Danbury D’s 7-3 victory over leaders Chelmsford C coupled with third-placed Writtle C’s 6-4 win over second placed Hatfield Peverel A blew the division two title race wide open with the top four teams now separated by a mere seven points.

Division 1

Barring any drastic swings in form from the teams at either end of division one, the three Danbury teams look set to fight over third place for the remainder of the season.

Sam Lowman continued his splendid recent league form as Danbury B beat Danbury C 8-2 to move into third place. Lowman rallied from 1-0 down against Trevor Lloyd to win in four games and later beat Sanjay Saptarshi 3-0. 

Match of the night saw Lloyd recover from 2-1 down against Ian Wall to take the fourth and fifth games 11-3 and 11-6. 

Elsewhere, Writtle A’s miserable run continued as they fell to a 9-1 loss at Chelmsford A – Harry Chivers and Josh Bickles scoring trebles, OCA A consolidated top spot with a 10-0 win at Galleywood A, and Danbury A crushed Chelmsford B 10-0 thanks to three wins apiece for Eric Green, Dave Richardson and Bruce Kettle.

Standings div 1: 1: Old Chelmsfordians A 92 points (from 12 matches), 2: Chelmsford A 84 points (12 matches), 3: Danbury B 71 points (13 matches).

Division 2

Writtle C were the only team from within division two’s top three who came away with a win in week 17 as both leaders Chelmsford C and second-placed Hatfield Peverel A slipped up on the road. 

Danbury D earned the title for ‘upset of the week’ as they beat leaders Chelmsford C 7-3 thanks to hat-tricks from Dan Patynski and David Gatheral. While Patynski dropped just one game in his three matches, Gatheral’s treble proved a little harder to come by – he fought back from 2-1 down against both Waseem Qureshi and Mark Allaway and was also taken to four games by Victor Chan.

Qureshi also had a busy night – he made amends for his five-game loss to Gatheral by beating Eamonn Hall having been 2-1 down prior to seeing four game action against Patynski. 

After a bright start to the evening which saw them go 2-1 up after three matches, second-placed Hatfield Peverel A lost four matches on the bounce en route to a 6-4 loss at Writtle C. Gary Ward’s two wins included a recovery from 2-0 down against Julie Johnson while John Webber’s double included a 12-10 final game decider win against Paul Mulley.

Johnson and Alastair Piper won two each for the visitors – Johnson recovering from 2-1 down against Webber while Piper beat Ward in three which included two tight 13-11 games.  

Maldon A closed the gap on the top three with a resounding 9-1 victory at Chelmsford D on Monday night. Including their doubles effort, Lloyd Bennett-Smith and Chris Hancox dropped just one game between them all evening while Dawn Baldry’s two victories were both earned in deciding games against Mike Johnston and Kelvin Felix. Keith Martin’s 3-1 win over Baldry earned the hosts their sole point for the evening.

Matthew Brown was the star of the show as his hat-trick guided his Writtle B team to an 8-2 away win at Danbury F on Thursday night. Brown dropped just one game over his three matches – his first victim of the night Chris Buer went on to beat both Phil Smith and Trevor Carter for Danbury’s only points. 

Carter produced a fine fightback in the closest match of the night – having trailed 2-0 to John Tendler he stormed through the last three games 11-5, 11-8, 11-5. 

Standings div 2: 1: Chelmsford C 71 points (from 11 matches), 2: Hatfield Peverel A 67 points (from 11 matches), 3: Writtle C 66 points (12 matches)

Division 3

Galleywood B extended their lead at the top of division three with an 8-2 away win at Chelmsford F.  Gary Brignall hit a hat-trick of wins with Gary Copsey and Mark Glenister denied from joining him by Chelmsford’s Felix Reeve.

Reeve managed to weather Copsey’s comeback from 2-0 down to win the deciding game by an 11-9 scoreline while Glenister squeezed past Pav Srinivasamurthy – who had recovered from 2-0 down only to lose the fifth game 13-11. 

Buttsbury A lost ground on the leaders despite a 7-3 home win against Danbury J. Fresh from several event-winning performances at the C&DTTL annual tournament last weekend, Jamie Elliott and Evie Knaapen won three individual matches apiece with the two continuing from their mixed doubles success with a 3-0 win over Louis Gunn and Terry Hyland. 

