The big match at the top of Division Two of the Clacton and District League ended with honours even, second-placed Nomads Tigers drawing with third-placed Lawford.
Richard Spence starred for Lawford with an unbeaten three but the out-of-towners will feel, with better luck, they might've secured the victory, losing all three matches that went close in five. Daryl Lott's two wins for the Tigers were both close-run affairs, 7-11, 13-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9 against Paul Hewitt and 11-4, 11-8, 13-15, 3-11, 11-9 against Ian Sherwood whilst Roger Hance's pair included an 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8 win over the unfortunate Hewitt.
This stalemate result allowed leaders Windsor Owls, 8-2 winners over Brotherhood F, to widen the gap over the Tigers to eighteen points.
The ever-consistent Mark Salter and Frank Burbidge recorded hat-tricks although Salter was given a stern test by Lee Allen before coming through 8-11, 11-6, 2-11, 14-12, 11-6. There was also a close doubles, Mark and Tricia Salter beating Allen and Sandie Isaac 11-5 in the fifth.
Three for Maurice Hardy, two for Mark Beckham and one for Jonathan Found saw Brotherhood I home 7-3 against Windsor Buzzards. Found's 8-11, 12-10, 13-11, 9-11, 11-4 win over Alan Rutledge was the closest match of the encounter. Pete Bloomfield with two and the returning Ray Chillingworth with one took the Buzzards' points.
Cup semi-finalists Nomads Jaguars went down 6-4 to Nomads Bobcats but will still be grateful to have picked up four points in their battle against relegation. Doug Green and Tony Robinson remained unbeaten for the Bobcats, Robinson having a narrow 11-8 in the decider win against Andrew North and an even-closer 11-9 in the decider victory over Kevin Hume.
The Jaguars' position was helped by Brotherhood E having to field two guests against Windsor Harriers and automatically conceding seven points. They eventually went down 8-2, Rodney Betts battling manfully for Brotherhood to take two wins but denied his hat-trick by Jenny Higgins who won their individual match 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-6.
Brotherhood H were 6-4 winners against bottom-side Windsor Magpies, Grant Sharpe remaining undefeated and Graham Parkes winning two. Parkes was involved in two tight matches, beating Dan Wright in five but going down 15-13 in the fifth to Dave Sweetland. Sweetland took two for the Magpies.
The top of Division Three was thrown into confusion as long-time leaders Nomads Pumas suffered their third defeat in as many weeks. Forced to field a guest, they went down 6-4 to Windsor Penguins despite a hard-won hat-trick from Andrew Cousins. Four of the individual matches went the distance, each side winning two. Windsor's Harry Barlow beat Lionel Goddard 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11, with Jackie Bunce and Alan Charman taking the doubles 14-12, 11-13, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7 against Cousins and Goddard. For the Pumas, Goddard beat Bunce 7-11, 11-8, 14-16, 11-6, 11-6 whilst Cousins defeated Charman 11-5, 4-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8.
The Pumas' defeat now puts Walton D in touching distance of the top, just ten points behind with a match in hand. This week, Walton were comfortable 9-1 victors against Windsor Ospreys, Rivhu Khan and John Long unbeaten, and Toni Hayhow-Khan winning two. Woody Fitzpatrick took the Ospreys' point.
There were also 9-1 wins for Nomads Wildcats and Nomads Leopards - although the last-minute promotion charges of both teams may be just a little too last-minute.
Brian Friday and Andrew Cawley took maximum points for the Wildcats in their win over Windsor Kites, as did Jason Lloyd and Ethan Lloyd for the Leopards in their victory over Nomads Lynx. There were consolation points in these matches for Chris Simson of the Kites and Paul Dale of the Lynx.
It was 9-1 for a second time this season in the all-Nomads clash between the Ocelots and the Cougars. Tom Collins and Scott Campbell won three each for the Ocelots, with Dave Wright winning two including a narrow 5-11, 16-14, 12-10, 13-15, 11-8 success over Zoe Strange. Gill Knights won the Cougars' point.
