Shears stars as holders are knocked out

Ian Donaldson helped Thrapston claim a victory over Wanderers C in the first round of the Challenge Trophy
Ian Donaldson helped Thrapston claim a victory over Wanderers C in the first round of the Challenge Trophy

Holders Westfield D were knocked out of the Wellingborough & District Table Tennis League’s Challenge Trophy, sponsored by Harish Thakrar Ltd, after they were beaten 383-327 at Chesterwell C.

The hosts owed a lot to the excellent form of Maxine Shears, who won all 12 legs and gained 63 points in the process, which was virtually the margin between the sides.

In a fierce contest, all games until the ninth were on handicap as Stanwick beat Wanderers B 444-419.

But the game turned when Geoff Neville won the first leg against Richard Adams 11-0 then took the next two before losing the last.

That left Wanderers 33 points behind going into the doubles and Carl Eaves and Neville only dropped a further six points in the defeat to Bob Hickson and Paul Goodman.

Trevor Robins found the going tough for Old Grammarians B and as a consequence of dropping 63 points against a lower division side, the hosts were overwhelmed and went down by 154 points to Chesterwell D.

Chesterwell E, with only one point in the bottom division, had the benefit of the largest handicap ever given and took full advantage by winning out by 27 points against Westfield A.

Kevin Bird was slightly above handicaP, but the dropping of 18 points in game eight by Patryk Polanski, killed off any hopes of a victory by the hosts.

A gripping match saw Wanderers D edge out Higham Band B by a narrow 406-405 scoreline.

It hinged on games three and four where Chris Kiziak went down (4-11, 5-11, 2-11, 4-11) to Mike Howorth and Neil Thompson (4-11, 4-11, 3-11, 9-11) to Roger Ellingham.

The hosts always seemed slightly behind handicap until game nine when a tremendous win by Deirdre Kiziak over Graham Babbage reduced the deficit to four.

In an exhilarating doubles finish, Kiziak and Thompson shared with Ellingham and Babbage with a fantastic 11-2 win in the final leg but ultimately falling one short.

Another extremely close match which saw Wanderers E beat Higham Harriers A was probably lost in the opener, when Graham Bird only shared with David May and, in the process, dropped a massive 30 points.

Slightly under handicap in most games, a big win by Bird over Steve Hoole gave an outside chance to the hosts in the doubles, but May and Derek Shears gained a useful 24 points in a defeat to Bird and Wooster to win by 11 points.

For once, the squad system failed to help the WDHA Royals and they were well beaten by bottom division side Higham Harriers C.

Games eight and nine inflated the winning margin when Nitin Patel shared (11-3, 7-11, 11-4, 10-11 with Phill Inman and Shivam Mistry drew with David Cowl.

Division One side St John A produced a superb display was a perfect example of how to play when facing a massive handicap as they beat Westfield E.

The highlight was game six where Grant Timms limited Linda Freeman to five points in a tremendous victory.

Fourteen points behind at the doubles, Pete Boustred and Timms won out over Stuart Holroyd and Amrat Mistry for a commendable 19-point victory.

Facing a side pointless in the bottom division, Wanderers A were faced with a joint-equal highest handicap deficit and never got to grips with it as they were beaten by WDHA Knightriders.

Division Two leaders St John B faced a side placed third in the table on a scratch basis and went down to a massive 122-point defeat.

For a team lying second in Division Two and facing a side in the lower regions of the bottom section, visitors Higham Harriers B produced a very poor performance as they were beaten at WDHA Challengers.

Daniel Bain gained a massive 33 points in a loss to Neil Stevens and only one game was anywhere near handicap when Martyn Reeves won out over Manav Pandya.

An excellent cup tie with the top division visitors Chesterwell B applying themselves to overcome a large handicap and just edge home by six points against Higham Harriers D.

Game three seemed to have put Chesterwell in the driving seat as Carlton Ellwood limited Katie Hicks to a mere four points but game nine saw a shock when Oli Hicks gained a leg against Luke Hughes and a massive 26 points.

This left Chesterwell 30 points behind at the doubles but Graham Ellson and Ellwood held their nerve.

Another excellent match tie, which ebbed and flowed, saw Old Grammarians A beat Westfield C by just five points.

Phil Laurence shared all three games and gaining a valuable three points for the visitors.

Game nine saw Roger Fleming gain an excellent win over Lawrence Howlett to leave the sides level at the doubles stage and Laurence and Fleming won out over Charlie Clements and Charlie Morrow for a nail-biting victory.

Another well-fought clash between Thrapston and Wanderers C saw most games thereabouts on handicap.

The match was decided in Thrapston’s favour by Steve West’s excellent first two games.

He did well to restrict Tony Wallis to 21, having conceded 19 in two of the legs and in a game clincher, saw off Maurice Jones.

Nine points in front at the doubles, Ian Donaldson and West gained a further 17 in a win over Wallis and James Findlay for a slightly flattering 26-point victory.

Results: Stanwick TTC (190) 444 Wanderers B (0) 419, Chesterwell C (0) 383 Westfield D (0) 327, Old Grammarians B (0) 346 Chesterwell D (140) 500, Westfield A (0) 440 Chesterwell E (390) 467, Higham Band B (105) 405 Wanderers D (0) 406, Higham Harriers A (0) 429 Wanderers E (210) 440, WDHA Royals (0) 433 Higham Harriers C (300) 504, St John A (0) 440 Westfield E (300) 421, WDHA Knightriders (390) 546 Wanderers A (0) 440, WDHA Superkings (0) 406 St John B (0) 284, WDHA Challengers (300) 581 Higham Harriers B (0) 406, Higham Harriers D (280) 433 Chesterwell B (0) 439, Westfield C (0) 399 Old Grammarians A (80) 404, Thrapston (0) 428 Wanderers C (140) 402.