Table Tennis - Battle for the title to go to the final week

Ivor Jones helped Rothborough Comets secure the Division Two title
Ivor Jones helped Rothborough Comets secure the Division Two title

The battle for the Division One title in the Kettering & District Table Tennis League will go down to the final week of the season with just one point separating Corby Town B and Westfield C.

Corby enhanced their chances of taking the crown with a 9-1 win at Burton Baptist B. Aaron Moore kept up his personal battle to finish top of the averages with another hat-trick and Rob Warrander weighed in with his own treble, after coming through tight five-end matches against Derek Muggleton and Chris Agg.

Stephen Woolston added another two wins but Chris Agg stopped him from matching his team-mate’s unbeaten displays.

Corby Town C moved into fourth place courtesy of a 10-0 whitewash over Burton Baptist D. Chris Haynes, Ryan Cassidy and Kyle Murie all recorded hat-tricks with Cassidy’s five-end success over James Young being the only game to go the full distance.

Results: Burton Baptist C 1 (Agg) Corby Town B 9 (Moore 3, Warrander 3, Woolston 2, Moore/Warrander), Corby Town C 10 (Haynes 3, Cassidy 3, Murie 3, Cassidy/Murie) Burton Baptist D 0.

In the penultimate round of fixtures in the Premier Division, Higham Band have confirmed themselves as runners-up courtesy of a 9-1 success at Arthingworth.

Richard Elliott led the way, dropping just one end on the way to his hat-trick. Mark Nannery was also unbeaten but only after seeing off the challenge of Chris Gibbons 8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 15-13. Andy Harrison picked up two wins, beating Michael Edwards in straight games, edging out Gerald Henson 14-12 in the fifth end before losing out to Gibbons in five.

Thrapston SAS finally had something to celebrate as, after 18 defeats, they recorded their first win of the season.

Mark Stockley’s display was the decisive factor as he recorded a straight-games hat-trick against Burton Baptist B. Chris Warliker won twice but it was the doubles success of Stockley and Steve West that finally ensured the victory for SAS. Baptist’s replies came from Jacek Koltuniuk (2), Nash Hooda and Gerry Crasto.

With Thrapston SAS defeating Burton Baptist B, Thrapston Eagles’ 6-4 win over Harborough Athletic means they go into the final week of the season still having a mathematical chance of avoiding relegation. Warliker and Valdy Papiernik both won twice and Ian Donaldson once but Barry Thompson’s hat-trick and Mike Brocklebank’s single success kept the result in doubt until the doubles which Warliker and Papiernik won to complete the victory.

The clash of the two sides battling it out for third place turned out to be a one-sided affair as Burton Baptist A easily defeated Corby Town A. Lee O’Boyle had given Corby the perfect start with a straight-games win over Alex Aston but that was the highlight of his side’s evening as Chris Ross and Dariusz Gulbicki both recorded hat-tricks and Aston won twice. Ross and Gulbicki added the doubles for good measure as Corby’s dismal end of season form continued.

Results: Arthingworth 1 (Gibbons) Higham Band 9 (Nannery 3, Elliott 3, Harrison 2, Elliott/Harrison), Thrapston SAS 6 (Stockley 3, Warliker 2, Stockley/West) Burton Baptist B 4 (Koltuniuk 2, Crasto, Hooda), Thrapston Eagles 6 (Warliker 2, Papiernik 2, Donaldson, Warliker/Papiernik) Harborough Athletic 4 (Thompson 3, Brocklebank), Burton Baptist A 9 (Gulbicki 3, Ross 3, Aston 2, Ross/Gulbicki) Corby Town A 1 (O’Boyle).

The 100th match of the Division Two season at Church Langton was a fantastic contest, with lots of drama.

To guarantee the title, leaders Rothborough Comets needed nine wins, which they have achieved 10 times this season already, including when they played Harborough Imps last time.

