The two pre-season favourites for promotion met in an early encounter in Division Two of the Clacton and District League and, appropriately, the match between Lawford and Brotherhood H finished with honours even.
Richard Spence with an undefeated three was the Lawford star player and he was well-supported by Paul Hewitt who chalked up two good wins. Mark Ratcliffe's couple for Brotherhood included an 11-8 in the decider win over Hewitt, whilst there was one each for Frank Burbidge and Tricia Salter, Salter's 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6 victory over Ian Sherwood ultimately proving crucial in securing a share of the spoils for Brotherhood.
Brotherhood F's good start to the season continued with a 7-3 win over Windsor Buzzards, Lawrence Torr taking three, Barry Allen two and Lee Allen one. But it was a tight-fought affair with Brotherhood taking four of the five individual matches which went the distance. Windsor's Alan Rutledge will feel unfortunate to have gone down in five to both Barry Allen and Lee Allen whilst Ray Chillingworth suffered the same fate against Torr and Barry Allen. The latter match saw Allen win 11-9 in the fifth in the closest encounter of the evening. Pete Bloomfield got two for the Buzzards and Chillingworth one.
Every player picked up at least one point as Brotherhood I edged past Nomads Jaguars 6-4. Paul Alden won three for the winners whilst there was one each for Graham Parkes and reserve Graham Healey who had a close 11-9 in the fifth victory over Andrew North. Kevin Hume played well for the Jaguars to take two whilst there was one each for North and Andrew Cawley, North's topsy-turvy evening seeing him unexpectedly beating Parkes.
The Windsor Magpies v Walton D encounter ended all-square. Rivhu Khan stayed undefeated for Walton, John Bonner took one, and the two players shared a doubles success. John Plummer and Dave Sweetland won two each for the Magpies, and Malcolm Caley one, Sweetland's 11-8 in the fifth win over Lynette Sparks the only match which went to five.
Nomads Tigers were 10-0 winners over Brotherhood E. Rodney Betts took both John Marshall and Phil Wolski the distance but that was the nearest Brotherhood got to a point, the Tigers' trio of Marshall, Wolski and Daryl Lott proving too good. It was a second whitewash defeat of the season for the 'E' team and, although it's early days and although both matches were against top-half teams, it looks like testing times are ahead this season for the Brotherhood side.
Brotherhood J and Windsor Penguins were involved in a thrilling scrap in Division Three before the Penguins emerged narrow 6-4 winners, the teams sharing victories in the four matches which went the distance. Paul Dale and Debra Found won a couple each for the winners, Dale beating Harley Wood 11-7 in the fifth, whilst Jackie Bunce beat the same player 11-9 in the fifth. Dan Still again impressed for Brotherhood to stay unbeaten although it was a nail-bitingly close 11-8, 8-11, 3-11, 14-12, 14-12 against Found. Maci Harvey took one for the losers, another tight match which saw her edge past Bunce 16-18, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10.
A Graham Healey maximum, and a pair each for skipper David Hunt and, on his League debut, John Gallagher gave Brotherhood G an 8-2 win over Windsor Kites. Carl Hubbard won the Kites' two points. The closest match saw Hunt beat Mick Simson 11-8 in the fifth.
The Nomads Leopards' trio of Roger McNaughton, Stuart Wilkinson and Dave Wright recorded a 10-0 win over Windsor Swallows although McNaughton struggled against Dianne Self before winning 11-8 in the fifth, as did Wright against Mark Lamb, eventually coming out on top 11-7 in the fifth.
In Division One Walton A notched up a second 9-1 win of the season, this time over club-mates Walton C. Kevin James and Gavin Price stayed unbeaten whilst there were a couple for Paul Woolnough. But the match was closer than the score-line suggests, with James' hard-fought 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6 victory over John Rankin the best match of the night. Paul Newbould got the 'C' team's consolation point by defeating Woolnough 11-8 in the decider.
A predictable hat-trick for James Denyer but a less expected maximum from John Hatley saw Nomads Panthers home 7-3 against Brotherhood C. Oli Reynolds and Kevin Gowlett took a point each for the losers, also sharing an excellent doubles success over Denyer and Hatley. Reynolds was involved in the two closest matches of the contest, losing 12-10 in the fifth to Hatley but beating Colin Webber 11-6 in the fifth.
Gary Cattermole remained unbeaten for Windsor Eagles but he could not prevent his side going down 6-4 to Brotherhood B. Gracie Edwards and Martin Edwards picked up two each for Brotherhood, and John Owen one, with the Edwards' pairing defeating Cattermole and John Pattrick 11-8 in the decider in a close doubles. Martin Edwards had a crucial 11-7 in the fifth singles victory over Pattrick.
It was also 6-4 for Nomads Lions against Walton B, Paul Hume remaining unbeaten. Ethan Lloyd and Jason Lloyd won a point each for the Lions whilst Derek Willis and Colin Dearman won two each for Walton.
In a fixture between the two pre-season relegation favourites, Brotherhood D were surprise 6-4 victors over Windsor Kestrels, Lee Harvey in sparkling form for Brotherhood to stay unbeaten. He was well supported by Scott Campbell with two, and Russell Hillier with one. The pivotal match proved to be Harvey's 7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 win over Colin Beaumont. Dave Martin got two for the Kestrels and Beaumont one whilst the two Windsor players combined to take the doubles against Harvey and Campbell.
* Team Secretaries are reminded they should try to ensure result cards are with the Press and Records Secretary by 10 o'clock on the Saturday morning following the match.
Walton C 1 Walton A 9;
Brotherhood C 3 Nomads Panthers 7;
Windsor Eagles 4 Brotherhood B 6;
Nomads Lions 6 Walton B 4;
Brotherhood D 6 Windsor Kestrels 4.
Brotherhood H 5 Lawford 5;
Windsor Buzzards 3 Brotherhood F 7;
Nomads Jaguars 4 Brotherhood I 6;
Windsor Magpies 5 Walton D 5;
Brotherhood E 0 Nomads Tigers 10.
Windsor Kites 2 Brotherhood G 8;
Nomads Leopards 10 Windsor Swallows 0;
Brotherhood J 4 Windsor Penguins 6.