Things didn’t start well for leaders Thrapston Eagles when they travelled to play bottom side Rothborough Buccaneers in Division One of the Kettering & District League.
Luke Saywood recorded his first win of the season when defeating Steve West to give Buccaneers the lead.
Brett Owen, ranked 81, then caused the biggest upset in the division so far this season when he beat Mark Stockley, who at 21 is the division’s highest ranked player, in five ends to put the bottom side 2-0 ahead.
Things got worse still for the leaders when Ivor Jones got the better of Chris Warliker in another five-ender.
However, Buccaneers were unable to add to their three wins as Eagles recorded a 7-3 success.
Second-placed Arrows also recorded a 7-3 win with Julian Marlow extending his unbeaten start to the season to nine games, eight in straight ends.
Helen Watts also recorded a treble for Arrows but found the going tougher.
Marlow and Helen Watts added the doubles against Paul Goodman and Geoff Judd who, like Peter Briggs, had both recorded one win for Kites.
Dave Simmons sealed his first treble of the season to help Burton C to a 7-3 win over Corby D.
Chris Agg and Darryl Sutcliffe both won twice but neither could get the better of Keith McLaren. Stewart Abraham joined McLaren to add the doubles against Simmons and Agg.
Corby C led 4-0 and 6-1 but eventually had to be satisfied with a 6-4 win against Falcons.
Antony Marray got the better of Ryan Cassidy and Nigel Hunt, while Nigel Payne beat Kyle Murie. Marray and Payne added the doubles in five ends.
In the all Harborough-clash, Liam Burnham recorded an excellent treble including coming back from 2-1 down to defeat Mike Brocklebank 10-12, 11-7, 9-11, 14-12, 11-5.
Vaughan Allington got the better of Dave Coombs and Mark Pearson and Steve Crook won once to ensure victory.
However, Brocklebank and Coombs took the doubles to restrict Rangers’ win to a 6-4 scoreline.
Division One: Rothborough Buccaneers 3 (Saywood, Owen, Jones) Thrapston Eagles 7 (West 2, Stockley 2, Warliker 2, Stockley/Warliker), Rothborough Arrows 7 (Marlow 3, H Watts 3, Marlow/H Watts) Thrapston Kites 3 (Briggs, Judd, Goodman), Burton Baptist 7 (Simmons 3, Sutcliffe 2, Agg 2) Corby D 3 (McLaren 2, McLaren/Abraham), Thrapston Falcons 4 (Marray 2, Payne, Marray/Payne) Corby C 6 (Murie 2, Cassidy 2, N Hunt 2), Harborough Diamonds 4 (Brocklebank 2, Coombs, Brocklebank/Coombs) Harborough Rangers 6 (Burnham 3, V Allington 2, Crook).
There were several shock results in the top flightwith arguably the biggest coming in the clash between Westfield A and their B team club colleagues.
Although the A team emerged with a clear cut 8-2 victory thanks mainly to Kevin Bird’s hat-trick, it was the B team’s Brian Wooding that claimed the man of the match performance with his brace of victories including a memorable 11-5, 11-5, 11-4 straight games win over Steve Silk.
Wooding also defeated Roumen Stefanov in four ends but couldn’t quite get the better of Bird, losing the battle of the southpaws in four ends. Wooding and Scott Dixon came close to adding a third point to the B team’s tally before losing 11-7 in the fifth end to the Bird/Stefanov combination.
Higham moved to the top of the table after recording two big wins in a week.
However, like their title rivals Westfield A, their victories did not come without the odd shock result. In their first match, a comprehensive 8-2 victory over Westfield C, it was Nicole Bird that was to provide the shocks as she added Richard Elliott to her growing list of notable scalps.
Richard Bashford was to also fall victim to Miss Bird, however she could not overcome the challenge of Mick Allsopp as he recorded a hard earned treble, including an 11-3 fifth end success over Dan Smalley.
Higham’s match with Arthingworth proved to be a more straight forward affair, although things could have been a lot different if Michael Edwards had managed to see off Elliott in the first rubber of the night.
However, Elliott trailing 2-1 and 9-3 down in the fourth end, somehow managed to take the victory 9-11, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10,11-7.
Chris Gibbons then brought Arthingworth level when he beat Mark Nannery in four ends but from that moment onwards it was plain sailing for the Higham trio of Elliott, Nannery and John Alsop as they won the remaining matches for the loss of just four ends as Higham won 9-1.
Burton Baptist A moved into title contention courtesy of a 10-0 win over a Corby Town B team that had enlisted the services of Ryan Cassidy and Kyle Murie from the Corby Town C team that play in Division One.
