The new season of the Wellingborough & District Table Tennis League is under way with 31 teams competing – three less teams than the last campaign, although many new players have joined the ranks of established clubs.
In Division One, newly-promoted WDHA Royals showed early signs that they could be surprise title contenders as they brushed aside Wanderers B 8-2.
Shivam and Mihir Mistry both registered trebles, the former winning out 11-9 in the fifth against Bob Hickson and the latter 11-5, again in the fifth, over Richard Adams.
Shyam Bavalia found the move upwards more difficult when being well beaten by Paul Goodman and Adams but he avoided a blank by seeing off Hickson 11-7, 12-10, 11-9.
Westfield A followed last year’s theme of fielding one of their leading players in rotation and Nicole Bird obliged with a treble in their 5-5 draw with Chesterwell A.
Stan Galkowski had a night to forget, going down to Patryk Polanski and giving Travis Holly a big boost for the season in a 12-14, 8-11, 9-11 defeat.
A surprise feature of a game between last season’s title contenders was that no set went to five and with the result dependent on the doubles, Valdi Papiernik and Galkowski did well to win out over Holly and Bird.
Ian Donaldson hit an excellent treble in Thrapston’s 6-4 win at St John A.
He edged out Richard Wills in the fifth while Chris Warliker was only denied a hat-trick when Wills triumphed 11-6 in the last.
Pete Boustred failed to register for the hosts while Jon Perkins gained a surprise win over Baldock and further impressed when teamed with Wills in a five-set doubles win over Donaldson and Warliker.
Chesterwell B started their season with an excellent 9-1 success over a Westfield B who fielded none of last year’s team.
Carlton Ellwood impressed and an 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 11-8 win over Stephen Woolston on his way to a treble was the pick.
Graham Ellson also had a convincing victory over Woolston in the opener but had a shock in game five, before winning our 14-12 over mark Ramsden in the fifth.
Luke Hughes failed to emulate his team-mates and went down to Woolston to avoid a whitewash for the visitors.
Results: Westfield A 5 (Nicole Bird 3, Patryk Polanski, Travis Holly) Chesterwell A 5 (Valdy Papiernik 2, Mike Pond 2, doubles (Papiernik/Stan Galkowski); St John A 4 (Jon Perkins, Richard Wills 2, doubles Perkins/Wills) Thrapston A 6 (Ian Donaldson 3, Ian Baldock, Chris Warliker 2); Chesterwell B 9 (Graham Ellson 3, Luke Hughes 2, Carlton Ellwood 3, doubles Ellson/Ellwood) Westfield B 1 (Stephen Woolston); WDHA Royals 8 (Shivam Mistry 3, Mihir Mistry 3, Shyam Bavalia, doubles Mistry/Mistry) Wanderers B 2 (Paul Goodman, Richard Adams).
Newly-promoted WDHA Superkings got off to a roaring start in Division Two with an emphatic 9-1 victory over Wanderers D.
Mike Howorth saved a clean sweep with a victory over Amit Shah in four ends.
Other than that, games went in favour of the Superkings with hat-tricks for Jack Bain and Virat Patel while they claimed the doubles against Roger Ellingham and Graham Babbage.
Higham Harriers B finished just ahead of their opponents Old Grammarians B last season and they came out on top in the opening encounter by a 7-3 scoreline.
Mick Malins secured a hat-trick and there were two wins for Martyn Reeves.
Reeves and Neil Stevens added the doubles in the 5th against David Bayes and Martin Rice who, together with Colin Lord, won a single on the night.
On their return to Division Two, Old Grammarians A had to call upon two substitutes to complete the fixture and were well beaten 9-1 by St John B.
Steve Mansfield and Alan Hill, who was playing his first match for two years, both recorded hat-tricks while Paul Lipczak supported with a brace.
Lipczak and Mansfield took the doubles in three ends over Phil Laurence and Pranab Mohanty while Lord, playing in his second match of the week, picked up a single.
Two players stepped up a division in this match as Stuart Holroyd for Westfield D, along with Mark Holly found the going tough in Higham Band A’s 7-3 win.
For Higham, Deirdre Kiziak was very unlucky to lose out to hat-trick man Stuart Jones 11-6 at the last hurdle.
Keith Stockley and Nigel Magee also won twice and teamed up to add the doubles over Jones and Holly by the short route.
Westfield C 8 v Chesterwell C 2
There were no fewer than seven sets that went to five ends and Westfield C came out on top in five of them to help them to an 8-2 victory over Chesterwell C.
Maxine Shears stopped the rot in the singles with a 13-11 win over Lawrence Howlett and, together with Stuart Coles, won the doubles again in the fifth end (11-8) against Alfie Wright and Howlett.
For the home side, hat-tricks were achieved by Wright and Charlie Morrow.
Results: Higham Harriers B 7 (Mick Malins 3, Neil Stevens, Martyn Reeves 2, doubles Stevens/Reeves) Old Grammarians B 3 (David Bayes, Martin Rice, Colin Lord); Old Grammarians A 1 (Colin Lord) St John B 9 (Steve Mansfield 3, Alan Hill 3, Paul Lipczak 2, doubles Mansfield/Lipczak); Higham Band A 7 (Keith Stockley 2, Nigel Magee 2, Deirdre Kiziak 2, doubles Stockley/Magee) Westfield D 3 (Stuart Jones); Westfield C 8 (Alfie Wright 3, Lawrence Howlett 2, Charlie Morrow 3) Chesterwell C 2 (Maxine Shears, doubles Shears/Stuart Coles); WDHA Superkings 9 (Jack Bain 3, Amit Shah 2, Virat Patel 3, doubles Bain/Patel) Wanderers D 1 (Mike Howorth).
Westfield E needed the doubles to clinch a 6-4 victory over Chesterwell D in a hard-fought contest in Division Three and Linda Freeman and Amrat Mistry duly obliged in three ends.
This pair also recorded two singles wins apiece having both lost out in four to Chesterwell’s Daniel Mann, who recorded a hat-trick.
Two new Chesterwell signings, David Carrigan and Duncan Wright, found the going hard with the latter claiming a single victory over Westfield’s Stuart Holroyd.
WDHA Knightriders’ new players always looked like they were in for a tough opener against Wanderers E and so it proved as the visitors won 10-0.
There were some promising scores though as Hubert Malenda took David May to five and took an end off both Steve Hoole and Derek Shears.
Last season’s bottom markers Chesterwell E were unable to gain any points as Higham Band B swept the board in a 10-0 success with only one set needing a fourth end.
Peter Atkins, making a return to the league after a season out of action, took the first end off Raylee Burton, who then stepped up and took the next three to complete her hat-trick.
Fred Sorrell and Deirdre Kiziak also recorded trebles.
Results: Westfield E 6 (Stuart Holroyd, Amrat Mistry 2, Linda Freeman 2, doubles Mistry/Freeman) Chesterwell D 4 (Duncan Wright, Daniel Mann 3); WDHA Knightriders 0, Wanderers E 10 (David May 3, Steve Hoole 3, Derek Shears 3, doubles Hoole/Shears); Chesterwell E 0, Higham Band B 10 (Fred Sorrell 3, Deirdre Kiziak 3, Raylee Burton 3, doubles Sorrell/Kiziak).