The last four remaining first division teams bowed out of the Braintree Table Tennis League handicap cup at the last 16 stage.

Liberal A faced some of the highest handicaps in the round but managed to push third division Netts D to 5-4.

Terry Dowsett gave away starts of 14 and 15 (up to 21) but managed to win twice, missing out only against Jack Dearsley, whose three sets were pivotal in Netts’ victory.

Black Notley B also went down 5-4 but they suffered the heartache of seeing a 4-2 lead disappear against Notley D. Alan Billing was undefeated for Notley D.

Rayne A, facing deficits between eight and 12, were holding Notley C at 3-3 but two comfortable victories then saw the visitors home. Glen Laing and Jonny Evans won twice each for Notley C.

The other first division team, Rayne B, conceded their tie against Notley G. Liberal C also conceded, in their case to Notley E.

Paul Wellington was unbeaten in Rayne C’s 7-2 win over Notley F.

Szczepan Ziobro won the two sets he played in Netts C’s 5-3 win over Sudbury Nomads, while Geoff Barrett notched up two wins for the losers.

On the face of it, Rayne D versus Rayne F looked a fairly even contest, but the F team didn’t see it that way. Alastair Brown, Chris High and Lewis Armstrong-Kirton won all nine.

In the league, division two leaders Notley C chalked up a surprisingly comfortable 9-0 win over fourth-placed Rayne C.

Tim Huxtable, whose form had taken a dip with only two wins in his last 12 sets, can be more than pleased with his three wins.

Notley D beat their own E team 6-3 while bottom team Rayne D picked up another win, 5-4 over Notley F.

Rayne’s Steve Buer suffered his first defeat of the season at the hands of Sean Clift, who was unbeaten for Notley F.

There was a first defeat too for Rayne F’s new signing Tim Schafer, who had won his first six sets in division three. He found Szczepan Ziopro too much for him in his team’s 7-2 defeat by leaders Netts C. He showed his pedigree, though, with wins over Peter Clark and Peter Lewis.

Netts D’s Chris Krelle is another player in form. He won his three sets for the second match running in his team’s 6-3 win over Rayne G.

Rayne E beat Notley H by the same score while Notley G had a closer-than-expected tussle with their own I team before emerging with a 5-4 win. Matt Brooks was unbeaten for the G team.