There were defeats for three Brotherhood Clubs, as well as favourites Nomads Panthers, in this week’s quarter-final matches in the Clacton League’s Knock-Out Cup. Current Division Two pace-setters Brotherhood D finally met their match, suffering their first reverse in any competition this season 5-0 at the hands of the top-flight, on-song ,Windsor Hawks’ trio of Daniel Young, Felipe Rodriguez and Ian Fielder. Division One side Walton C were 5-2 winners over Brotherhood F, Mark Gale, Paul Meikle and reserve Mo Hardy proving a touch too experienced for their younger Division Three opponents. In an all-Third Division encounter, Nomads Bobcats’ Matt Sage, Alex Baldock and Jack Riddleston beat Brotherhood E 5-1, Brotherhood’s only success Tricia Salter and Rodney Betts’ (-5) 14-12 in the fifth doubles win over Baldock and Riddleston (+1). In the fourth quarter-final, James Denyer was absent from the Nomads Panthers’ line-up, but it was still something of a surprise that Windsor Penguins finished 5-1 victors, Neil Chegwidden, Annabelle Stallwood and Kayley Rodriguez the winning trio. The Cup semi-finals take place during week beginning 11th March. Details of the draw will be circulated by the end of February.
Just one result from the League saw Walton E edge out Nomads Lynx 6-4 in Division Three. No-one stayed unbeaten in an unpredictable, topsy-turvy match in which the Lynx had at one time led 3-0. Maggie Earle and Adrian Sexton both won two for Walton, with Deborah Pallett picking up a good win over Dave Wright. Ian Gwillim’s two for the Lynx included an 11-8 in the decider win over Maggie Earle.
Entry forms for the League’s Closed Championships on 6th and 7th April should be returned to either Peter White or Tony Oswick by 15th March. Full details have been sent to all players. RESULTS Knock-Out Cup : Round Two Nomads Panthers 1 Windsor Penguins 5; Brotherhood F 2 Walton C 5; Brotherhood D 0 Windsor Hawks 5; Nomads Bobcats 5 Brotherhood E 1. League : Division Three Nomads Lynx 4 Walton E 6.
The protagonists for this season’s Burnham & District Table Tennis League Handicap Cup Team Final were decided this week in two hotly contested semi-finals. First up was Cold Norton C from Division 1 against Blackwater A from the second tier of the league. The initial contests saw Cold Norton take a commanding 3-0 lead with the only real resistance being shown by Blackwater’s Alan Scammell (-5) who took the loopy Neil Want (-11) to 3 long sets. The 4th match was the introduction of Blackwater’s handicap joker in the form of David McHattie from the third division with a handicap of +13. In his first singles match poor Dick Wyman (-10) had to face a 23 point difference against McHattie and clearly used up all his energy in the first leg to edge it 22-20. McHattie was playing the long game though and went on to win the next two legs pretty comfortably by channelling his inner tortoise against the hare (or lack of) of Wyman. Inspired by this great victory Blackwater took the next doubles to bring the match back to 3-2 in favour of the Nortonites. Alas that was the end of the fight for Blackwater as Wyman and Tim Cramphorn (-10) swept up the next two legs for an overall 5-2 victory. Cramphorn taking no nonsense from McHattie with a very impressive win (18, 18) despite the same 23 point difference at the start.
The second semi saw a mixed Woodham B and C side take on the current holders and bookies favourite Cold Norton B. In a match where every player tasted at least one victory it was Cold Norton who started at a canter winning the first 3 matches without dropping a set. Cold Norton’s Ian Wall (-18) had the most impressive victory by shaking of a -13 starting point against the hard-hitting David Meah (-5). In the next encounter Dan Anderson (-12) got off to a slow start against Woodham’s Eamonn Hall (-5) but with the benefit of the longer style matches he was able to claw his way back with excellent positional play and selecting winning shots as necessary to win the first leg and then take a commanding 20-16 lead in the second leg. Things were looking bleak for Hall and his Woodham side but he rattled off 6 points on the bounce – with the help of a net at leg point – to bring the match back from the brink of defeat. Anderson started much better in the deciding leg but once again Hall fought back and took the point to provide some small hope for the Woodham trio. Inspired by this new hope the Woodham pairing of Graham Briggs (-9) and Meah somehow stormed the next doubles match against Wall and Eric Green (-16) in 2 comfortable legs that brought the match back to 3-2 and a real contest was developing. However those losses were merely a flesh wound for the Norton Trio as Green played superbly to beat Hall in straight sets despite the -11 start, and Anderson made up for his earlier loss by beating Meah in 2 sets – the first very comfortable, but the second a rollercoaster 25-23 marathon. Another 5-2 victory, mirroring the scoreline and timeline of the first semi. So this year’s final will be an all Cold Norton affair – the Parish Council are still considering whether the village will have a local bank holiday for the occasion.
There was limited league action due to the cup activities this week but the games that were played were significant in the run in for the top slots in divisions 1 and 2. Mapledene A bounced back to the top of Division 1 following a 7-3 victory over their B team. Needing to keep the pressure on their championship rivals the A team seemed to be heading for a much higher score as they went 5-1 up at the break and family combo Gary and Daniel Young took the doubles for an overall 6-1 lead. The only blot on their copybook being Gary Young’s loss to Simon Jacob in the opening match of the night. In the final 3 singles the B team’s Keith Willett used all his know how and general wiliness to come back from 2-0 down against Daniel Young to square things up at 2-2, and then to 10-10 in the decider before winning the most unexpected of points. In the penultimate match Jacob and Peter Barrett went to 5 sets also with Jacob coming through 11-4 in the decider to give the overall score a semblance of equality. In the final encounter of the evening Gary Young faced the awkward John Monk. Monk was in this one and had a chance to take the match to a decider when at 2-1 down and deuce in the 4th set, but Young held strong and won out for his second win of the evening and for the overall 7-3 triumph that takes Mapledene ahead of Woodham A at the top of Division 1.
Current Division 2 champions Mapledene C hosted current Division 2 leaders Woodham C this week in a match where Mapledene needed an extremely good win to stop the party celebrations continuing down Woodham Way. At the break the match was evenly poised at 3-3 with Mapledene’s Barrie Delf and Woodham’s Adi Kamma the only 2 unbeaten players. Delf in particular had to work extremely hard in his long 5 set victory over Woodham’s David Meah – 11-8 in the deciding leg but he had lost leg 2 15-17, and then in leg 4 he lost out 19-21 – tough going for the big fella! Meah must have been enjoying these long 5 setters as he lost out to Lin Roff in his second match including going to deuce in the final 2 legs! So 3-3 and Woodham needing to display their title credentials. This they did with some aplomb winning the final 4 matches only dropping a couple of sets along the way. The pick of the wins being Meah’s redemption point over Tony Jacks, and then Kamma’s excellent 4 set victory over Delf – although Meah was claiming an ‘assist’ due to the earlier marathon he had bestowed upon Delf. This win leaves Woodham 20 points clear with only 4 games to play – all local bookmakers are already paying out on the win! In the clash of the Stow teams this week B outwitted D for a 7-3 win. It was no surprise that Peter Hance was once again the star man for the Stow B side with yet another hat-trick, however it was a surprise that after being spoken about in such glowing terms in last week’s report the D team’s Tim Pulham only won once this week. Pulham beat Dave Marsh coming from behind in a long 5 setter, and then gave up a lead to lose out to very hard-hitting Nicky Reece-Ford in another long 5 setter. Reece-Ford also beat Ken Sheard in 5 sets to rack up only his second hat-trick of the campaign. There was only one catch-up game in Division 3 where Maldon F beat two-player Woodham E to widen the gap at the foot of the table. A notable evening for Kym Eames as she took her first ‘hat-trick’ and player of the match title for the season in the 7-3 victory.
