For the second week running, one of the outstanding performances of the week in the Braintree Table Tennis League came from a player deputising in division one.

Gordon Fairchild dropped down from the top division this season but was called into action when Black Notley B were short – and responded by winning his three singles.

Most impressively, one of his victims was Rayne A’s Adam Buxton, runner-up in last season’s men’s singles.

It was an encounter in which Buxton looked to be in control. He dropped the first two games narrowly but then appeared to have got into his stride, winning the next two games 11-4. But Fairchild stuck at it and edged home 12-10 in the decider.

His three wins, and two from Neil Freeman, meant that Notley B avoided defeat for only the second time this season.

Notley B remain well adrift at the bottom of the table, but the five points moved them slightly closer to the two teams above them, who both lost 9-1.

A two-man Netts C lost to their own B team, where Fred Evans’ win over Alistair Hill was their only consolation, while Rayne C found Netts A too strong for them.

Gary Cattermole won three singles in his second appearance of the season, while Maria Boulton’s three wins made it 17 out of her last 18 sets.

Ian Whiteside was unbeaten as Rayne B beat Notley A 7-3 while leaders Liberal A’s two-man team of Terry Dowsett and Simon Webber won everything available against their own B team.

After the injury to Ted Sims, division three leaders Rayne F need to field a reserve each week and against Liberal D they called on Steve Willis, with 16 wins out of 17 this season.

He duly obliged by winning his three singles but a good win for Paul Martin over Dave Allinson, third in the division’s averages, and a win for Martin and Lewis Armstrong over Willis and Allinson in the doubles gave Liberal D a draw.

Peter Hardy’s three wins helped Netts E to a 6-4 win over Notley H while Alex Morgan was likewise dominant in Rayne J’s win by the same score against Rayne H.