DYNAMIC DUO DENT LAWFORD DREAMS
Graham Parkes and Grant Sharpe continued their good run of form as Brotherhood H defeated promotion-chasing Lawford 7-3 in Division Two of the Clacton and District League.
The pair have been the back-bone of Brotherhood H's excellent first-half season and they took full advantage of a Lawford side weakened by the absence of Paul Hewitt and Richard Spence to stay undefeated. For both Parkes and Sharpe it was a third hat-trick of the current campaign.
For Lawford, there was a point apiece for skipper Ian Sherwood, and for their two substitutes, John Colvin and Charlie Denholm. Colvin's point was an 11-7, 6-11, 12-14, 11-8, 11-6 victory over James Smith-Daye whilst Sherwood will feel himself unfortunate not to add a second win to his tally, going down 13-11 in the fifth to Parkes.
This set-back to Lawford's promotion hopes was not helped by promotion rivals Nomads Tigers notching up nine points against lowly Brotherhood E, a result which moves them to the top of the table, four points clear of Lawford. John Marshall and Daryl Lott took trebles although Lott breathed a huge sigh of relief after narrowly beating Tony Edmonds 12-10, 6-11, 7-11, 14-12, 11-8. Rodney Betts put in a typically-tenacious performance to take the losers' consolation point with an 11-9, 12-10, 4-11, 10-12, 11-8 win against John Bonner, but the result still leaves the Brotherhood side languishing in the relegation places.
There were hat-tricks for Mark Beckham and Tom Wilkin as Brotherhood I beat Nomads Jaguars 7-3. But it was a far-from-easy treble for Wilkin, taken to the brink before defeating Caroline North 11-8 in the decider and Kevin Hume 11-7 in the decider. There was a point each for Hume, North and Cris Edwards for the Jaguars, Hume's win coming from an 11-5 in the fifth success against Jonathan Found.
In Division Three Nomads Pumas ensured they went into the holiday period on top of the table with a 6-4 win over club-mates Nomads Ocelots. There were two each for Eric Lemke, Lionel Goddard and John Bowers but none of them could get the better of Mike Wellum who recorded a fine maximum for the losers, including a tightly-fought 11-4, 11-3, 7-11, 10-12, 13-11 victory against Lemke.
The Pumas and Walton D look set to take the top two positions but the Ocelots are one of five equally-matched teams separated by just three points in a congested middle of the table.
The Leopards and the Wildcats - along with Windsor Ospreys and Windsor Penguins - are the other sides in this fascinating battle and this week saw the two Nomads teams in opposition. And it was the Leopards who edged it 6-4, with Jason Lloyd unbeaten, and Norman Jacobs and Ethan Lloyd each taking one. Andrew Cawley and Jordan Webb won two apiece for the Wildcats. The two closest matches saw Jacobs defeat his former-team Hazel Blanche 4-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9 and Webb beat Ethan Lloyd by an unusual-looking 11-13, 8-11, 11-0, 13-11, 12-10 score-line.
At the foot of the table, Nomads Lynx's players are enduring a baptism of fire in their first season in the League. But, despite brave faces and stoic performances, they were no match for Brotherhood G, going down 10-0. Jo Millar picked up a debut League maximum for Brotherhood.
In Division One every player picked up at least one point as Brotherhood C edged past Walton B 6-4. Kevin Gowlett maintained his hundred per cent record for the winners whilst Kevin Pryor had a good victory over Colin Dearman and shared a doubles success with Gowlett against Dearman and Graham Buxton. But it was Fred Gallone's crucial 13-11 in the fifth win over Buxton that swung the match in Brotherhood's favour. Paul Woolnough took a couple for Walton including an 11-8, 13-11, 11-13, 9-11, 11-6 victory against Pryor.
Windsor Condors, fielding a reserve, inflicted an 8-2 defeat on Brotherhood D who were hampered by an unfortunate last-minute call-off which meant they could field only two players. Paul Alden played well to take the two Brotherhood points which included an 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 win over Annabelle Rodriguez.
The result moves the Condors, temporarily at least, into second place but, with only four points separating the four teams in second, third, fourth and fifth places, the race for the runners-up spot behind Nomads Panthers is proving to be a hotly-contested battle.
* In Round One of the Handicap Knock-Out Cup, Windsor Swallows beat Nomads Cougars 5-0. But the score-line failed to reflect a hard-fought match in which the Cougars played well without success - as evidenced by the opening doubles where Kayley Lamb and Kayleigh Stratford (-3) scraped through 14-12, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 19-17 against Zoe Strange and Sue Lee (+1).
Brotherhood D 2 Windsor Condors 8;
Walton B 4 Brotherhood C 6.
Brotherhood E 1 Nomads Tigers 9;
Brotherhood H 7 Lawford 3;
Nomads Jaguars 3 Brotherhood I 7.
Nomads Lynx 0 Brotherhood G 10;
Nomads Pumas 6 Nomads Ocelots 4;
Nomads Leopards 6 Nomads Wildcats 4.
Handicap Knock-Out Cup (Round 1)
Windsor Swallows 5 Nomads Cougars 0.