The opening round of the team and restricted cups in the Braintree Table Tennis League proceeded smoothly in a straight line. In every match, it was the higher-placed team that won.

As a result, the only division two team left in the team knockout cup is Liberal C, who had a bye.

Big guns Liberal A, Netts A and Rayne A conceded just one set between them. Liberal beat Nomads 9-0, Rayne declared at 8-0 against their own F team while only Richard Upson’s deuce-in-the-fifth win over Antonio Beccles prevented Netts following suit against Felsted RBL A.

Rayne C also had it all their own way – 9-0 against their own D team.

Having loaned two of their players to help out the A team, Liberal B found themselves without enough resources and conceded their tie against Netts C, while the Netts B – Rayne B match has been rescheduled.

The one match to engender traditional cup fervour was Black Notley A’s match against their own B team. This flowed backwards and forwards, with the B team initially moving into a 2-1 lead before the A team fought back with three successive wins to take them into a 4-2 lead, only for the B team to pull back to 4-4.

Chris Parr and Victor Chan then took the final doubles to enable the A team to squeak through to the next round. Chan remained undefeated in both singles and doubles.

There were some tight scorelines in the restricted cup, although Rayne E’s 5-4 win over Notley G disguises the fact that Rayne only had two players.  Richard Whiteside and Kelly Yuenyongpknan won everything in straight games.

The tightest match on the table was second division Notley D’s 6-3 win over Notley E from division three. Bruce Wickham remained unbeaten for the D team but the E team’s Jamie Brooks had excellent wins over both Sean Clift (11-3, 11-5, 12-10) and Adam Clift.

Last year’s division three winners Netts D had a 5-2 win over this year’s division three leaders Felsted C.  Joe Belsom starred with wins over Ashley Butler and Nick Butler, both at 11-9 in the fifth game.

Rayne G beat their own I team 5-2 with Brian Cook and Dave Allinson unbeaten, while Notley F beat Netts F 6-1, despite a surprise win for Peter Lewis over Takunda Nerutanga.

Neither Rayne I nor Notley H troubled the scorers against Notley C and Netts E respectively.

In the league division three, Felsted C turned out a team that would probably finish in the top half of division two.  Unsurprisingly Matthew Laws, Ashley Butler and Nick Butler had little difficulty beating Notley F 10-0.

Notley E and Rayne H clocked up 9-1 wins, over Netts F and Notley G respectively.  Notley E lost the doubles, while Alan Cook’s win over Tim Gowers prevented the perfect ten for Rayne H.

Rayne I v Notley H was a tighter affair, Tim Townsend’s three singles leading Rayne to a 6-4 win.