Brotherhood E may be languishing in the relegation places in Division Two of the Clacton and District League but there's no doubt their battling qualities as they showed this week with a 6-4 victory over Nomads Jaguars.
There were two for skipper Duncan Dunne, two for Rodney Betts which included a close 11-6 in the decider win over Kevin Hume and a couple from Tony Edmonds who, showing his best form of the season, excelled to take wins in four sets against both Hume and Caroline North.
And it could've been a more convincing win for, although Andy Cawley took his three for the Jaguars, it was a tight 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-7 against Dunne whilst he also required the full five sets to defeat Edmonds. The doubles was equally close, Cawley and North taking it 11-6 in the fifth against Dunne and Betts.
The Brotherhood E team fared less well in their second fixture but that was not unexpected as they faced title-chasing Lawford, who took the match 9-1. Richard Spence and Paul Hewitt recorded trebles whilst Ian Sherwood won twice. But Brotherhood again showed their never-say-die spirit, with Sherwood having to fight hard in two tight matches, scraping past the unlucky Edmonds 13-11 in the fifth and going down 11-9 in the fifth to Betts.
The two results lift Brotherhood E off the foot of the table and, with a match in hand, they're now four points clear of bottom-team Walton D who suffered a 10-0 defeat at the hands of Brotherhood I. Graham Parkes, Paul Alden and Fred Gallone all stayed unbeaten.
Higher up the table, there was little to choose when the fourth and fifth-placed sides, Brotherhood F and Brotherhood H, clashed. But it was the 'H' team who edged it 6-4, three of their winning points coming from matches which went the distance. For the victors, Frank Burbidge won three, Mark Ratcliffe two and Tricia Salter one. Burbidge defeated Lee Allen 11-2 in the decider and Sandie Krelle 11-8 in the decider whilst the 'H' side clinched victory in the last tie of the evening, Ratcliffe beating Allen 12-10 in the fifth. Lawrence Torr won two for the 'F' team and Krelle one, with Krelle and Allen winning the doubles.
There was only one other League match this week, this in Division One where Nomads Lions and Walton C enjoyed a good scrap before the match ended all-square. Peter Burrows stayed unbeaten for Walton, with team-mate Graham Buxton contributing 11-8 in the fifth wins over both Roger Hance and Jason Lloyd. Ethan Lloyd's couple for the Lions included an 11-4 in the decider win over Paul Newbould, whilst Hance and Jason Lloyd each won once. The Lions took the crucial doubles, the two Lloyds defeating Buxton and Newbould 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 in the closest match of the evening.
* After this week's final matches in the Division Three Handicap Challenge competition, Brotherhood G and Nomads Lynx have emerged as Group winners and the two teams will now fight it out to determine who will be crowned the ultimate winners.
Brotherhood G completed their programme in Group One with a 5-4 victory against Nomads Pumas to finish with four wins out of four. But the Pumas so nearly took the day, giving Brotherhood G the toughest of their four Group matches. Paul Metcalf won two for the winners, and Mark Beckham and John Gallagher one each, with Beckham and Gallagher sharing a doubles. For the Pumas, Andrew Cousins and Alan Dockerill won one each, with Dockerill successful in both his doubles matches with Cousins and Lionel Goddard.
But to emphasise the closeness of the encounter, the first five matches of the tie all went the distance. Brotherhood won two of these, Metcalf (-1) defeating Goddard (+1) 14-12 in the decider and Beckham/Gallagher (0) defeating Cousins/Goddard (0) 11-5 in the decider. For the Pumas, Dockerill (-3) edged past Gallagher (+1) 13-11 in the fifth, Cousins (+1) beat Beckham (-5) 11-4 in the fifth. whilst Dockerill/Goddard (0) took it 11-9 in the fifth against Metcalf/Gallagher (0).
In Group Two a win for Brotherhood J in their final match against Windsor Penguins would've seen them qualify as top team but they were forced to field a guest and so it was the Penguins who triumphed 6-3. Harley Wood and Maci Harvey strove hard to win a singles each, and share their doubles for Brotherhood but two singles wins for Paul Dale and the four conceded matches saw the Penguins to victory. Alas for the Penguins, although they finish level on six points with Nomads Lynx at the top, an 8-1 victory for the Lynx against the Penguins in their earlier Group match sees the Lynx take top spot and a place in the competition final.
* The 2018 Closed Championships take place on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th April. The Tournament is once again being sponsored by Paul Newbould, Planning and Building Design Services. This year marks Paul's 25th year of sponsorship of the League's major tournament.
Anyone who would like to sponsor an individual event, should contact Peter White on 01255 425292.
Entries have been received from 67 players who will be competing for eleven titles. Over the two days, there will be more that 270 matches played. All competitors will receive more details, including check-in times, by 7th April. Any player who does not receive this information should contact Peter White.
Nomads Lions 5 Walton C 5.
Brotherhood H 6 Brotherhood F 4;
Nomads Jaguars 4 Brotherhood E 6;
Brotherhood E 1 Lawford 9;
Brotherhood I 10 Walton D 0.
Division 3 Handicap Challenge
Brotherhood J 3 Windsor Penguins 6;
Brotherhood G 5 Nomads Pumas 4.