Westfield cap another title with crushing win

Henry Arthur was the player of the week in the Premier DivisionHenry Arthur was the player of the week in the Premier Division
Henry Arthur was the player of the week in the Premier Division
Westfield A capped yet another Kettering & District Table Tennis League Premier Division title with a crushing 9-1 win over Burton Baptist A.

Baptist’s title chances have been blighted by the minimal availability of Dawid Przybysz and Chris Ross and they had to borrow Martin Hall and Gerry Crasto from their B team to field a side in this clash.

Hall got their only point with a fantastic deciding-game win over Nicole Bird, who was fortunate to beat Alex Aston in five.

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Steve Silk and Roumen Stefanov were largely untroubled as they gained maximums.

Baptist’s defeat gave Westfield B an opportunity to grab fourth place and they took it with both hands by beating Corby B 8-2.

Westfield called on Steve Hobbs from their C side and he claimed two superb wins, beating both Aaron Moore and Nigel Hunt, the latter for the loss of just nine points.

Hobbs found Henry Arthur a step too far, with Arthur doubling his side’s tally with an entertaining win over Sam Wildman in another match between the pair to go the distance.

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Dan Smalley was the maximum man for the visitors, who have surpassed all expectations to finish in the top four for the first time.

Sandwiched between Baptist A and Westfield B in fifth are newcomers Corby Smash.

They overtook Baptist A in the last round of the season with a 7-3 win over Burton Baptist B.

Elsewhere, Higham signed off their season with a 6-4 win over Harborough A.

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Nathan Thompson fought back from 2-0 down to claim a fantastic victory over Richard Bashford before beating Andy Harrison.

Harrison also fell to Barry Thompson with Harborough winning the doubles over Bashford and Mark Nannery, who made a long-awaited return from injury.

Kettering Town A finished the season as runners-up with a 7-3 win over Corby A.

John Fuller remained unbeaten once more, with Chris Haynes beating Nigel Metcalfe and Mike Hawes for the hosts. Kyle Murie added a third point with a win over Hawes.

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Results: Westfield A 9 (Silk 3, Stefanov 3, Bird 2, Stefanov/Bird) Burton Baptist A 1 (Hall), Corby B 2 (Arthur 2) Westfield B 8 (Smalley 3, Wildman 2, Hobbs 2, Smalley/Hobbs), Higham 6 (Elliott 3, Bashford 2, Harrison), Harborough A 4 (N Thompson 2, B Thompson, Thompson/Thompson), Corby A 3 (Haynes 2, Murie) Kettering Town A 7 (Fuller 3, Metcalfe 2, Hawes, Fuller/Metcalfe), Burton Baptist B 3 Corby Smash 7.

Team of the week: Westfield B.

Player of the week: Henry Arthur.

With the Division One title already decided, the attention turned to the race for the runners-up spot and the all-important second promotion place.

The two contenders - Westfield C and Harborough B - went head-to-head against each other in a decider.

Westfield needed at least a 5-5 draw whereas Harborough B needed to win by any score.

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Unsurprisingly, both teams fielded their strongest line-ups and Steve Hobbs got the Wellingborough team off to a good start with a close 3-0 victory over Liam Burnham and when Nitin Patel went 2-0 up on Mike Brocklebank things were already looking bleak for Harborough.

But Brocklebank fought back to win the next three games and level the match at 1-1.

Westfield’s Bhavika Mistry then got her team back in the lead with a 3-0 win over Steve Crook only for Burnham to level up again beating Patel 3-1.

The ever-reliable Hobbs once again regained the lead, beating Crook 3-1.

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Brocklebank needed to keep the pattern going by beating Mistry.

When she took a 2-0 lead he knew he had to do what he did earlier and make another comeback. He did make it 2-2 but this time he couldn’t complete the comeback with Mistry taking the decider 11-7.

This now meant that Westfield led 4-2 and only needed one more set and the pimples of Patel were too much for Crook to cope with as he won 3-1 to ensure Westfield sealed promotion in set seven.

