Ellenborough Ladies are in pole position to defend their women’s premier title, but the picture is more complicated in the men’s premier after the first weekend of the Veterans’ British League.

Just under 400 players were in action in 15 divisions – most at Derby Arena, with Draycott & Long Eaton TTC hosting men’s Division Five.

Ellenborough hold a narrow lead as they aim to retain the women’s title, but Team Bribar, who are going for a hat-trick of titles and have won five of the last six, face a battle at the top of the men’s tree and currently sit in a three-way tie.

The second weekend takes place on February 10-11.

Photos by Pawel Meryn – click here to see Pawel’s Flickr album.

Women’s divisions

Ellenborough Ladies made an unbeaten start to the defence of their Premier Division title and stand a point clear of Foresters at the top, with a three-point cushion then to Market Rasen.

The top two both started with 5-1 victories, over IPS Tigers and Bribar Knighton Park respectively, before they met in round 2.

It was a 4-2 win for Ellenborough, who were never behind but who saw their opponents hit back from 2-0 down to level the score. Hurey Ahmetoglu opened up with a good 3-2 (1-11, 12-10, 12-14, 11-5, 11-8) win over Wanda Litynska-Sydorenko and Sara Williams made it 2-0 by defeating Julie Byrne in three.

But Dorota Borkowska beat Tumay Ekrem and Litynska-Sydorenko saw off Williams, both in four, to level the match. Ahmetoglu picked up her second win, over Borkowska, and Ekrem overcame Byrne, again both in four games, to win it for Ellenborough.

Sara Williams of Ellenborough (picture by Pawel Meryn)

Round 3 was where Ellenborough dropped their only point, in a 3-3 draw with Bribar Failand. They had to come from 2-1 and 3-2 down to claim a draw, with Williams taking a double, including a 3-2 (14-16, 14-12, 11-5, 4-11, 11-7) win over Joanne Keighley. Ahmetoglu secured the point in the final match, against Kimmy Pui Lin Lai-Brown.

Ellenborough made sure of top spot with a 6-0 win over Market Rasen on Sunday morning, followed by a 5-1 win over Bribar Knighton Park, while Foresters won their final three fixtures, all by 4-2 margins.

The leading two players in the averages, both on 90% from 10 matches, were Ahmetoglu and Litynska-Sydorenko.

There are two undefeated sides in Division One, where there were plenty of close matches including six 3-3 draws.

Leaders Topspin Fusion won three and drew two, while second-placed Waterside Fusion of Ladies won two and drew three.

Not surprisingly, the top drew their meeting in the very first round of matches, and it was a switchback as Waterside took the lead, Topspin came back to lead 2-1, Waterside led again at 3-2 and Magorzata Muda finally secured a draw for Topspin.

Muda and Anita Jermyn both took a double in that match, and it is Jermyn who heads the averages with 8/8.

Foresters III are seting the pace in Division Two with a 100% record and only four individual matches lost, leaving them three points clear of Milton Keynes Ladies.

The top two have yet to meet in the eight-team division, so Milton Keynes retain hope of challenging for the title.

There are several 100% records in the averages, though only one among the players who played all 10 matches, belonging to Christine Wicks of Foresters.

Foresters are also leading the way in Division Three, with the fifth team ahead of their fourth team in the table, both on eight points.

The division has seven teams, so Foresters V also have a match in hand, having won four out of four, while their club-mates won four from five.

That defeat for the fourths was against their club-mates in the first round and it was by a 4-2 margin, though the fourths took the lead through Janet Brown, before losing the next four matches.

Lynne Trussell of Foresters V won all eight of her matches to lead the averages, ahead of Brown, who notched 9/10.

Men’s divisions

The destination of the men’s Premier Division title remains very much in the balance, with three clubs on seven points.

Among them are defending champions Team Bribar, who are unbeaten but sit in third place having won two and drawn three of their five matches.

Top of the pile are Topspin Fusion, just ahead of Tees Sport VETTS and Team Bribar by virtue of a slightly better ratio of individual match wins. The top two have both won three, drawn one and lost one.

The champions dropped their first point in the opening round, when Cippenham came from 3-1 down to force a draw, with key victories in matches five and six for David Barr, against Niall Cameron, and Hari Gehlot over Chris Rogers.

Tees Sport and Topspin Fusion both started with a win, and they met in round two, when Fusion took a 4-2 victory. The key match was the fifth when, with Fusion 3-1 up, Neil Pickard made sure of overall victory by beating Andrew Wilkinson 3-2 (7-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 16-14)

Team Bribar got their first win, 5-1 against Lilleshall, in round two, and they followed up with a 4-2 win over Topspin Fusion.

Lorestas Trumpauskas got a double, twice levelling the overall score with victories over Rogers and Jason Ramage, but Cameron saw off Eli Baraty 11-9 in the fifth and Rogers sealed the win by beating Tom Cutler.

Meanwhile, Tees Sport ended day one with a 4-2 victory over Foresters and started day two by beating Cippenham 5-1.

