Westfield seize on rivals’ slip-up to take the crown

Steve Silk
Steve Silk

Westfield A wrapped up the Premier Division title in the Kettering & District Table Tennis League with a game to spare as they took advantage of their nearest rivals’ slip-up.

Club-mates Westfield B, needing a big win, crumbled to a 6-4 defeat against Higham.

The defeat could have been a lot heavier had it not been for Nicole Bird, who recorded a fine maximum.

She beat the trio of Richard Elliott, Richard Bashford and Andy Harrison for the loss of just two ends but her wins were only added to by a single win for Matt Horrocks, who came back from 2-0 down to beat Harrison.

Westfield B were without their star player Dan Smalley and it showed, although they could not have expected Bogdan Capusa to register a blank.

That result left Westfield A needing just nine points from two games for the league crown and they got the points they needed just two days after the B team’s defeat.

Playing away at bottom-markers Thrapston Eagles they raced into an 8-0 lead without breaking sweat.

Needing a point for glory Steve Silk went 1-0 behind to Chris Warliker but he survived a scare to win 3-1 and seal the title.

Roumen Stefanov and Brian Wooding added the doubles to ensure the whitewash leaving next week’s clash with Higham effectively a dead rubber, although Westfield will want to end the season undefeated.

Corby Smash A turned in the performance of the week as they crushed a strong Corby Rothbury side 8-2.

Rothbury are not yet mathematically safe from the drop so fielded Aiden Smith and Lee O’Boyle but the pair only won two matches.

Tony West was unbeaten for the hosts despite being taken to five by Smith.

Youngsters Sam and Adam Wilson continued their record of taking Premier Division scalps, as Sam beat Smith from 2-0 down and Adam beat O’Boyle.

The result leaves Rothbury three points clear of Westfield C in the drop-zone but with Westfield facing Kettering Town in the final week, the Corby side are still favourites to avoid relegation.

Results: Higham 6 (Elliott 2, Bashford 2, Harrison, Elliott/Bashford) Westfield B 4 (Bird 3, Horrocks), Thrapston Eagles 0 Westfield A 10 (Wooding 3, Silk 3, Stefanov 3, Wooding/Stefanov), Corby Smash A 8 (West 3, S Wilson 2, A Wilson 2, West/S Wilson) Corby Rothbury 2 (Smith, O’Boyle).

Player of the week: Nicole Bird.

Team of the week: Corby Smash A.

Burton Baptist C were favourites to be relegated going into the final week in Division One and needed at least a draw but preferably a win against Thrapston Falcons to have any chance of finishing ahead of Kites, who were five points ahead.

They resisted the temptation of playing up Harry Lade and Jacob Tattersall who may have done better than the regulars and bravely attempted to do it with their own players.

It was always going to be a tall order against Ian Baldock, Nigel Payne and Trevor Beard, though.

Chris Agg played exceptionally well for Burton C only losing one game in his first treble against Falcons this season and second overall.

Sadly his team-mates couldn’t match his efforts although Kelvin Marshall had a good 3-0 win over Beard but lost 3-2 to Payne and 3-0 to Baldock.

Paul Goodman had a blank night losing, 3-0 to Baldock and 3-2 to both Payne and Beard.

Finally, Baldock and Payne overcame Agg and Marshall 3-1 to win the doubles to win 6-4 and take all the pressure off their club-mates Kites who played the next day already one point above Burton C.

Baldock finished on 73 per cent and beat at least one opponent in singles in every match of the season.

With the pressure off Kites they performed admirably in only losing 6-4 to Harborough B, considering the finishing positions of these teams, runners-up and second to bottom.

Bob Hickson and Peter Briggs both had two good wins over Mike Brocklebank and Steve Crook with Liam Burnham being a step too far and in doing so, Hickson just pipped team-mate Stewart Williams in the averages by half a percent as Williams scored a blank.

Crook and Brocklebank added the doubles against Williams and Briggs.

After winning the title, Harborough A played their final matches with only two players and although they won 7-3, which is the best you can do with two players, Barry and Nathan Thompson didn’t have it all their own way against Westfield D.

Travis Holly, Duncan Brudenall and Chris Alder put up a good fight as there was only one 3-0 but in the other six sets, Harborough A started with a 2-1 lead and the closest Westfield got to a comeback was Nathan beating Alder 12-10 in the fifth.

This means that Nathan Thompson finished at the top of the averages on 93 per cent and well ahead of dad Barry in sixth place on 79.4 per cent.