Pic 1 – Cold Norton’s Eric Green leading his team to victory in the Cup semi-final this week
Pic 2 – Woodham C, leaders of Division 2 (Adi Kamma, Graham Briggs and David Meah)
Pic 3 – Simon Jacob – the thorn in Mapledene A’s side this week
Pic 4 – Action from the Handicap Cup semi final – Eric Green (Cold Norton B) v Graham Briggs (Woodham)
Despite some recent excellent form shown by Maldon B it looks like the Division 2 Title of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League is heading its way back to South Woodham courtesy of Woodham C. Details of the open top bus parade are being held back until the mathematicians are content but plans are afoot.
The clash of the top two teams in the second division did not disappoint. Maldon B started extremely strongly and were 4-2 ahead going into the doubles as Dawn Baldry and Hamish Innes took the unexpected scalps of Woodham C’s top players Graham Briggs and Chris Hancox respectively – both in long 5 set encounters. With their unbeaten record under threat the Woodham trio regrouped and showed great bouncebackability as they won the doubles and the next 2 singles at a canter to take a 5-4 lead going into the final match of the night. Maldon’s Innes took a quick 2 set advantage over Woodham’s Dave Meah before being pegged back in the 3rd leg. Then in a much tighter 4th leg Innes held his nerve to take the point and secure a 5-5 draw against the champions-elect. Woodham’s first draw or loss all season but at least they didn’t drop ground on the chasing Maldon side. With 3rd placed Mapledene C losing 6-4 away at Maldon C, and both Maldon B and Woodham C notching 10-0 victories in their second matches the 1-2-3 order now seems locked in for the duration. Maldon B’s whitewash victims were Stow B with hat-tricks for the regular trio of Colin Napper, Innes & Baldry. For Woodham C it was the Stow C trio that fell unrewarded for their efforts – hat-tricks for Hancox, Briggs and Gus Heath this time. Heath has been a busy boy since returning from his recent bout of ill health – 3 matches this period and 3 hat-tricks, I think we all want some of his medicine! Heath’s Woodham D side had 2 good wins, firstly beating a 2 player Stow C team 9-1 with Malcolm Henstock and Trevor Collin joining Mr Heath on the hat-trick podium, and then a tighter 6-4 away victory over Cold Norton D where the doubles victory by Heath and Alan Dadswell secured the win. Maldon C were the conquerors over Mapledene C. A 6-4 loss for Mapledene that probably rules them out of the honours list this season. In a game where everyone took at least one win it was the trusty twosome from Maldon of Colin Barrell and Steve Aspland that did the most damage with a brace of singles each and a combined doubles triumph to seal the overall victory. It was a good period for Maldon C as earlier they had beaten Stow D 7-3 in a team effort including 2 wins from Garry Eames but none of them could get the better of the bandana wearing colossus that is Tim Pulham. Another hat-trick for Pulham that puts him in the 80% win rate category. Pulham’s Stow D side struggled without their talisman in their other match as they succumbed to the tricky styles of the Blackwater A trio. No points for Stow as Blackwater ran riot with hat-tricks for Alan Scammell, Denis Balic, and Neil Freeman. This was Blackwater’s second win of the period as they had earlier seen off the challenge of a resurgent Maldon D side. The match ended 6-4 to Blackwater with Scammell picking up 2 wins with Freeman the hat-trick hero this time round. Maldon D are truly experiencing a resurgence at present and picked up only their second win of the season as they travelled the short distance to Blackwater B to record a 7-3 victory and close the gap in the relegation battle. Led by captain Shirley Carroll all the Maldon players took two singles with Chris Ravenhill and Marty Englander adding the doubles bonus point. However on the night none of the inspired Maldon trio could lay a glove on the fine form of Simon Quelch – a fine player and a fine hat-trick for the Blackwater Beast. In their other match Blackwater had to fare without the benefits of Quelch and lost out to the regular trio from Stow B. The score probably doesn’t reflect the level of competitiveness but one thing’s for sure and that is that Stow’s Peter Hance remains in great form as he laid down yet another hat-trick and this time he combined with Dave Marsh for the extra doubles point too.
In the top division Woodham A opened up a gap this week as they won out 10-0 in their match and then saw their closest rivals all drop points. The Woodham A trio of Chris Penrose, Lee McHugh and Kaung Htet Paing recorded a straightforward and emphatic 10-0 scoreline over Cold Norton C. Mapledene A were hoping to keep pace with Woodham as they hosted Maldon A and fielded a strong side. Maldon were struggling for players through injuries but at the last minute they were able to bring in Harrison Hill despite his recent kneecap injury and what a good decision that turned out to be for them. Hill won all his singles for 3 points and this was bolstered by Colin Napper, playing up from the B side, who took an impressive 4 leg win over Babul McLeod. For Mapledene Gary Young and Steve Muth both won twice and combined for a good doubles victory over Hill and Napper. Third placed Cold Norton B lost out to a Simon Jacob inspired Mapledene B. Jacob took a hat-trick to provide a bedrock for his team and this was built upon with Colin Chatfield and Kieran Skeggs both beating Dave Richardson in close encounters before combining for the tightest of doubles victories for the overall 6-4 winning margin. So Woodham A now have a 4 point cushion plus a game in hand over Mapledene B – but both teams have to face Cold Norton B, and then they meet in the final match of the season for what could be a humdinger of a week.
