the line 12-10 in the fifth game.
Both father Barry Thompson and son Nathan scored a brace by beating Stephen Crook and Phil Dixon who was playing up from Division Two.
The A team’s other player was Chris Parmar-Saville who was playing in only his second match.
In his first he scored a treble against Burton C but found Harborough B much tougher opposition.
Surprisingly, it was Dixon who beat him the most easily as he couldn’t get more than seven points in any game whereas his match with Crook couldn’t have been closer with all five games being between 11-9 and 14-12 and Crook won the decider 12-10.
The Thompsons then maintained their 100 per cent record this season in the doubles.
The result means Harborough A keep hold of their seven-point lead at the top.
That draw gave third-placed Rothborough Arrows an opportunity to overtake Harborough B into second place as they took on bottom team Burton Baptist C.
A repeat of the first meeting between these teams in which Rothborough won 9-1 would have achieved this by one point and that looked on the cards at half-time when they were 5-0 up and had only lost one game.
The second half of the match, however, was far more competitive with the next four sets all requiring a deciding game and Burton won three of these.
Chris Agg started the comeback with 11-6 and 11-9 deciding-game wins over Martin Watts and Julian Marlow and then Derek Muggleton won a marathon match 17-15 in the fifth against Helen Watts.
Agg and Muggleton then added the doubles to reduce the deficit to 6-4.
In between Agg’s two wins, Helen Watts had beaten a winless Paul Goodman in another decider 11-7 to at least ensure her team won and they are still third and it was four valuable points for the bottom team who are nine points adrift.
Westfield D were fast out of the blocks against Thrapston Falcons as Paul Malpass, Chris Alder and Nitin Patel beat Ian Baldock, Trevor Beard and Nigel Payne respectively to lead 3-0.
Given this start and the respective positions of the two teams with Westfield D fourth and more significantly 22 points ahead of Falcons in sixth place, Westfield would have expected to extend their lead to maybe 7-3 or 8-2.
But Falcons had other ideas and braces from Baldock and Payne, which is his first in a difficult first half of the season for him, got the score back to 4-4.
Beard then had a dramatic 13-11 deciding win against Malpass to go in front before Baldock and Payne added the doubles to win 6-4. Patel’s win over Beard was Westfield’s only win after 3-0.
Westfield are still fourth but Falcons have gone up to fifth and, more significantly, 11 points from the bottom.
Two teams near the foot of the table battled it out and the slightly lower-placed Thrapston Kites got off to a good start against Burton Baptist B and they converted a 4-0 lead into a 7-3 win.
Trevor Beard made his second appearance of the week for Thrapston and got a treble this time and Burton’s Nash Hooda was the only one able to win a single game against him.
Peter Briggs got a brace against Gerry Crasto and Harry Lade and Geoff Judd got a brace against Crasto and Hooda.
Lade and Hooda restricted the margin of loss by winning the doubles.
Burton B are now one point ahead of Kites in sixth and seventh places.
Results: Westfield D 4 (Patel 2, Alder, Malpass) Thrapston Falcons 6 (Baldock 2, Payne 2, Beard, Baldock/Payne), Burton Baptist C 4 (Agg 2, Muggleton, Agg/Muggleton) Rothborough Arrows 6 (H Watts 3, Marlow 2, M Watts), Harborough B 5 (Burnham 3, Crook, Dixon) Harborough A 5 (B Thompson 2, N Thompson 2, Thompson/Thompson), Thrapston Kites 7 (Beard 3, Briggs 2, Judd 2) Burton Baptist B 3 (Lade, Hooda, Lade/Hooda).
Team of the week: Thrapston Falcons.
Player of the week: Liam Burnham.
Leaders Corby Smash B maintained their position in Division Two with a repeat of their earlier scoreline over Harborough C, although only Andrzej Michalski played of the original three.
He repeated his double, this time beating Vaughan Allington but missed out 16-14 in the final end against Dave Coombs.
Whereas Adam Wilson got a hat-trick last time it was Sam Wilson’s turn to get his customary maximum but, having lost the first end 19-17 to Jamie Burgess, he needed the full five to eventually overcome him.
Tyler Hillery played up and got an impressive double – his first two wins at this level, and they secured the doubles also for the 8-2 victory.
Corby Lakeview kept up the pressure, with an improved 9-1 scoreline over Rothborough Comets.
Adam Bendyk repeated his treble but was more troubled than previously. Stephen Woolston matched him this time, only dropping a single end.
Ivor Jones obtained Comets’ single victory, in the process inflicting Steve Fuller’s first defeat of the season.
Jones was unlucky to lose to Bendyk in five, as was Alan Brisley to lose the long way to Fuller.
In fact, Brisley was particularly unfortunate in losing his other two in four ends, 12-10 against Woolston and 15-13 to Bendyk.
Comets maintain their position over club rivals Buccaneers who have played a match less.
Corby Halesowen lost to Burton Baptist Team Jim but improved to a 7-3 reverse this time.
Neil Stone’s first appearance this season was a significant factor as he won two, losing only to Jacob Tattersall and Keith McLaren beat Bryan Lade.
Tattersall got consecutive trebles and is now at a 58 per cent win rate while Team Jim go above Harborough C into third.
Results: Corby Halesowen 3 (Stone 2, McLaren) Burton Baptist Team Jim 7 (Tattersall 3, Freeman 2, B Lade), Corby Lakeview 9 (Bendyk 3, Woolston 3, Fuller 2, Bendyk/Woolston) Rothborough Comets 1 (Jones), Harborough C 2 (Coombs, Allington) Corby Smash B 8 (S Wilson 3, T Hillery 2, Michalski 2, P Hillery/Michalski).
Player of the week: Tyler Hillery.
Team of the week: Corby Halesowen.