Netts A have claimed their second successive Braintree Table Tennis League title and seventh in all after a 10-0 victory over their own B team.
The win they needed was a straightforward affair. They turned out one of their strongest teams of Paul Davison, Michael Andrews and Andy Holmes and won most of the sets in straight games.
The only close encounter was Holmes’ win over Maria Boulton, when he had to come from two games down to win 3-2 (13-15, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9).
The result put them out of reach of second-placed Rayne A, who were not able to follow Netts’ lead and could only draw with their own B team.
Victor Chan won twice for the B team and came close to a hat-trick when he stretched Steve Pennell, who won his other two sets, to 11-9 in the fifth game.
After toying with relegation the whole season, past champions Liberal A finally secured their first division status but only with an anticlimactic 7-3 defeat by Black Notley B, a result that sends Notley’s A team down instead.
Dan Anderson was unbeaten for Notley B, but was stretched to 11-9 in the fifth by Scott Dowsett.
Notley A had earlier kept their survival chances technically alive by holding Liberal B to a draw.
What could have been the climax of the season in division two – first versus second – was anything but, as Sudbury Nomads took all 10 sets against Liberal C.
Not a negligible Liberal C team either, but Gareth Davies, Garry Fryatt and Dave Hardy were no match for Karl Baldwin, Jack Cansdale and Ken Lewis.
The race for third place proved unexpectedly tight – five teams were covered by eight points – but Notley C just managed to claim it after a 6-4 defeat by their own E team. Peter Pond’s unbeaten evening led the E team to victory.
After only one win in their previous 10 matches, Rayne D finished with the scoreline in the right order. Mike Baldwin won three for Netts C but they could only add one more.
Sudbury Wanderers and Rayne E continued their fight to the wire in division three. Wanderers missed the chance to take the title when Rayne E’s two dropped points against Netts E meant they would have been uncatchable with a 9-1 win over Netts D.
But Kierlan Richards, conqueror of the otherwise unbeaten Oliver Hicks a couple of weeks ago, was a thorn in their flesh too by winning two of his singles. Ian Shrubsole managed to get the better of him but the surprise was an excellent victory for Michael Goodchild over Louise Hartshorn.
Third-placed Notley G rounded off their season with a resounding 10-0 win over their own I team (Matt Stephenson unlucky to go down twice at 11-9 in the fifth) while Graham Chinnery returned to Notley H after a lengthy lay-off and took his three singles in the 7-3 win over Rayne G.
He was, though, given a stiff examination by Tim Townsend before pulling away at 14-12 in the fifth.