Hatfield Peverel B moved into third position with a 6-4 home win over Writtle E. Gareth Davies won three and Neil Freeman two for the hosts while Malcolm Storey scored with a double for Writtle.  Storey’s win over Freeman in the opening contest of the evening came from a position of 2-0 down and then winning the fourth and fifth games by 14-12, 12-10 scores. 

Danbury H won 6-4 on the road at Writtle D thanks to a hat-trick from Ian Whiteside and a double from Alan Scammell. Writtle’s Trevor Collin won twice for the hosts with only Whiteside’s opening 3-2 win in the first encounter of the night preventing the treble. Scammell put the visitors 2-0 up with a come from behind win over Pete Layzell before Henstock pulled one back for the hosts via a 3–1 win over Ken Sheard.

Standings div 3: 1: Galleywood B 80 points (from 11 matches), 2: Buttsbury A 74 points (11 matches), 3: Hatfield Peverel B 58 points (from 11 matches).

Division 4

Just one point separated the top three teams in division four going into week 17 with Galleywood C level on points with Maldon B and Chelmsford G one point back.

Chelmsford G would have been travelling to Galleywood hoping to hand the hosts their first loss of the season as well as to put a dent in their title aspirations but the leaders were able to pick up where they had left off prior to the break with a convincing 8-2 victory.

Will Goodchild was the sole treble scorer on the night though he had to recover from 2-1 down to beat Salih Salim while Chelmsford’s Cleon Fernandes – who won the division four singles at the C&DTTL annual tournament – was able to beat both Gary Copsey and Colin Blore. Fernandes’ win over Copsey was a relatively tight one: 4-11, 11-9, 10-12, 17-15, 11-7. 

Despite only fielding two players, Maldon B came out 7-3 winners at Hatfield Peverel E thanks to trebles from both Brian Riedling and Ella Sach. OCA D trounced Hatfield Peverel D 10-0 as Farooq Ahmed, David Bishop and Russell Hall all hit hat-tricks, while Buttsbury B and Danbury L played out a 5-5 draw at Ramsden Bellhouse Village Hall – Greg Cooper’s three wins completed via a fine fight back against Lucy Elliott (9-11, 11-13, 11-9, 11-9, 13-11).  

Standings div 4: 1: Galleywood C 69 points (from 9 matches), 2: Maldon B 68 points (from 10 matches), 3: Chelmsford G 62 points (10 matches),

Division 5

Danbury M’s march towards the division five title remains intact following their 9-1 home win over Highwood B. Steve Martin and Graham Naggs both fired hat-tricks with Nicola Pippen’s victory over David Smith being the only blot on the paper for the hosts. 

A 9-1 home win for second placed Chelmsford J over Writtle F was not enough to close the gap on the leaders. Elliott Hawthorne, Martin Brunker and Mark Nolan were all undefeated though Writtle were able to win the doubles encounter as Paul Aarons and Jo Hart won the decider against Brunker and Hawthorne. 

Third-placed Chelmsford H lost ground on the leaders following a 7-3 loss at Anglia Ruskin University. Douglas Bawuah won all three of his matches and he was well supported by Kelvin Edeh who scored with a double. Chelmsford’s Peter Davenport dashed Edeh’s hopes of a hat-trick when recovering from 2-1 down to win the decider 11-8. 

Shirley Carroll led her Maldon C side to a 6-4 win over bottom of the table Hatfield Peverel F – a result which moves Maldon into fifth position albeit temporarily. Carroll was victorious in all three of her matches and she was well supported by Brian Dixon who won two of his matches while Hatfield Peverel’s Martin Kilbey (who you may remember for a win at the start of December following a long string of defeats) earned another victory when withstanding a Ross Wheeler fightback 11-6, 14-12, 6-11, 1-11, 11-8.

Standings div 5: 1: Danbury M 79 points (from 11 matches), 2: Chelmsford J 68 points (11 matches), 3: Chelmsford H 58 points (from 10 matches).

Ladies Cup

Buttsbury B earned a final tie with the winners of Chelmsford/Buttsbury A following a 3-1 away win at Highwood. Melanie Bonnett gave the hosts the perfect start to the evening with a 3-1 win over Frances Hutt but Caroline Cole levelled the tie up with a four-game win over Nicola Pippen. Hutt then beat Pippen in four and Cole took an important fourth game 18-16 against Bonnett before securing Buttsbury’s passage through to the final 11-8 in the decider.

Semi-final to play: Chelmsford v Buttsbury A