No change at the top after two clean sweeps

John Fuller returned for Kettering Town A and recorded a straight-games hat-trick
John Fuller returned for Kettering Town A and recorded a straight-games hat-trick

The status quo remained unchanged at the top of the Premier Division of the Kettering & District Table Tennis League as leaders Westfield A and second-placed Higham both recorded clean sweeps in their latest fixtures.

Harborough Athletic were Higham’s opponents but they were swept aside by the trio of Mark Nannery, Richard Bashford and Richard Elliott who dropped just three ends between them with Elliott taking his treble by the short route.

The Corby Town B and Westfield A clash was brought forward by 24 hours due to the Kingswood venue being used as a polling station for the local council election.

Unfortunately for Corby, they could only muster two players and Aaron Moore and Rob Warrander found the team of Kevin Bird, Roumen Stefanov and Steve Silk too hot to handle as Westfield went through the card without losing an end.

Kettering Town A cannot be ruled out of the title race and they recorded and impressive 9-1 win over struggling Arthingworth.

John Fuller returned to the Kettering team and duly recorded a straight games hat-trick. Nigel Metcalfe has been an excellent addition to the Kettering squad this season and he was also unbeaten.

With the match score 8-0, Chris Gibbons gained Arthingworth’s solitary point when he defeated Mike Hawes in straight games.

In a close mid-table clash, Westfield B overcame Corby Town A 6-4 with Brian Wooding’s treble plus a doubles win in tandem with Nicole Bird proving decisive.

Corby had Marian Divorsky making his league debut and he performed admirably. First up he defeated Bird 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 12-14, 15-13 and then took out Steve Hobbs in straight games, before Wooding prevented him from marking his debut with a hat-trick in another five-set match.

With Westfield leading 5-4, Wooding and Bird secured the win as they handed the Corby pair of Chris Haynes and Henry Arthur their first doubles defeat of the season after four straight wins.

Burton Baptist C remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the table following their 9-1 loss to Westfield C. However, the match was much closer than the final score suggests.

The first five rubbers all went to a deciding end but the young Westfield players came out on top in all of these to take a 5-0 lead, with Nicole Bird coming back from 2-0 behind to win in five ends against both Gerry Crasto and Jacek Koltuniuk. Crasto stopped the rot for Burton as he defeated Tom Wildman 3-1. Bird then completed her treble with a more comfortable win over Asif Manji.

Crasto and Dan Smalley were then involved in the sixth match of the night that would go to the deciding end, but yet again it was the Westfield player that would ultimately be successful as Crasto again let a 2-0 lead slip to lose 3-2.

Results: Higham 10 (Nannery 3, Bashford 3, Elliott 3, Elliott/Bashford) Harborough Athletic 0, Corby Town B 0 Westfield A 10 (Stefanov 3, Silk 3, K Bird 3, Stefanov/Bird), Kettering Town A 9 (Fuller 3, Metcalfe 3, Hawes 2, Metcalfe/Fuller) Arthingworth 1 (Gibbons), Westfield B 6 (Wooding 3, N Bird 2, Wooding/Bird) Corby Town A 4 (Divorsky 2, Haynes, Arthur), Burton Baptist B 1 (Crasto) Westfield C 9 (Smalley 3, N Bird 3, Wildman 2, Smalley/Wildman).

Only one match in Divsion One – between Eagles and Diamonds – went the full distance with Chris Warliker eventually getting past Mike Brocklebank 19-17, 11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 13-11.

Warliker went on to complete his treble while Brocklebank beat Ian Donaldson and Steve West, who both recorded doubles for the Thrapston side.

Eagles then tasted a doubles defeat for the first time this season as Brocklebank and Dave Coombs got the better of Warliker and Donaldson in four ends.

In the all-Rothborough clash Michael Cross got relegation-threatened Buccaneers off to a great start defeating Arrows Paul Watts in five ends.

Buccaneers’ only other success came when Ivor Jones also got the better of Paul Watts in five ends, although Jones did lead Helen Watts 2-0 before falling in five.

Helen Watts and Julian Marlow both completed trebles for Arrows before combining to add the doubles to leave promotion-chasing Arrows 8-2 winners.

Harborough Rangers maintained third place in the table with an 8-2 win over Corby D.

Keith McLaren proved the main problem for Rangers with victories over Liam Burnham and Vaughan Allington. Rangers skipper Steve Crook did, however, get the better of McLaren coming back from 2-1 behind to win in five. The undefeated Crook then combined with Burnham to add the doubles.

