Rayne B struck an important blow in the battle to avoid relegation from division one of the Braintree Table Tennis League with an 8-2 victory over Black Notley B while their A team did them a favour and beat Notley’s A team by the same score.

Having gained only three points from their last three matches – including a defeat by Notley A – Rayne B had been slipping dangerously towards the drop zone.

But their win, and Notley A’s defeat, lifts them above their rivals with a match in hand.

Ironically, it was ex-Notley player Victor Chan who was most responsible. He won his three singles and in doing so ended Dan Anderson’s five-match unbeaten run. His 3-1 (11-13, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7) win was only Anderson’s fifth defeat of the season, and his second by Chan.

Steve Pennell was undefeated for Rayne A while Notley A’s two wins came from Paul Nicol, including an excellent 3-2 victory over Adam Buxton that mixed the close with the rather less close: 10-12, 12-10, 11-2, 10-12, 11-2.

Liberal A continue to live dangerously. Without either Brandon Crouchman or Scott Dowsett for the second match running they tumbled 9-1 to Netts B.

Maria Boulton and Nikki Kennard were unbeaten for Netts while Zach Harrington grabbed a point for Liberal with a win over Graham Playle.

In division two, Liberal C consolidated second place with a 6-4 win over Notley C while Notley D were held to a draw by Rayne D.

Rev Matthews won his three singles for Notley C, including only the sixth defeat this season for Gareth Davies.

Gary Copsey, called upon for the first time since the beginning of December, racked up three wins in Notley E’s 6-4 win over Rayne C.

Top v bottom produced a predictable result, Notley F 0 Sudbury Nomads 10, although Guy McKenzie gave Jack Cansdale something to think about, stretching him to 11-9 in the fifth game.

Division three leaders Sudbury Wanderers had their lead cut to six points by Rayne E, who have a match in hand.

Wanderers had a 7-3 win over Notley H, where Ian Shrubsole inflicted the fourth defeat of the season on Graham Chinnery, while Rayne E went two better with a 9-1 win over Notley G.

The match between the two Netts teams, D and E, ended with a 6-4 win to the former thanks to three singles from Kierlan Richards.

Rayne also had two teams facing each other and in their case it was 7-3 to the F team against the G team, Brian How and Adam Pitt remaining unbeaten.