As the Burnham & District Table Tennis Winter League draws to its natural conclusion we now get to reward the most consistent and successful players across the three divisions.

The Burnham ‘MVP’ trophies are awarded to the players with the highest win rates across the season in each division provided they have played in at least half of their teams’ matches. 

Duncan Taylor (pictured above) is this year’s winner of the Division 1 Peter Ballard Cup with a 92% win-rate, only losing two individual matches all season.

Taylor is a well-known figure across the Essex table tennis circuit and a perennial Finals Night competitor in every league he plays in. But Taylor also plays for many of his teams on a regular basis – all those wet Wednesdays in Maldon or icy Mondays in Mundon – and in Burnham he regular turns out for the Cold Norton A side and that usually guarantees them a healthy points return. Taylor is a notable and very welcome addition to the list of previous winners.

Runner-up was Chris Penrose of Woodham A with 90% and Ian Wall of Cold Norton B was third on 82%.

The Division 2 title and Brian Ellis Cup is awarded back to big Barrie Delf of Mapledene C. Delf is a previous hogger of this trophy and clearly has an empty spot on his mantlepiece that needs replenishing. With just two losses all season Delf was significantly clear of the chasing pack. A very difficult player to beat as the ball just keeps coming back and back and back – it’s relentless!

Barrie Delf

Runner-up was Graham Briggs from Woodham C on 89%, and just a tad behind him on the same percentage was Woodham D’s Gus Heath.

The Division 3 race for supremacy was very tight until the last few rounds of matches when the St Lawrence duo of Steve King and Mike Pratley dropped some unexpected points – and in particular they both lost to the eventual stand out winner of the Roy Davis Cup, take a bow Peter Davenport from Blackwater E.

Davenport finished on a very impressive 88% win-rate for the season with King on 78% and Pratley on 76%. Tough league this one as they all play each other three times, so there is no hiding for the top players.

Peter Davenport

The league season came to a full conclusion this week with the final match between Maldon A and Woodham B in Division 1. Woodham B needed six points to leapfrog Cold Norton C and avoid the relegation discussions, and nine points to jump above their opponents Maldon A.

Despite dropping the doubles, the Woodham duo of Sanjay Saptarshi and Dan Patynski won all of their singles to secure the six points needed for the win and the relegation avoidance, Patynski just edging past Lloyd Bennet-Smith in a deciding set.

Woodham’s third player Eamonn Hall was unlucky to have lost his first two singles matches to Jon Stokes and Colin Napper both in long five-setters, so it seemed fitting that the final match of the whole season duly went to five sets as Hall came from behind to beat Bennett-Smith in a tantalising fifth leg. 7-3 to Woodham and the season is done.