Brotherhood G defeated Windsor Swallows 8-2, Paul Metcalf and Graham Healey recording hat-tricks for the winners. Rob Bright won one but will feel unfortunate not to have picked up more, going down 11-6 in the fifth to Iris Howlett and 11-8 in the fifth to Kayleigh Stratford.
Nomads Panthers are within a whisker of guaranteeing the Division One title following their 7-3 victory over Brotherhood B. Sam Hume won three, Colin Webber two and John Hatley one. Gracie Edwards took a couple for Brotherhood.
In the battle for the runners-up spot, a weakened Windsor Condors drew with Walton C, Colin Stallwood's hat-trick for the Condors including an 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 victory over Gary Young, his first defeat of the season. Windsor's Annabelle Rodriguez chalked up a good win over Paul Meikle whilst Young and Mark Gale each took two for Walton.
No-one stayed unbeaten as Windsor Hawks edged past Walton B 6-4. Andy Vincent, Felipe Rodriguez and John Barton all won two for Windsor, Barton having a close 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 13-11 success against Paul Woolnough. Gavin Price picked up two for Walton and was involved in an 11-2, 9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 15-13
nail-biter win against Vincent
Three each from Adam Wilkin and new-signing Matthew Horrocks gave Nomads Lions a 7-3 success over Brotherhood C. But it was a far from easy victory, Wilkin beating both Fred Gallone and Oli Reynolds 11-9 in the fifth whilst Wilkin and Horrocks took the doubles 11-6 in the decider against Reynolds and Kevin Pryor.
The meeting of the bottom two teams, Brotherhood D and Windsor Kestrels, ended in an honourable draw, with every player taking at least one point. Brotherhood's unbeaten Paul Alden was the pick of the players, his 11-7 in the fifth win over John Harvey being his closest match. Lee Harvey and Russell Hillier contributed a point each for Brotherhood whilst, for the Kestrels, there were two for Dave Martin, including a 13-11 in the decider victory over Hillier. John Harvey and Bob Sawyer picked up a point each.
* The League's 2016 Closed Championships will be held over the weekend of 16th and 17th April at the Coastal Academy Sports Hall. Full details have been sent to all registered League players and are also on the League's website. The qualification for entry is six League matches. Entry can be made on-line to Peter White or by post to Tony Oswick. The closing date is Saturday 26th March.
* Congratulations to Clacton League players who reached the finals of the recent Colchester Closed Championships. Sam Hume won the Junior Boys Singles and Junior Doubles, Gracie Edwards won the Cadets Singles, Junior Girls Singles, Ladies Doubles, Mixed Doubles and was runner-up in the Ladies Singles whilst Adam Cuthbert won the Division One Singles. Martin Edwards was runner-up in the Veterans 60+, as was Gary Cattermole in the Mens Doubles, and Colin Stallwood and Annabelle Rodriguez in the Mixed Doubles.
Nomads Panthers 7 Brotherhood B 3;
Windsor Condors 5 Walton C 5;
Brotherhood D 5 Windsor Kestrels 5;
Walton B 4 Windsor Hawks 6;
Brotherhood C 3 Nomads Lions 7.
Nomads Tigers 5 Lawford 5;
Windsor Owls 8 Brotherhood F 2;
Windsor Magpies 4 Brotherhood H 6;
Nomads Jaguars 4 Nomads Bobcats 6;
Brotherhood I 7 Windsor Buzzards 3;
Brotherhood E 2 Windsor Harriers 8.
Windsor Penguins 6 Nomads Pumas 4;
Walton D 9 Windsor Ospreys 1;
Nomads Wildcats 9 Windsor Kites 1;
Nomads Leopards 9 Nomads Lynx 1;
Windsor Swallows 2 Brotherhood G 8;
Nomads Cougars 1 Nomads Ocelots 9.