FORTUNE FAVOURS OWLS IN LAST-GASP WIN
It was edge-of-the-seat table tennis at St James' Hall this week where Clacton and District League Division Two leaders Windsor Owls beat the gritty Lawford trio 7-3 in an encounter where no less than six of the individual matches went close in five.
With the score poised at 4-3 for the Owls after the doubles, the tie could've gone either way. But fortune favoured the Windsor side with the Owls taking the final three tightly-fought matches, Mark Salter beating Paul Hewitt 12-10 in the fifth, Woo Dy beating Ian Sherwood 11-8 in the fifth and Frank Burbidge beating Richard Spence 11-8 in the fifth.
It was an unfortunate end to the evening for Lawford particularly as Hewitt had earlier gone down 11-6 in the decider to Dy in the best match of the night.
Burbidge took a hat-trick for the Owls with Dy and Salter each winning twice. Spence took two singles for Lawford, including a 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 win against Salter whilst Sherwood and Hewitt won the doubles 11-8 in the decider against Dy and Salter.
Lawford's luck took a turn for the better in their second match of the week, winning 9-1 against Windsor Buzzards, Hewitt and Spence remaining undefeated. Sherwood won twice, including a 13-11, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6 victory over Alan Rutledge. Ray Chillingworth's victory against Sherwood was the Buzzards' only point.
The Buzzards faced a second demanding fixture, this against Nomads Tigers, and they suffered a similar fate, going down 7-3 to the Division's second-placed team. Roger Hance was unbeaten for the Tigers, Daryl Lott won two and John Bonner one, with Hance and Lott taking the doubles 11-7 in the fifth against Ray Chillingworth and Alan Rutledge. Rutledge had a good individual victory against Bonner whilst Chillingworth won two singles, defeating Bonner 11-7 in the decider and Lott 11-9 in the decider.
Brotherhood F were 10-0 victors over Brotherhood E. Barry Allen, Lee Allen and Sandie Isaac were all unbeaten although both Rodney Betts and Tony Edmonds took Isaac to a decider. The doubles also went to five, Isaac and Lee Allen defeating Edmonds and Duncan Dunne 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6.
Hat-tricks for Ferdy Rodriguez and Isabel Barton ensured Windsor Harriers took the spoils 7-3 against Nomads Jaguars. The closest matches saw Barton beat Kevin Hume 11-4 in the decider and Rodriguez defeat Andrew North 11-7 in the decider.
Windsor Magpies took advantage of two reserves in the Nomads Bobcats' line-up to record a 6-4 win, John Plummer taking three, Dave Sweetland two and Malcolm Caley one. But it was a hard-fought victory, with five of the individual matches going the distance. Plummer defeated Mike Hillier 14-12 in the fifth, Sweetland defeated Brian Friday 11-8 in the fifth whilst Caley defeated the same player 11-5 in the fifth. Hillier played well to take two for the losers, including an 11-9 in the decider victory over Sweetland and, with Tony Robinson, shared a win in five in the doubles against Plummer and Sweetland.
The Bobcats also suffered defeat at the hands of Brotherhood I who ran out 7-3 winners, with Tom Wilkin and Maurice Hardy unbeaten. For the Bobcats, reserve Mike Wellum - with an 11-7 in the fifth win over Jonathan Found - and Tony Beezer took a point apiece whilst they combined to take the doubles against Wilkin and Found.
In Division Three second-placed Nomads Ocelots were 6-4 victors over Windsor Swallows. Tom Collins stayed unbeaten, Scott Campbell took two and Dave Wright one. Kayleigh Stratford picked up a couple for the Swallows, with Vicki Edwards winning one. The best match of the evening was Stratford's narrow 13-15, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 win over Campbell, a result that denied the Ocelots' player his treble.
