It was crunch-time in Division Three of the Clacton and District League with the two leading teams coming face-to-face for the first time this season - and it was Walton D who emerged clear 6-4 winners over Nomads Wildcats.
Talented youngsters Jared Chelski and Daniel Young both recorded fine trebles, Young beating Mike Hillier 11-4 in the fifth in the only match of the evening that went beyond three sets. Hillier, Mike Wellum and Doug Green took a point each for the Wildcats, with Hillier and Wellum gaining solace from winning the doubles 11-8, 16-14, 15-13 against Chelski and Young.
The Wildcats remain top, four points ahead of Walton, but the Walton side crucially have a match in hand over their promotion rivals.
These two sides are now a massive twenty-five points clear of third-placed Windsor Penguins who this week beat Windsor Kites 6-4. There were two each for Alan Charman and Debra Found, one for Zoe Strange and a tight 11-6 in the decider doubles win for Charman and Found over Chris Simson and Jack Haylett. Simson had the satisfaction of remaining unbeaten for the losers, largely thanks to a tight 13-11, 12-14, 15-13, 8-11, 13-11 victory over Charman.
Hat-tricks for Robbie Strutt and Jordan Webb saw Windsor Ospreys to a 7-3 success over Windsor Swallows although it was 11-9 in the fifth for Strutt against Paul Dale, the same score by which Strutt and Webb defeated Dale and Iris Howlett in the doubles.
But the Ospreys, fielding a guest, later went down 6-4 to Nomads Caracals. Webb and Strutt each won two, Nomads' Denise Thompson denying Webb his second treble of the week and Chris Jones doing the same to Strutt with an 11-6 in the decider victory.
Liam Harris won his three as Nomads Lynx beat Nomads Ocelots 7-3. Cameron Cini and Dave Harris each won two but neither could get the better of Arthur Wells-Garrett who took both points for the losers. The Ocelots also enjoyed an unexpected doubles win, Wells-Garrett and Dominic Joannou defeating the Harris father-and-son combination 13-11,12-10, 9-11, 11-4.
In Division One Colin Stallwood and Greg Green retained their season's unbeaten records as the Condors' established Windsor club superiority over the Eagles with a 7-3 success. The closest match of the evening saw John Pattrick of the Eagles beat Felipe Rodriguez 13-11 in the fifth.
The result moves the Condors to within seven points of Nomads Panthers at the top and leaves the Eagles in a three-way tussle for third place.
In another inter-club battle, Walton A came out clear 9-1 winners over Walton B. Gary Young and Kevin James took hat-tricks with Gavin Price taking two, edging past Derek Willis 11-9 in the decider but failing to get the better of Colin Dearman who took the 'B' team's sole point.
Brotherhood B are also emerging as strong challengers for a top three position and they inflicted a 10-0 defeat on lowly Windsor Owls. There were predictable trebles for Andy Warner, Martin Edwards and Gracie Edwards but they struggled in the doubles, Warner and Gracie Edwards winning through by the skin of their teeth against Mark Salter and Frank Burbidge, 12-10 in the fifth.
Brotherhood C were 7-3 victors over Lawford. Oli Reynolds and Alan Burgess were undefeated, and combined to take a close doubles 11-6 in the decider against Richard Spence and Ian Sherwood. For Lawford, there was a point for Spence with an 11-4 in the fifth win against Fred Gallone, for Sherwood who beat the same player 14-12 in the fifth, and one also for Paul Hewitt.
In Division Two leaders Brotherhood I beat Nomads Jaguars 9-1. Mark Ratcliffe and Scott Campbell were undefeated although Campbell was taken all the way by Jaguars' reserve Mike Wellum before coming out on top 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11. And it was equally close in the doubles where Campbell and Woody Fitzpatrick defeated Wellum and Allen Denyer 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11. Wellum took the Nomads' point in another close match, defeating Fitzpatrick 6-11, 13-11, 13-15, 11-8, 11-9.
It was also 9-1 as second-placed Brotherhood H beat Windsor Harriers. Grant Sharpe and Stewart Murray won three each whilst Graham Parkes defeated Jenny Higgins 11-6 in the decider and Isabel Barton 12-10 in the decider for his pair.
Lee Allen was Brotherhood F's undefeated hero as his side overcame Walton C 8-2, beating Rivhu Khan 11-8 in the decider in the only encounter that went to a fifth set. Barry Allen and Lawrence Torr won two each but neither could get the better of Khan who took both Walton points.
The 'F' team remain in third place ahead of Brotherhood D who moved up to fourth position following a convincing 10-0 victory over bottom-team Nomads Pumas. There were hat-tricks here for Shaun Beckham, Paul Alden and Lee Harvey.
Nomads Tigers are gradually moving into gear and they beat Windsor Buzzards 8-2, John Marshall and new-signing Phil Wolski undefeated. Marshall had to fight hard before beating both Pete Bloomfield and Dan Malinowski in five - although both Windsor players did get the better of Daryl Lott to pick up a point apiece for the losers.
The ever-improving Nomads Bobcats are proving the Divisional dark horses and their good form continued with a 10-0 drubbing of Windsor Magpies, Andrew Cawley, Ethan Lloyd and Jason Lloyd all taking maximum points. The result leaves the Magpies deep in trouble at the bottom alongside Brotherhood E, Nomads Jaguars and the perhaps already-doomed Nomads Pumas.
Windsor Condors 7 Windsor Eagles 3;
Walton A 9 Walton B 1;
Brotherhood B 10 Windsor Owls 0;
Lawford 3 Brotherhood C 7;
Nomads Lions 6 Windsor Kestrels 4.
Brotherhood I 9 Nomads Jaguars 1;
Windsor Harriers 1 Brotherhood H 9;
Windsor Buzzards 2 Nomads Tigers 8;
Brotherhood F 8 Walton C 2;
Nomads Pumas 0 Brotherhood D 10;
Nomads Bobcats 10 Windsor Magpies 0.
Walton D 6 Nomads Wildcats 4;
Windsor Kites 4 Windsor Penguins 6;
Nomads Caracals 6 Windsor Ospreys 4;
Nomads Ocelots 3 Nomads Lynx 7;
Windsor Ospreys 7 Windsor Swallows 3.