Two successive draws have reduced Netts A’s chances of wresting back their Braintree Table Tennis League division one title to close to zero. They now trail Liberal A, who beat Rayne C 10-0, by 19 points.

Netts were without Paul Davison for the first time this season in their match against Sible Hedingham, but his presence in their encounter with Rayne B made no difference to the scoreline.

Richard Jennings was in irrepressible form for Hedingham and won his three singles while Rayne B’s five points were a team effort, two wins each from Adam Buxton and Hector Rogers and one from Paul Lombardi.

The one piece of good news is the return to fitness of Hannah Pitt, out of action since picking up an arm injury during last season’s individual championships in April.

Rayne A drew level with Netts A in second place after a 6-4 win over Netts B. Steve Pennell, in a strong run of form at the moment, took his three singles, including a good win over fellow super-veteran (both turned 60 this year) Andy Holmes.

In addition to their draw with Netts A, Rayne B also shared the points with Liberal B, where Adrian Pitt was undefeated.

Black Notley B improved their survival chances with a 7-3 win over their own A team.

Victor Chan, Glen Laing and Andrew Pagett all won two but none of them could find a way past Andrew Huckson.

The B team repeated the dose in the handicap cup where, of the eight matches played, five were won by a Notley team, although on three occasions they were playing another team from the same club.

The A team had only two players and wins by Pagett over both of them effectively sealed their fate.

There were three wins for Takunda Nerutanga in the H team’s 5-3 win over the E team and for Bruce Wickham in the D team’s 7-2 win over the I team.

Dave Parker’s evening was likewise unblemished in the C team’s 6-3 win over Rayne J while Mark Pritchard led the F team to victory, helping his side to recover from 3-2 down to beat Rayne I 5-4.

Dean Wood was unbeaten in Felsted RBL B’s 7-2 win over Rayne C while Liberal B were unable to overcome some stiff handicaps against third division Netts D, who won 5-4.

Rayne B had only two players to face their own G team but could not quite get over the line after wins by Adam Purslow over Hector Rogers and by Keith Flowers over Paul Lombardi gave the G team the two they needed.