Elsewhere in Division 1 current champions Fambridge had two draws. Keith Adams was their star player in their first match where they were only able to field a 2-man team – Adams won all 3 of his matches but Mapledene B’s Simon Jacob and Kieran Skeggs both defeated Mark Stones. The tables were turned in their next encounter as Fambridge faced a 2-man Cold Norton A side. This time none of the Fambridge trio could get the better of Cold Norton’s Kevin Read, and Read ended his perfect evening with the extra doubles point with partner Charles Sweeny. A very different Cold Norton A side had earlier beaten Stow Maries A 6-4 with a hat-trick of wins for the daring play of Matt Stringer. For Stow it was Richard Storey doing the most damage with 2 wins over Steve Maltby and Rob Harris. The final match of the week saw a real battle of styles as Woodham B hosted Cold Norton C – shocks galore in this one! Play got off to an expected start as Woodham’s best player Sanjay Saptarshi stormed to a 2 leg lead over Chris Buer, and at 10-8 and 2 match points in a tighter 3rd leg it looked over. But Buer was having none of it and rattled off the next 4 points to peg back the usually ‘awesome’ Saptarshi. Buer’s consistency and accuracy with the pimples was upsetting the rhythm of the Saptarshi game but we once again arrived at 10-8 and 2 further match points – but these came and went as did the 5th match point at 11-10 before Buer evened it up at 2-2. The final leg saw Buer take control and he finished off his prey 11-7 for an amazing and eventful victory. But this was just a sign of things to come. In the second match of the evening Cold Norton’s Tim Cramphorn took a comfortable 2-1 lead over Trevor Collin and looked set for victory but Collin fought back and nicked the 4th leg 12-10. In the deciding leg Cramphorn seemed to be in control of the early exchanges but wasn’t able to finish off his opponent and Collin kept coming back and eventually won out 11-9 to even out the shock factor from the first match. How do you follow those two games… Cold Norton’s hard hitting Arron Chandler seemed to have everything under control as he took a quick 2-0 lead over Eamonn Hall. Hall changed styles in leg 3 and was starting to win the tactical battles and that saw him peg back the lead to just one leg. The 4th leg was much tighter as Chandler adopted a more defensive approach and encouraged Hall to open up – this seemed to be working but at 9-6 down Hall rattled off 4 successive points to upset his opponent’s apple cart and eventually won out the leg 12-10. With Chandler’s apples all over the place Hall took control of the decider and won out 11-6 for an even bigger shock victory than the earlier turnovers. So 3 matches in and the clock was already beyond 9pm. 3-3 at the break then Hall and Saptarshi came from behind in the doubles to win in another long 5-setter. Chandler then did his own comeback trick as he went down 2-0 to the impressive Collin before having a polite word with himself and controlling his play for an eventual 5 set victory. So 4-4 going into the final games. Hall then upset the bookies once again with an impressive 4 leg victory over the unbeaten Buer to secure his first ever Division 1 ‘player of the match’ award, and Saptarshi brought home the overall victory in the final match. Some night!
St Lawrence remain Champions-in-waiting in Division 3 with two solid victories to cement their number one spot. First off they overwhelmed a Woodham E side with a straightforward 9-1 victory. Hat-tricks for Steve King and Mike Pratley, with Woodham’s Diane King saving the whitewash with an excellent 3-0 win over Roy Hutchins. St Lawrence encountered a bit more resistance in their next match when they welcomed Blackwater E into their den. King racked up his second hat-trick with another royal performance. Pratley won 2 but just fell short against the excellent stroke play of Peter Davenport. Davenport also beat Mick Robinson for his 2 point total and Blackwater’s David Sage chipped in with a comeback 5 set victory over Mick Robinson. That was all the points scoring for Blackwater as St Lawrence ran out 7-3 winners. Maldon E were unbeaten over the period but couldn’t manage a win either. Firstly they drew with Blackwater D where both James Raymond and Arthur Shadforth recorded 2 wins apiece plus the doubles. For Blackwater Chris Rolison was in fine fettle as he went unbeaten throughout the singles play. Not much changed when Blackwater C came a-knocking later in the week – another stalemate, and yes you guessed it both James Raymond and Arthur Shadforth recorded 2 wins apiece plus combined again for the doubles. Their nemesis this match was Blackwater’s northern import Mike Burton who scored a hat-trick and was duly ignored for the doubles match. Maldon F had a couple of tough matches losing to both Blackwater E and then Blackwater D. That man Peter Davenport was at it again for Blackwater E as he scored a hat-trick for his team and was ably supported by Ron Tam with 2 wins. To secure the 6-4 victory Tam and Davenport did the doubles dance and came out on top in 4 sets. Chris Rolison hit his second hat-trick of the week as Blackwater D won 8-2 over Maldon F in a result that makes them favourite for the runner-up spot. Blackwater’s Dave Smith and Jacquie Treacy both won 2 but neither could match the growing skills of Ross Kirby who took two points for his Maldon side.
It’s been a somewhat underwhelming season to date for Phil Smith in Division One of the Clacton League, but the veteran League stalwart showed his true form this week with an excellent hat-trick in Windsor Eagles’ drawn match with Walton A. Smith remained unbeaten on the night with victories over Colin Dearman, Derek Willis and David Binns, the closest win his 11-4 in the fifth success against Binns. John Hobson and John Pattrick each added a point for the Eagles, Hobson involved in the closest match of the encounter with a 2- 11, 6-11, 22-20, 11-6, 11-9 win over Willis. Binns and Dearman won two each for Walton and shared a doubles victory. Windsor Hawks v Brotherhood A also ended all-square, five of the matches going the distance. Daniel Young’s maximum for the Hawks included an 11-3 in the decider win over Kevin Gowlett, as well as an 11-8 in the decider win over Dad Gary. Gowlett and Young both won two singles for Brotherhood, but Russell Hillier narrowly failed to record a victory, going down 11-8 in the fifth to Felipe Rodriguez and 12-10 in the fifth to John Barton. The Brotherhood A result means that Nomads Panthers, 10-0 winners over Walton B, move back to the top of the table. John Hatley, James Denyer and Gracie Edwards proved a formidable combination, with only Hatley’s 11-8 in the decider win over Gavin Price extended beyond three sets. And there was another 10-0 result as Walton C’s Mark Gale, Mark Ratcliffe and Paul Meikle eased past their Windsor Buzzards’ opponents, with only three of the matches extended to a fourth set. In Division Two, Brotherhood D’s inexorable march to the title continued with a 9-1 victory over Windsor Penguins, Simon Smith-Daye and Joe Plummer taking trebles. Sam Plummer had a strenuous evening, beating Sharon Gowlett 11-8 in the fifth and
Neil Chegwidden 14-12 in the fifth, but going down 11-9 in the fifth to Scott Campbell. Just eleven points cover the teams from third to eighth places in the table, and Brotherhood B moved to the top of that group after their 9-1 victory over Windsor Kestrels. Barry Allen and Mark Salter each took hat-tricks, Graham Bunce defeating John Owen 11-4 in the decider for the Kestrels’ point. Nomads Jaguars’ top trio defeated an under-strength Nomads Tigers, the 8-2 score-line a reverse of their early-season result. Daryl Lott was the Jaguars’ star player although it was tight 18- 20, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 against Dave Miller. Chris Petrou and Kevin Hogg both won two for the winners, as did Miller for the losers. In Division Three, Brotherhood E beat Nomads Bobcats 6-4, Tricia Salter unbeaten, Tony Edmonds taking two and Rodney Betts one. Alex Baldock was the Bobcats’ best player, winning two and sharing an 11-7 in the fifth doubles win with Matt Sage against Salter and Edmonds, a first doubles defeat of the season for Brotherhood. But it was more comfortable for Brotherhood’s nearest challengers at the top, Windsor Harriers winning 10-0 against bottom team Nomads Ocelots, none of the matches extended beyond three sets. Windsor Magpies and Nomads Leopards enjoyed an excellent scrap and the match appropriately ended with honours even. Magpies’ skipper John Plummer recorded a hat-trick for the second week running, with Bob Jillins and Stu Wilkinson winning a couple each for the Leopards. Finally, the all-Brotherhood clash between the ‘F’ and ‘G’ teams finished 6-4 in favour of the ‘G’ team. Dan Grindrod, Danny Still and Gary Simpson all won two for the victors, but none of them could get the better of Tom Bryden who took an impressive maximum. The crucial individual match turned out to be Simpson’s 11-9 in the decider win over Ruby Gallagher.
