The main reason for running a handicap cup for Braintree Table Tennis League teams is to give its lesser lights a chance of some success.

And so it has proved this year as six of the teams through to the last eight of the competition are from division three. Only Rayne C, from division one, and Netts C, from division two, bucked the trend.

Rayne C had three wins from Victor Chan – giving away 11, 14 and 15 points up to 21 – to thank for taking them past Finchingfield 5-2 while Jack Dearsley’s three singles helped Netts C to a 6-2 win over Great Yeldham.

Netts have two other teams through to the last eight – the teams currently top and bottom of division three. Their D team beat Rayne H 7-2, where Keith Traynor was unbeaten and the only one to beat Tim Townsend.

The E team barely had to break sweat to beat Rayne H, who had only two players. That meant they only needed to win two, which they managed in the first three sets thanks to one each from Lindsey Dodd and Cley Dearsley.

All three of Black Notley’s third division teams have reached the quarter-final. The G team, third in the league, had a curious switchback match against Sudbury Wanderers where they lost the first three sets and then won the next five.

Even more curious was the manner of their success when, with the score at 4-3, Louise Hartshorn pulled back from a 12-point handicap to 18-18 in the third against Peter Game, but Game stuck to it and won the next three points to take his team to victory.

The match between Notley I and Rayne G, teams in sixth and fourth place in the division, looked well balanced with three of the sets played off scratch and three with a handicap of -3.

And so it proved, Notley coming away with a tight 5-3 victory in which Nigel Parmenter won his three singles.

Notley H received a walkover from Notley A, who were unable to raise a team.

The eighth slot in the quarter-final draw will be occupied by Sudbury Strollers, who took advantage of their handicaps to remove second division leaders Netts B 8-1. Michael Crombie and Geoff Barrett were unbeaten.

In division one, the bottom versus top clash between Liberal C and Rayne A unsurprisingly ended 0-10, with only one set going to four games.

Rather more unexpected was Rayne C’s win by the same score against their own B team. Oliver Hicks, Steve Pennell and Ian Whiteside were on duty for the C team.

Notley B had a 9-1 win over Liberal C and in an earlier match shared the points with Liberal’s B team. It was a match where no one won all three or lost all three, Paul Nicol coming closest to the former, missing out only at 13-11 against Alistair Hill.

Sudbury Nomads’ match against Liberal A also finished level, where the A team were indebted to three sets from Scott Dowsett.