The two main contenders (and it’s not unfair to say the only contenders) met this week in the first division of the Chelmsford & District Table Tennis League and their 5-5 draw means that Maldon A retain their six point lead over Chelmsford A.

The match was a personal triumph for 2012 and 2013 M&G Investments Chelmsford Men’s Singles champion Alex Abbott who was on sparkling form and he won his three singles. This included inflicting a first defeat on Ugur Saglik (the League’s highest ranked player), who Abbott beat 3-2 (10-12, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6) in the opening encounter.

Abbott went on to beat Wal Bada 11-2, 11-6, 11-4 and Casey Cross 11-7, 11-9, 11-1. Cross made his mark with a fine 11-7, 12-10, 11-8 victory over Trevor Lloyd whilst Colin Stallwood impressed with a 3-1 (12-10, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7) success against Cross.

At one stage it looked as if Maldon were going to run away with the match as they surged into a 4-0 lead. However, Chelmsford had other ideas and they pulled back to 4-4 and a draw seems like a fair result.

Writtle A drew 5-5 with Writtle B – a reasonable effort considering they were a player short. Lee McHugh led the way with a hat-trick which included a hard-fought 3-2 (11-9, 12-14, 12-14, 11-7, 11-7) win over Peter Barrett.

Danbury A ran out 7-3 winners over OCs A. Paul Lucas was undefeated for the Old Chelmsfordians whilst Eric Green, Steve Whitely and Dave Richardson all bagged two wins for Danbury A. Lucas had to dig deep to defeat Green and he pulled through to win 3-2 (5-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-6).

There was a third defeat for Maldon C in division two and they drop back to third. They lost 6-4 to Danbury D for whom Simon Lowman scored a fine hat- trick. This included an excellent 3-2 (11-7, 10-12, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9) win over Ciaran Whelan. This was Lowman’s fourth successive full-house and he looks well worth a first division place next year.

Writtle C ran out 7-3 winners against Maldon C. Gary Ward led the way with three wins.

Teamwork was the order of the day for Danbury C who overcame OCs C 7-3. Tim Cramphorn, Neil Want and Allan Steel all won twice although none of them could overcome Frank Hodge. Cramphorn beat Tom Barker 3-2 (11-9, 11-1, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10) in the closest game of the night.

Chelmsford D lead the division three table by one point after 10 matches. Keith Martin and Jarek Pietraszuk were both undefeated as they beat OCs F 7-3. John Watts beat Dave Parker 3-2 (11-5, 7-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9) in the closest game of the night.

OCs D are only one point adrift in second place but they were held to a draw by Danbury H. Mick Richardson was unbeaten for OCs whilst Allan Steel picked up two wins for the Danbury side.

Danbury F did well to beat OCs E 8-2. Dave Marsh and Richard Gardiner both won their three singles. Marsh hit top form as he disposed of Richard Baxter 3-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-4).

League stalwart Tom Elder was on top form for Maldon D, who drew 5-5 with Danbury G. Elder completed his hat-trick of wins by defeating Richard Allen 3-2 (11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9) and he also came through in three close ends against Mo Hardy (11-9, 11-9, 12- 10).

Writtle D, with Trevor Collin firing on all cylinders, beat Writtle E 7-3. Another League stalwart Malcolm Storey fared best of the Writtle E players.

All players will be deeply saddened by the death last week in a Brentwood League match of popular and well respected Writtle E player Steve Siggs. An obituary will follow.

Runaway leaders Danbury J made it 10 wins out of 10 in division four. All four of their regular players have fared well and this is supported by the Individual averages. Dave Oxley-Goody (74%), Richard Allen (55%), Dave Powell (100%) and Robert Kneale (76%) have all impressed.

With Allen and Powell winning their six singles Danbury J beat OCs G 8-2. Sue Hickman impressed for the losers with a fine 3-2 (11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 6-11, 11-7) victory over Dave Oxley-Goody.

Danbury K were involved in two matches. With Denis Balic and Roger Tiffin staying undefeated they beat Highwood A 7-3. Tiffin came through in five ends against Melanie Bonnett (11-8, 14-16, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7).

Danbury K also lost 6-4 to Chelmsford F. Adi Kamma won his three singles for the Chelmsford side and he had to pull out all the stops to get the better of Balic 3-2 (8-11, 6-11, 16-14, 11-4, 11-8).

Galleywood C moved back into pole position in division five. Gary Copsey, Charlie Craig and Aidan Noguchi ran put 10-0 winners against Hatfield Peverel D.

OCs H were also comfortable winners and they beat Chelmsford J 8-2. Suzanne Shaw and Michael Lucey were both undefeated. Shaw completed an excellent evening‘s work by beating Jacqui Smith 3-2 (4-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9).

Second-placed Chelmsford G led by a hat-trick by Ian Austin defeated Chelmsford J 6-4. Paul Bullock and Rev Matthews both won twice for Chelmsford J. Matthews beat Andy Swales 3-2 (3-11, 8-11, 11-3, 13-11, 11-9) in the closest game of the night.

All players are again requested to note that the closing date for entry to the M&G Investments Chelmsford & District Table Tennis League Closed Tournament (which will be held over the weekend of 1, 2 & 3 February 2019), is this coming Friday (14 December 2018).