After 12 consecutive wins, the Sudbury Nomads steamroller has hit a bump in the road.
The Braintree Table Tennis League division two leaders have been in a class of their own this season, but they found a tough opponent in Netts C, who gained a hard-fought draw.
Four sets went the full five games and Netts showed their mettle by holding their nerve to take all four.
The wins came in varying forms. Joe Meleschko saw a two-game lead pegged back by Jack Cansdale before fighting back to take the fifth, whereas Szczepan Ziobro had to do the opposite, losing the first two games but taking the next three.
Meleschko came from two games to one down against Richard Kemp to win the final two 14-12, 11-9 while the closest set came in the doubles which Meleschko and Ziobro clinched at 13-11 in the fifth.
A good win for Ziobro over Karl Baldwin in four games accounted for their fifth win. In the final analysis, Baldwin, Kemp, Meleschko and Ziobro all won two singles.
Nomads still have a healthy lead and it is now Liberal C in second place after they took advantage of their match in hand to move ahead of Black Notley D with a 7-3 win over Notley’s E team. Gareth Davies and Garry Fryatt were unbeaten.
Adi Kamma took his three singles for Rayne D against Notley C but could not prevent a 6-4 defeat, while Jamie Brooks, playing up again from division three, scored excellent wins over Richard Whiteside and Dave Punt in Notley F’s 7-3 defeat by Rayne C.
The top two in division three both had 9-1 wins, Rayne E against their own G team and Sudbury Wanderers against Notley I.
Tim Townsend’s win over Scott Whiteside accounted for Rayne G’s point while Paul Downes had a good win over Peter Abbott for Notley I.
Jim Davy won his three singles for Notley G in their draw with Netts D but Michael Goodchild and Kierlan Richards had creditable wins over Jamie Brooks.
It was Steve Baines who hit the heights in Notley H’s 6-4 win over Rayne F. He remained unbeaten for the first time since pre-Covid times.
Most notable was a win over Alastair Brown at 18-16 in the fifth game, one of the closest in the league this season.
In division one, Notley A moved out of the bottom two with a surprisingly comfortable 7-3 win over Netts B. It was one of those matches that defies logic where the three Notley players, Takunda Nerutanga, Paul Nicol and Chris Parr, all won two singles but each lost to a different opponent.
Liberal B drop below them after a 10-0 defeat by leaders Netts A where Robin Armstrong stretching James Hicks to five games was the closest Netts came to a defeat.
Liberal’s A team meanwhile are now only four points adrift after their 7-3 win over Rayne B.