It was virtually top versus bottom when Rayne G, top of division three of the Braintree Table Tennis League, travelled to Netts E, just one point and one place off the bottom.

An away banker if ever there was one? Not quite. Netts won 9-1.

There was some mitigation – Dave Allinson, whose 16 wins were instrumental in taking Rayne G to the top, has been promoted to the F team while Netts’ position is slightly false as they have eight players signed on, which has led to some uneven results

This time they had out their strongest team of the season, so hats off to Jimmy Calisin, Daniel Farquharson and Jack Cains.

Cains, 14, lost to Peter Taylor, second in last season’s division three averages, but Farquharson, also 14, and Calisin remained unbeaten.

It was a result that allowed Rayne’s F team and Black Notley G to take over at the top, level on points but with Rayne ahead on matches won. They both won 7-3, Rayne F over Notley H and Notley G over Rayne J.

Notley I lost their distinction as the last unbeaten team in the division when they went down 6-4 to Rayne I. Notley had two reserves out, but the main reason for their defeat was the form of Chris High, who had not played since the first week of the season but returned to take his three singles.

Liberal D remained unbeaten for the third match in a row when they held a Rayne H side including Steve Willis to a draw.

Rayne E maintained their lead in division two with an impressive 8-2 over Notley D, where Sean Clift’s nine wins in a row came to a halt against both Richard Whiteside and Kelly Yuenyongpknan.

The match was also notable for a 118-point doubles set in which Whiteside and Yuenyongpknan beat Sean and Adam Clift 3-2 (11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 15-17, 13-11).

Liberal C and Notley E, who had been equal in second place, are now separated by three points after Liberal’s 7-3 win over Rayne D and Notley E’s 6-4 defeat by their own C team.

Garry Fryatt was unbeaten for Liberal and Dan Anderson for Notley C. But it was effectively Tim Huxtable who got Notley C over the line. After a fairly unproductive start to the season in which he had won only two out of 12, he won twice and joined Anderson in a doubles win.

Much the same could be said of Barry Evans in Felsted’s draw with Notley F. He had won only four out of 21 and would probably have been sixth choice as a likely man of the match, but the league’s website computer gave him the honour after excellent wins over Gordon Fairchild and Peter Pond.

Ken Lewis made only his third appearance of the season to lead Nomads to a 7-3 win over Netts D.

In division one, leaders Rayne A were without a match, which allowed Liberal A to take over at the top again after their 8-2 win over Netts B.

Netts won the doubles, but the outstanding set was a win for James Mullane over six-times men’s singles champion Terry Dowsett by 3-1 (9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9).

Netts’ three teams remain in third, fourth and fifth positions. Their A team’s third place is no surprise, especially if Paul Davison turns out, as he did against Rayne B where Ryan Pitt’s win over Colin Bennett was Rayne’s only success.

But Netts C, promoted last season, would probably not have expected to be occupying fifth slot even if they did have to give second best this time to Rayne C, who beat them 6-4.

Keith Martin was unbeaten for Rayne, but two wins for Roy Hooper and one each for Fred Evans and Joe Meleschko kept Netts C in the hunt.

Dan Anderson, unbeaten in division two, proved he could live in the higher sphere by taking two singles in Notley B’s 7-3 defeat by Liberal B. Former Notley player Andrew Huckson was unbeaten for Liberal.