TABLE TENNIS: Big hitters deliver to increase gaping gulf

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The gulf between the top teams and the strugglers grew even bigger as the Spalding and District Table Tennis League returned from its winter break.

In the first round of fixtures in 2014, the top flight’s heavy hitters enjoyed emphatic wins over the strugglers – with games either finishing 5-0 or 4-1.

Division One leaders Bladerunners extended their advantage to five points with a 5-0 victory over second-from-bottom JAG.

That said, the match wasn’t totally straightforward – with one game going to five ends and two others to four.

South Holland lost ground slightly with their 4 – 1 win over Haz Beans, though the result could have been 3-2 or 5-0.

Two of the games went to five ends with one team trailing by two before pulling back to win.

Third-placed Defenders maintained their position with another 4-1 result.

Their rock-bottom opponents, Outsiders, made up a little ground at the foot of the table thanks to Jon Chesworth’s win, but Alan Fear and Martyn Green took the rest.

In Division Two, leaders Castle Sports had – on paper – their strongest team out, but were forced to work hard by third-placed Insidious for a 4-1 win in a match with seven ‘deuce’ legs.

Only one game went to regulation with the loser’s Gary Simpson coming from 2-11, 6-11 down to gain a superb point.

Second-placed Dark Knights gained a point thanks to a 5-0 win over Mine’s a Pint.

Highlight of the match was the return to action of Phil Chandler after a half-season absence.

A basement battle between Tornados and Casey’s Pingers, meanwhile, saw the former repeat their success from the first meeting with a 4–1 win.

As a result, Tornados leapfrogged from seventh to fifth.

It was also noted that all the juniors playing have shown an improvement since that time.

The other change saw Ha’st move up to third ahead of Insidious thanks to their 5-0 win over Nomads.

Top game here was between Stuart Duffill and Jonathan Black with the lead changing twice over five ends before Duffill won on a deuce.