Any lingering thoughts that Netts A would not win this season’s Braintree Table Tennis League title were effectively banished when the champions overcame their closest rivals in their third encounter of the season.

Unusually for this stage of the season, both Netts A and Rayne A entered the third phase unbeaten, having drawn their first two encounters.

Both turned out arguably their strongest teams: Paul Davison, Michael Andrews and Andy Holmes versus Paul Lucas, Lee McHugh and Adam Buxton.

Andrews had been beaten just once (by Lucas), Davison three times, Lucas once (by Davison), and McHugh by both Andrews and Davison in the last match between the two.

This time it was Davison, often the man for the big occasion, who emerged on top with victories over McHugh in four games and Lucas by the surprisingly convincing scoreline of 3-0 (11-7, 11-4, 11-6).
Andrews weighed in with wins over Lucas at 11-8 in the fifth game and Buxton at 11-9 in the fifth but was downed by McHugh 11-3 in the fifth.

Holmes, who had lost to Buxton, surprisingly got the better of McHugh and with the Davison-Andrews doubles partnership also proving successful, Netts came away with a 7-3 win.

The result leaves Netts seven points clear with a match in hand.

Black Notley B are third after a 6-4 win over Liberal B, Dan Anderson remaining unbeaten for the fifth consecutive match.

Notley A improved their chances of avoiding the drop by beating fellow relegation candidates Rayne B 7-3.

Notley welcomed back Patrice Élonge for his first match of the season and he obliged with two wins, alongside a similar return for Chris Parr and Takunda Nerutanga.

In division two, Liberal C climbed back above Notley D into second place with an 8-2 win over Notley F.
Liberal were also welcoming back a familiar face, David Razzell, and it was as if he had never been away. He won his three singles, as did another returnee.

Ben Page won the junior boys’ singles in 2011 but left the league shortly after. There was clear evidence he has not stopped playing, however, given the ease of his three wins in Netts C’s 6-4 win against Rayne C.

After sharing the top spot in division three, Sudbury Wanderers now have it to themselves after an 8-2 win over Netts E while Rayne E were without a match. Peter Abbott and Ian Shrubsole were unbeaten.

Rayne F included Brian How for only the fourth time this season and his three singles were vital in gaining a 6-4 win over Notley I.