Nuffield St Albans closed within touching distance of the Herts Division One title after a 15-12 win at Broxbourne.
Will John, having just returned from Malaysia, was first on. His opponent Rory Pennell was looking increasingly comfortable as he built an 11-2, 11-4 lead until John started the third game with far more purpose.
John managed to nick the game 11-9 and did exactly the same in the fourth game to level the score.
He went match ball down at 10-9 but played two outstanding rallies to give himself his first opportunity. Pennell battled to keep in the contest but John eventually prevailed to claim a gripping 17-15 win.
Jack Fowler also went two games down to veteran Peter Gunter. The Broxbourne player has enjoyed a long, distinguished career and showed his young opponent the experience and tactical nous he has accumulated over the years. But Fowler hung in and gradually worked his opponent harder and harder until the resistance finally crumbled. He came back to take the next three games to fire Nuffield into a 2-0 lead.
Nuffield’s Arthur Moineau had beaten former county champion Keith Timms with some ease in the corresponding fixture in St Albans earlier in the season.
Timms was more determined this time and with the help of a boisterous home crowd swatted Moineau’s resistance away to record a 3-1 win.
Nuffield’s Czech player Ondrej Uherka played well against yet another highly experienced Scott Handley.
The Broxbourne player was too strong and ended up clinching an 11-6, 11-6, 11-9 win to send the contest into a decider.
Adam Auckland was facing his stiffest test of the season against 58th world ranked Jaymie Haycocks.
Nuffield’s player raced into the lead after an opening 11-3 win but his opponent responded with successive 11-6 wins to put him in the driving seat.
Auckland responded well with better rally construction and more patience allowing him to draw level with an 11-8 win sending it into a crucial decider.
The Nuffield player held his nerve under pressure to deliver the 11-8 triumph which kept them in pole position to win the title.
Nuffield's final match is away to Bishop’s Stortford on March 13 and victory will bring them the Championship for the first time in more than 20 years.