Walton D are within a whisker of confirming the Clacton and District League's Division Three title.
In this week's match of the big beasts, the Walton side defeated second-placed Nomads Wildcats 6-4 for a second time. Jared Chelski, unbeaten all season, and Daniel Young, who's only lost once, both recorded trebles - although Young was stretched all the way by Doug Green before coming out on top 13-11, 11-7, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7.
Green, Mike Wellum and Mike Hillier all took a point for the Wildcats but the game of the evening - if not of the whole season - was in the doubles where the two Mikes, Wellum and Hillier, preserved the Wildcats' unbeaten doubles record with a classic win against Young and Chelski, the final score a mind-bending 11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 9-11, 23-21!
Walton D's second match was somewhat easier as top met bottom, Walton predictably ending as 10-0 winners against Brotherhood J. But the under-dogs might easily have sneaked a point, Jane Young only just getting past Harley Wood 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 14-16, 11-5.
These results leave Walton needing just two points from their remaining two matches to be guaranteed the title.
Brotherhood J also went down 7-3 to Windsor Ospreys, their three points courtesy of their opponents fielding a guest. There were three each for Jordan Webb whilst Maci Harvey's hard-earned hat-trick included an 11-4 in the fifth victory over Oleksandra Klymenko and an 11-9 in the fifth win over Georgia Ayton. The doubles match also went the distance, Webb and Harvey defeating Klymenko and Harley Wood 11-6 in the decider.
Graham Healey made a welcome return to table tennis action after a season-long injury for Brotherhood G and got into gear with a hat-trick in his team's 7-3 success against Windsor Kites. Paul Metcalf also remained unbeaten. There was a singles victory each for the Kites' Chris Simson and Jack Haylett - an 11-13, 11-4, 13-11, 8-11, 11-9 winner over Rob Bright - whilst the pair combined in the doubles to beat Metcalf and Bright in three-straight.
Nomads Lynx, playing with a guest player, drew for a seventh time this season, this time with Nomads Caracals. There were two each for Dave Harris and Liam Harris but neither could get the better of Chris Jones who won both her matches for the Caracals.
In Division One leaders Nomads Panthers were 8-2 winners against Nomads Lions in a match notable for the presence of three members of the Hume family for the first time ever. Sam Hume maintained his season's unbeaten record to take his maximum for the Panthers, defeating older brother Paul in three-straight in the process. James Denyer and Colin Webber won two each for the Panthers but neither could get the better of Paul who won both Lions' points. Making up the Hume threesome was Dad Kevin who stepped in as a reserve for the Lions but, despite his much-improved Division Two form, failed to trouble the scorer against the title favourites.
Brotherhood B's fifteen-year old starlet Gracie Edwards proved too good for her three Walton B opponents, recording victories over Derek Willis, Paul Meikle and Jason Gale in her side's 7-3 success. Paradoxically, her toughest match was against Gale, the Walton number three, Edwards battling through to eventually win 11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 15-17, 11-7. For Walton, Gale had a surprise victory over Martin Edwards, Willis defeated John Cleasby, whilst Gale and Meikle combined to take a close 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9 doubles against Cleasby and Gracie Edwards.
The all-Windsor clash between the Hawks and the Kestrels was a hard-fought, evenly-matched affair with five of the matches going the distance. But it was the Hawks who emerged 7-3 victors, with Andy Vincent taking three, John Barton two and Elliott Attrill one. Barton defeated both Dave Martin and Colin Beaumont 11-6 in the decider whilst it was a similar 11-6 in the fifth score-line for Vincent against John Harvey. Harvey won a couple for the Kestrels, beating both Barton and Attrill 11-7 in the fifth, whilst skipper Dave Martin took their third point.
The score-line in a second all-Windsor clash proved somewhat more convincing, the Condors defeating the Owls 9-1. Felipe Rodriguez and Martin Hogg both stayed unbeaten although Rodriguez had a tough struggle with Frank Burbidge before emerging the 11-3, 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 victor. Mark Salter took the Owls' point with a win over Annabelle Rodriguez.
It was also 9-1 for Windsor Eagles against Lawford, Phil Smith and Gary Cattermole unbeaten. Sue Welham won a couple for the Eagles although it was an 11-6, 11-13, 11-13, 11-9, 11-7 struggle against Lawford occasional John Colvin. Richard Spence beat Welham in the final game of the evening for the Lawford point.
An unbeaten Grant Sharpe was Brotherhood H's main man in his side's 7-3 Division Two victory against Brotherhood F. There were a couple for Stewart Murray but he surprisingly slipped up against Lee Allen, losing in four sets. Graham Parkes won one, beating Lawrence Torr 12-10, 13-15, 10-12, 11-7, 11-5. For the 'F' team, Lee Allen won two and Barry Allen one.
There were trebles for Russell Hillier and Lee Harvey of second-placed Brotherhood D against Windsor Harriers but, because they were forced to field a guest, the final 7-3 score-line saw them drop valuable points in their title quest and they remain three points behind Brotherhood H.
Three from Ethan Lloyd, and two each from Andrew Cawley and Arran Hutchinson, were enough to see Nomads Bobcats to an 8-2 victory over Nomads Tigers. Both the Tigers' points came from wins in five, Daryl Lott over Cawley and John Marshall against Hutchinson.
Scott Campbell, Woody Fitzpatrick and Mark Beckham all recorded maximum points as Brotherhood I swept aside Walton C 10-0. The only match which went the distance was Beckham's 12-10, 4-11, 8-11, 15-13, 11-7 victory over John Bonner.
In their second match of the week, it was 10-0 for Nomads Tigers against Nomads Pumas, Daryl Lott, John Marshall and Phil Wolski unbeaten. The tightest match saw Lott edge out Eric Lemke 11-8 in the fifth.
Windsor Buzzards beat Windsor Magpies 9-1 for a second time this season. Dan Malinowski and Pete Bloomfield stayed undefeated and together in the doubles edged out Dave Sweetland and John Plummer 6-11, 15-13, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6. Alan Rutledge's two for the winners included an 11-7 win over Sweetland but he failed to get past Plummer who took the Magpies' consolation point.
* The League's Closed Championships, which take place on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April 2017 at the Coastal Academy Sports Hall, have attracted an entry of 78 players - a near-record for recent seasons. All entrants will receive further information, including details about starting times, by Saturday 15th April. Any player who does not receive this information should contact either Peter White or Tony Oswick.
Windsor Hawks 7 Windsor Kestrels 3;
Brotherhood B 7 Walton B 3;
Windsor Condors 9 Windsor Owls 1;
Lawford 1 Windsor Eagles 9;
Nomads Lions 2 Nomads Panthers 8.
Nomads Pumas 0 Nomads Tigers 10;
Brotherhood I 10 Walton C 0;
Brotherhood F 3 Brotherhood H 7;
Windsor Harriers 3 Brotherhood D 7;
Nomads Bobcats 8 Nomads Tigers 2;
Windsor Buzzards 9 Windsor Magpies 1.
Brotherhood J 3 Windsor Ospreys 7;
Nomads Wildcats 4 Walton D 6;
Windsor Kites 3 Brotherhood G 7;
Walton D 10 Brotherhood J 0;
Nomads Caracals 5 Nomads Lynx 5.