SPOT-ON LEOPARDS GRAB LAST-GASP WIN
Nomads Leopards made it through to Round Two of the Clacton and District League's Handicap Knock-Out Cup by beating fellow- Division Three side Brotherhood G 5-4 in a nail-biting encounter that went down to the wire.
Having led 4-2, the Leopards were pegged back by a valiant Brotherhood rearguard effort to set up a winner-takes-all match nine. But, despite going two sets down in the final doubles, Ethan Lloyd and Norman Jacobs (+1) recovered to edge past Paul Metcalf and Rob Bright (-1) 5-11, 8-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-9 to give the tie to the Leopards by the narrowest of narrow margins.
Crucially in such a tight encounter, the Leopards took four of the five individual matches that went the distance. The Leopards began well, Jacobs and Stuart Wilkinson (0) taking the first doubles 9-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-5, 12-10 against Rob Bright and Jo Millar (0). And with Wilkinson (+1) beating Bright (-3) 11-6, 15-13, 7-11, 12-14, 11-8 and Jacobs (-1) defeating Millar (+1) 3-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, the Leopards had won three of the first four points in matches that went close in five.
A win for Millar (0) 11-6 in the decider over Wilkinson (0) in match eight was Brotherhood's sole five-set victory of the evening. Metcalf, who won two singles and one doubles, was Brotherhood's best player on the night.
In the only other Round One match played this week, Windsor Kites enjoyed an easier passage to the next round with a 5-2 success against Nomads Lynx. Karl Hubbard was undefeated in his two singles and one doubles.
The Lynx got off to a good start with Cameron Cini and Barbara Rogers (+1) taking the opening doubles 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 against Mick Simson and Rachel Simson (-1). And although Cini (0) beat Rachel Simson (0) 11-8, 11-6, 15-13 to level the scores at two-all, that was the extent of the Lynx's success.
In Round Two, the Leopards will be at home to another Division Three team, Windsor Swallows, whilst the Kites will face Division Two side Windsor Harriers.
* In the only League match played in Division One, leaders Nomads Panthers eased past a weakened Brotherhood B 10-0 to record their fifth whitewash victory of the current campaign and extend their lead at the half-way point of the season to a sizeable twenty-three points.
In Division Two the all-Windsor clash between the Owls and the Harriers ended in a 10-0 victory for the Owls. But the score-line reflected harshly on the Harriers, and especially Ferdy Rodriguez who went down close in five in all this three singles - 11-7 in the fifth to Woo Dy, 11-8 in the fifth to Mark Salter and an even closer 14-12 in the fifth to Frank Burbidge. Add to that an Owls' doubles victory for Burbidge and Dy 20-18, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 13-11 against Rodriguez and Jenny Higgins, and the Harriers' skipper could be forgiven for thinking the table tennis gods were not looking favourably upon him.
However it's Nomads Tigers, 8-2 winners over Nomads Jaguars, who go into the holiday period at the top of the table, seven points ahead of the Owls but having played a game more. John Marshall and John Bonner were unbeaten for the Tigers although it was a close 9-11, 14-16, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 for Bonner against Andrew North, and a tough 11-7, 15-13, 17-19, 11-7 against Kevin Hume. North took a point for the losers with an excellent victory over Daryl Lott and, with daughter Caroline, shared an unexpected doubles win in three-straight against Lott and Marshall.
The Jaguars also lost in their second match of the week, going down 7-3 to Brotherhood H. Grant Sharpe recorded a predictable treble for the winners whilst Graham Parkes' took a couple but lost 11-7 in the decider to Andrew North. However, the closest match of the evening saw Brotherhood's John Wrigley scrape past Cris Edwards 14-12 in the fifth.
John Plummer got Windsor Magpies off to a good start in his side's match with Windsor Buzzards, defeating Ray Chillingworth 4-11, 14-12, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10 in match one. Alas, that was the Magpies' sole success of the evening, the only other match going to five being Dan Malinowski's 11-6 in the fifth victory over Plummer in match ten. Malinowski notched up his first maximum of the season whilst there was a treble also for the much-improved Pete Bloomfield.
Nomads Bobcats lived up to their reputation as the most perverse side in the Clacton League, recording a second perverse victory of their perverse season by defeating Brotherhood F 6-4 courtesy of the efforts of two reserves playing up, just as they had done in their first win. Tony Robinson, the only regular player in the Bobcats' line-up, took two points including a 12-10 in the fifth win against Sandie Isaac whilst reserve Eric Lemke beat the same player 14-12 in the decider before defeating Gerald Batt 11-8 in the fifth. Another reserve, Brian Friday, took a fifth singles win. But, amidst all this, Brotherhood's Barry Allen stood firm, staying unbeaten to take an accomplished treble.
Brotherhood B 0 Nomads Panthers 10.
Nomads Jaguars 3 Brotherhood H 7;
Windsor Owls 10 Windsor Harriers 0;
Nomads Bobcats 6 Brotherhood F 4;
Windsor Magpies 1 Windsor Buzzards 9;
Nomads Tigers 8 Nomads Jaguars 2.
Handicap Knock-Out Cup : Round One
Windsor Kites 5 Nomads Lynx 2;
Brotherhood G 4 Nomads Leopards 5.
HANDICAP KNOCK-OUT CUP
Round Two (full revised draw)
Nomads Tigers v Windsor Ospreys;
Nomads Jaguars v Windsor Owls;
Walton B v Brotherhood F;
Windsor Buzzards v Nomads Ocelots;
Windsor Kestrels v Brotherhood H;
Windsor Harriers v Windsor Kites;
Brotherhood C v Lawford;
Windsor Magpies v Brotherhood B;
Nomads Wildcats v Walton D;
Windsor Condors v Walton C;
Nomads Lions v Windsor Hawks;
Nomads Leopards v Windsor Swallows;
Windsor Eagles v Nomads Panthers;
Brotherhood I v Nomads Pumas;
Nomads Bobcats v Windsor Penguins;
Brotherhood D v Brotherhood E.
Matches to be played during week commencing 4th January.