Promotion-hopefuls Nomads Wildcats were made to fight all the way in their match this week with Windsor Penguins in Division Three of the Clacton and District League, emerging narrow 6-4 winners.
Mike Wellum starred for the Wildcats to stay unbeaten but Alan Charman and Debra Found excelled for the Penguins, both unexpectedly taking the scalps of Mike Hillier and Peter Martin. In the only match which went to five, Found edged out Martin 6-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10.
Elsewhere, the Windsor Swallows' trio of Iris Howlett, Sue Chillingworth and Paul Dale were 10-0 victors over Nomads Ocelots. But Martin Cunningham of the Ocelots was left to rue two close defeats, going down 11-9 in the fifth to Dale and 13-11 in the fifth to Howlett.
Hat-tricks for Robbie Strutt and Jordan Webb gave mid-table Windsor Ospreys a 7-3 victory over Nomads Leopards. Tom Collins, Roger McNaughton and Norman Jacobs each took a point for the losers.
The encounter between the two Brotherhood teams in the Division ended as a 9-1 victory for the 'G' team over the 'J' team. Rob Bright and Paul Metcalf stayed unbeaten and David Hunt won two, including a narrow 11-9, 10-12, 11-2, 9-11, 11-9 success against Oleksandra Klymenko. Harley Wood took the 'J' team's consolation point in another close match, beating Hunt 7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10.
Nomads Panthers marched on at the top of Division One
with a convincing 10-0 victory over Windsor Eagles. Sam Hume, James Denyer and Gill Locke were all on-song, with Locke's 11-8, 11-6, 13-15, 11-13, 11-6 victory over Gary Cattermole the only match which went the distance. For the record, it was the first time in over three and a half years that an Eagles' side has been whitewashed.
Nomads Lions defeated Windsor Hawks 7-3, Paul Hume taking three, Roger Hance two and Adam Wilkin one. But the score-line could well have been different, with the Lions taking all three matches that went close in five. Hance beat John Barton 11-8 in the decider, Wilkin edged out the same player 12-10 in the decider, whilst Hume and Wilkin took the doubles 11-8 in the decider against Andy Vincent and the unfortunate Barton. Vincent won two for the Hawks and Elliott Attrill one.
Three for Oli Reynolds and two for Alan Burgess were the foundation for Brotherhood C's 6-4 success against club-mates Brotherhood B. Gracie Edwards' two for the losers included an excellent 11-4, 7-11, 12-14, 11-6, 11-6 victory over Burgess. Martin Edwards and John Owen took a point apiece for the 'B' team.
Windsor Kestrels eased any lingering relegation worries with a 7-3 victory over Windsor Owls, a repeat of their early-season encounter. Dave Martin stayed unbeaten, John Harvey won two and Jonathan Found, making a rare League appearance, opened his account for the season with a hard-fought 12-10 in the fifth win against Tricia Salter. The resolute Frank Burbidge took two for the Owls and reserve Ray Chillingworth chipped in with one.
There was no better luck for the second relegation-threatened team Lawford who lost 9-1 to Walton B, Derek Willis and Jason Gale notching up hat-tricks. Colin Dearman won a couple, whilst Willis and Gale combined to take a tight doubles 9-11,9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 against Richard Spence and Ian Sherwood. Spence took Lawford's consolation point.
At the bottom of Division Two Nomads Jaguars took a giant stride in their battle against relegation with a massively-important 9-1 victory over Windsor Magpies. Tony Beezer, making his first appearance of the season for the unavailable Kevin Hume, and Andrew North both stayed unbeaten whilst team captain Caroline North, who's only missed two League matches all season, won a couple. The two closest matches were Beezer's narrow 11-7, 9-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-5 defeat of Malcolm Caley and the doubles, where North and North won 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3 against Caley and Kayley Rodriguez.
The Magpies will have gained some consolation when they learned that Brotherhood E, sitting just above them in the table, failed to pick up a single point this week. But although the 'E' team's 10-0 defeat at the hands of Divisional leaders Brotherhood H - Stewart Murray, Grant Sharpe and Graham Parkes - was less surprising, it was not without a fight. And the 'E' team could easily have snatched a couple of points, Sharpe edging out Cris Edwards 11-5, 11-3, 13-15, 8-11, 12-10 and Parkes beating Duncan Dunne 5-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 14-12 in an equally-close match.
Bottom-team Nomad Pumas, forced to field a guest against Windsor Buzzards, also lost 10-0 but they, and Andrew Cousins in particular, will also feel hard done-by not to come away with a point or two. In one of the closest matches of the season, Alan Rutledge scraped past Cousins 7-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-6, 17-15 and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Nomads' player ran out of steam in his next match against Dan Malinowski who came back from two sets down to win 7-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-1, 11-3.
The all-Brotherhood top-of-the-table encounter between the 'D' team, fielding a guest, and the 'I' team, without Kris Stefanov, ended all-square. Russell Hillier with three and Paul Alden with two took the points for the 'D' side but they couldn't get the better of Mark Ratcliffe and Mark Beckham who took the doubles for the 'I' team. It was Brotherhood I's first draw of the season.
A Phil Wolski maximum, and a couple each from Tom Wilkin and Daryl Lott, saw Nomads Tigers home 8-2 against Walton C to keep their outside promotion hopes alive. Rivhu Khan picked up Walton's two points.
And Nomads Bobcats moved to the fringes of the promotion race following their 9-1 win over Windsor Harriers, thus avenging an early-season 6-4 defeat. Jason Lloyd and Ethan Lloyd both took trebles, whilst Andrew Crawley was only denied his hat-trick by the Harriers' sole points-winner, Isabel Barton.
* The Handicapped Singles Tournament takes place on Saturday 4th February at Windsor's St James Hall. Play starts at 9.30 am. Entries, with the entry fee of £3, can be sent to Tony Oswick or they can be made on-line to firstname.lastname@example.org with the entry fee payable on the day. The closing date is Monday 29th January. For more details contact League Secretary Lyn White (Tel : 01255 425292).
* The Windsor Club is organising a Quiz Evening for teams of up to six people on Saturday 11th March at St James Hall, 7.00 pm for a 7.30 pm start. Tickets are £5 per person which includes supper, bring your own drink. For more details or to enter a team telephone Jenny Higgins on 01255 432397 or 07790240566, or e-mail email@example.com.
* This year's Closed Championships will take place over the weekend of Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April. To qualify, players must have played in at least 33% of all League (not Cup) games by the entry closing date. This has yet to be fixed but is likely to be around the end of March. As a guideline, the qualification is expected to be either seven or eight games.
Nomads Panthers 10 Windsor Eagles 0;
Brotherhood C 6 Brotherhood B 4;
Windsor Hawks 3 Nomads Lions 7;
Windsor Kestrels 7 Windsor Owls 3;
Walton B 9 Lawford 1.
Windsor Magpies 1 Nomads Jaguars 9;
Brotherhood H 10 Brotherhood E 0;
Nomads Pumas 0 Windsor Buzzards 10;
Brotherhood D 5 Brotherhood I 5;
Nomads Tigers 8 Walton C 2;
Windsor Harriers 1 Nomads Bobcats 9.
Windsor Penguins 4 Nomads Wildcats 6;
Windsor Ospreys 7 Nomads Leopards 3;
Brotherhood G 9 Brotherhood J 1;
Nomads Ocelots 0 Windsor Swallows 10.