Top two Comets and Corby in emphatic form

Chris Ross gained a treble for Burton Baptist A in the Premier Division
Chris Ross gained a treble for Burton Baptist A in the Premier Division

There were emphatic wins for the top two against two of the bottom three in Division Two of the Kettering & District Table Tennis League.

But there were good performances from the beaten teams.

Leaders Rothborough Comets fielded a stronger team than when they beat Thrapston Hawks 8-2 in Islip and their whitewash was probably expecte. But all the young players took ends off much higher-rated opponents.

Alfie Wright took David Simmons and Pete Sturges to a deciding end and only lost to Alan Brisley after two deuce games.

Joe Kent had ends against Brisley and Sturges and Sidney Wright, who can’t be far away from breaking her duck in the league, took an end off Sturges.

The experience of Comets was probably best illustrated by them winning four of the five deuce games.

It wasn’t all plain sailing either for Corby D in their 10-0 win over Rothborough Gladiators, for whom Tony Yeomans played 14 ends without getting any reward and Edward West was unlucky to lose 10-12, 14-12, 5-11, 10-12 to Andrew Dorrian, on his way to his third maximum this season.

This matches the result from week two and keeps them on Comet’s tail.

The third match at Rothwell was a closer encounter with Kettering B taking the last two games to secure their fourth successive victory.

The Woolstons accounted for five of Kettering’s six points, each taking two and pairing up successfully in the doubles.

They both lost out to Sean Smith, and the crucial match to decide the hat-trick man was the eighth between Smith and Alan Woolston.

It could have gone either way but the 14-12 score in the deciding end went to Smith, who only won once in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season.

Dennis Millman won only one but tried valiantly in his other two matches, missing out narrowly in the fifth end in both, to Smith and Will Ravenscroft, who had to come from two ends down to achieve this sole victory.

Results: Rothborough Comets 10 (Brisley 3, Simmons 3, Sturges 3, Simmons/Sturges) Thrapston Hawks 0, Rothborough Exocets 4 (Smith 3, Ravenscroft) Kettering B 6 (AL Woolston 2, An Woolston 2, Millman, Woolston/Woolston), Rothborough Gladiators 0 Corby D 10 (Abraham 3, Dorrian 3, McLaren 3, Dorrian/McLaren).

Westfield A are showing few signs of letting their rivals catch them in the race to be crowned Premier Division champions and Harborough Athletic were the latest team to fall to the combined talents of Steve Silk, Kevin Bird and Roumen Stefanov.

However, Harborough’s Jon Williams was to prove a troublesome opponent for the Westfield trio of players. After edging out Stefanov 11-9 in the deciding end, he led Silk by two games before eventually succumbing 15-13 in the fifth.

Finally he became only the second player this season to lower the colours of Bird, seeing off the Westfield captain in four ends. Bird also had a tough match against Mick Allsopp before finally coming through 11-1 in the deciding end. Silk and Bird then combined to take the doubles and complete a comprehensive, though challenging, 8-2 victory.

Kettering Town A’s problem of player availability continues and yet again they could only field two in their match against lowly Thrapston Eagles.

Brian Harradine made a rare appearance for Kettering and, having lost the first match 11-8 in the fifth end to Ian Donaldson, he recovered to gain wins over Chris Warliker and Valdi Papiernik.

Mike Hawes went one better than his Kettering team-mate with a fine treble but the unfamiliar doubles pairing of Harradine/Hawes had no answer to the experienced team of Donaldson/Warliker and fell to a straight-games defeat that enabled Eagles to secure the draw and avoid defeat for only the second time this season.

Burton Baptist A’s 9-1 victory over Arthingworth moved them above their opponents and up into fourth place in the league.

Dariusz Gulbicki and Chris Ross both recorded trebles with Gulbicki’s hat-trick particularly impressive as he recorded straight games wins over Gerald Henson, Michael Edwards and Chris Gibbons. Alex Aston picked up two wins but fell to a straight-games defeat to Gibbons to provide Arthingworth with a consolation point.

Team captain Aiden Smith was again missing from the Corby Town A line-up so Michael Clarke made just his second league appearance of the season but showed few signs of a lack of match practice as he recorded comprehensive victories in his side’s 9-1 victory over Thrapston SAS.

The Thrapston cause was not helped by playing a man short but Steve West prevented the whitewash when he edged out Henry Arthur in four close ends after winning a mammoth first 25-23

Lee O’Boyle also scored convincing victories over West and Graham Ellson and then Clarke/O’Boyle completed their excellent night’s work by winning the doubles.

Results: Harborough Athletic 2 (Williams 2) Westfield A 8 (Silk 3, Bird 2, Stefanov 2, Silk/Bird), Kettering Town A 5 (Hawes 3, Harradine 2) Thrapston Eagles 5 (Donaldson 2, Papiernik, Warliker, Donaldson/Warliker), Burton Baptist A 9 (Gulbicki 3, Ross 3, Aston 2, Gulbicki/Ross) Arthingworth 1 (Gibbons), Corby Town A 9 (Clarke 3, O’Boyle 3, Arthur 2, Clarke/O’Boyle) Thrapston SAS 1 (West).

In Division One, Diamonds started well against promotion-chasing Westfield C with Liam Burnham beating Paul Malpass 11-8 in the fifth end.

The next match was even closer with Steve Crook eventually falling 11-9 in the fifth to Nitin Patel, who went on to record his sixth treble from nine starts this season.

While Burnham and Crook both got the better of Stewart Williams in close matches, Diamonds were unable to add any further victories and Westfield made the long journey home with a 7-3 win.

Burton C and Harborough Rangers both fielded the same players as when they met earlier in the season. However, the first three matches all saw the player defeated last time beating their victor.

Chris Agg and Mike Brocklebank both won their first two matches before Brocklebank completed his treble, defeating Agg in four ends.

Earlier, James Allington came back from his loss to Agg to record fifth-end wins over Derek Muggleton and Steve Smith. However it was Agg and Smith who combined to take the doubles to leave the match between the sides all-square for the second time this season.

Opening wins for Tom Ravenscroft and Luke Saywood gave relegation-threatened Buccaneers a 2-1 lead against Falcons.

However, a treble from Antony Marray and two wins each for Alan Tyler and Nigel Payne put the Thrapston side 7-2 up. Ravenscroft and Saywood then combined to take the doubles in straight ends but Buccaneers are now 19 points adrift of Falcons with eight matches of the season remaining.

Results: Harborough Diamonds 3 (Burnham 2, Crook) Westfield C 7 (Patel 3, Malpass 2, Williams, Malpass/Williams), Burton Baptist C 5 (Agg 2, Muggleton, Smith, Agg/Smith) Harborough Rangers 5 (Brocklebank 3, J Allington 2), Thrapston Falcons 7 (Marray 3, Payne 2, Tyler 2) Rothborough Buccaneers 3 (Ravenscroft, Saywood, Ravenscroft/Saywood).

Team of the week: Burton Baptist A.

Player of the week: Dariusz Gulbicki/Sean Smith.