Brotherhood E gave their survival chances in Division Two of the Clacton and District League a powerful boost this week with an 8-2 victory against relegation rivals Nomads Jaguars.
But it was a close run thing for the Brotherhood trio who took four of the five matches that went the distance. Rodney Betts and Duncan Dunne, who both recorded well-deserved hat-tricks, were both involved in two hard-fought five-setters.
Betts defeated Caroline North 11-8 in the fifth and Andrew North 11-7 in the fifth, whilst Dunne overcame Andrew North 11-8 in the decider and then Kevin Hume 11-9, 13-15, 11-13, 11-7, 13-11 in the closest of the evening's contests.
Tony Edmonds won a couple for Brotherhood but unexpectedly went down in three-straight to Hume. The Jaguars' second point came from a successful doubles for the two Norths who beat Edmonds and Dunne 10-12, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8.
So, in what has become a three-way relegation scrap, Brotherhood E and the Jaguars are now locked together on thirty-eight points, seven points ahead of bottom-team Windsor Magpies - but, crucially, Brotherhood E have a game in hand.
The Magpies, the third side haunted by fears of the drop, faced a daunting task against Divisional leaders Windsor Owls. But, despite it being a clash between top and bottom sides, five of the matches went the distance before the Owls emerged narrow 7-3 winners. Mark Salter won three, Tricia Salter two and Woo Dy added a further point, edging past Malcolm Caley 11-7 in the decider. Salter and Salter completed the scoring for the Owls with an 11-7 in the fifth doubles victory against Dan Wright and John Plummer. Wright was the Owls' best player on the night, defeating Dy 11-8 in the decider and Tricia Salter 11-4 in the decider, with Magpies' skipper Plummer notching up an 11-9 in the fifth success against Dy.
For the record, it was only Wright's second and third wins of the season - but all three have been against the Owls. His only previous victory in the first half of the season was also against Dy, an excellent scalp since Dy had suffered defeat only twice before Christmas - to Wright and Lawford's Richard Spence.
Nomads Tigers will feel pleased to have come away with an 8-2 victory against the more-than-useful Brotherhood H. There were trebles for Daryl Lott and Roger Hance, with John Marshall taking a couple. Grant Sharpe won one for Brotherhood and, with Graham Parkes, shared a doubles success against Lott and Hance. Parkes failed to register a singles win for the first time this season.
No-one stayed unbeaten in the drawn match between Brotherhood I and Nomads Bobcats - who had the good fortune to win four of the five matches which went to five. For Brotherhood, Maurice Hardy and Jonathan Found each won two, and Tom Wilkin one whilst Tony Robinson and reserve Andrew Cawley - the twelfth player to represent the Bobcats this season - won a couple each for Nomads. Robinson had an exhausting evening, being involved in four of the five-setters. He defeated Hardy 12-10 in the decider and Wilkin 13-11 in the decider, lost 11-8 in the fifth to the much-improved Found, and shared an 11-3 in the decider doubles victory with Cawley against Wilkin and Found.
In Division Three Nomads Pumas were 8-2 winners over lowly Nomads Cougars, Eric Lemke undefeated, with John Bowers and Lionel Goddard contributing a pair apiece. Mike Hillier took the Cougars' two points.
Walton D and Nomads Leopards fought out an honourable draw, with Walton's Rivhu Khan maintaining his one hundred per cent record. Lynette Sparks' two points for Walton were both close-run affairs, 11-7 in the fifth wins against both Ethan Lloyd and Norman Jacobs. In what turned out to be a crucial match of the number three players, Jacobs defeated Toni Hayhow-Khan 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8.
It also ended all-square in the all-Windsor clash between the Kites and the Ospreys. Chris Simson's maximum for the Kites included an 11-6 in the fifth victory over Debra Found and, with Jack Haylett, took a tight doubles 11-5, 6-11, 15-13, 8-11, 13-11 for the Kites against Found and Millie Easton. Found and Easton each won two for the Ospreys, and Maci Harvey one.
Five of the matches went the distance in another competitive all-Windsor encounter, the Penguins edging past the Swallows 6-4. The Penguins' Ron Dacey won two and Jackie Bunce one, but it was Alan Charman who was their side's unbeaten hero, his treble including an 11-8 in the decider victory over Kayley Lamb and an 11-7 in the decider success against Iris Howlett. Howlett's two for the losers included an 11-8 in the fifth win over Dacey in a clash of the super-super veterans, whilst Howlett and Lamb took a close doubles 7-11, 11-6, 6-11, 14-12, 11-9 against Charman and Bunce.
