Two teams from each of the Brotherhood and Nomads' Clubs have made it through to the last four of the Handicap Knock-Out Cup - and the semi-final draw has ensured that there will be one team from each Club in the final.
Nomads Panthers retained their hope of achieving a League and Cup double when, in the only all-Division One clash in Round Four, they finished as 5-0 winners against the Nomads Lions. James Denyer, Sam Hume and John Hatley were in fine fettle and, despite having to concede substantial points, took five hard-fought victories against their doughty, but disappointed, opponents.
The 2015 Cup-winners, Brotherhood B, are another side looking in good form and they made it to the last four by beating Division Two side Windsor Magpies 5-1. Martin Edwards stayed unbeaten and it was only a doubles win in three-straight from Ollie Rampton and Dave Sweetland (+1) over Gracie Edwards and John Owen (-5) that prevented the whitewash.
The last Division Three side in the competition, Nomads Pumas, bowed out bravely, 5-1 to Division Two side Brotherhood H. Mark Ratcliffe, Frank Burbidge and Woody Fitzpatrick stayed unbeaten for the victors in their singles but it was a close 13-11 in the fifth for Burbidge (-8) against John Bowers (+2) and an equally-tight 11-9 in the fifth for Fitzpatrick (-6) against Lionel Goddard (+1).
There was little grade difference between Division Two promotion-hopefuls Nomads Tigers and Division One strugglers Windsor Kestrels and so the Tigers' 5-1 win - the third such score-line of the Round Four ties - was less of a surprise than it might seem. Phil Wolski and Daryl Lott (+1) won the opening doubles 12-10 in the fifth against John Harvey and Dave Martin (-1) with the Kestrels levelling it when John Harvey (-3) beat John Marshall (+1) 11-9 in the decider. But thereafter it was the Tigers all the way, taking the next four matches.
The semi-final draw has seen the Division One teams kept apart, with the Panthers drawn to play the Tigers, and Brotherhood B scheduled to face Brotherhood H. The matches are to be played by Friday 20th April. The Cup Final takes place at the Brotherhood Hall on Tuesday 1st May.
* In Group One of the Division Three Handicap Challenge
an elbow injury to John Bowers mid-way through the match between Nomads Pumas and Windsor Swallows scuppered the Pumas' chance of victory - and with it the possibility of them finishing in top spot and thus qualifying for the play-off final. The Pumas had to concede two points because of Bowers' injury which left the Swallows as narrow 5-4 victors. Lionel Goddard took one singles and both his doubles for the Pumas whilst Robbie Strutt stayed unbeaten in his singles for the Swallows.
Nomads Lynx completed their programme of four matches this week and head Group Two after a 6-3 win over Windsor Kites. Cameron Cini was their undefeated hero in both singles and doubles. Chris Simson was the Kites' best player, taking two singles including an 11-8 in the decider win over Dave Harris in a scratch-match, and one doubles alongside Carl Hubbard.
Brotherhood J were forced to field a guest against Nomads Caracals and therefore it was little surprise they went down 7-2. Nomads' Yasmin Ticquet enjoyed two singles successes including a 13-11, 11-8, 6-11, 13-15, 13-11 win over Maci Harvey in another match played off scratch.
So, with just a handful of matches left to be played, Brotherhood G look unstoppable in Group One whilst, in Group Two, Nomads Lynx must await the outcome of the final match between Brotherhood J and Windsor Penguins to determine who will be the Group winner. And, if two teams finish level at the top of a Group, the winner of the match between those two teams will be placed first.
The play-off final will be played before the end of the season, date yet to be arranged.
* In Division One of the League there was no Sam Hume or James Denyer in the Nomads Panthers' line-up against Walton C but one Gill Locke win, two each from John Hatley and Colin Webber, and a Hatley-Webber doubles success, saw them home 6-4. But none of them could get the better of Peter Burrows who remained undefeated for Walton.
There was a similar situation at St James Hall where Greg Green stayed unbeaten for Windsor Condors but ended up on the losing side, 6-4 to Windsor Eagles. But it was a tough hat-trick for Green, beating Phil Smith 11-9 in the fifth and Gary Cattermole 11-8 in the fifth. Smith and Cattermole each won two for the Eagles, the two players also sharing a doubles win. John Pattrick picked up their sixth point.
Lawford caught up with on their fixtures in Division Two and did it with aplomb, taking seventeen points from their two matches.
Richard Spence and Paul Hewitt stayed unbeaten in the 8-2 success over Brotherhood F, Ian Sherwood picking up an important point with an 11-4, 5-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-9 victory over Lee Allen.
And Spence and Hewitt again took trebles as Lawford went one better against Nomads Jaguars, winning 9-1. Sherwood took two in this match, beating Kevin Hume and Andy Cawley, albeit a close 11-9 in the decider against Cawley, but losing out to Mike Wellum.
Lawford's title hopes were enhanced further when their nearest rivals, Nomads Tigers, went down 6-4 to Walton E. Jared Chelski and Daniel Young inevitably stayed unbeaten for the winners with John Marshall, John Hockley and Phil Wolski getting a point each for the Tigers. Marshall and Hockley combined to take what could be an important point in the doubles, 16-14, 7-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8 against Chelski and Young.
The Tigers' lead at the top is now just nine points - but Lawford crucially have two matches in hand.
In Division Three promotion-seeking Windsor Penguins moved to the top with a comfortable 10-0 victory over lowly Windsor Swallows. Debra Found, Paul Dale and Jackie Bunce all recorded trebles.
Nomads Lynx and Windsor Kites met for a second time in three days, this time in a League fixture, and three from Liam Harris, two from Dave Harris, one from Cameron Cini, and a Harris-Harris doubles win saw the Lynx home 7-3. Liam Harris had a tough five setter, 11-2, 10-12, 10-12, 13-11, 11-4, against Chris Simson, whilst Dave Harris was taken all the way by Carl Hubbard before winning 11-7 in the decider. Simson with two and Hubbard with one took the Kites' points.
* The Closed Championships take place on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th April at the Coastal Academy Sports Hall. For the twenty-fifth year, the Championships are being sponsored by Paul Newbould, Planning and Building Design Services. Entries can be made on-line, or postal entries can be sent to Tony Oswick. The qualification for entry is six matches (Division One and Two players) and five matches (Division Three players). The closing date is Saturday 24th March.
Knock-Out Cup : Round 4
Windsor Kestrels 1 Nomads Tigers 5;
Brotherhood H 5 Nomads Pumas 1;
Windsor Magpies 1 Brotherhood B 5;
Nomads Panthers 5 Nomads Lions 0.
Windsor Eagles 6 Windsor Condors 4;
Nomads Panthers 6 Walton C 4.
Lawford 8 Brotherhood F 2;
Nomads Jaguars 1 Lawford 9;
Nomads Tigers 4 Walton E 6.
Windsor Swallows 0 Windsor Penguins 10;
Nomads Lynx 7 Windsor Kites 3.
Division Three Handicap Challenge
Nomads Pumas 4 Windsor Swallows 5.
Monads Caracals 7 Brotherhood J 2;
Windsor Kites 3 Nomads Lynx 6.