The Central Essex Summer Table Tennis League is proving to be more popular than ever and for the first time there are five divisions of two player teams with sides from the Chelmsford, Brentwood, Basildon, Burnham and Braintree Leagues all battling for honours.

Rayne A scored two impressive wins in the first division by beating both Danbury A and Ramsden A 4-1. Highlights here were a fighting 3-2 (5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4) win for  Adam Buxton over Ramsden’s Gary Ward and wins for Steve Pennell over both Danbury’s Steve and Chris Buer.

However, it is too soon to suggest that Rayne are the early favourites to take the title as they also lost heavily 4-1 to Chelmsford A. The ever-improving Ryan Gooday won twice for Chelmsford and he saw Steve Pennell off in four games (9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-6).

Ramsden A did well to beat Writtle A 4-1. Bryn Thomas and Gary Ward excelled by winning all four singles with Bryn Thomas getting the better of Peter Windley over five ends (11-7, 3-11, 5-11, 14-12, 11-6). It was a good night for Bryn Thomas who also beat Matthew Brown (12-10, 11-3, 11-7).

4-1 results have proved equally popular in division two and rather bizarrely all five matches in this division resulted in 4-1 scorelines. Ramsden B impressed against Danbury B with Neil Freeman winning both of his singles. He defeated Gordon Gatheral 3-2 (11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-6) and Summer League Organiser Ken Sheard 3-1 (13-15, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7).

Ramsden B were also on good form against Ramsden C and Freeman was again undefeated – getting the better of John Gagg 3-1 (14-12, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6) and Dave Carter 3-0 (11-7, 11-3, 11-4).

Writtle B (Hector Rogers and Richard Storey) won all four singles as they disposed of OCs B. Hector Rogers hit a rich vein of form beating Frank Hodge 3-0 (11-3, 11-7, 13-11) and David Porter 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-8).

OCs B didn’t fare any better against Buttsbury A for whom Paul Sturton won twice. The standout win here was the fine 3-2 (11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8) victory for Caroline Cole against Nat Ravlic.

Butts bury A were in turn on the wrong end of a 4-1 defeat against Ramsden C. John Parodi and John Gagg excelled to win all four singles. John Parodi did well to overturn a 2-0 deficit as he fought back to beat Caroline Cole 3-2 (6-11, 11- 13, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6).

In contrast to divisions one and two – division three has produced an abundance of 3-2 scorelines. Danbury C were indebted to Dave Marsh as they beat Writtle C 3-2. Marsh hit top form in this match with a fine 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-5) win over Lin Roff.

OCs C’s Tom Barker was involved in two cliff-hanger matches as his side beat Chelmsford C 3-2. He missed out against Dave Parker 3-2 (11-9, 11-3, 4-11, 5- 11, 9-11) but in a complete reversal of fortunes he battled back from 2-0 down to beat Mick Richardson in five (11-13, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9).

Chelmsford D beat Writtle C 3-2 although the stand-out result here was the win that Steve Siggs achieved against Paul Nicol. Hard earned as well with Siggs winning 3-2 (11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 7-11, 11-9). Wiktor Delimat held the Chelmsford side together with wins over both Dave Moles and Siggs.

Writtle C fared better against OCs C and this time they won 3-2. Siggs again made his mark and he beat Mick Hayes in a decider (11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10).

Danbury C emerged as 3-2 winners over Ramsden D. Dave Marsh was their match-winner with 3-1 wins over Trevor Collin (7-11, 12-10, 11- 4, 11-4) and Colin Barham (11-7, 4-11, 11-8, 11-6). Ramsden D in turn hit back and they beat South Woodham A 3-2. Collin was the dominant force here. He beat Allan Steel 3-0 (11-3, 12-10, 12-10) and Alan Dadswell 3-0 (15-13, 11-9, 11-7).

Finally a result has emerged in this division that wasn’t 3-2 and it was a very significant one as well. Chelmsford D beat Danbury C convincingly 4-1 with Victor Chan dominating proceedings. He beat Dave Marsh 3-1 (8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 13-11) and Herbie Smith 3-0 (11-9, 11-2, 11-7) whilst Paul Nicol also defeated Marsh 3-1 (8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7).

You will have noted that 5-0 results have been few and far between. There were two 5-0 wins in division four. Danbury D (Dan Richardson and Dan Anderson) were 5-0 winners over Chelmsford E whilst Writtle D (Tom Griffiths and David Meah) were also clear-cut 5-0 winners against Chelmsford  E.

However Writtle were on the wrong end of a 4-1 loss to Buttsbury B. The match between Nathan Fry and David Meah was a good one. It was poised at 2-2 before Meah raced away with the fifth end to win 12-14, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-4.

Danbury D scored their second win of the campaign by beating Rayne B 3-2. Dan Anderson was unbeaten for Danbury although it was “touch and go” against Kelly Yuenyongpknan where he just prevailed 3-0 (12-10, 11-9, 11-9).

Rayne B in turn beat South Woodham B 4-1. Rather like Dan Anderson it is fair to say that Steve Noble won’t lose many at this level and sure enough he won his two singles although Scott Perry gave him problems before Noble reasserted himself to win 3-1 (11-5, 11-8, 11-13, 11-9).

There is just one result for division five and Maldon beat Writtle E 3-2. Shirley Carroll and Denis Crapnell ran out the winners although neither of them were able to beat Bob Garson. Garson beat Crapnell 3-1 (11-6, 5-11, 11-5, 11-4) and Carroll 3-1 (8-11, 11-4, 11-2, 13-11).