Trio lead the way in formative Premier Division

Dariusz Gulbicki
Dariusz Gulbicki

With two rounds of matches completed in the Kettering and District Table Tennis League, Burton Baptist A, Westfield A and Kettering Town A currently share the lead at the top of the Kettering & District Table Tennis League Premier Division, with all three recording emphatic victories last week.

In the clash between the Burton Baptist A and B, Chris Ross recorded a straight games maximum for the A team, whilst Dariusz Gulbicki’s treble came for the loss of just one end. Alex Aston came close to matching his team-mates before he fell 11-8 in the fifth end to Jacek Koltuniuk.

With the A team leading 8-1, Koltuniuk and Asif Manji caused a minor upset by seeing off the doubles pairing of Gulbicki and Ross in the deciding end.

Kettering Town A disposed of the challenge of Corby Town A with John Fuller in majestic form. He dropped just one end on the way to a comfortable treble.

Nigel Metcalfe scored excellent victories over Lee O’Boyle and Aiden Smith but was then comfortably beaten by Chris Haynes.

Haynes had earlier got the better of Mike Hawes in five ends. Hawes was to also lose out to Smith before joining Fuller to take the doubles to complete a 7-3 victory.

Westfield A kept up with the early season pace setters courtesy of a 7-3 success over Arthingworth.

Steve Silk wasn’t extended as he hit another hat-trick. Roumen Stefanov lost out 11-9 in the decider to Chris Gibbons before returning to the table to defeat Michael Edwards and Gerald Henson.

Sam Wildman trailed Gibbons 10-7 in the decider before fighting back to win 14-12 but then saw his fortunes reversed as he lost to Edwards 11-9 at the same stage. Kevin Bird stepped up to join Stefanov in the doubles but Edwards/Gibbons recorded an excellent win to lessen the margin of defeat.

Nicole Bird was the standout performer in the match between the two promoted sides as Westfield C defeated Corby Town B 7-3.

Her hat-trick was achieved with the minimum of fuss, whilst Dan Smalley had to work much harder to match his colleague.

Aaron Moore and Michael Clarke both took him to a deciding end but Smalley showed nerves of steel to as he edged out Moore 15-13 and then saw off Clarke 13-11. Nitin Patel added a solitary win when we defeated Rob Warrander.

Nathan Thompson was unbeaten in singles and doubles as Harborough Athletic defeated Westfield B 8-2. Matthew Rushton picked up Westfield’s two points, including a fifth end win over Barry Thompson after losing out to the younger Thompson at the same stage.

Results: Burton Baptist B 2 (Koltuniuk, Manji/Koltuniuk) Burton Baptist A 8 (Gulbicki 3, Ross 3, Aston 2), Kettering Town A 7 (Fuller 3, Metcalfe 2, Hawes, Fuller/Hawes) Corby Town A 3 (Haynes 2, Smith), Arthingworth 3 (Gibbons, Edwards, Gibbons/Edwards) Westfield A 7 (Silk 3, S Wildman 2, Stefanov 2), Westfield B 7 (N Bird 3, Smalley 3, Patel) Corby Town B 3 (Clarke, Moore, Warrander/Clarke), Harborough Athletic 8 (N Thompson 3, B Thompson 2, J Allington 2, Thompson/Thompson) Westfield B 2 (Rushton 2).

Skipper Steve Crook got Rangers off to a great start against Division One title favourites Eagles when he defeated Chris Warliker in five ends.

Crook went on to beat Steve West in straight ends but the Harborough sides’ only other point came when Jamie Burgess marked his division 1 debut with an excellent win over West. Ian Donaldson completed his treble without dropping an end and added the doubles with Warliker, again in straight ends as Eagles ran out 7-3 winners.

With Mark Pearson and Dave Coombs both away on holiday Diamonds called up the considerably less experienced Jamie Burgess and Dave Patmore for the match at Thrapston while Falcons replaced Antony Marray with Beth Tyler. Mike Brocklebank recorded the only two points of the night for Diamonds but went down 12-10 in the fifth end as Nigel Payne completed his treble with Beth Tyler and father Alan recording two wins each.

With Chris Agg and Peter Briggs both winning their first two matches of the evening, they met with Burton C 4-3 up on Kites. Briggs finally got past Agg in the 5th end and Paul Goodman put the Thrapston side 5-4 ahead when defeating Derek Muggleton before Briggs and Goodman combined to add the doubles to leave Kites 6-4 winners. Geoff Judd was unlucky to go away without a win losing all three of his matches in the fifth end.