Entries for the League’s Closed Championships are now open. The tournament, the League’s premier event of the season, takes place on 6th and 7th April at the Coastal Academy Sports Hall. Entry forms have been sent to all players and full details are also on the League’s website. Entries can be sent on-line to Peter White or by post to Tony Oswick. The closing date for entry is
The League was sorry to learn recently of the death of Dennis Barton at the age of 96 years. Dennis, father of the League’s Treasurer John Barton, was a keen table tennis player in his younger days and was a regular League player at Thorpe during the 1950s. After a break from the sport, he resumed his table tennis career again in the 1980s with the Post Office Club in the Third and Fourth Divisions. We send our sincere condolences to John and his family. RESULTS Division 1 Windsor Eagles 5 Walton A 5; Windsor Hawks 5 Brotherhood A 5; Walton C 10 Windsor Buzzards 0; Nomads Panthers 10 Walton B 0. Division 2 Brotherhood B 9 Windsor Kestrels 1; Nomads Tigers 2 Nomads Jaguars 8; Brotherhood D 9 Windsor Penguins 1. Division 3 Windsor Harriers 10 Nomads Ocelots 0; Brotherhood G 6 Brotherhood F 4; Windsor Magpies 5 Nomads Leopards 5; Brotherhood E 6 Nomads Bobcats
The season-long unbeaten run from Mitchell Jones showed no sign of easing this week. Leaders Stanford Le Hope A’s star player captured his tenth POM award in ten outings in his side’s 7 – 2 home win over Hadleigh Forum B. Furthermore, he hasn’t dropped a single set in this run. Surely, he is an odds on favourite to take the divisional title at the upcoming Closed Championships? Team mates Pat White and Ian Sangster won two each, but were both beaten by Forum’s Paul Fawell.
Canvey’s Andy Murray has been playing in Division 2 for some time, despite having a previous long and successful tenure in Division 1. This week saw him return to the higher level playing for Canvey A away to Lentern. His return couldn’t have gone better, winning all his contests and securing the POM prize. However, his side were unable to capitalise on his good form, going down 5 – 4 to the home side. Paul Sims and John Tendler each won two, and Peter Lucraft one for Lentern, with Ray Wilson picking up Canvey’s other success.
Hockley C’s Joseph Odegbami is another player who was unbeaten, only to see his side lose out. Visitors Brand Identity B were eventual 5 – 4 winners thanks to two wins each for Adam Jackman and Barrie Delf, with Mick Grout chipping in with one. David Chenery got the home team’s other success.
RESSC were only able to field two players for their away match at Mapledene and slumped to an 8 – 1 defeat. The home side’s Anthon Ranjit-Singh was unbeaten as was his colleague Lin Roff. Match of the evening saw the two veterans Bill Smith and Mike Worship come head to head. In a five set thriller, Mike took the last two sets to win the visitor’s only rubber.
Invicta A keep up the pressure on leaders Stanford with a comfortable 8 – 1 away win at the basement side Hadleigh Forum C. Mark Everard got the home side’s only success. Both Lee Marson and Steve Marr were unbeaten for Invicta.
The Division 2 title may well have been decided this week as Matchpoint A emerged victorious in the battle of the titans 7-2 against Basildon A. These two teams have been battling it out at the top all season but now, with just three games to go for both sides, Matchpoint have opened up a five point gap at the top of the table. Looking at their final fixtures Basildon look to have the slightly easier games against Invicta, Runnymede and Hockley whereas Matchpoint face Invicta, Stanford and, interestingly, their own B team in the last match of the season. Five points should just be enough to see them home.
The match itself featured three of the top four performers in the league this season, Les Hoey of Basildon and James Elliot and Evie Knaapen of Matchpoint and after the two matches they have played this season they are level on the number of wins. This time Les Hoey got revenge against Knaapen winning in four sets but lost to Elliot in five who claimed revenge for his defeat earlier in the season. The two wins for Hoey were all Basildon could offer as team mates Arun Joy and Szymon Jarka fell short against Elliot, Knaapen and Harry Sawford. Sawford almost matched his teammates hat tricks but for Hoey who came back from two sets down to claim victory.
Wakering kept up the pressure on the top two cantering to a 9-0 win against Invicta B, Zac and Paul England and Stewart Mills recording their personal hat tricks. They sit eight points behind Basildon in third place whilst Invicta sit just two places above the bottom spot.
Basildon B, who occupy that bottom spot, found their attempt to pick up a much needed win prevented by having to field just two players against Canvey B. Somewhat ironic this as Canvey, also a man short, were able to call on Trevor Hayes from their C team. That move couldn’t have worked out better for Canvey as he won both his games whilst team mates Des Duffield and Tony Westwell both succumbed to Jenne Seibolt. Canvey ran out 7-2 winners.
Fellow contenders for relegation Rawreth Megazone E didn’t fare any better than Basildon in their quest for points as Matchpoint B hammered them 8-1. Stephen Heard and Ben Murray both recorded hat tricks for Matchpoint and Debbie O’neil added two more but couldn’t overcome Richard Kidd’s steady play who came back from two sets down to record their consolation point.
There was another big win as Hockley D dismissed Runnymede 8-1 with Ben Cook taking the POTM award whilst Neal Klyman recorded his first hat trick of the season. Tony Molisso won two but eventually succumbed to Tina Hutchinson after a roller coaster five set match. Hockley go above Runnymede with this result now sitting in seventh place.
Team of the Week – Matchpoint A
Player of the Week – James Elliot
Things are hotting up at the top of Division 3 and, after this week’s round of matches, the top 3 teams are separated by a mere 6 points, with a further 4-point gap to the fourth and fifth placed teams. Stanford ‘D’ have a 5-point lead at the top and look to be favourites to take the title as they have played a game less than all their rivals. There are still plenty of points to play for though and anything can happen. On the table this week, Jan Thorpe was once again the leading light for Rawreth Megazone ‘F’ as they overcame Stanford ‘C’ in a close match. Jan’s maximum was supplemented by a double from Graham Back as Rawreth edged this one 5/4. For Stanford there were 2 wins for Randy Santiago and a win each for Karen Kempster and James Parker. There was another 5/4 scoreline in the match between Matchpoint ‘C’ and Invicta ‘C’, two of the teams in contention at the top of the table. Despite a fine hat-trick from Invicta’s Trisha Winter, it was Matchpoint who came out on top with Roger Sherman getting the better of Keith Baxter in the 5 th set of the last game of the match. Roger also added a win over Brendan Raja and youngsters Lotte Mills (2 wins) and Max Mayo (1 win) also made important contributions. Keith gained the other point for Invicta, coming from 2 sets down to beat Max in the final end. Stanford ‘D’ moved to the top of the table following a comprehensive 9/0 win over the young Hockley ‘F’ side. The experienced Stanford trio of David Arnett, Vaughan Chambers and Andrew Jessop were in clinical form and wrapped up the match with the loss of only 3 sets. Vaughan Chambers took the POTM award here. The junior Evolve side found things equally as tough in their match against Hockley ‘E’, although they put up a good fight and the 8/1 scoreline in favour of Hockley was hard on them. Three of the games that went Hockley’s way were only decided in the 5 th set and, on another night, the final score could have been a lot closer. For Hockley there were 3 wins each for Keith Denyer and Graham Gregory, with Richard Coulon adding a double. Evolve’s only point came courtesy of a fighting, 5 th set win for Teddy Kent over Richard. Hadleigh Forum ‘D’s Jean Catley, who achieved her first maximum of the season last week, quickly added another as she led her team to a 7/2 win over Matchpoint ‘D’. Her teammates Douglas Brown and Todd Barker had two wins each, although neither could overcome Oliver Milchard who was Matchpoint’s best player on the night.
