The top two teams in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League clashed this week in a tense and tight encounter at the Mapledene arena – Mapledene A held on for the win thanks to the bonus double victory and remain ensconced at the summit, but watch out as here come Fambridge.

Daniel Young was the less than secret weapon deployed by Mapledene A as they hosted their nearest rivals Cold Norton B this week. Young was able to record a fine hat-trick of wins that included a clash of styles five-set victory over Eric Green.

Despite his flawless record young Young was cruelly dropped for the vital doubles encounter in which his team-mates Gary Young and Steve Muth mercilessly destroyed their opponents and thus facilitated the overall victory – with the remaining points coming from the two singles wins by the elder Young.

For Cold Norton B Sam Lowman had two good wins including his own deuce+ five-setter against the hard working Steve Muth. The 6-4 victory keeps Mapledene atop the table, for now.

With the top two teams in action and sharing the spoils, Fambridge took it upon themselves to record a near perfect 10-0 scoreline against Cold Norton C that sees them leapfrog Cold Norton B into the runner-up slot.

The strong Fambridge trio of Mark Stones, Keith Adams and captain John Poysden all scored hat-tricks with Adams and Poysden unwilling to drop a set between them. Cold Norton’s Chris Buer got the closest to breaking the duck when he took Stones to deuce in the fifth but just ran out of gas at the vital moment as Stones finished off the leg 12-10.

Cold Norton A remain in the running for a top 3 place although they haven’t been able to field their strongest line-up regularly enough to really trouble the top spot. This week they rolled over a two-man Maldon A side and came out 8-2 to the good with Kevin Read taking the player of the match plaudits with a ‘nine-dart treble’ for his singles. Maldon’s Lloyd Bennett-Smith gave a good account of himself as he came from behind in both his five-set victories against Charles Sweeny and Steve Maltby.

With the two top teams in Division 2 away on a warm weather training camp, Maldon B embraced the opportunity presented to them and steamed passed Blackwater B in a 10-0 victory that sees them split the top two and sends out a reminder that the Maldonians are still here and still in contention.

The Maldon war cry was led by Captain Colin Napper who won four points on the night in a measly 12 sets of ping pong. His trusted lieutenants were Dawn Baldry and Hamish Innes, both racking up more hat-tricks for their impressive seasons.

Blackwater’s Neil Thompson top spun his way into contention against Innes – taking that match all the way to deuce in the deciding set but Innes held on for the tightest of victories.

Maldon C and their talismanic leader Steve Aspland were both back to winning ways this week. Aspland (pictured above) led from the front with a barely troubled hat-trick and as is the norm for this team he paired up with Colin Barrell for the extra doubles point that led to the overall 7-3 winning margin. Barrell took two wins, and their third player Garry Eames chipped in with a notable 4 set victory over Dave Marsh.

Maldon D couldn’t emulate their stablemates achievements this week as they fell to the combined skills and efforts of Cold Norton D in a 7-3 loss. This was Cold Norton D’s first win since the opening fixture of the season and keeps them six points clear of their fallen victim at the bottom of the division. Despite the loss, Maldon’s Shirley Carroll should be very pleased with her two wins for her team – her first double of the season.

In the final game in this division Woodham D and Stow Maries D played out an even-stevens draw with Stow’s Tim Pulham the standout player as he defeated the Woodham trio without the need for any deciding sets. Woodham’s Gus Heath and Alan Dadswell each scored a brace of singles wins to keep their side in contention.

Plucky St Lawrence maintained their grip on the Division 3 title as they romped through Woodham E this week. The St Lawrence Galacticos were pretty dominant all evening with the only real sticking point being the forceful play of Woodham’s Peter Harverson. He lost out 12-10 in the fifth set to the wily Mike Pratley and took his team’s only point against Steve King.

Pratley and Mick Robinson recorded their hat-tricks with Robinson doing so without dropping a set – in fact he never really got close to dropping one.

The Blackwater teams continue to fight it out for the silver medals with the E and D teams both securing good wins this week. Blackwater E were the 8-2 victors in the match with Maldon F, with David Sage taking the headlines for his second hat-trick of the season.

Blackwater D had a closer encounter with Maldon E as they emerged 6-4 winners on the night. All of the Blackwater players took wins during the match but none of them could get passed the emerging star of this Maldon team Arthur Shadforth. This was Shadforth’s first hat-trick and he had to work hard for it as his rollercoaster matches with the more experienced Dave Benstead and Jaqui Treacy went deep into five sets – great to see such application and determination from a young player.