The opening game of the night between Darryl Sutcliffe and Steve West was the only one to require five ends when Thrapston Eagles visited Burton Baptist C in Division One of the Kettering & District Table Tennis League.
West finally clinched the opening point of the night when he took the deciding end 13-11. While West later fell to both David Simmons and Chris Agg, these were Burtons only successes as both Mark Stockley and Chris Warliker recorded comfortable trebles before combining to add the doubles to give the Thrapston side an 8-2 victory.
Only one of the singles matches required five ends when Falcons entertained Corby D.
Antony Marray eventually got past Keith McLaren 11-8 in the decider on his way to a fine treble. McLaren did, however, get the better of both Nigel Payne and Alan Tyler to record Corby’s only singles wins.
He narrowly failed to add a third point when he and John Hunt went down in the fifth end of the doubles to Marray and Tyler.
Late replacement Tom Ravenscroft played the opening three matches against Kites but could not open Buccaneers’ account.
The Rothborough side looked like going 4-0 down when Ivor Jones lost the first two ends to Pete Briggs but the league secretary came back to take the next three ends to record an excellent win.
In his next match, Jones again trailed by two ends before again winning the last three , this time against Geoff Judd. Jones also lost the first two ends to Paul Goodman but this time didn’t come back as Goodman completed his treble. Goodman and Briggs added the doubles to give Kites a 7-3 win.
Arrows’ Julian Marlow won his first two singles of the night to extend his unbeaten run to 23 games but then tasted defeat for the first time this season when he fell in four ends to Rangers’ Liam Burnham.
Helen Watts, however, recorded a comfortable treble including a straight-games win over Burnham and added the doubles with Marlow to give Arrows a 6-4 win.
Diamonds’ Mike Brocklebank got the better of both Kyle Murie and Stephen Woolston when Corby C visited Church Langton.
But Brocklebank could not complete his treble, falling in four ends to Nigel Hunt. Hunt’s treble and two wins each for Murie and Woolston together with the doubles gave Corby C an 8-2 win to keep them among the promotion mix.
Results: Harborough Diamonds 2 (Brocklebank 2) Corby C 8 (N Hunt 3, Murie 2, Woolston 2, Hunt/Woolston), Burton Baptist C 2 (Simmons, Agg) Thrapston Eagles 8 (Warliker 3, Stockley 3, West, Warliker/Stockley), Thrapston Falcons 8 (Marray 3, Payne 2, Tyler 2, Marray/Tyler) Corby D 2 (McLaren 2), Rothborough Buccaneers 3 (Jones 2, Saywood) Thrapston Kites 7 (Goodman 3, Briggs 2, Judd, Goodman/Briggs), Rothborough Arrows 6 (H Watts 3, Marlow 2, H Watts/Marlow) Harborough Rangers 4 (Burnham 2, Allington, Crook).
In the Premier Division, relegation threatened Corby Town B produced a performance that made a mockery of their lowly position as they held Westfield C to a 5-5 draw.
After Rob Warrander had provided Corby with a perfect start with a 3-1 win over Tom Wildman, Mickey Clarke found his best form to see off Nicole Bird in five ends and put his team 2-0 ahead.
Kyle Murie, playing up from Division One, then produced the biggest shock of the night as he saw off the highly-rated Dan Smalley 3-1 to give Corby a 3-0 lead.
Wildman found his best form to upset Clarke in five ends before Smalley further reduced the deficit by seeing off Warrander in straight games.
Murie came close to producing another shock when he led Bird 2-1 but the county’s number one female player fought back to win in the decider as Westfield drew level at 3-3.
Clarke returned to the table to defeat Smalley in straight ends only for Wildman to edge out Murie late in the decider to level the match again. There was still time for one more shock result with Warrander’s flat hitting proving too good for Bird as the Corby player won after another five-end battle.
Finally, Smalley and Wildman saw off Clarke and Warrander in five ends to earn the draw in a match that produced no fewer than six five-end matches and had five results that went against form. Additionally, every player won at least once and no-one remained unbeaten.
On an adjacent table, the players of Corby Town A were also in good form as they edged out Kettering Town A 6-4, reversing an earlier 7-3 defeat.
Kettering’s John Fuller took the individual honours, dropping just a single end on the way to his maximum. However, two wins apiece from Chris Haynes and Henry Arthur, a single success for Lee O’Boyle and another doubles win for the proficient Haynes/Arthur doubles partnership gave Corby the victory.
Brian Wooding recorded his sixth hat-trick of the season and Steve Hobbs scored his first as Westfield B completed an 8-2 victory over Harborough Athletic.
Barry Thompson recorded Harborough’s solitary singles victory when he defeated Matt Rushton but Nathan Thompson can consider himself unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet, twice losing out in five-set matches. The Thompsons then combined to add the extra point with a straight games doubles win.