If it’s tough at the top, it’s even tougher at the bottom, and this week witnessed a meeting of the two teams at the foot of Division Three of the Clacton League. And, in the all-Nomads clash, victory went to the Lynx, who defeated the Ocelots 9-1. Gerry Widnell and Ian Gwillim both took hat-tricks, and they combined to share a narrow 7-11, 11-4, 8- 11, 17-15, 12-10 doubles victory over James Horsler and Anne Bonny. For the Ocelots, the improving Bonny had an excellent individual win over Dave Wright, and took Gwillim close before going down 11-5 in the fifth. At the other end of the table, leaders Brotherhood E were 7-3 victors over Nomads Leopards, taking three of the four matches which went the distance. Fred Gallone stayed undefeated while Tony Edmonds took two, as did Bob Jillins for the losers. Windsor Harriers beat Brotherhood F 8-2, an undefeated Isabel Barton the player of the match. Brotherhood’s Joe Sherwin and Tom Bryden each picked up a win over Jenny Higgins. Dan Grindrod, Danny Still and Gary Simpson recorded trebles for a second successive week as Brotherhood G defeated Nomads Bobcats 10-0, a repeat of their early season score. No individual match went the distance, but seven were extended to a fourth set. Three for John Plummer, two for Alan Rutledge and one for Malcolm Caley saw Windsor Magpies to a 7-3 win against Walton E. Maggie Earle won two for Walton and Adrian Sexton one, and although Debrorah Pallett failed to get on the score-sheet for Walton, her three defeats came in matches which went to five. In Division One Brotherhood A beat Walton C 10-0, Kevin Gowlett, Gary Young and Russell Hillier undefeated. The closest of
the two five-setters saw Young and Hillier scrape the doubles 9- 11, 11-8, 11-7, 15-17, 11-7 against Mark Gale and Mark Ratcliffe. The result puts the Brotherhood side one point ahead of Nomads Panthers at the top of the table. Nomads Lions and Windsor Buzzards each fielded a reserve but it was the Lions who came out 7-3 winners, Ethan Lloyd taking three, Jason Lloyd two and reserve Dave Miller one. Buzzards’ reserve Scott Campbell played well to take two for the losers. It was also 7-3 as Walton B defeated a weakened Windsor Eagles. There were two each for Gavin Price, Graham Buxton and Paul Newbould but none of them could get the better of Mel Rampton who secured his hat-trick with an 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-7 victory over Price in the final match of the evening. Finally in Division One, Windsor Hawks were 10-0 winners against Walton A who fielded a guest player, none of the matches going the distance. In the meeting of Division Two’s top and bottom teams, Brotherhood predictably beat Windsor Kestrels, but the 6-4 score- line was something of a moral victory for the Kestrels. Windsor captain Graham Bunce had good wins over Kevin Pryor and James Smith-Daye, Allen Denyer recorded an unexpected 9-11, 8-11, 14-12, 11-5, 12-10 win over Smith Daye, whilst Bunce and Debra Found shared an excellent three-straight doubles success. But, through all this, Simon Smith-Daye notched up yet another treble for Brotherhood who now look unstoppable at the top. Lawford are clear of the pack in second spot, this week defeating Walton D 6-4 in a hard-fought encounter in which six matches went the distance, Lawford winning two of them. Every player picked up at least one point but James Tindle remained unbeaten for Lawford. Clive Allenby won two for Walton. Chris Petrou took a hat-trick for Nomads Jaguars with fine wins over John Owen, Barry Allen and Paul Alden, but Brotherhood C emerged 6-4 winners, Alden and Allen each taking two. Trebles for Denes Somodi and Dave Miller were good enough to give Nomads Tigers a 7-3 victory over Brotherhood C. Both players were involved in tight five-setters, Somodi beating Mark Boyland 11-6 in the decider and Miller going even closer against the same player, winning 9-11, 8-11, 15-13, 15-13, 14-12. RESULTS
Division 1 Brotherhood A 10 Walton C 0; Windsor Buzzards 3 Nomads Lions 7; Walton B 7 Windsor Eagles 3; Walton A 0 Windsor Hawks 10. Division 2 Windsor Kestrels 4 Brotherhood D 6; Nomads Jaguars 4 Brotherhood B 6; Lawford 6 Walton D 4; Brotherhood C 3 Nomads Tigers 7. Division 3 Brotherhood F 2 Windsor Harriers 8; Nomads Bobcats 0 Brotherhood G 10; Walton E 3 Windsor Magpies 7; Nomads Leopards 3 Brotherhood E 7; Nomads Ocelots 1 Nomads Lynx 9.
Woodham A had the Taylor Pest Control company from Cold Norton to thank for their recapture of pole position in the Burnham & District Table Tennis League this week.
Woodham A crushed the resistance of Maldon A this week with a dominant 9-1 victory that sees them back atop of the Division 1 table with a game in hand over joint leaders Mapledene A. Woodham’s Chris Penrose and Lee McHugh went unbeaten all evening whilst third wheel Kaung Htet Paing won 2 of his 3 singles losing out to the leftie genius of Maldon’s Jon Stokes. However the real drama came in the Mapledene A versus Cold Norton A encounter where so many of the individual encounters could be a forerunner to this year’s League Singles Final. Mapledene fielded a very strong trio of Gary Young, Liam Squirrell and Reece Seddon but none of them could ‘topple the Taylor’ as Cold Norton’s top player Duncan Taylor laid down his own marker for the upcoming tournament when he destroyed the Mapledene Galacticos. ‘Destroyed’ might be a bit harsh as the Taylor versus Seddon battle went to a deciding leg, and when disposing of the Squirrell it look 4 long legs before the deed was done. The Mapledene trio won the rest of the singles including three 5 setters where Young beat Sam Lowman and Charles Sweeny, and Seddon just edged it against Lowman. Lowman did pair up with the pest control supremo Taylor to flush out and humanely destroy a Young Squirrell combo in the doubles. A long and eventful evening that finished up with Mapledene as 6-4 winners, and more importantly no rodents were injured or killed during the event. In the final Division 1 match of the week Fambridge had to forfeit 3 points as they were a player short. However that was all they gave up during the short and sweet evening’s sport as both John Poysden and Keith Adams won all their matches including the doubles with the only real trouble coming from Stow’s in form Gary Brignall who took Adams to 5 sets. 7-3 to Fambridge.
