The opening fixtures have been unkind in the extreme to Windsor Buzzards in Division Two of the Clacton and District League.
Having already played four of the Division's top teams - Walton E, Brotherhood F, Nomads Tigers and Lawford - this week they faced another of the promotion contenders and once again suffered defeat, 8-2 at the hands of Brotherhood I.
Ray Chillingworth beat Graham Parkes and Dan Malinowski edged out Fred Gallone 8-11, 14-12, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5 for the Buzzards' points and, whilst Alan Rutledge took Gallone close, he eventually went down 11-4 in the fifth.
Brotherhood's Paul Alden took his maximum, and Parkes and Gallone won two each, with the latter pair winning the doubles 11-6 in the decider against Rutledge and Chillingworth.
It can only get better for the Buzzards!
Elsewhere, there was a meeting of two of those top teams, Brotherhood F and Walton E, with the match appropriately endingall-square. Walton's Jared Chelski was undefeated and Daniel Youngtook two. Lee Allen's couple for Brotherhood included a first defeat of the season for Young, whilst there was one each for Barry Allen and reserve Graham Healey. The two Allens also combined to take the doubles 12-14, 11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8 against Chelski and Young in the closest match of the evening.
Lawford were 9-1 winners over Walton D, Richard Spence and Paul Hewitt taking three each and Ian Sherwood two. The highlight of the evening was a classic marathon encounter of attrition between Hewitt and Rivhu Khan which ended 8-11, 11-5, 10-12, 17-15, 11-9 in favour of Hewitt.
It was also 9-1 for Nomads Tigers against Windsor Magpies, John Marshall and Eric Lemke unbeaten. John Plummer's win against Daryl Lott prevented the whitewash.
Mark Ratcliffe with three, and Woody Fitzpatrick and Tricia Salter with a pair apiece, saw Brotherhood H home 8-2 against Nomads Jaguars. Mike Wellum took the Jaguars' points with an 11-9 in the fifth win against Fitzpatrick and an 11-4 in the fifth win over Salter.
Windsor Harriers won three of the four matches which went the distance to defeat bottom side Brotherhood E 9-1. Ferdy Rodriguez was unbeaten whilst Jenny Higgins' couple included a tight 11-8 in the decider win over Tony Edmonds. Brotherhood skipper Duncan Dunne took his side's point with an 11-6 in the fifth victory over Higgins.
There was a hard-fought encounter in Division Three between Windsor Penguins and Nomads Pumas, with five of the matches going the distance. The Penguins emerged 8-2 winners, Debra Found unbeaten, and Alan Charman and Sue Chillingworth taking a couple each. All three of Chillingworth's matches went to five, beating John Bowers and Lionel Goddard but losing out 11-8 in the fifth to Brian Friday. The closest match of the evening saw Goddard edge out Charman 13-11 in the decider.
The Nomads Ocelots v Windsor Kites fixture ended in an honourable draw. Martin Cunningham of the Ocelots was the most successful player, staying unbeaten to record his third-ever League hat-trick, although it was 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-13, 11-6 against Jack Haylett. Barbara Rogers and Sue Lee contributed an important point each. For the Kites, there were two each for Haylett and Mick Simpson, with the pair combining for a doubles' victory.
Chris Jones and Vic Little took trebles as Nomads Caracals beat Windsor Swallows 8-2 although both players were taken to five by Robbie Strutt, Little's 13-11 in the decider win over Strutt being the tightest match of the night. Hazel Blanche won a point for the Caracals but lost to both Strutt and Iris Howlett, who took the Swallows' two points.
The all-Nomads clash between the Lynx and Leopards ended in a whitewash win for the Lynx, Doug Green, Dave Harris and Liam Harris all undefeated. Just two of the matches went the distance, Dave Harris's victories over Roger McNaughton and Dave Wright.
The battle of the big guns in Division One saw Windsor Condors inflict a first defeat of the season on Walton A, 7-3. There were two each for Greg Green, Felipe Rodriguez and Mel Rampton but none of them could get the better of Gary Young who took his maximum for Walton.
There was also a first defeat of the season for Brotherhood B who, less surprisingly, went down 9-1 to Nomads Panthers. James Denyer and Sam Hume recorded their customary trebles with Gracie Edwards' victory in five over John Hatley providing Brotherhood with their consolation point.
Three each for Gary Cattermole and Phil Smith were good enough to give Windsor Eagles a 7-3 victory over Walton B. There was a point each for Walton's Derek Willis, Jason Gale and Colin Dearman although Dearman had to fight all the way against Sue Welham, finally winning 4-11, 11-13, 11-8, 18-16, 11-8.
Brotherhood C notched up their first win of the season with an 8-2 success against Windsor Kestrels. Kevin Gowlett and Abhi Peshkar stayed undefeated and shared a doubles' victory, whilst Kevin Pryor enjoyed a narrow 12-10 in the decider win against John Harvey. Dave Martin and Bob Sawyer won a point apiece for the Kestrels.
Nomads Lions were indebted to a Paul Hume hat-trick to see them home 6-4 against Brotherhood D. Ethan Lloyd won a couple and Jason Lloyd one whilst, for Brotherhood, Russell Hillier took two, Grant Sharpe one, with Sharpe and Scott Campbell combining to take an excellent doubles against Hume and Ethan Lloyd.
The Windsor Hawks v Walton C encounter ended with honours even. Peter Burrows took his three for Walton but it was a close call against Andy Vincent, Burrows scraping home 11-9 in the decider. Graham Buxton took a point for Walton whilst, for the Hawks, Vincent and John Barton each won twice and Ian Fielder once.
* The Division Three Handicap Challenge starts at the beginning of November with matches continuing throughout the season. Matches will be played in two groups of five with the top team of each group battling it to take the silverware. Grades for the competition have now been circulated to all Division Three Team Secretaries and players. These details will also appear on the League's website. Results and tables will be updated and appear on the website when matches have been played and result sheets are available.
* There is a short but informative link on the front page of the League's website about serving in table tennis. All players areencouraged to watch this as it provides a very simple guide to the way to serve properly.
Walton A 3 Windsor Condors 7;
Brotherhood B 1 Nomads Panthers 9;
Walton B 3 Windsor Eagles 7;
Nomads Lions 6 Brotherhood D 4;
Windsor Kestrels 2 Brotherhood C 8;
Windsor Hawks 5 Walton C 5.
Brotherhood F 5 Walton E 5;
Nomads Tigers 9 Windsor Magpies 1;
Brotherhood I 8 Windsor Buzzards 2;
Lawford 9 Walton D 1;
Nomads Jaguars 2 Brotherhood H 8;
Windsor Harriers 9 Brotherhood E 1.
Nomads Ocelots 5 Windsor Kites 5;
Nomads Lynx 10 Nomads Leopards 0;
Windsor Swallows 2 Nomads Caracals 8;
Windsor Penguins 8 Nomads Pumas 2.