At the top of the table, Westfield A recorded their 12th straight win with a 9-1 defeat of Arthingworth. Kevin Bird and Steve Silk both recorded steady hat-tricks but Roumen Stefanov lost out to Chris Gibbons.
Results: Corby Town B 5 (Warrander 2, Clarke 2, Murie) Westfield C 5 (Wildman 2, N Bird, Smalley, Smalley/Wildman), Corby Town A 6 (Arthur 2, Haynes 2, O’Boyle, Haynes/Arthur) Kettering Town A 4 (Fuller 3, Metcalfe), Westfield B 8 (Wooding 3, Hobbs 3, Rushton 2) Harborough Athletic 2 (B Thompson, B Thompson/N Thompson), Westfield A 9 (Silk 3, K Bird 3, Stefanov 2, Bird/Stefanov) Arthingworth 1 (Gibbons)
Although only mustering two players on occasions, the Corby E team are fighting hard in Division Two, led by Dan Bottrill who was unlucky not to win a point against Dakotas.
He was ahead against both Sean Smith and Will Ravenscroft before the more experienced pair saw it home in five ends.
In the process Will Ravenscroft attained his third maximum, Smith and Tom Ravenscroft their sixth, and maintain identical records to each other.
The following week further demonstrated the progress being made by Corby with a 7-3 defeat at third-placed Comets.
Bottrill was a couple of points away from a maximum as he took Alan Brisley to the limit in the first game and then beat Kelvin Linnett and Pete Sturges in five ends.
And to prove it’s more than a one man team, Bottrill teamed up with Matt Billington to inflict only Comets’ third doubles defeat of the season and Corby’s first doubles win.
They are now only eight points behind Gladiators and will surely have them in their sights to avoid the wooden spoon, especially as Gladiators take on league leaders Burton next week.
Late resistance in the last singles game by Jim Chatburn provided the only score for Kettering Town B when they entertained Exocets.
More than half the games went beyond the basic three ends, with several deuces, but the Rothborough team just had enough to make the difference including converting both of the five-enders – it was Pete Scrivener who lost out to Helmut Salander and Chatburn who suffered at the hands of Lee Mordecai.
Ray Harrison’s treble was his seventh and Mordecai’s was his third of the season, repeating their success from earlier in the campaign.
It was the same story and result at Church Langton as Imps beat Phantoms.
There were lots of deuce ends and close finishes but ended up in a 9-1 victory for the Imps, which not only dramatically overturns their earlier 7-3 loss but also puts a significant space between the two teams who were level in the table.
John McGowan’s maximum included deuce defeats of Tony Yeomans and Lauren Ainsworth, Jamie Burgess’ maximum needed deciding game deuces to beat the same players but Ainsworth got revenge by beating Ron Palfrey on a deuce game.
Burton’s progress continued after their recent hiccup with an improved 8-2 conquering of Rothborough Dakotas.
They were 6-0 up and comfortable when Dakotas’ Tom Ravenscroft turned up after already playing for Buccaneers against Thrapston Kites.
He proceeded to beat Kelvin Marshall by winning the last five points from 10-7 down in the fifth and Jon Sanders but Steve Smith was too clever for him and prevented the hat-trick, in the process gaining his seventh treble of the season.
This result meant that Thrapston Harriers’ 10-0 clean sweep over Gladiators takes them just a point behind Burton.
It was nearly a perfect result except for Anthony Yeomans’ win in the first end against Paul Blantern. The Thrapston three on the treble trail were Blantern, Mike Burrows and Alan Tyler, all of whom have won two-thirds of their games at least.
Results: Burton Baptist D 8 (Smith 3, Marshall 2, Sanders 2, Marshall/Smith) Rothborough Dakotas 2 (T Ravenscroft 2), Corby E 0 Rothborough Dakotas 10 (T Ravenscroft 3, W Ravenscroft 3, Smith 3, W Ravenscroft/Smith), Harborough Imps 9 (Burgess 3, McGowan 3, Palfrey 2, Burgess/McGowan) Rothborough Phantoms 1 (L Ainsworth), Kettering Town B 1 (Chatburn) Rothborough Exocets 9 (Harrison 3, Mordecai 3, Salander 2, Harrison/Mordecai), Rothborough Comets 7 (Brisley 3, Linnett 2, Sturges 2) Corby E3 (D Bottrill 2, M Billington/D Bottrill), Thrapston Harriers 10 (Blantern 3, Burrows 3, A Tyler 3, Blantern/Burrows) Rothborough Gladiators 0.
Players of the week: Dan Bottrill, Rob Warrander, Liam Burnham.
Teams of the week: Corby E, Corby B.