Black Notley’s I team have shown the value of perseverance in division three of the Braintree Table Tennis League.

After losing their first nine matches, they broke their duck in the 10th, and have just won two of their last three.

Paul Downes was undefeated for the second time in three matches in the 7-2 win over Netts D.

The evening was also a milestone for Matt Stephenson. New to competitive table tennis this year, he won two singles for the first time.

Netts’ C team continued undisturbed at the top of the division with an 8-1 win over third-placed Notley G.

Alex Morgan’s three wins in Rayne E’s 7-2 win over their own G team included only the second defeat so far for Tim Schafer.

Notley H joined the club’s G team on 76 points – albeit from three more matches – after a win by the same score over Rayne G.

Peter Game’s three wins included a nailbiter against Tim Townsend. Two games to one down, he was taken to 18-16 in the fourth before saving the game and then grabbed the decider 11-8.

In division two, Glen Laing turned out for leaders Notley C for the first time since December 8, and suffered the same fate he had then: defeats by both Sean and Adam Clift.

They were Notley F’s only wins, however, Dan Anderson and Jonny Evans remaining unbeaten.

Liberal C fell a couple of points further behind after a close game with Notley E. Gareth Davies suffered only his sixth defeat of the season in 33 sets – an excellent win for Elliot Game – but his two singles, two more from Garry Fryatt and one from Dave Hardy produced a 5-4 win.

Rayne C beat Nomads 5-4 despite three wins for Karl Baldwin. Dave Punt came closest to denying Baldwin his full house, stretching him to 12-10 in the fifth game, as well as winning his other two sets.

Rayne D’s dwindling hopes of avoiding relegation took a further knock when they lost to Notley D, the team just above them, 6-3. Three wins each for Alan Billing and Paul Nicol did the damage.

In division one, leaders Netts A avoided the humiliation of another defeat by bottom team Notley B, their only reverse so far. This time they took all nine sets.

Former men’s singles champion Brandon Crouchman turned out for only the fourth time this season for Liberal A. He took his three singles in his side’s 7-2 win, but had to work hard against Chris Parr, who took the first two games off him.

Adam Cuthbert was unbeaten as Liberal B beat Rayne B 5-4.