Dariusz Gulbicki, Alex Aston and Chris Ross all recorded hat-tricks with the only point that looked likely to escape their grasp coming when Aston and Gulbicki recorded a fifth end win in the doubles over Murie and Cassidy.
On the adjacent table, Corby Town A reversed the fortunes of their B team as they saw off the challenge of Harborough Athletic 10-0.
The Corby trio dropped just three ends all night as Lee O’Boyle, Michael Clarke and Henry Arthur all recorded hat-tricks, with Arthur’s fifth end defeat of Barry Thompson being the closest match of the night.
It was an interesting night for Clarke as he lost all three matches for his own side in their match against Baptist A before recording a hat-trick for the A side.
Burton Baptist B’s early season woes continued as they lost 10-0 to Kettering to Kettering Town A.
Nigel Metcalfe, John Fuller and Mike Hawes all recorded hat-tricks with Hawes’ five-set win over Jacek Koltuniuk the only close call of the night.
Premier Division: Westfield A 8 (K Bird 3, Stefanov 2, Silk 2, Bird/Stefanov) Westfield B 2 (Wooding 2), Higham 8 (Allsopp 3, Bashford 2, Elliott 2, Elliott/Bashford) Westfield C 2 (N Bird 2), Higham 9 (Elliott 3, Alsop 3, Nannery 2, Elliott/Alsop) Arthingworth 1 (Gibbons), Corby Town A 10 (O’Boyle 3, Arthur 3, Clarke 3, O’Boyle/Arthur) Harborough Athletic 0, Corby Town B 0 Burton Baptist A 10 (Aston 3, Gulbicki 3, Ross 3, Aston/Gulbicki), Burton Baptist B 0 Kettering Town A 10 (Metcalfe 3, Fuller 3, Hawes 3).
In Division Two, there was a strong finish from Harborough Imps with the last three games all going the distance.
In the first of these, Jamie Burgess finished with a 13-11 win over Ray Harrison to cap an excellent hat-trick and his team’s only successes on the night.
Burgess couldn’t quite force the doubles with David Patmore who, after breaking his bat in his first match, used 3 in the course of the night.
Patmore nearly got the better of Lee Mordecai in the 9th game, but Mordecai, Harrison and Helmut Salander each got their pair to ensure Exocets’ third victory.
There was an identical situation when Comets defeated Dakotas 7-3, with Tom Ravenscroft scoring all three of Dakotas’ points, none of them needing them the full distance.
Of further significance here is that in doing so Ravenscroft took the undefeated mantle of both Gareth Lewis and Pete Sturges.
Both Will Ravenscroft and Martin Bradford got close to victories against Sturges and Lewis respectively, but the Comets team closed out the victory in the end.
Thrapston Harriers kept up the pressure at the top of the table with an 8-2 victory over Rothborough Phantoms.
Ian Baldock debuted with a hat-trick, matched by Alan Tyler, his third of the season, and the result was never in doubt.
The unluckiest player was Lauren Ainsworth who worked hard all night for no reward.
She lost all singles in five sets after being ahead at some point in all three and then teamed up with Cathy Fleming unsuccessfully in the doubles.
The game at Weavers was the shortest so far this season as Corby fielded a reduced team due to injuries and other commitments.
Dan Bottrill and Matt Billington did them proud though with each taking ends from Ann Woolston and in the doubles, although not troubling the scorers in the final result. Ann and Alan Woolston and Jim Chatburn got their first trebles of the season.
At John Yeomans Hall, namesake Tony got the only point for Gladiators in the first game, when he came from two ends and 5-9 down in the fifth to defeat Nick Loake. He also got ends from Kelvin Marshall and Jon Sanders, against whom he was particularly unlucky with the last three ends going to deuce.
Division Two: Burton Baptist 9 (Marshall 3, Sanders 3, Loake 2, Marshall/Sanders) Rothborough Gladiators 1 (Yeomans), Harborough Imps 3 (Burgess 3) Rothborough Exocets 7 (Harrison 3, Mordecai 3, Salander 3, Harrison/Mordecai), Kettering B 10 (Chatburn 3, Al Woolston 3, An Woolston 3, Chatburn/Al Woolston) Corby E 0, Rothborough Comets 7 (Lewis 2, Linnett 2, Sturges 2, Lewis/Sturges) Rothborough Dakotas 3 (T Ravenscroft 3), Thrapston Harriers 8 (Baldock 3, A Tyler 3, Burrows, Baldock/Burrows) Rothborough Phantoms 2 (Fleming, Rowbotham).
Player of the week: Jamie Burgess/Brian Wooding.
Team of the week: Higham.