Liberal C have spiced up the race for the division two title in the Braintree Table Tennis League after beating long-time leaders Black Notley C. It was Notley’s third defeat in four matches and leaves the teams only one point apart.

While Notley continue to have the ace in the pack in the unbeaten Dan Anderson, Liberal have proved to have strength in depth as they proved again in their latest encounter.

Gareth Davies and Garry Fryatt won twice and although David Razzell slipped up against Steve Noble, he has proved a more than adequate replacement for Jon Fieldsend since he joined the team towards the end of the truncated 2019-20 season.

Both teams have seven matches to play. The fact that in Liberal’s case two of those are against bottom team Rayne D could be a decisive factor.

Also in division two, Dave Punt returned after a six-week break and won his three singles in Rayne C’s 7-2 win over Rayne D, Sudbury Nomads beat Notley E 6-3 and Notley F matched that score in their encounter with Notley D, where Sean Clift’s three wins in straight games were decisive.

In division one it is Notley A’s Chris Parr who makes the news for ending James Hicks’ unbeaten run.

Hicks had won all 19 sets this season until he came up against Parr’s dogged determination. Parr came through 3-2 (7-11, 11-8, 11-3, 7-11, 11-6). Netts A won the match 6-3.

Netts B went one better with a 7-2 win over Rayne B. Nikki Kennard was unbeaten.

Rayne A beat Liberal A 5-4 despite three wins from Terry Dowsett, while Robin Armstrong and Mike Johnston were unbeaten in Liberal B’s 7-2 win over Notley B.

In division three Netts C beat their closest rivals Rayne E 8-1 to open up a 20-point gap at the top.

Rayne stretched two sets to five games and three to four games, but in the end only had Martin Brunker’s win over Peter Lewis to show for their evening’s endeavours. Clive Forster and Szczepan Ziobro were unbeaten.

At the other end of the table second-from bottom Notley I had a surprise 7-2 win over Rayne F. Paul Downes and recent signing Lawrence Grantham, who has returned to the club after a five-year absence, won their three singles.

Notley H beat Netts D 5-4 while Jim Davy’s three singles led Notley’s G team to a 7-2 win over Rayne G, for whom Tim Townsend won twice.