Considering league positions Burton Baptist B, who finished sixth, did well to hold third placed Rothborough Arrows to a 5-5 draw.

On a personal note it was a good performance rounding off an excellent season by Rothborough’s Helen Watts who scored a treble and avenged an earlier defeat by Dave Needham.

This was only Needham’s second defeat of the season from five matches meaning that both Watts and Needham finished joint third in the averages on 86.7 per cent.

The match between Watts and Needham was quite close, Watts winning 17-15 in the fourth but it was evident these two were the best two players in the match as they both beat their other opponents with ease.

Julian Marlow added the other two points for Rothborough by beating Steve Smith and Nash Hooda while Martin Watts narrowly lost 11-8 in the fifth to Hooda and 3-1 to Smith.

Smith and Needham beat Helen Watts and Marlow 3-0 in the doubles for the 5-5 draw

Results: Burton Baptist C 4 (Agg 3, Marshall) Thrapston Falcons 6 (Baldock 2, Payne 2, Beard, Baldock/Payne), Thrapston Kites 4 (Briggs 2, Hickson 2) Harborough B 6 (Burnham 3, Brocklebank, Crook, Crook/Brocklebank), Westfield D 3 (Holly, Brudenall, Alder) Harborough A 7 (B Thompson 3, N Thompson 3, Thompson/Thompson), Burton Baptist B 5 (Needham 2, Smith, Hooda, Smith/Needham) Rothborough Arrows 5 (H Watts 3, Marlow 2).

Team of the week: Thrapston Kites.

Players of the week: Helen Watts and Chris Agg.

The two leaders put out their strongest teams in the match to decide the title in Division Two, and when Stephen Woolston beat Abin Islam in the third game to make it 2-1 it looked like it could be close.

However that was as good as it got for Corby Lakeview as Corby Smash B confirmed themselves as champions with a 9-1 victory and in the process inflicted Lakeview’s first defeat of the season.

Adam Bendyk and Rob Warrander had their first blank nights of the season but all three of the Lakeview mainstays finished between 75 and 80 per cent wins over the season and were in the top eight Division Two players.

However, for Smash Adam Wilson finished on 92 per cent success, and Sam Wilson was unbeaten all season and they both only dropped one end in singles all night.

They had to go the distance in the doubles though when Warrander and Woolston pushed them hard.

Islam was the only player to play in the two singles that went to five, and in both games lost an end 16-18.

Smash B had the top four Division Two players, were unbeaten all season and used 10 different players but always managed to put out a full team.

Burton Baptist Team Jim finished a comfortable third as they beat Rothborough Comets 8-2.

It was fairly straightforward for the youngsters until game seven when Ben Freeman lost his second game, a tight five-ender 11-13 for Lee Mordecai’s sole victory, then Jacob Tattersall squeezed past Pete Sturges –who had earlier beaten Freeman - 15-13 at the death to secure the victory.

It means Lade finishes just shy of 80 per cent victories and Tattersall close to two-thirds.

Team Jim used only four players all season, the fewest in the league, and never played with just two players.

Although drawing a blank on the night, Gareth Lewis was Comets’ best player statistically of the season with close to half of his games being victories.

Buccaneers won their third game of the season, two of them against Halesowen, and managed to finish above club mates Comets.

For Halesowen, Neil Stone got his second maximum, beating players ranked 14 and 16 places ahead of him, and he finishes at over 50 per cent wins, their best player.

Ken Murie got the Corby outfit’s other point with John Hunt having an unlucky blank night.

Lauren Ainsworth and Luke Saywood got a pair and finished Buccaneers’ number one and two respectively.

Pete Rowbotham played up and got a hard fought win over Hunt in the last singles coming from two down to finish 12-10, 12-10 to snatch a good win, then Ainsworth and Saywood ensured the victory.

Results: Burton Baptist Team Jim 8 (H Lade 3, Tattersall 3, Freeman, Freeman/H Lade) Rothborough Comets 2 (Mordecai, Sturges), Corby Smash B 9 (A Wilson 3, S Wilson 3, Islam 2, A Wilson/S Wilson) Corby Lakeview 1 (Woolston), Corby Halesowen 4 (Murie, Stone 3) Rothborough Buccaneers 6 (Ainsworth 2, Saywood 2, Rowbotham, Ainsworth/Saywood).

Player of the week: Neil Stone.

Team of the week: Corby Smash B.