A full set of fixtures in Division 2 with no real upsets other than Mapledene C unable to win at Stow C. Woodham C continue to dominate this Division with yet another high scoring victory as they waltzed passed Blackwater B 8-2 to maintain their 100% win rate. For Woodham Chris Hancox and Graham Briggs both hit home runs with a hat-trick a-piece plus the doubles. For Blackwater a notable win for Tina Hutchinson as she picked up a valuable point in a 4 leg victory over Dave Meah. The less fancied Woodham D side had a great start to their match with second placed Maldon B when Eamonn Hall took the opening match in 5 sets against Dawn Baldry. But despite another three 5 setters and a very long evening that was all Woodham could muster as Maldon B won out 9-1 in a match where the score belied the competitive nature of the match. Hat-tricks for Colin Napper and Hamish Innes but only just. Napper hadn’t dropped a set all night until his final match-up, but then the unique and awkward style of Woodham’s Malcolm Henstock caused him to wobble until the very end of the deciding leg where he finished with aplomb to secure his hat-trick and the player of the match tag. Innes also struggled against Henstock and again had to go to 5 sets to get the job done but this was just a precursor to his main event when in the penultimate match of the night he had a marathon battle with Hall which included Hall saving 10 match points and having 2 match points of his own. Eventually Innes won out 16-14 in the titanic deciding leg, and as the two athletes fell to the floor the crowd rose in unison to applaud the sport they had witnessed. Peter Hance was in great form for his Stow B side winning all his singles in a 5-5 draw with Blackwater A. Despite this form Hance didn’t make the cut for the doubles which Blackwater won and this secured the draw on the night. Nicky Reece-Ford won the other points for Stow and was on for his own hat-trick until the final leg of the final match of the evening where he succumbed to the trickery of Alan Scammell. The Stow D team didn’t make the same selection mistake as their B team. Tim Pulham scored another hat-trick and paired up with Graham Naggs for the doubles point that saw Stow D beat Maldon D 6-4. Despite the loss there were some good individual performances for Maldon D and especially Ella Sach’s 3 leg victory over the dogged Tim Huxtable. Maldon C also selected their high scoring players for the doubles and this ensured a 6-4 victory in their match with Cold Norton D. Maldon’s talismanic Steve Aspland won all of his singles but was pushed hard by the Nortonians. He was ably supported by Colin Barrell who won twice and of course teamed up with Aspland for the bonus doubles point. For Cold Norton Dave Hancox was on good form as he took two wins including the Barrell scalp. In the final match of the week Mapledene C travelled to Stow C hoping for a good win to keep up their podium ambitions. In a long and tough encounter the result came down to the final match of the night as the two unbeaten top seeds took to the cauldron for a winner takes all skirmish. With Mapledene 5-4 ahead, the task of redemption fell upon Stow’s Peter Chastin as he faced Mapledene’s Richard Gill. Before we got to this point both Chastin and Pete Layzell had won 2 points for Stow, including two 5 setters against Mapledene’s Sue Body. Layzell had beaten Mike Johnston in 5, and then Body atoned for her defeats with her own 5 set victory over Jean Chasmer. So it had been a tough night all round and the morning was drawing close so naturally the final encounter went into a deciding 5th set. As their bodies crumbled Chastin just held on for an 11-4 final set victory and secured the overall draw that stifles the Mapledene top two challenge.
St Lawrence A put their recent mixed form behind them this week when they overpowered highly placed Blackwater C in a 7-3 victory that sees them solidify their top-of-the-division placement. Steve King showed his class and determination with 3 fine wins in his singles matches and then teamed up with the vastly experienced Mike Pratley to secure the doubles. Pratley took 2 singles for himself but wasn’t able to overpower the confident play of Blackwater’s pocket rocket Phil ‘Wild’ West. West took 4 legs to get passed Pratley but then came from behind to beat Mick Robinson in 5 – two great wins for the Blackwater Buccaneer. Blackwater E have now eased their way into the runner-up spot following a 10-0 whitewash over a 2-player Woodham E side. A full house for all the Blackwater trio of David Sage, Peter Davenport and the ever-improving Jo Hart. In the Maldon derby this week F defeated E in yet another extensive and tough encounter. The F team’s John Leavett was the undoubted star of the show with 4 wins over the course of the evening including a vary lengthy 5 set comeback victory over James Raymond. Raymond won his other 2 matches for the E team and Roger Warren matched this for the F side.
Pic 1 – Liam Squirrell in action against Duncan Taylor this week
Pic 2 – Colin Napper – taking the player of the match accolade for his Maldon B side
Pic 3 – Hamish Innes (Maldon B) working hard for his hat-trick this week
Pic 4 – Jon Stokes (Maldon A) v Lee McHugh (Woodham A) – as Woodham A go back to the top of the league
For a fourth year running, a member of the younger generation tasted success in the Clacton and District League’s Handicap Singles Tournament, 24-year-old Matt Sage taking the Gordon Denton Trophy, following in the footsteps of James Denyer, Jason Gale and Russell Hillier.
In a quality final, Division Three Sage (+1), in his first season of League table tennis, defeated another surprise finalist, Sharon Gowlett (-1) from Division Two side Windsor Penguins, 13-11, 11-7, 11-8, employing a series of attacking shots which edged each set by the narrowest of margins.
It was a well-deserved victory for Sage who had impressed throughout with his aggressive play, his only defeat of the day occurring during the Group stage, Sage (-3) surprisingly going down 11-8 in the fifth to his Nomads Bobcats’ team-mate Jack Riddleston (+1).
In Round One of the Knock-Out stage, Sage’s handicap advantage (+3) and uninhibited play was enough to defeat Daniel Young (-15), one of the top-ranked players, 11-6, 11-4 in a match played over two-sets.
And Sage followed this with another fine win in the quarter-finals, (on +2) defeating the 2019 champion John Barton (-8) in three-straight.
His semi-final opponent was yet another Division One player, John Hobson, but Sage (+1) displayed a degree of maturity in out-pointing the stylish and vastly-experienced Hobson (-6) 12-14, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9.
Sharon Gowlett had also experienced a demanding day’s table tennis, like Sage qualifying for the Knock-Out stage by virtue of finishing runner-up in her Group.
In Round One, Gowlett (+2) eliminated defending champion Russell Hillier (-8) 11-0, 7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-0 before, in the quarter-final, defeating fellow-Division Two player John Gallagher in one of the encounters of the day.
With both players being equally matched, their tie went to the wire, Gowlett (+1) edging past Gallagher (-1) 12-10, 13-11, 12-14, 8-11, 13-11, a match as close as the score-line suggests.
And Gowlett made it to the final by defeating Gerry Widnell (+2), another player in his first League season and a player who had surprised everyone, not least himself, in reaching the last four, but eventually succumbing to Gowlett (-8) 11-8, 16-14, 11-9.
Main results – Final : Matt Sage (+1) beat Sharon Gowlett (-1) 13-11, 11-7, 11-8; Semi-finals : Sage (+1) beat John Hobson (-6) 12-14, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9; Gowlett (-8) beat Gerry Widnell (+2) 11-6, 16-14, 11-9; Quarter-finals : Sage (+2) beat John Barton (-8) 11-0, 11-9, 11-0; Gowlett (+1) beat John Gallagher (-1) 12-10, 13-11, 12-14, 8-11, 13-11; Hobson (0) beat Barry Allen (0) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7; Widnell (+1) beat Tom Bryden (-5) 12-10, 6-11, 11-9, 11-1.
