The Clacton and District League's Division Three Handicap Challenge competition is beginning to take shape with Nomads Ocelots, Brotherhood G and Brotherhood J all recording hard-fought wins this week.
In Group One the Windsor Swallows v Nomads Ocelots encounter turned out to be a four-hour see-saw marathon in which the lead changed four times. The Ocelots eventually scraped home 5-4 with Arthur Wells-Garrett and Dominic Joannou (-5) sealing the victory with a last-gasp 11-8, 3-11, 11-8, 4-11, 12-10 win in the final doubles against Iris Howlett and Mark Lamb (+1).
Joannou and Sue Lee each took a singles victory, Joannou's (-6) 11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9 win over Diane Self (+1) being another close-run affair. Crucially, the Ocelots won all three doubles,
For the Swallows, Howlett and Lamb stayed undefeated in both their singles matches, Lamb (+2) playing well to get the better of Wells-Garrett (-8) 11-6 in the fifth.
The Ocelots now top the group alongside Brotherhood G who enjoyed a 6-3 win over Nomads Leopards. Paul Metcalf with two, and Mark Beckham and John Gallagher with one each, got the singles wins, whilst Gallagher was successful in both his doubles.
But the final score may well have been different had not Brotherhood taken the two matches which went the distance, Beckham (-8) beating Dave Wright (+2) 12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6, and Metcalf and Gallagher (-3) edging out Wright and Norman Jacobs (+1) 11-5, 11-5, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9.
Wright and Stuart Wilkinson won a singles each for the Leopards, and shared a doubles win.
In Group Two five of the individual matches went the distance as Brotherhood J defeated Windsor Kites in another 5-4 thriller. Maci Harvey won both her singles, with Harley Wood and Oleksandra Klymenko taking one each, Harvey and Klymenko sharing an important doubles success. Brotherhood won three of the five-set matches, the closest being Harvey's (-1) 5-11, 11-6, 1-11, 13-11, 13-11 win over Mick Simson (+1)
For the Kites, Chris Simson and Carl Hubbard won singles apiece, with Chris Simson winning both his doubles alongside Hubbard and Mick Simson. The Kites also had a narrow victory when Chris Simson (-5) edged past Harley Wood (+1) 8-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7, 14-12.
The victory for Brotherhood J moves them to a share of top spot in Group Two with Windsor Penguins, both teams having won both their matches.
* The only League match of the week witnessed a minor piece of local table tennis history when, for the first time in at least 45 years - and perhaps ever - there was a Division Two fixture between two teams from the Walton Club. The historic event saw the 'E' team defeat the 'D' team 8-2 with Jared Chelski retaining his unbeaten record for the season. Daniel Young won two, as did Jane Young who enjoyed a 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5 victory over John Long. Rivhu Khan, making only his third appearance of the season for Walton D, won twice.
* The Handicapped Singles Tournament takes place on Saturday 3rd February at St James' Hall with play starting at 10.00 am. Entries can be made on-line to Peter White or by post to Tony Oswick. The entry fee is £3.00 and the closing date for entry is Sunday 28th January. Entries will be limited to 40 players and taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Full details will be posted on the League's website.
Walton D 2 Walton E 8.
Division 3 Handicap Challenge
Windsor Swallows 4 Nomads Ocelots 5;
Brotherhood G 6 Nomads Leopards 3.
Windsor Kites 4 Brotherhood J 5.