Maldon A have recaptured the lead in division one of the Chelmsford & District Table Tennis League and they did this in style with a comprehensive 8-2 victory over second-placed Chelmsford A.

Maldon now hold a four-point lead over Chelmsford but more tellingly they also have a match in hand. Alex Abbott and Colin Stallwood were both undefeated whilst Trevor Lloyd won twice. Lloyd missed out against 2017 M&G Investments Chelmsford Closed Championships Veterans’ Champion Wal Bada in five ends (5-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 6-11).

Stallwood was on fine form for the Champions-elect and he beat Ryan Gooday 3-1 (13-15, 11-8, 11-4, 11-5), Wal Bada 3-1 (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9) and Eddy Ogbebor 3-0 (11-9, 11-8, 14-12) – an excellent hat-trick of successes.

Danbury A are a clear third and they beat OCs A 8-2. Gary Young and Steve Whiteley were both undefeated for Danbury. Expect Young to challenge strongly for the Veterans and Men’s Singles titles at this year’s M&G Investments Chelmsford Closed Tournament.

Division two leaders Writtle Excalibur A produced a top-notch performance against OCs C and ran out 10-0 winners. Ryan Pitt, Lee McHugh and Matthew Brown gave nothing away. Pitt won a hard-fought opening encounter with a 3-2 (11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7) success against Peter Windley and that turned out to be a fair indication of the evening’s play. As hard as the OCs team tried Writtle Excalibur had all the answers.

Chelmsford B stay second. Robert Shrimpton was undefeated as they beat Danbury C 7-3. Danbury’s Daniel Young had to pull out all the stops to get the better of Paul Nicol 3-2 (7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9).

Hatfield Peverel A are third and they produced their best performance of the season to beat Liberal C 9-1. The “old guard” – John Gagg and Gary Ward – were both undefeated. Ward was on top form. He beat Hannah Pitt 3-1 (11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7), Andy Huckson 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-9) and Paul Lombardi 3-0 (11-8, 11-5, 11-6).

The match between Danbury B and Chelmsford C produced a closely fought encounter. No single player stayed undefeated and Danbury B shaded the match 6-4. The Danbury duo of Neil Want and Ken Sheard and Chelmsford’s Julie Johnson and Alistair Piper all won twice. Sheard pipped Piper 3-2 (9-11, 6-11, 11-4, 1-17, 13-11) in the closest encounter of the evening.

Danbury D, who are fourth, beat OCs B 7-3. Sam Lowman won his three singles and with a 76% record he is clearly enjoying a consistent season. He showed a lot of composure to hit through the very solid defence of Robbie Burton 11-8, 11-7, 11-6.

Maldon B made it 10 wins out of 11 in division three by beating Chelmsford D 7-3. Gordon Fairchild scored an excellent 3-1 victory over Ciaran Whelan (5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8) but he didn’t have the same impact against an unbeaten Hamish Innes (4-11, 8-11, 6-11). Jarek Pietraszuk was on target for Chelmsford and he came through a roller-coaster encounter with Colin Napper 3-2 (11-2, 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 16-14).

Bottom side Hatfield Peverel C scored a welcome 6-4 win over Hatfield Peverel B. Their leading player Trevor Collin scored his second “full-house” of the season with three good wins. He beat Gareth Davies 3-1 (11-7, 17-15, 9-11, 11-5), Guy McKenzie 3-0 (11-5, 14-12, 11-3) and Dave Fiddeman 3-1 (11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 14-12).

It was “honours shared” in the match between OCs D and Writtle Excalibur B. Louis Brown was undefeated for the Writtle Excalibur side. He beat David Porter 3-2 (11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 13-11) in his toughest examination.

Leaders OCs E were the week’s big winners in division four. Nat Ravlic and David Newman were both unbeaten in their 9-1 success against OCs G. David Newman fought back from 2-0 down to get the better of David Bishop in five (8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-9).

Second-placed Danbury G suffered their second defeat of the season by losing 6-4 to Danbury H. Dave Goody was unbeaten for Danbury H and he completed his hat-trick with a five-game win over Mo Hardy (11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 6-11, 11-4).

There was a big win for Hatfield Peverel D in division five. Alastair Brown, Peter Mortensen and Richard Drozd ran out 10-0 winners against Galleywood B.

Highwood B are second – some way behind Chelmsford F and they consolidated their position with a 8-2 victory over OCs H. Nicola Pippen won her three singles and this included a fine 3-2 (10-12, 11-4, 6-11, 12-10, 11-7) win over Stuart Wintle.

By a quirk of the fixtures chart OCs H played Highwood B again 12 days later. This time Highwood won 7-3 and Wintle gained his revenge over Pippen 3-1 (11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11) but he missed out against an undefeated Melanie Bonnett rather decisively (5-11, 4-11, 5-11).

Chelmsford G, with Martin Hiskey on top form, ran out 7-3 winners over Chelmsford J. The evergreen John Wickens came out on top 3-2 (11-6, 8-11, 8-11, 11-7), 11-9 after a very tricky encounter against Jamie Dowsett.

Galleywood Hawks (Vineeth Kamma and Charlie Graig) ran out 5-0 winners in division 2A of the CLICK League against West Maldon. They looked to be in trouble in the doubles when trailing 2-0 against William Moore and Blaydon Farmer but they rallied really strongly to win 3-2 (6-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-2).

All Junior players who have entered the Junior Handicap Singles at this year‘s M&G Investments Chelmsford Closed Championships should note that this event has been moved to this coming Friday (26 January 2018) at the Melbourne Sports Centre – the Chelmsford Club’s venue. Book in at 7pm for a 7.15 start.

If the event hadn’t been switched from the actual tournament weekend the massive increase in the number of Junior entries would have led to the possibility of a midnight finish on the Saturday.