Of the sixteen qualifiers from the Groups, eight came from the Third Division, including three juniors, Joe Sherwin, Lucy Carvell and Tom Bryden, and four of the up-and-coming younger generation, JJ Barry, Alex Baldock, Jack Riddleston and, of course, Sage who took pride of place with the victor’s crown.
And the Handicap Singles event once again showed its ability to produce surprise winners, Sage becoming the thirty-second different winner in the Tournament’s forty year history.
* It was a good week for Mark Gale and Walton C in Division One of the League, the Walton team recording their first win of the season against Walton A, and repeating the 8-2 score-line the following day against Windsor Buzzards.
Gale and Mark Ratcliffe took trebles in the first match, and Paul Meikle a couple, with Gale again unbeaten against the Buzzards, Ratcliffe and Meikle taking a pair apiece.
Walton B were 6-4 winners against Windsor Hawks, Peter Burrows undefeated and Gavin Price taking two. Felipe Rodriguez won two for the Hawks and, with John Barton in the doubles, shared an 11-8 in the decider win against Burrows and John Marshall.
Leaders Nomads Panthers were 9-1 victors against Windsor Eagles, a repeat of their early season score. James Denyer and Gracie Edwards stayed undefeated, with Mel Rampton beating Gill Locke 11-6 in the fifth for the Eagles’ consolation point.
But second-placed Brotherhood A are still hanging on to the Panthers’ coat-tails, this week beating Nomads Lions 7-3, Kevin Gowlett and Gary Young taking maximum points.
In Division Two, Brotherhood D’s relentless push towards the title continued with another success, Sam Plummer and Joe Plummer unbeaten in their 9-1 win over Nomads Jaguars.
Nomads Tigers defeated Brotherhood B 6-4, Denes Somodi winning three and Dave Miller two. The doubles proved unbearably close, Mark Salter and Barry Allen edging home 12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 3-11, 21-19 against Somodi and Miller.
Windsor Penguins beat Walton D 7-3 for a second time this season. Neil Chegwidden was unbeaten while Scott Campbell was denied his hat-trick by Andy Foster who won their individual encounter 11-9 in the fifth.
James Tindle was Lawford’s unbeaten hero in his team’s 6-4 win against Brotherhood C, but the score could so easily have been 9-1, Brotherhood winning three of the last four matches deuce in the fifth, the closest Paul Metcalf’s 15-13 in the decider victory over Ian Sherwood.
And in a match that’s spanned ten weeks, Windsor Kestrels and Brotherhood C resumed their encounter which had been prematurely ended in November by the illness to Peter Aumord, the final score ending 9-1 to Brotherhood.
In Division Three, leaders Brotherhood E stayed on top after beating Windsor Magpies 7-3, Fred Gallone and Duncan Dunne taking maximum points, whilst their nearest challengers, Windsor Harriers, were pushed all the way before defeating Nomads Bobcats 10-0.
Ruby Gallagher won her three as Brotherhood F defeated Nomads Lynx 8-2, with Lucy Carvell taking a couple but losing out 11-9 in the fifth to Dave Wright. Wright took the two Lynx points.
Brotherhood G recorded two wins to lift them to fourth place in the table. Firstly, in a match where no player stayed unbeaten, they defeated Nomads Leopards 7-3, Danny Still, Dan Grindrod and Gary Simpson all winning two. And they followed this with a 7-3 success against Nomads Ocelots, this time the Grindrod, Still and Simpson trio all winning three.
And the unfortunate Ocelots suffered another 10-0 defeat, Walton E’s Maggie Earle, Adrian Sexton and Deborah Pallett all taking trebles, a debut League hat-trick for Pallett.
* There will be at least one Division Three side in the semi-finals of the Knock-Out Cup, with Nomads Bobcats and Brotherhood E drawn to play each other in the quarter-finals. The third Division Three side, Brotherhood F, will play top-flight Walton C. The full draw is Brotherhood F v Walton C; Nomads Bobcats v Brotherhood E; Nomads Panthers v Windsor Penguins; Brotherhood D v Windsor Hawks. The matches are to be played during w/c 19th February.
Mapledene A fielded possibly the strongest team of the whole season to date for their resounding win over Fambridge this week to storm back to the top of the Burnham & District Table Tennis League. What a showdown this season is becoming with the potential for a winner takes all finale as the top two sides are scheduled to meet in the final week of the season.
Fambridge welcomed Mapledene A to their manor this week and were fielding a strong and experienced side of Mark Stones, Keith Adams, and Bruce Kettle. In a classic game of table tennis trumps Mapledene A, desperate to close the gap on Woodham A, played a blinder in the younger, but still experienced trio, of Daniel Young, Reece Seddon and Liam Squirrell. Adams had a great start to the night where in match 2 he took a surprisingly comfortable straight sets win over Young to even up the match at 1-1. Unfortunately that was the end of the scoring for Adams, and Fambridge, as the younger holy trinity of Mapledene brushed aside all further attempts to halt their progress. So hat-tricks for Squirrell and Seddon with the only real scare coming from Adams when he took Seddon all the way to a fifth and deciding set. Cold Norton B look to have secured third spot this season and were just far too good for Maldon A this week. The Nortonites ran out 10-0 winners on the night although Maldon’s superb lefty Jon Stokes made them work for it with 5 setters against Ian Wall and Eric Green, and then doing the same again with partner Lloyd Bennett-Smith in the doubles. No cigar for Stokes though but hat-tricks all round for Wall, Green and Sam Lowman. Woodham B were delighted to be told that their opponents had a player drop out very late on – an extra 3 points but more importantly some extra post-match valuable team bonding time at a local hostelry beckoned. Imagine their bewilderment on arrival when told Cold Norton A had a) sorted out a replacement, and b) it was Duncan Taylor. Taylor secured a 9 dart finish across his 3 matches (he didn’t drop a set), although he was at least troubled by Woodham’s hard-hitting Chris Hancox who probably should have nicked at least one leg. Matching Taylor was Matt Stringer who also recorded a hat-trick including a comeback 5 leg win over Sanjay Saptarshi. So an 8-2 victory for 3 man Cold Norton A and no extra-curricular fun time for Woodham B. In the final top division match this week there was no repeat performance from last week’s Stow Maries hero Gary Brignall. Mapledene B took down Brignall and his Stowmate Matthew Brown for a 9-1 inflated victory despite all the games going to 4 or 5 legs. Hat-tricks for Mapledene’s rarely seen Keith Willett, and Kieran Skeggs, with Matthew Brown taking his team’s sole point with a 5 leg triumph over Basildon’s finest Mr Paul Brown.