Also in the fourth round, both Fusion and Team Bribar had 3-3 draws, against Lilleshall and Foresters respectively – Fusion rescuing the situation from 3-1 down and Bribar seeing a 3-1 lead pegged back.

The final round saw Fusion record a 5-1 win over Cippenham, while Bribar and Tees fought out a draw. Tees came from 2-0 and 3-2 down with Adam Fuzes clinching the point with a 3-2 (6-11, 11-6, 5-11, 16-14, 11-2) win over Ramage.

That win ensure Fuzes tops the averages with 8/8, while Lilleshall’s Michael O’Driscoll won nine of his 10 matches.

Division One (Group 1) is headed by Foresters B, just ahead of Central. Both are on eight points, though Foresters remain unbeaten – they defeated their closest rivals 4-2, but drew with both London Moberly and St Georges.

Central’s Adam Laws won all six of his matches to lead the averages, though there are three players who won nine from the full 10 – Laws’ team-mate Chris Clinton and Foresters duo Matthew Spero and Sujay Jagannathan.

In Group 2, Draycott were unassailable, winning all five matches for the combined loss of only six individual ties and already hold a four-point lead over Wolves VETTS and C Jenkins Windows.

The leaders were pushed closest by Stocksbridge and the Wolves, winning 4-2 on each occasion and needing the victory in the sixth match to complete that scoreline.

The leaders were underpinned by John Taylor, who tops the averages with a full house of 10/10.

Joola Plymouth top Division 2 (Group 1) and are unbeaten with four wins and a draw to lead The Musketeers by a point.

They beat their nearest rivals 4-2 but dropped a point against Zygabyte, who led 3-3 before Paul Whiting earned Plymouth a point by beating Joe Zygadlo 3-0. Whiting had earlier overcome Richard Lightowler by an eye-catching 3-2 (12-14, 11-5, 11-9, 19-21, 11-9) scoreline.

Those victories also went some way to helping Whiting score a perfect 10 to top the averages, ahead of team-mate Paul Giles, who won 9/10.

In Group 2, Horsham Spinners won all five of their matches, losing only six individual ties. They hold a three-point lead over Norwich.

It was 4-2 when the Spinners met Norwich and although three matches went to a decider, and Norwich won two of those, Spinners were 2-0 and 4-1 up.

Spinners dominate the averages – both Oleh Biletskyi and Rory Scott won all 10 of their matches.

Division 3 (Group 1) sees Nailsworth Phoenix at the top with four wins and one draw, two points better off than Ashford.

It was 3-3 when the top two met and Phoenix had to battle back from 3-1 down as Liwu Wei and Anthony Collins won the last two matches. It is their team-mate Lee Thomas who heads the averages with 6/6, ahead of five players who won eight out of 10.

The Group 2 leaders are Halton, who dominated to the tune of five wins for the loss of only four individual matches to it three points clear of Border Reivers.

It was Norton Commandos who pushed Halton closest, never leading but staying in touch and forcing Tony Worthington to seal it for Halton in the sixth match, against Keith Deaville.

Worthington is one of two Halton players with a maximum 10/10, the other being Anthony Bates.

Graham Spicer set the pace in Division 4 (Group 1) with a perfect record of five wins, and though they did not have it all their own way, they still lead the division by four points from Foresters E and TableTennisDaily Vets.

Spicer won four of their matches 4-2, underpinned by a maximum 10/10 for Dariusz Zurowski and 9/10 for Jaroslaw Chrzanowski. Foresters’ Marc Burman won 8/8.

Mark Rose of Ajax Wolvey, whose side played in memory of former team-mate Alan Hewitt

Group 2 has joint leaders in Cutnall Green and Cippenham II, who both won four and drew one to open a three-point lead at the top.

It was the match between them which resulted in the draw, in the final round of the weekend. Cippenham came from 2-1 down to lead 3-2, but Tim O’mahoney earned a share of the points by defeating Samson Bekele 3-2 (11-9, 11-7, 12-14, 8-11, 12-10). Cippenham’s Stephen Munson leads the way in the averages with 8/8.

In Division 5 (Group 1), played at Draycott & Long Eaton TTC, Swerve won four and drew one to lead the way from Graham Spicer III, who are also unbeaten but who drew three times.

One of those was against the leaders, in round three, Swerve trailing 1-0 and 2-1 but leading 3-2 before Paul Elliott earned a point for Spicer by beating Stephen Tuck.

Steve Brunskill of Swerve had a full house from 10 matches to head the averages.

Group 2 sees Halton II and Butterfly Lilleshall B level at the top with 8pts, having both won three and drawn two.

There was a 3-3 draw between the pair in round four – Halton coming from 3-1 down buy winning the last two matches in five – Suhaib Abdullah coming from 2-0 down to beat Christopher Maiden 3-2 (7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-0, 11-5) in the fifth match.

Tony Vaughan won the last match and he boasts a perfect 10 to lead the averages from Hemal Raval of Lilleshall.