Russell Hillier and his Brotherhood D colleagues hit the Clacton and District League headlines for the second time in a month as they set the Division Two title race wide open, taking the last four games of the evening to record a 7-3 win over long-time leaders Brotherhood H.
In a marathon of a match, the 'D' team took four of the five matches which went the distance. Hillier, who's only lost twice all season, capped a fine performance in the final contest of the evening with a dogged 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5 success against Stewart Murray, who'd previously only lost once this season.
Lee Harvey's two for the winners included a narrow 8-11, 11-3, 13-11, 7-11, 12-10 success against Grant Sharpe whilst Paul Alden, beat the same player 11-3, 7-11, 12-14, 11-9, 11-9. And the doubles proved to be another close-fought affair, Hillier and Harvey beating Murray and Graham Parkes 11-9 in the fifth. Murray took two for the 'H' team whilst Parkes notched up a tight 7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 15-13, 11-7 victory against Alden.
The win puts the 'D' team just three points behind Brotherhood H at the top with each side having four matches to play.
Nomads Bobcats are fast becoming new favourites to take third place. This week they beat Nomads Jaguars 8-2, with trebles from Ethan Lloyd and Arran Hutchinson. Andrew Cawley won two, including a win in five against Caroline North. Kevin Hume of the Jaguars enjoyed a fine victory over Cawley and, with Andrew North, took an unexpected doubles win in three-straight against Lloyd and Cawley.
The Brotherhood I v Brotherhood F encounter ended with honours even. Mark Ratcliffe was in excellent form for the 'I' team, his hat-trick including a surprise victory in three against Lawrence Torr and a tight 14-12 in the decider success against Barry Allen. There was a point apiece for his team-mates Scott Campbell and Woody Fitzpatrick, Campbell beating Lee Allen 11-5 in the fifth and Fitzpatrick edging out the same player 12-10 in the fifth. There were two each for Torr and Barry Allen for the 'F' team, with the two players combining to take the doubles 11-5 in the decider against Ratcliffe and Fitzpatrick.
Windsor Harriers, playing with a guest, won the first and last matches of the evening against Nomads Tigers but they were their only successes, the Tigers coming out on top 8-2. Phil Wolski and John Hockley, making a welcome return after several months absence, both stayed unbeaten.
Trebles from John Bonner and John Long saw Walton C home 7-3 against Brotherhood E. Rodney Betts, Cris Edwards and Duncan Dunne took a point each for the losers.
The battle of the bottom two teams ended in a 7-3 victory for Windsor Magpies over Nomads Pumas - although the score-line could easily have been reversed, with the Magpies winning all four matches which went the distance. Eric Lemke was unbeaten for the Pumas but Alan Dockerill had an unlucky return to table tennis action, going down 11-6 in the fifth to Kayley Rodriguez, 11-7 in the fifth to John Plummer and 11-8 in the fifth to Dave Sweetland. Rodriguez, Plummer and Sweetland all won two for the Magpies, with Plummer and Sweetland combining to take the doubles in the closest match of the evening, beating Lemke and Lionel Goddard 11-9 in the decider.
In Division Three second-placed Nomads Wildcats were 9-1 winners against a Nomads Leopards' side forced to put out two guests - although even the most biased Leopards' supporter would have to admit a full team would not have altered the score-line.
An Alan Charman hat-trick was the high-light of Windsor Penguins' 8-2 success against Nomads Ocelots. Debra Found and Jackie Bunce won a pair apiece whilst there were two for Arthur Wells-Garrett of the Ocelots.
Brotherhood G and Windsor Swallows enjoyed a tight tussle which ended all-square. Angela Barratt of the Swallows stayed unbeaten although it was a narrow 11-7 in the decider against Paul Metcalf. Sue Chillingworth, with an 11-5 in the fifth victory over David Hunt, and Paul Dale were the other Windsor points-scorers. Metcalf and Rob Bright took a couple each for Brotherhood.
Nomads Lynx and Windsor Ospreys are nestled comfortably together in the middle of the table and, not unexpectedly, their meeting ended in a stale-mate draw. Robbie Strutt took his three for the Ospreys although it was a hard-fought 11-8, 7-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8 against Dave Harris. There were a couple each for both Dave Harris and Liam Harris of the Lynx, Liam claiming a close 6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11, 11-8 win of his own against Jordan Webb.
But the Lynx were 9-1 victors against Brotherhood J, both Harris Senior and Harris Junior undefeated. Cameron Cini won two, his 11-2, 12-10, 5-11, 9-11, 11-6 win against Oleksandra Klymenko the closest match of the contest. Harley Wood took the Brotherhood point.
In Division One Windsor Condors' outside title hopes were dashed when they were held to a draw by Brotherhood B. Andy Warner took three and Gracie Edwards two for Brotherhood. Greg Green won a couple for Windsor, beating Edwards 11-9 in the fifth but losing out 11-8 in the fifth to Warner. Martyn Green, with an 11-6 in the fifth victory over John Cleasby, and Martin Hogg won one each for the Condors.
There were maximum points for Gary Young and Paul Woolnough as Walton A defeated Windsor Kestrels 9-1. Paul Newbould won two but lost out to Windsor's Colin Beaumont.
In a battle for pride at the foot of the table, Lawford edged out Windsor Owls 6-4 - but still remain bottom. Paul Hewitt starred for the village side with a treble whilst there was one each for Richard Spence and Ian Sherwood, the Lawford skipper having a nail-biting 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 victory over his Windsor counter-part Tricia Salter. Crucially, Lawford took the doubles, Sherwood and Spence beating Frank Burbidge and Mark Salter 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 14-16, 11-7. Burbidge and Mark Salter won two singles each for the Owls.
* The closing date for the League's Closed Championships is just days away with all entries needing to be received by midnight on Saturday 1st April. To qualify players must have played at least seven League matches. Entries can be made on-line to Peter White or sent by post to Tony Oswick. The Tournament takes place on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April 2017 at the Coastal Academy Sports Hall.
Windsor Condors 5 Brotherhood B 5;
Windsor Kestrels 1 Walton A 9;
Windsor Owls 4 Lawford 6.
Brotherhood D 7 Brotherhood H 3;
Nomads Tigers 8 Windsor Harriers 2;
Brotherhood I 5 Brotherhood F 5;
Nomads Jaguars 2 Nomads Bobcats 8;
Walton C 7 Brotherhood E 3;
Windsor Magpies 7 Nomads Pumas 3.
Nomads Leopards 1 Nomads Wildcats 9;
Windsor Penguins 8 Nomads Ocelots 2;
Brotherhood G 5 Windsor Swallows 5;
Nomads Lynx 5 Windsor Ospreys 5;
Brotherhood J 1 Nomads Lynx 9.