Doug Green stayed unbeaten for Nomads Lynx against Nomads Wildcats but two each for Andrew Cawley, Brian Friday and Jordan Webb saw the Wildcats home 7-3. The two youngest players on show produced the best match of the evening, Webb narrowly defeating Liam Harris 12-14, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 13-11.
Tom Collins and Mike Wellum were Nomads Ocelots' hat-trick men as their side beat Brotherhood G 9-1. Scott Campbell won two but could not get the better of Rob Bright. Bright was also involved in the only match that went to five but he eventually had to succumb to Collins who took it 8-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8.
In Division One Nomads Panthers defeated Windsor Eagles 7-3, Sam Hume taking three, James Denyer two and Gill Locke one. Gary Cattermole won two for the Eagles and Mark Smith one, Cattermole denied his hat-trick by Hume in the closest match of the encounter, Hume winning 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7.
Windsor Condors were 8-2 winners against Brotherhood B. Greg Green and Martin Hogg stayed unbeaten whilst Elliott Attrill enjoyed a hard-fought 11-6 in the fifth victory over John Owen. Martin Edwards and David North took a point apiece for Brotherhood.
No-one stayed undefeated as Windsor Hawks edged past Brotherhood C 6-4. Felipe Rodriguez and Andy Vincent won two each for the Hawks, as did Ollie Reynolds and Alan Burgess for Brotherhood. Burgess had an epic 11-8, 7-11, 8-11, 19-17, 11-5 struggle to beat Rodriguez but ultimately it was Windsor skipper John Barton who won the crucial point, defeating Brotherhood captain Kevin Pryor 9-11, 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10.
John Rankin and Paul Woolnough recorded their first trebles of the season as Walton B defeated Brotherhood D 9-1. Both Walton men had close matches against Lee Harvey, Rankin winning 6-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 12-10 and Woolnough coming through 13-15, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8, 11-8. Harvey was involved in another five-setter in the doubles with Shaun Beckham but luck was once again against him, the Brotherhood pair going down 11-8 in the decider to Woolnough and Graham Buxton. Harvey's one crumb of comfort was a singles' win against Buxton.
Windsor Kestrels are still favourites to go down with Brotherhood D but they kept their outside hopes of survival alive with a welcome 7-3 victory over a Nomads Lions' side which fielded a reserve. Windsor's Bob Sawyer had a fine 11-7 in the fifth win over Adam Wilkin but, in a reversal of expectation, Brian Parish surprisingly took Sawyer's scalp with a straightforward 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 victory. Wilkin won twice for the Lions.
* In the Essex Inter-League Clacton's Super-Veterans enjoyed a 6-3 win over their Chelmsford counterparts. Phil Smith won two singles, Ferdy Rodriguez one and, with Paul Woolnough, the three players combined to take all three doubles on offer.
* This Saturday sees the Handicapped Singles Tournament take place at Windsor's St James Hall venue. Play starts at 9.30 am but players will be notified of their individual starting-times beforehand.
* The Windsor Quiz Evening takes place on Saturday 20th February at St James' Hall, Clacton-on-Sea. The cost is £5.00 per person for teams of up to six people. For more details contact Jenny Higgins on 01255 432397 or 07790 240566, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Windsor Condors 8 Brotherhood B 2;
Windsor Eagles 3 Nomads Panthers 7;
Brotherhood C 4 Windsor Hawks 6;
Brotherhood D 1 Walton B 9;
Nomads Lions 3 Windsor Kestrels 7.
Brotherhood E 8 Nomads Jaguars 2;
Brotherhood I 5 Nomads Bobcats 5;
Windsor Owls 7 Windsor Magpies 3;
Nomads Tigers 8 Brotherhood H 2.
Nomads Wildcats 7 Nomads Lynx 3;
Walton D 5 Nomads Leopards 5;
Windsor Kites 5 Windsor Ospreys 5;
Nomads Ocelots 9 Brotherhood G 1;
Windsor Swallows 4 Windsor Penguins 6;
Nomads Cougars 2 Nomads Pumas 8.
Super-Veterans : Division 2
Chelmsford 3 Clacton (P Smith, P Woolnough, Fdy Rodriguez) 6