The top-of-the-table clash between Grippers and Loopers produced the first tie of the Lithgow Table Tennis Association Winter Competition when Round 13 was played at the Old Trades Hall.
Leaders Grippers were out to confirm their title favouritism against second-placed Loopers and made a good start with leads of 4-1 and 6-4.
A mid-match 6-0 run from Loopers showed they weren't going to lie down as they went ahead 10-6.
Grippers replied with six unanswered games themselves, taking the last two singles rubbers 2-0 and adding another 2-0 result in the first doubles to again take the lead at 12-10 with one rubber to play.
The second doubles saw Loopers win a first game squeaker 15-13 as well as the second game more comfortably 11-5 to see the teams finish the night locked at 12-all.
Pauline Wellfare was the star of the match with a perfect round-best 6-0 record for Loopers, while Riza Wiradi returned 3-4 and Michael Wood was below his best at 1-6.
Dave Mays (4-2) produced top marks for Grippers, who have now locked in a semi-final spot, with Kelly Gurney ending square at 4-4 and Lou Kappos up-and-down for a return of 2-4.
The match between the bottom two sides also went down to the wire, with fourth-placed Charolais attempting to get some breathing space and a last-placed Spinners side desperate to keep their play-off chances alive.
Charolais took the opening rubber 2-0 before Spinners fought back to go up 6-4. The two teams went virtually game-for-game from there and at the completion of the singles the score stood at 11-apiece. Spinners snatched the first doubles 2-1 and the second 2-0 to clinch a season-prolonging 15-12 victory.
Linda Kappos (5-3) edged out Roy Barlow (4-3) to the best record for Spinners, and Mark McAulay finished 2-5.
Sean Jenkins (6-1) did all he could to get Charolais home, while Sharnie Roberts (3-4) and Mark Watchorn (2-6) both lost some close games.
KaPooLow had the bye.
Pointscore: Grippers 40, Loopers 37, KaPooLow 36, Charolais 32, Spinners 30.
Draw for Round 14; Charolais v Grippers. KaPooLow v Loopers. Spinners bye.