With four teams starting to become detached at the bottom of Division One of the Clacton and District League, the battle to avoid the dreaded drop looks like developing into a down-to-the-wire dog-fight. And if one of those teams, Windsor Hawks, manages to survive, they will be more than indebted to Andy Vincent, one of the top-flight's most improved players who's won over fifty per cent of the Hawks' points this season.
This week, Vincent took a top-class hat-trick as the Hawks battled to draw their match with high-flying Walton A, Vincent enjoying wins over Gavin Price, Paul Woolnough and a tight 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 success over Kevin James. And with skipper John Barton chipping in with an 11-8 in the fifth victory over Woolnough and Elliot Attrill defeating the same player 11-6 in the fifth, the Hawks earned an unexpected share of the spoils which moves them seven points clear of the immediate drop zone.
Price and James each won two for Walton, James having to battle hard before over-coming Attrill 11-8 in the fifth.
Bottom-team Brotherhood D are looking the side most in danger but they were gifted three points when leaders Nomads Panthers were forced to field a guest. But a clean sweep from James Denyer and John Hatley saw the Panthers home to a comfortable 7-3 victory.
Walton C, without Peter Burrows, went down 9-1 to Windsor Condors but their point, a surprise 11-7 in the fifth win for Graham Buxton over Martin Hogg, was sufficient to lift them out of the relegation places - just.
Windsor Kestrels dropped into the bottom two for the first time this season following their 10-0 defeat at the hands of Walton B. Paul Meikle, finding his best form of the season, was unbeaten for Walton, defeating John Harvey 11-6 in the fifth in the closest match of the evening. Derek Willis and Colin Dearman also recorded trebles.
The big match in Division Two between the top two teams saw a crushing 9-1 win for Lawford over a Brotherhood I side which included John Wrigley in place of Paul Alden. Richard Spence and Paul Hewitt stayed unbeaten while Ian Sherwood's couple included an 11-9 in the decider success over Fred Gallone. Sherwood lost out to Graham Parkes who took Brotherhood's sole point.
Brotherhood F take over second place, eight points behind Lawford, following their 10-0 win over a two-player Nomads Jaguars. Mark Beckham prove an able reserve for Brotherhood, his victories including a tense 11-9 in the decider success over Mike Wellum.
Nomads Tigers also enjoyed a whitewash win, this over mid-table Windsor Harriers, John Marshall, Phil Wolski and Daryl Lott all remaining unbeaten. Isabel Barton was the Harriers' best player, losing 11-6 in the fifth to Marshall and even more narrowly, 14-12 in the fifth, to Lott.
Brotherhood H are another side in the promotion mix and they were 7-3 winners over Walton E. Daniel Young took his maximum for Walton but it was a close-run thing, edging past Mark Ratcliffe 12-10, 11-4, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9 and Mark Salter 10-12, 11-13, 11-6, 11-6, 12-10.
After their tough opening five matches when they accumulated just twelve points, Windsor Buzzards have now chalked up five straight wins and 35 points from their next five matches. This week it was 9-1 against struggling Walton D with Ray Chillingworth and Pete Bloomfield their hat-trick men. Alan Rutledge won two but went down 11-9 in the decider to ever-determined super-veteran John Long. Walton's John Bonner will feel unfortunate to have lost 11-6 in the fifth to Rutledge and 11-7 in the fifth to Chillingworth.
Brotherhood E marginally improved their position with a 6-4 win over Windsor Magpies. There were three for Duncan Dunne, two for Cris Edwards and one for reserve Harley Wood. Dave Sweetland took two for the Magpies and John Plummer one, the closest match of the encounter being Dunne's 5-11, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10, 11-7 victory over Plummer.
In Division Three leaders Brotherhood G were without a match which allowed Windsor Penguins, 10-0 winners over Nomads Ocelots, to close the gap at the top. Sue Chillingworth's 11-4 in the fifth win over Dominic Joannou was the only match which went the distance.
Nomads Lynx moved up to third place behind the Penguins with a 6-4 victory over Windsor Swallows. Dave Harris and Liam Harris both won two, with Cameron Cini one whilst, for the Swallows, Robbie Strutt picked up a hat-trick for the second week running and Mark Lamb opened his account for the season with a welcome victory. The highlight of the contest was match ten where, in a truly nail-biting encounter, Strutt edged past Dave Harris 11-1, 11-9, 11-13, 14-16, 14-12.
Nomads Pumas are fourth following their 8-2 win against Windsor Kites, Alan Dockerill and Andrew Cousins taking trebles. The Pumas won two matches 11-5 in the fifth, Dockerill beating Chris Simson and John Bowers defeating Carl Hubbard. Simson, with an 11-7 in the decider victory against Bowers, and Jack Haylett took a point each for the Kites.
Nomads Caracals are also on the move upwards and could yet be promotion contenders, this week defeating Nomads Leopards 9-1, Chris Jones and Denise Thompson each winning three. Yasmin Ticquet's couple for the Caracals included an 11-7 in the fifth victory over Dave Wright. Stuart Wilkinson picked up the Leopards' point.
Windsor Hawks 5 Walton A 5;
Brotherhood D 3 Nomads Panthers 7;
Walton B 10 Windsor Kestrels 0;
Walton C 1 Windsor Condors 9.
Brotherhood I 1 Lawford 9;
Windsor Harriers 0 Nomads Tigers 10;
Windsor Buzzards 9 Walton D 1;
Brotherhood H 7 Walton E 3;
Brotherhood E 6 Windsor Magpies 4;
Nomads Jaguars 0 Brotherhood F 10.
Windsor Kites 2 Nomads Pumas 8;
Nomads Ocelots 0 Windsor Penguins 10;
Nomads Lynx 6 Windsor Swallows 4;
Nomads Leopards 1 Nomads Caracals 9.