Division Two of the Clacton and District League is proving as tight as was predicted pre-season, with three teams at the top currently separated by just two points - and with two other teams only a handful of points away having played a match fewer.
The big match of the week between third-placed Nomads Tigers and fourth-placed Brotherhood F ended in a narrow 6-4 success for the Tigers. Pawel Szemro took a maximum for the winners although it was a tight 11-7 in the fifth against Lee Allen in the closest match of the evening. Daryl Lott and Phil Wolski took one each for the Tigers whilst, for Brotherhood, Barry Allen and Lawrence Torr both won two, Torr needing five sets to overcome both Wolski and Lott.
Nomads Tigers had a second win, 7-3 against a Walton E side minus Jared Chelski. Lott, Szemro and Eric Lemke all won two but Daniel Young stayed firm for Walton to remain unbeaten.
And it was a similar story when Walton E, this time with Chelski but without Young, went down 7-3 to top-placed Lawford. Chelski took all three points for Walton with John Colvin, Paul Hewitt and Ian Sherwood winning a couple each for Lawford.
Second-placed Brotherhood I were comfortable 8-2 victors against Windsor Magpies. Graham Parkes and Paul Alden took trebles whilst John Wrigley, making his first appearance of the season, edged out Malcolm Caley 11-7 in the decider. Dave Sweetland and John Plummer took the Magpies' points.
Brotherhood H unsurprisingly beat Brotherhood E 9-1,Frank Burbidge, Woody Fitzpatrick and Mark Salter predictably staying undefeated. But it was totally unexpected that Tony Edmonds and Cris Edwards should win the doubles by an outstandingly-easy 11-6, 11-1, 11-4 against Fitzpatrick and Salter.
Despite the 10-0 score-line, Windsor Harriers were made to fight hard for their win against Walton D. The tightest match saw Isabel Barton edge past Toni Hayhow-Khan 11-6, 8-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5.
Windsor Buzzards beat Nomads Jaguars 6-4 in the closest match of the week - and possibly the season so far. No player stayed unbeaten, every player picked up a point whilst six of the matches went the distance, the Buzzards taking four of them. At one point, the Buzzards led 5-0 - with four of their wins coming from matches which went to five - but the Jaguars fought back, taking the final three matches of the evening.
Pete Bloomfield won his two in five against Mike Wellum and Caroline North, as did Alan Rutledge against Wellum and Kevin Hume, whilst Ray Chillingworth defeated Caroline North in four. For the Jaguars, Hume's pair included an excellent 11-7 in the fifth victory over Bloomfield, whilst North beat Rutledge by a similar score, and Wellum defeated Chillingworth in the only match which was decided in three sets.
Nomads Lynx go top of Division Three by a single point following their 7-3 win over a Nomads Pumas' side which fielded a guest. Liam Harris was the best player on show but, with Dad Dave Harris, struggled in the doubles, taking it by the narrowest of margins, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10 against Lionel Goddard and Alan Dockerill.
Dan Still maintained his hundred per cent season's record as Brotherhood J defeated Nomads Leopards 6-4. Harley Wood took a couple including a vital match-winner in the final encounter of the evening, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 13-11 against Dave Wright. Stuart Wilkinson won two for the Leopards, Wright and Norman Jacobs one each.
It was also 6-4 for Brotherhood G against Windsor Swallows. Mark Beckham recorded a maximum, with David Hunt and John Gallagher winning a point apiece. For the Swallows, there were a couple each for Robbie Strutt and the evergreen Iris Howlett.
Hat-tricks for Chris Jones and Denise Thompson saw Nomads Caracals to an 8-2 success over club-mates Nomads Ocelots. Hazel Blanche contributed with a victory over Barbara Rogers, whilst Sue Lee and Martin Cunningham took one each for the losers.
In Division One Windsor Kestrels included a reserve against Nomads Panthers but even a full-strength side would have been unlikely to affect the 10-0 score-line. James Denyer, Colin Webber and John Hatley were the winning team of maximum men, although Hatley was made to fight all the way before he got the better of a determined John Harvey 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10.
For the record, it was the first whitewash result in the Division so far this season.
Walton A beat Brotherhood B 7-3, Gary Young, Gavin Price and Kevin James each winning twice. Andy Warner stayed unbeaten for the losers although he had to save five match points in the fourth set against Young before taking it 13-11, 6-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-5. Walton took three of the four matches which went the distance, Brotherhood's Gracie Edwards being particularly unfortunate to go down in five against both Young and James, and lose 12-10 in the fifth with Warner in the doubles against Young and Price.
Nomads Lions, without Paul Hume, suffered their first reverse of the season, 7-3 at the hands of Windsor Eagles. In-form Gary Cattermole took three, Phil Smith two and Sue Welham one. For the Lions, there were two for Adam Cuthbert and one for Ethan Lloyd, all three wins achieved in the deciding set.
Hat-tricks for Martin Hogg and Colin Stallwood were the basis of Windsor Condors' 8-2 success over Walton B. Annabelle Rodriguez earned a valuable point with an 11-6 in the fifth victory over Paul Meikle. Derek Willis and Mark Gale won one each for the losers.
Walton B also went down 8-2 to Brotherhood C, Derek Willis getting both their two points on this occasion. Alan Burgess, with three, and Abi Peshkar and Oli Reynolds with two each, got the Brotherhood points.
Brotherhood C enjoyed a second win, 7-3 against Windsor Hawks, with Alan Burgess and Kevin Gowlett undefeated. There was a point each for Windsor's Andy Vincent, John Barton and Ian Fielder, and although none of the matches went to five, there was a nail-biting 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 22-20 win for Fielder against Kevin Pryor.
* The Division Three Handicap Challenge competition gets under way this week, the first match in Group One being an all-Nomads clash between the Leopards and the Pumas.
Windsor Kestrels 0 Nomads Panthers 10;
Walton A 7 Brotherhood B 3;
Nomads Lions 3 Windsor Eagles 7;
Walton B 2 Windsor Condors 8;
Brotherhood C 8 Walton B 2;
Windsor Hawks 3 Brotherhood C 7.
Walton E 3 Nomads Tigers 7;
Lawford 7 Walton E 3;
Brotherhood I 8 Windsor Magpies 2;
Brotherhood H 9 Brotherhood E 1;
Windsor Harriers 10 Walton E 0;
Nomads Jaguars 4 Windsor Buzzards 6;
Nomads Tigers 6 Brotherhood F 4.
Nomads Lynx 7 Nomads Pumas 3;
Brotherhood J 6 Nomads Leopards 4;
Windsor Swallows 4 Brotherhood G 6;
Nomads Ocelots 2 Nomads Caracals 8.