Burnham got some consolation with a 3-0 win over Mistry and then Hobbs’ 3-0 victory over Brocklebank meant he topped the individual averages.

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With the match won and second place assured, Chris Alder joined Hobbs in the doubles which Brocklebank and Burnham won convincingly 3-0 to wrap up a 6-4 win for Westfield.

There were also two teams that could finish second to bottom with Rothborough Buccaneers one point ahead of Harborough D but, considering the former were playing bottom team Rothborough Comets, and Harborough D were playing the unbeaten champions Thrapston Eagles it looked to be a formality for Buccaneers.

Sean Smith can usually be relied upon to beat the lower-ranked players and he duly obliged with a treble, albeit he was taken all the way to 11-9 in the fifth by Alan Brisley.

Luke Saywood got a brace, beating Ainsworth and Brisley but lost to Kelvin Linnett whereas Ivor Jones did the opposite when beating only Linnett meaning they would at least win and then Saywood and Smith gave them some extra security winning the doubles 3-0 to make the score 7-3 to Buccaneers.

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This meant that for Harborough D to finish above Buccaneers they would have to beat champions Thrapston Eagles at least 9-1 which was highly improbable.

That faint hope was over early as Eagles took a 2-0 lead, however the performance of Harborough’s Phil Dixon after this is worth a mention.

After losing to Steve West he beat Ian Donaldson 3-0 and followed that with probably the shock result of the season when seeing off Mark Stockley 11-7 in the fifth game.

But Thrapston won all the other sets to finish a successful season with an 8-2 victory.

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The race for fourth place was also close with Thrapston teams the Falcons and Kites level on points going into the final week.

Kites were probably slight favourites as they had the slightly easier match on paper against Harborough C while Falcons took on Burton Baptist D.

For Kites, Peter Briggs’ treble made it 13 out of 20 for the season but it was one of his tougher ones as he was taken to fifth-game deciders by Steve Crook and Jamie Burgess.

Crook scored Harborough’s only two points with a brace over Stewart Williams and Geoff Judd who both got braces over Jamie Burgess and Mark Pearson to complete an 8-2 victory and a season for Kites which was much better at the end than at the start.

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For Falcons to finish fourth they would have to match Kites’ 8-2 scoreline against Burton Baptist D but all three of Steve Smith, Chris Agg and Derek Muggleton contributed to a 5-5 draw.

They all had 3-0 victories over an out of sorts Alan Tyler and Smith came from 2-0 down to beat Nigel Payne while Agg and Smith won the doubles against Payne and Ian Baldock.

In scoring his treble, Baldock completed his season by winning at least two sets out of three in every match.

Considering Burton Baptist C were only four points ahead of Corby C before the match it was a surprisingly one-sided 9-1 victory for the former.

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All three of Harry Lade, Kelvin Marshall and Paul Goodman were on form for Burton. For Lade it was his first-ever treble in the division.

Both Marshall and Lade lost just two games in their hat-tricks, although Lade was eight out of eight before Keith McLaren made a comeback forcing him to fight all the way to 13-11 in the fifth.

Stephen Woolston had a four-games victory over Goodman and this was the only win for his team.

Results: Westfield C 6 (Hobbs 3, Mistry 2, Patel) Harborough B 4 (Burnham 2, Brocklebank, Burnham/Brocklebank), Harborough D 2 (Dixon 2) Thrapston Eagles 8 (West 3, Donaldson 2, Stockley 2, Stockley/West), Rothborough Buccaneers 7 (Smith 3, Saywood 2, Jones, Saywood/Smith) Rothborough Comets 3 (Brisley, Ainsworth, Linnett), Harborough C 2 (Crook 2) Thrapston Kites 8 (Briggs 3, Williams 2, Judd 2, Briggs/Williams), Thrapston Falcons 5 (Baldock 3, Payne 2) Burton Baptist D 5 (Smith 2, Agg, Muggleton, Agg/Smith), Burton Baptist C 9 (Lade 3, Marshall 3, Goodman 2, Marshall/Goodman) Corby C 1 (Woolston).

Team of the week: Burton Baptist C.

Player of the week: Phil Dixon.

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