A dog’s eating habits may have had a bearing on this season’s Braintree Table Tennis League restricted cup.

A seesawing first-round match between Rayne F and Black Notley I had reached a crucial stage when Notley’s Matt Stephenson received a call to say that his dog had eaten a teabag and needed to be taken to the vet.

His subsequent mercy dash meant that he couldn’t play his final singles with the score at 4-3 to Rayne.

His team won the final doubles so had he won his singles it would have been they who went through rather than their opponents.

He and Tony Brown won one singles while Charles Wilkinson, Alastair Brown and Tim Gowers won one each for Rayne.

The other two cup matches were rather less exciting, a 6-0 win for Netts C over Notley H in the restricted cup and a 5-0 win for Netts A over Notley E in the team knockout cup.

It’s more than 20 years since Gary Copsey appeared in the Braintree League, but he made his presence felt by winning his three singles when he turned out for Notley E against title contenders Liberal C in division two.

He lost the first two games to both Garry Fryatt and Dave Hardy but prevailed in five games in both cases before polishing off Gareth Davies in three. Peter Pond won twice and Stewart Ireland once to give their team an unexpected 6-4 victory.

Also in division two, Notley C had a 9-1 win over Rayne D.  Peter Rickwood scored a good victory over Dave Parker but Gordon Fairchild and Neil Freeman were unbeaten.

In division three, the top two had comfortable wins, Rayne E 9-1 over their own G team – Tim Gowers’ win over Alex Morgan the one that got away – and Sudbury Wanderers beat Notley I 7-3 with Louise Hartshorn and Ian Shrubsole unbeaten.

Dave Whiting made his first appearance of the season and his three singles helped Rayne F to a draw with Notley H.