Lillington Free Church missed out on the third spot in Division 3C on countback after a 5-5 draw against Ormesby in the final game of the Senior British League.
Going into the fourth and final weekend, the debutant Lillington quintet of Lee Dorning, Timmy Cooper, Sam Weaving, Sam Wiggins and Tom Brocklehurst knew only a string of unlikely results would allow them to finish inside the top two.
A 7-3 defeat to table-topping Drumchapel, in which both Dorning and Weaving claimed singles to go with a doubles success for Wiggins and Weaving, left them knowing they would have to win their remaining games to have a chance of third.
Saturday afternoon’s match against Bromley got off to a good start with Dorning and Cooper claiming wins over Peter Canavan and Jamie Cartwright, respectively.
Bromley fought back to level but doubles wins for Dorning and Cooper and then Wiggins and Brocklehurst who recovered from 9-4 down in the decider to win 13-11, restored Lillington’s two-game cushion.
Dorning, Wiggins, Cooper and Brocklehurst then reeled off the next four games for an 8-2 success.
A 9-1 win over rock-bottom Wood Green then set the stage for what was effectively a third-place play-off against Ormesby who had suffered a shock 6-4 defeat to Mount.
Dorning put Lillington ahead with a comprehensive win over defender Carl White but the match turned in favour of Ormesby when David Ashwell came from 2-0 down to beat Cooper to nine in the fifth and Michael Young put paid to Weaving.
Wiggins beat Peter Wilkinson 11-9 in the fifth to level the match but defeats in both the double games left Lillington needing to win the remaining four matches to steal third place.
Dorning got the better of Ashwell in five legs for the first of those and then Weaving beat White to level the match.
Cooper won in five against Wilkinson to put his side ahead but Wiggins had no answer to Young’s powerful, short-pimpled backhand as Ormesby fought back to grab a decisive point.