Ryan Cassidy continued his fine start to the season with a treble against Buccaneers but only just got the better of Brett Owen 19-17 in the fifth end. Owen had earlier also lost to Stephen Woolston in five ends before defeating Kyle Murie 11-9 in another five ender. Buccaneers only other point of the night came when Ivor Jones beat Woolston 12-10 in yet another five ender.

Results: Harborough Rangers 3 (Crook 2, Burgess) Thrapston Eagles 7 (Donaldson 3, Warliker 2, West, Donaldson/Warliker), Thrapston Falcons 8 (Payne 3, Beth Tyler 2, A Tyler 2, Payne/A Tyler) Harborough Diamonds 2 (Brocklebank 2), Burton Baptist C 4 (Agg 2, Muggleton, Sutcliffe) Thrapston Kites 6 (Briggs 3, Goodman 2, Briggs/Goodman), Corby C 8 (Cassidy 3, Murie 2, Woolston 2, Cassidy/Murie) Rothborough Buccaneers 2 (Jones, Owen).

It was close between club colleagues when Dakotas hosted Phantoms in Division Two.

Sean Smith didn’t lose an end but he was the only player not to need the extra-time as four games went the full distance, victories shared equally between the teams.

Luke Saywood also forced a treble although Lauren Ainsworth’s 2-0 early lead in the opening game made him work particularly hard, and Ainsworth was also stretched in beating Martin Bradford and just losing out Saywood and Bradford when partnering Pete Rowbotham.

Dakotas were also involved in the tightest match so far this season in drawing with Exocets.

At no time was there more than one game in it, the lead veering between the two teams and it took 11-9 in the fifth end of the doubles to secure the draw for Dakotas.

Again Sean Smith was the maximum man but he needed four ends to dispose of Phil Tomlin and Ray Harrison, the former matching team mate Lee Mordecai’s double, but working as a pair they couldn’t force the victory when the Ravenscroft brothers saw it out.

Game of the night saw Mordecai scrape past Will Ravenscroft in five, the first three ends all going to deuce.

Thrapston Harriers had a comprehensive win over Harborough Imps, with Paul Blantern, Beth Tyler and Mike Burrows hitting hat-tricks.

Harriers seem to be specialising in close ends as, following Beth Tyler’s 19-17 victory last week, Mike Burrows and Ron Palfrey each had a 16-14 end victory against each other, on the way to Burrows eventual success.

Palfrey also took an end of Paul Blantern but it was plain-sailing otherwise for the team from Islip.

Burton Baptist D’s first home match of the season was played in the memory of recently departed teammate John Robinson.

And it inspired them to a 10-0 victory over a Corby team who pushed hard despite their blank night.

Steve Smith, Kelvin Marshall and Nick Loake all hit the treble trail but Loake nearly lost a two set lead to Dan Bottrill and was also troubled by Matthew Billington. Next week’s match between Burton and Thrapston will be interesting with only one game lost between them so far this season.

Kettering B visited Gladiators and stole away with the spoils, denied a whitewash only by Anthony Yeomans’ brace. He couldn’t prevent Alan Woolston’s straightgames hat-trick, and he still didn’t drop an end in combination with Jim Chatburn, although needed two deuce ends to defeat Yeomans’ and Sally Taylor.

Despite winning a total of 12 ends Phantoms couldn’t achieve more than one game against Comets, and that was when Pete Rowbotham beat Kelvin Linnett in five in the second game. That was the first of four full length games but the rest all went the way of Comets, Cathy Fleming particularly unlucky when edged out 14-16 in the fifth to Pete Sturges. Sturges and Gareth Lewis were unbeaten all night and were the backbone of the 9-1 victory.

Results: Burton Baptist D 10 (Loake 3, Marshall 3, Smith 3, Marshall/Smith) Corby E 0, Rothborough Dakotas 7 (Saywood 3, Smith 3, Bradford/Saywood) Rothborough Phantoms 3 (L Ainsworth, Fleming, Rowbotham), Rothborough Exocets 5 (Mordecai 2, Tomlin 2, Harrison) Rothborough Dakotas 5 (Smith 3, W Ravenscroft, T Ravenscroft/W Ravenscroft), Rothborough Gladiators 2 (Yeomans 2) Kettering Town B 8 (Al Woolston 3, Chatburn 2, An Woolston 2), Rothborough Phantoms 1 (Rowbotham) Rothborough Comets 9 (Lewis 3, Sturges 3, Linnett 2, Lewis/Sturges), Thrapston Harriers 10 (Blantern 3, Burrows 3, Beth Tyler 3, Blantern/Burrows) Harborough Imps 0.

Player of the week: Anthony Yeomans.

Team of the week: Kettering Town A.