Brotherhood E are well clear at the top of Division Three of the Clacton and District League but the battle for the runners-up spot became even more intense and interesting after this week's results, with only three points now separating three teams.
Pride of place goes to Nomads Pumas who leap-frogged into second place after their 7-3 success over rivals Windsor Penguins, Andrew Cousins taking three, and Dave Harris and Lionel Goddard two each. In a typically hard-fought and entertaining match, Cousins had a 13-11 success against Darren Bunce whilst Harris was an 11-9 in the decider winner over Alan Charman. Bunce won two singles for the Penguins, including an 11-5 in the decider win against Harris, whilst he combined with Charman to maintain his side's excellent doubles record, the Penguins having lost only one doubles all season.
Nomads Leopards are the third team in the mix and they moved up the table with a 7-3 win against Windsor Falcons. Bob Jillins, Dave Wright and Stuart Wilkinson all won two but Kayley Rodriguez once again remained unbeaten for the Falcons.
Brotherhood E, meanwhile, extended their lead at the top to 26 points with a comfortable 10-0 victory over a two-player Windsor Robins' side.
It was a week of mixed fortunes for mid-table Brotherhood J. In their first match, they lost 7-3 to Walton D, for whom Tony Sharman took three, Toni Hayhow-Khan two and Lynette Sparks one, with Sharman and Hayhow-Khan sharing a doubles win. Harley Wood won two for the losers.
But the Brotherhood side bounced back to beat Nomads Lynx 6-4, a reverse of their early-season score. Mike Vilka stayed unbeaten for the Lynx but two each from Dan Still and Maci Harvey, one from Harley Wood, and an 11-2 in the decider doubles win for Still and Harvey, ensured the Brotherhood victory. Dominic Joannou of the Lynx was involved in two tight scraps, beating Wood 14-12 in the fifth but losing 12-10 in the fifth to Harvey.
In a bottom-of-the-table encounter, Windsor Merlins avenged a first-half season 6-4 defeat to beat Nomads Ocelots 8-2. Bradley Henshaw and Sharon Gowlett recorded trebles, and shared a doubles win, whilst Viv Rodriguez celebrated with an 11-5 in the fifth victory over Sue Lee. Barbara Rhodes and Hazel Blanche each picked up a point for the Ocelots.
In Division One Walton B fought hard against leaders and prospective champions, Nomads Panthers, but eventually had to concede to the better side, going down 10-0. Paul Hume, Gill Locke and John Hatley took trebles for the winners although all three had to endure matches which went the distance, Hatley beating Jason Gale 11-4 in the fifth, Hume beating the same player 11-5 in the fifth and Locke defeating Derek Willis, also 11-5 in the fifth.
It was also 10-0 for second-placed Windsor Condors against Windsor Hawks, Martyn Green making a rare journey across the Colchester border to take a hat-trick for the Condors. There were hat-tricks, too, for Colin Stallwood and Martin Hogg, Hogg involved in the closest match of the evening, beating John Barton 11-8 in the decider.
The Condors are now looking favourites to take the runners-up spot which leave Walton A and Brotherhood C battling it out for the honour of finishing third. Both teams won this week, Walton A 7-3 against Brotherhood D and Brotherhood C 6-4 against Walton C.
Jared Chelski and Gavin Price remained unbeaten for Walton A in the Brotherhood D match, Chelski enjoying an 11-9 in the fifth win over John Andrews. Paul Woolnough failed to get on the score-sheet for Walton but it was not for the want of trying, going down 11-5 in the decider to Scott Campbell and 11-7 in the decider to Russell Hillier.
Kevin Gowlett was Brotherhood C's hat-trick hero in their victory over Walton C. Ant Beckles and Graham Buxton won two each for Walton, Buxton scraping through 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 against Martin Edwards and 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 13-11 against Kevin Pryor.
There was another 6-4 result in the all-Nomads clash between the Lions and Tigers, with every player picking up at least one point, but a maximum from Lions' skipper Jason Lloyd ensured the match victory went to his side. Ethan Lloyd won two for the winners but unexpectedly went down to John Hockley, who then suffered an unexpected defeat of his own, losing 11-8 in the fifth to Lions' reserve Andy Cawley.
The only other result from the top Division saw Windsor Eagles ease to a 10-0 success against Lawford, Sue Welham, Gary Cattermole and Mark Smith all staying unbeaten.
In Division Two hat-tricks from John Owen and Paul Alden saw leaders Brotherhood I home 8-2 against Windsor Kestrels. Graham Bunce and Bob Sawyer took a point apiece for the losers, Bunce also losing 11-7 in the fifth in a close match with Alden.
Second-placed Brotherhood H were held to a draw by Windsor Buzzards, this largely because of an excellent treble from Windsor's John Harvey. Frank Burbidge and Woody Fitzpatrick won a couple each for Brotherhood whilst Tricia Salter ensured a share of the spoils for her team with a fine 11-9 in the fifth win against Ray Chillingworth. It was the Buzzards' fifth drawn match of the season
A Dave Martin maximum was the foundation for Windsor Magpies' 6-4 success against Nomads Bobcats, in the process inflicting a rare defeat on Nomads' Liam Harris. But it was the Magpies' doubles win which ultimately proved crucial, Martin and John Plummer beating Harris and Eric Lemke 11-7 in the decider. Harris and Andy Cawley took two each for the Bobcats.
Walton E's top trio of Mark Ratcliffe, Mark Gale and Gary Stallwood were 9-1 victors against Windsor Harriers, Ratcliffe involved in the closest match of the evening, beating Isabel Barton 11-9 in the decider. Barton and Ferdy Rodriguez took a consolation point in the doubles for the Harriers.
* Entries can now be made for the Closed Championships, sponsored by Paul Newbould Planning and Building Design Services. The tournament takes place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th April at the Coastal Academy Sports Hall. The qualification is six League matches. Entry forms should be completed on-line, or sent by post, to either Tony Oswick or Peter White. The closing date is Saturday 23rd March.
* The League's Quiz Evening is being held this Saturday (16th March) at the Brotherhood Hall, 7.00 pm for a 7.30 pm start. It's £3 per person for teams of up to six, bring your own drinks and nibbles. To book a table, telephone Viv or Ferdy Rodriguez on 01255 830951.
Nomads Panthers 10 Walton B 0;
Windsor Condors 10 Windsor Hawks 0;
Walton A 7 Brotherhood D 3;
Lawford 0 Windsor Eagles 10;
Brotherhood C 6 Walton C 4;
Nomads Tigers 4 Nomads Lions 6.
Windsor Kestrels 2 Brotherhood I 8;
Windsor Buzzards 5 Brotherhood H 5;
Nomads Bobcats 4 Windsor Magpies 6;
Walton E 9 Windsor Harriers 1.
Brotherhood E 10 Windsor Robins 0;
Nomads Ocelots 2 Windsor Merlins 8;
Walton D 7 Brotherhood J 3;
Nomads Lynx 4 Brotherhood J 6;
Windsor Penguins 3 Nomads Pumas 7;
Windsor Falcons 3 Nomads Leopards 7.