Two teams which have dominated the local table tennis scene in recent years meet next week for a match which looks likely to decide the destiny of this year’s title.
Champions Liberal A and Earls Colne-based Netts A, league winners in 2011 and 2012, go head-to-head next Thursday with the Braintree Table Tennis League title on the line.
The gap between the two has narrowed to three points following a surprise draw for leaders Liberal against Rayne B, whom Netts had beaten 8-2 the previous week.
Netts faced a Rayne A team who had only two players, one of them a reserve, and scored an 8-2 win.
The match was not without its dramas, not least Kevin Gowlett’s struggle to get past Peter Hance, which he eventually managed 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10.
Liberal salvaged a draw thanks to reserve Mike Johnston, who beat Peter Hance.
Next week Paul Davison and Gowlett will almost certainly play for Netts A, but it is then a choice of leading Suffolk veteran Andy Holmes, or John Cleasby, beaten only twice in 24 sets this season, or 18-year-old Patrick Gilbert to complete the line-up.
As well as their league win over Rayne A, Netts A also knocked them out of the team knock-out cup 6-1.
n Sible Hedingham increased their lead in Division Two after a 9-1 win over Notley E.