Falcons’ Nigel Payne dropped just one end on the way to his treble against club colleagues Kites and then added the doubles with Antony Marray in straight ends. However, two wins apiece for Peter Briggs and Paul Goodman and one from Geoff Judd left the match all-square.

Only three of the 10 rubbers between Burton C and Corby C were decided in straight ends with all three of Nigel Hunt’s singles matches going the full five ends.

After defeating Darryl Sutcliffe 11-7 in the fifth end, Hunt came back from two ends down to beat Derek Muggleton before getting past Dave Simmons 15-13 in the decider.

With Kyle Murie winning twice, Corby went into the doubles 5-4 ahead but Hunt and Murie were unable to secure the win as they fell in four ends to Muggleton and Sutcliffe.

Results: Harborough Diamonds 3 (Brocklebank 2, Brocklebank/Coombs) Thrapston Arrows 7 (Warliker 3, Donaldson 2, West 2), Corby D 2 (McLaren 2) Harborough Rangers 8 (Crook 3, Allington 2, Burnham 2, Burnham/Crook), Rothborough Arrows 8 (Marlow 3, H Watts 3, P Watts, Marlow/H Watts) Rothborough Buccaneers 2 (Cross, Jones), Burton Baptist C 5 (Muggleton 2, Simmons, Sutcliffe, Muggleton/Sutcliffe) Corby C 5 (N Hunt 3, Murie 2), Thrapston Falcons 5 (Payne 3, Marray, Payne/Marray) Thrapston Kites 5 (Briggs 2, Goodman 2, Judd).

Thrapston Harriers extended their lead at the summit of Division Two with a 9-1 defeat of Corby E.

Keith Stockley got his first maximum in his second outing and Alan Tyler got his fifth in six starts and was never troubled throughout the evening, conceding no more than seven points in any of his singles games.

Daniel Bottrill was Corby’s solo success in defeating Mike Burrows, and he pushed Stockley to the limit in the first game of the evening also.

Rothborough Comets and Burton D are still inseparable on 55 points each after similar results this week.

Comets visited Westfield and came away with a 7-3 victory over Kettering Town B, with another Gareth Lewis hat-trick, ably supported by Pete Sturges with a brace and Pete Rowbotham who was playing up. Jim Chatburn’s defeat of Sturges , 14 places higher in the ranking list, was the notable result on the night.

Burton hosted Rothborough Phantoms and matched Comets’ score. Steve Smith equalled Lewis’ achievement in taking all four of his games in straight ends but Kelvin Marshall had to work harder for his treble, dropping ends to Lauren Ainsworth and Rowbotham, in the only two games that went beyond three ends. The results also mean that Town B and Phantoms are also locked together on 30 points.

Harborough Imps ran Dakotas close at Church Langton, Dakotas only winning by virtue of claiming the last two rubbers.

Jamie Burgess versus Tom Ravenscroft was the game of the night with the momentum swinging from one to the other. The deciding moment was Burgess’ 21-19 success in the fourth end, giving him the platform to close out the final end 11-5. This is the highest one-end score of the season so far in the second division. Sean Smith remained composed throughout as he secured his third treble in four starts.

Anthony Yeomans scored his second double of the season to remain Rothborough Gladiators’ only scorer so far.

Exocets’ Ray Harrison dropped only two ends for his four successes at Montsaye and has got maximums in half of his matches this year.

Lee Mordecai and Helmut Salander both missed trebles in fifth-end defeats to Yeomans and Mordecai maintains his 67 per cent record for the year.

Results: Burton Baptist D 7 (Marshall 3, Smith 3, Marshall/Smith) Rothborough Phantoms 3 (L Ainsworth, Fleming, Rowbotham), Harborough Imps 4 (Burgess 2, McGowan, Palfrey) Rothborough Dakotas 6 (Smith 3, T Ravenscroft 2, T Ravenscroft/Smith), Kettering Town B 3 (Chatburn 2, An Woolston) Rothborough Comets 7 (Lewis 3, Sturges 2, Rowbotham, Lewis/Sturges), Rothborough Gladiators 2 (Yeomans 2) Rothborough Exocets 8 (Harrison 3, Mordecai 2, Salander 2, Harrison/Mordecai), Thrapston Harriers 9 (Stockley 3, A Tyler 3, Burrows 2, Stockley/A Tyler) Corby E 1 (D Bottrill).

Player of the week: Nigel Hunt/Tom Wildman.

Team of the week: Kettering Town A.