In a Braintree Table Tennis League season not short of surprises, Netts F have produced one of the more notable results in division three. With only four wins out of 17 behind them they came up against Rayne F, beaten only once and the early season favourites for the divisional title.

Rayne were without Brian How or Peter Taylor, but a team of Charles Wilkinson, Dave Allinson and Tim Gowers would not have expected to lose. Netts F disagreed. Jimmy Calisin was in excellent form and won all three sets, dropping only one game – to Allinson – in the process.

Thirteen-year-old Jack Cains again illustrated what an excellent prospect he is by winning twice while Mia Charles chipped in with one set, beating Gowers from two games to love down. The two JCs won the doubles to make it 7-3.

That left Rayne F 13 points adrift of the lead, with only one match in hand, after Netts E racked up an 8-2 win over Rayne H, for whom Chris High took the two sets.

Netts E’s lead at the top was doubled – from one point to two – after second-placed Black Notley F’s 7-3 win over Notley H, with Declan Baines unbeaten.

Notley I are six points further adrift after their 8-2 win over Rayne I, where Peter Pond and Elliot Game were unbeaten, while Jamie Brooks made only his second appearance of the season in Notley G’s 7-3 win over Rayne G. As in his first appearance, he won all his sets.

In the previous round of matches, Rayne I at last discovered what it is like not to lose – at the 17th attempt. All new to league action, the team’s players have been plugging away manfully since September but have always come up short. Their chance finally came when they faced Netts F, who had an entirely different team from the one they later fielded against Rayne F.

Twenty-year-old Alex Morgan led the way. He had played in all but one of the team’s fixtures and while his form has been gradually improving, he had notched up only five wins in 42 sets. But against Netts he took all three, including a titanic struggle with Daniel Farquharson, which he won 12-10 in the fifth game. Scott Whiteside, 19, added one win and the two combined to win the doubles.

Like the Rayne team, Netts F’s players are also new to the league. Farquharson, who is 14, won his other two singles while Davina Brazier won two and Raymond Black one.

At the top, Netts E had perhaps a little more difficulty than they might have expected in beating a Notley I side without Peter Pond 6-4. They were grateful to Clive Forster that it went as well as it did.

Notley F, in second place, called on Warren Baines for the third match out of four, and he remained unbeaten in the 8-2 win over Notley G. Matt Brooks continued his strong recent form by taking the two for the G team.

Rayne F made short work of their own G team, although Tim Townsend will be pleased with his win over Dave Allinson that prevented the clean sheet.

At the lower end, Notley H registered their fourth win of the season, 6-4 against Rayne H, where they were grateful for the two wins from Mike Smith, playing up from the I team. Neither he nor his colleagues could overcome Ian Rubens.