Great Yeldham have livened up the race at the top of division three of the Braintree Table Tennis League with an excellent win over league leaders Netts D.

Netts D’s second defeat of the season – the first was also by Yeldham – has reduced their lead to just three points.

Lorraine Burgess was the star of the 6-4 win, with victories in her three singles, including a rare defeat for Charles Calisin.

Calisin, with only two defeats behind him up to that point, also lost to Doug Sanders and for once was bettered by his father Jimmy, who beat both Sanders and Kevin Mills.

Both teams have five matches to play but Netts look to have the easier run-in. They both face Netts E plus Black Notley’s G and I teams but Netts’ other two matches, against Rayne H and Notley H, appear easier on paper than Yeldham’s task against fourth-placed Rayne G and a Finchingfield team that has varied in strength depending on which of their 10 players turn out.

Yeldham are five places ahead of third-placed Notley G, who recovered from their 5-5 stumble against their H team to take all ten from Sudbury Strollers. That opened up a 15-point gap to Rayne G, who had to work hard for a 6-4 win over Notley I, with three wins from Dave Whiting.

Rayne H jumped two places to sixth with wins of 9-1 over Netts E and 7-3 against Finchingfield.

Ernst Midl and Tim Gowers scored their second maximums of the season in the latter.

And Keith Rolfe scored his first double in Netts E’s 8-2 defeat by Notley H. He beat Mike Smith and Trevor Johnson, who had both beaten him earlier in the season.

Events also took an unexpected turn at the top of division two where second-placed Rayne D suffered a surprisingly heavy 8-2 defeat against Sudbury Wanderers two weeks after beating the leaders Netts B.

Rayne had won the earlier fixture between the two but Louise Hartshorn was not playing in that one and showed how much she was missed by winning her three singles this time, all in straight games. She was the only one to beat Dave Moles, who won the two for Rayne.

The result leaves Wanderers four points adrift of Netts B, from the same number of matches, but only one point behind Rayne D and Notley D with a match in hand.

Notley D also had an unexpected slippage, losing 7-3 to Notley E. Sean Clift’s absence for the first time this season had more than a little to do with that. Adam Clift took the D team’s three wins, but Alan Billing, Peter Pond and Salih Salim took the rest.

At the other end of the table, Rayne E, in seventh place, beat their own F team 7-3, with three wins from Matthew Brown, while Netts C ended a four-match losing streak with an 8-2 win over Notley F. Kierlan Richards and Jack Dearsley were unbeaten, the latter’s first maximum at this level.