Third-placed Walton D defeated Brotherhood G 7-3 to move to within a point of the Ocelots. Rivhu Khan won three and Lynette Sparks and Toni Hayhow-Khan two each. Paul Metcalf was Brotherhood's top man, winning two and taking Sparks all the way before going down 11-6 in the fifth. He also shared a doubles success with Rob Bright against Sparks and Hayhow-Khan.
There was another 7-3 score-line as Nomads Cougars got the better of Windsor Kites. Mike Hillier, making a rare appearance among the otherwise all-female side, took his maximum. Zoe Strange won two and Gill Knight one, with Hillier and Knight combining to take a see-saw doubles 11-6, 4-11, 11-2, 3-11, 11-4 against Jack Haylett and Chris Simson. Simson won two for the Kites and Haylett one. The closest match of the evening saw Strange beat Haylett 11-3, 11-7, 11-13, 12-14, 11-6.
Woody Fitzpatrick stayed unbeaten for Windsor Ospreys but two each for Ethan Lloyd, Jason Lloyd and Roger McNaughton edged the match 6-4 in favour of Nomads Leopards. The tightest - and ultimately crucial - match was McNaughton's 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9 victory over Millie Easton in match nine.
Windsor Penguins made no mistake against lowly Nomads Lynx, chalking up a 10-0 win. But Liam Harris so nearly took a consolation point for the Lynx, losing 11-9 in the decider to Jackie Bunce.
Nomads Panthers confirmed their superiority in Division One,
with a convincing 10-0 victory over the more-than-useful Windsor Hawks who'd started the week in second position. Gill Locke and Sam Hume took comfortable trebles and, although John Hatley also recorded a maximum, it was a close-run 9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8, 13-11 in the final match of the evening against Felipe Rodriguez.
Walton C have taken over second place after their 7-3 win against Windsor Eagles. In a match where every player took at least a point, Walton's Gary Young was unbeaten and Paul Meikle took two. John Hobson and Mark Smith, both making their first appearances of the season for the Eagles, had a win apiece over Derek Willis whilst Phil Smith played well to defeat Meikle.
There was a similar 7-3 score-line in another Walton v Windsor clash, where Walton's B team defeated the Kestrels, again in a match where no player went away empty-handed. Gavin Price was Walton's unbeaten star with John Rankin contributing a creditable couple. But the match produced a series of unpredictable individual results, Windsor's John Harvey beating Paul Woolnough who beat Graham Bunce who beat Rankin who beat Bob Sawyer who beat Woolnough.
Finally, Windsor Condors returned to winning ways with an 8-2 success against a Nomads Lions' side which unexpectedly now finds itself in the relegation zone. Colin Stallwood and Martin Hogg took trebles for the Condors whilst Elliott Attrill contributed a point with an 11-6, 10-12, 13-11, 6-11, 11-6 victory over Brian Parish.
* In the Mens' Section of the Essex Inter-League, Clacton defeated Basildon 8-2. Gary Cattermole and Gary Young won three each, and shared a doubles success, with Gavin Young taking one singles.
Windsor Eagles 3 Walton C 7;
Windsor Condors 8 Nomads Lions 2;
Walton B 7 Windsor Kestrels 3;
Nomads Panthers 10 Windsor Hawks 0.
Lawford 9 Windsor Buzzards 1;
Nomads Bobcats 3 Brotherhood I 7;
Windsor Magpies 6 Nomads Bobcats 4;
Brotherhood E 0 Brotherhood F 10;
Windsor Owls 7 Lawford 3;
Nomads Jaguars 3 Windsor Harriers 7;
Nomads Tigers 7 Windsor Buzzards 3.
Windsor Swallows 4 Nomads Ocelots 6;
Windsor Penguins 10 Nomads Lynx 0;
Walton D 7 Brotherhood G 3;
Nomads Cougars 7 Windsor Kites 3;
Nomads Leopards 6 Windsor Ospreys 4.
Essex Inter-League (Mens Section)
Basildon 2 Clacton (Cattermole, Price, Young) 8.