Division 2 had a full fixture list this week with the vast majority of the games being very tight. Stow D and Cold Norton D saw out a 5-5 draw with Tim Pulham notching another hat-trick in his amazing season to date. Team-mate Tim Huxtable took 2 excellent wins, and for Cold Norton Terry Hylands had 2 wins of his own. Then came three 6-4 home wins for Mapledene C, Maldon C, and Stow Maries B. Mapledene C defeated closest rivals Maldon B but probably needed a bigger scoreline if they wanted to trouble leaders Woodham C. Barrie Delf was once again the top player of the evening with 4 wins including the doubles. Maldon C came out on top against Stow Maries C. Not surprisingly Steve Aspland was yet again the main man for Maldon with 4 wins over the course of the evening. Maldon’s Garry Eames took a good 5 set victory over the lovable Dave Goody, and Peters Chastin and Layzell took 2 wins a piece for their Stow team. Stow B had to work harder than expected against Maldon D for their 6-4 win this week. No problems for the very in-form Peter Hance as he rattled off his 6th hat-trick of the season. The Maldon trio all took a win home with them and the doubles, but the pick of the victories goes to Marty Englander who somehow got past the ferocious hitting of Nicky Reece-Ford for a noteworthy 5 set triumph. In a tense and noisy encounter leaders Woodham C held on for a decent 7-3 win over the very tricky Blackwater A. The match was not without its drama as the Blackwater trio seemed to get under the skin of the leaders – especially when the away side won an edgy doubles match to bring the match score back to 4-3. Woodham regrouped and managed to focus to bring home the final 3 singles to maintain their 100% record. Another hat-trick for Graham Briggs despite being taken to late in the decider by Alan Scammell, and 2 wins each for Chris Hancox and David Meah. Despite being very short of match-fit or available players Woodham D put out a strong team and duly recorded the biggest win of the week. 8-2 against Blackwater B, and this could have been worse for Blackwater but for some amazing play by Noah Sage and then Gary Smith at crucial times. For Woodham Eamonn Hall was unbeaten with 3 straight set wins, and Gus Heath matched this hat-trick. Woodham’s third player Peter Mortensen was also on for a hat-trick and despite a tricky encounter with Sage he seemed to have wrapped up the deciding set when 10-7 up with 3 match points to play – but Sage was far from done as he won the next 5 points to pluck victory from the jaws of defeat, or did Mortensen pluck defeat from the wide open jaws of victory? Then in the doubles a new and rejuvenated Gary Smith emerged – fearless and attacking. Hitting winner after winner he guided his duo to a very unlikely doubles bonus point and very well deserved it was too.
After this week’s defeat Division 3 leaders St Lawrence now have no wins in their last 3 matches and the gap back to the peloton is narrowing. However it remains unlikely that any of the Blackwater teams will catch the leaders as yet again they continue to take crucial points off each other. It was Blackwater D that rocked St Lawrence this week with a 6-4 turnover. All the damage was done by the very reliable Dave Benstead and Jacquie Treacy. Benstead won all his singles including a notable 5 setter over the legend that is Mike Pratley, and Treacy, despite losing to Pratley, won her other 2 singles and then combined with Benstead for the doubles. Blackwaters C and E teams fought out a 5-5 draw. The C team’s Andy Simmonds was in fine fettle with a personal hat-trick, and he was well supported by Deb Ginn with 2 wins – although Ginn did fall to Jo Hart in 4 legs for Hart’s best win of the season by far, and her first brace of wins to boot. In the final match of the week Woodham E hosted Maldon F. The match ended in a draw, but only just as Woodham’s Chris Crooks almost took off his hat when he was faced with deuce in the fifth leg against John Leavett in the final match of the evening – but the stoic Crooks held firm for the match-saving win. Before that moment Maldon’s Ross Kirby had been the main talking point as he rattled his way through the very different playing styles of the Woodham trio for an outstanding hat-trick.
Pic 1 – Duncan Taylor – best ever last minute call up for Cold Norton A
Pic 2 – Chris Hancox (Woodham B) v Duncan Taylor (Cold Norton A) this week
Pic 3 – The tense and noisy doubles encounter betwixt Blackwater A and Woodham C
Pic 4 – Peter Mortensen (Woodham D) serving at 10-7 in the fifth leg against the plucky Noah Sage
Three teams from Division Three have made it through to the quarter-finals of the Clacton League’s Knock-Out Cup, following this week’s Round One matches, all three winners defeating sides from Division Two.
Brotherhood E take pride of place after their 5-3 win against Lawford, the often under-rated Tony Edmonds defying the years and his tag as the League’s senior player, staying undefeated in his two singles and two doubles.
But the score-line disguises a tough-fought tie, with four of the five Brotherhood wins coming from matches which went the distance, Edmonds involved in three of them.
Both doubles matches went to five, the closest seeing Edmonds and Tricia Salter (+1) defeat Ian Sherwood and Charlie Denholm (-5) 6-11, 12-14, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9.
It was also 5-3 for Brotherhood F’s Joe Sherwin, Lucy Carvell and Savindu De Silva against Brotherhood C, the ‘F’ team coming back from 3-1 down at the half-way stage. Lucy Carvell (+1) beat Paul Metcalf (-8) 11-6 in the decider to clinch the victory.
By comparison, Nomads Bobcats breezed through their encounter with Walton D, Matt Sage, Alex Baldock and Jack Riddleston hurrying to a 5-0 victory with something to spare.
Windsor Penguins are only one of two Second Division sides still remaining in the competition. Annabelle Stallwood was their unbeaten heroine in the all-Division Two clash with Nomads Tigers, Stallwood, Scott Campbell and Sharon Gowlett taking it 5-2.
Cup-holders Brotherhood A bowed out 5-0 to Division Two pace-setters Brotherhood D in an encounter where one match was adjudged void because of an incorrect starting handicap and where John Cleasby was forced to concede what turned out to be the final match of the tie.
One top-flight team was guaranteed to go through, and Walton C and Windsor Eagles enjoyed a hard-fought encounter before Walton took it 5-2, five of the seven matches going the distance. Walton skipper Mark Gale was unbeaten in his two singles and one doubles. In a hard-fought opening doubles, Mark Ratcliffe and Paul Meikle (+1) defeated Phil Smith and John Hobson (-1) 11-8 in the fifth. Ratcliffe narrowly failed to win a singles, (on -3) going down 11-5 in the fifth to Hobson (+1) and (on +2) losing 11-7 in the fifth to Mel Rampton (-5).
Division One Windsor Hawks edged it 5-4 against last season’s runners-up, Division Three side Nomads Leopards. Andy Vincent won two singles and, with John Barton (on -11), the final doubles 13-11, 11-6 in a best-of-three match against Bob Jillins and Stu Wilkinson (+2) The closest match of the evening saw Jillins (+2) edge past Barton (-8) 11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-13, 11-9.
But favourites Nomads Panthers are still in the competition and still looking good after their 5-1 victory over Division Two Windsor Kestrels. James Denyer retained his 100% Cup record this season, in the process sealing the tie (on -13) with a 9-11, 11-9, 11-9 win over Dad Allen Denyer (+3).
* Round Two of the competition takes place during week beginning 19th February. Details of the draw will be circulated by 4th February.
* Next Saturday (3rd February) sees the Handicap Singles Tournament at Windsor’s St James Hall venue. Details of check-in times and other information will be circulated to all competitors beforehand.