However an outstanding display from Imps, bolstered with a seasonal debut for 15-year-old Rhys Emery saw Comets beaten for the first time, Ivor Jones winless for the first time, David Simmons losing only his 4th game and, almost unbelievably, the Comets doubles partnership having to come from two ends down to maintain their season-long unbeaten record – the first time they have been taken to five ends this season.

Emery was the star with a maximum, beating Simmons in the fifth and teaming up with Mark Pearson for that colossal doubles clash. Five games went the distance with Pearson stretching Simmons early on and coming from two down to Jones in the last singles match. And the individual result of the night came when Jamie Burgess also came from behind to beat Jones, who is 27 places higher in the rankings.

However, the next night, playing a game postponed from February, Comets did seal the title – the honour of winning the game that secured the division went to Pete Sturges in the sixth.

Sturges went on to make his hat-trick but his team-mates had to make do with doubles as they were beaten on the night by an in-form James Young from Burton Baptist E.

Ivor Jones’ normal game was cramped somewhat by the crowded conditions at Montsaye but it made for an entertaining game that saw Young’s attack against Jones’ defence go to the final end.

Corby D need just two more games to guarantee second place after a 9-1 defeat of Burton, with Young again spoiling the clean sweep.

Tom Cardwell’s treble included a five-end retribution against Young after defeat in the reverse fixture, Keith McLaren’s treble sees him up to second in the season’s overall percentages and gives him seven maximums from eight starts this year. No Corby player has less than 66.67 per cent victories this season.

Rothborough Dakotas are not giving up on second, matching Corby with a 9-1 victory over club-mates Exocets.

The best single result of the night saw an inspired Will Ravenscroft beat Kelvin Linnett, 16 places ahead in the rankings. He nearly beat Pete Rowbotham in five and took an end off Gareth Lewis, but Rowbotham ensured his third hat-trick, and Lewis his fourth consecutive maximum.

Another match at Montsaye between club-mates was also one-sided. Phantoms go above Imps by virtue of a greater number of wins and it was a good night particularly for Helmut Salander, with a hard won hat-trick.

In the game that decided who would win a maximum, he stood strong to scrape through 15-13 in the decider against Tony Yeomans, whose double means he has scored more than half of Gladiators points this season. Alan Abbott’s Gladiators debut couldn’t change the result as Roger Powdrill and Lee Mordecai’s doubles made sure of the 8-2 win.

A 73 year age difference saw experience defeat youthful exuberance at Isham, where Dennis Millman’s double included a defeat over Evie Elliott.

Kettering B’s Jim Chatburn and Pete Scrivener carried all before them though, unbeaten but not untroubled by Thrapston Hawks, until it came to the doubles where Alfie Wright and Joe Kent scored an impressive win, 13-11 in the final end. Kettering B now need to match or better Thrapston Harriers result next week to finish fourth.

Results: Corby D 9 (Cardwell 3, McLaren 3, Hunt 2, Hunt/McLaren) Burton Baptist E 1(Young), Harborough Imps 6 (Emery 3, Pearson 2, Burgess) Rothborough Comets 4 (Simmons 2, Sturges, Simmonbs/Sturges), Rothborough Comets 8 (Sturges 3, Jones 2, Sturges 2, Simmons/Sturges) Burton Baptist E 2 (Young 2), Rothborough Dakotas 9 (Lewis 3, Rowbotham 3, Linnett 2 Linnett/Rowbotham) Rothborough Exocets 1 (Ravenscroft), Rothborough Phantoms 8 (Salander 3, Mordecai 2, Powdrill 2, Mordecai/Salander) Rothborough Gladiators 2 (Yeomans 2), Thrapston Hawks 2 (A Wright, Kent/A Wright) Kettering B 8 (Chatburn 3, Scrivener 3, Millman 2).

Player of the week: Jamie Burgess.

Team of the week: Harborough Imps/Thrapston SAS.