Brotherhood D are within a whisker of claiming the Division Two title in the Clacton League.

This week they faced second-placed Lawford and, after a classic encounter, ended 6-4 winners. No-one stayed unbeaten, Sam Plummer (pictured above, photo by Roger Hance), Joe Plummer and Kevin Pryor each winning two for Brotherhood, as did James Tindle for the losers.

Four matches went the distance, Brotherhood’s Pryor beating Tindle 11-4 in the fifth, with Lawford’s Tindle and Charlie Denholm beating Pryor and Sam Plummer 11-7 in the fifth in the doubles. But the final two matches of the evening were even closer, both ending 12-10 in the fifth.  

In match nine, Joe Plummer kept his composure under pressure against Denholm, losing the first two sets and having to save match points before eventually winning 3-2 (9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 12-10).  

And match 10 produced a fitting finale to the evening, Tindle’s outstanding attacking and Sam Plummer’s equally exceptional defending producing some stand-out rallies, Tindle finally getting home 3-2 (11-2, 11-9, 8-11, 3-11, 12-10).

So Brotherhood D now need just five points from their remaining two matches to guarantee themselves the title, with Lawford the odds-on favourites to take the runners-up spot.

Elsewhere, only two points separate Windsor Penguins and Brotherhood B in the middle of the table and they enjoyed a good scrap, the match ending with honours even.  

Scott Campbell won three for the Penguins, beating Mark Salter 11-6 in the fifth in the closest match of the evening. Neil Chegwidden won two, as did Salter for Brotherhood. Crucially, Salter and Barry Allen won the doubles for Brotherhood, who have now only lost three doubles of the 13 they have played all season, as compared with the Penguins who have won a paltry three doubles.

In their second match of the week, the Penguins did have a rare doubles win in their 8-2 success against Windsor Kestrels, Campbell and Chegwidden taking trebles. The two tightest matches ended 11-6 in the decider, Chegwidden beating Graham Bunce and Sharon Gowlett beating Jackie Bunce.  

The Kestrels are looking isolated at the bottom of the table but, facing a Nomads Tigers’ side fielding two reserves, they were able to celebrate a 6-4 win, Graham Bunce and Debra Found each winning two. Allen Denyer beat Alex Baldock 11-7 in the fifth but went down 11-5 in the fifth to Matt Sage. Denes Somodi took his customary hat-trick for the Tigers.

Brotherhood C v Nomads Jaguars ended all-square, a first drawn match of the season for both teams. Mark Boyland stayed unbeaten for Brotherhood. Kevin Hogg and Daryl Lott won two each for the Jaguars, although it was 11-7 in the fifth for Hogg against John Gallagher and an even narrower 12-10 in the fifth for Lott against Paul Metcalf.

But Brotherhood C were unable to find any joy against Walton D, going down 6-4 for a second time this season. Andy Foster and Clive Allenby each took two but Brotherhood’s Boyland was again the unbeaten player of the match, edging out Foster 15-13 in the decider in the only match which went the distance.

Both the top sides in Division Three recorded convincing victories, and the title battle between Brotherhood E and Windsor Harriers looks like going down to the final week of the season when the teams are due to meet.

Tony Edmonds was unbeaten, and Duncan Dunne and Tricia Salter each won two, in Brotherhood E’s 8-2 win against Brotherhood F. Joe Sherwin and Ruby Gallagher took a point apiece for the losers, Gallagher enjoying an unexpected 11-9 in the decider win over Dunne and but losing 11-3 in the fifth to Salter.

Skipper Ferdy Rodriguez led the way for Windsor Harriers in their 9-1 win over lowly Nomads Lynx, the losers’ only success a tight 11-7 in the fifth win for Ian Gwillim over Jenny Higgins.

Nomads Leopards maintained their third place in the table with a 7-3 win over Walton E, Stu Wilkinson and Bob Jillins unbeaten.

Lynette Sparks, Adrian Sexton and Deborah Pallett all picked up a point for the losers, both Sparks and Pallett taking Wilkinson to a fifth set before going down 11-7 and 11-4 in the decider respectively.    

It was also 7-3 for Windsor Magpies against Nomads Bobcats. Dave Sweetland, John Plummer and Alan Rutledge all won two but none of them could get the better of an undefeated Matt Sage.

It’s also a two-horse race at the top of Division One between Nomads Panthers and Brotherhood A, with the two teams due to meet in a crunch match next week.

This week, reigning champions and favourites Nomads Panthers were 10-0 winners against Walton A, John Hatley, Greg Green and Gill Locke the successful trio. Two matches finished 11-4 in the fifth, Hatley beating Derek Willis and, in the doubles, Hatley and Green edging out Colin Dearman and Dave Binns.

Hat-tricks for Gary Young and Kevin Gowlett were the bedrock of the 8-2 victory for Brotherhood A over Windsor Eagles, a win which keeps their side in title contention. Russell Hillier chipped in with one and, with Gowlett, shared an 11-8 in the fifth doubles success against Mel Rampton and Phil Smith. Rampton and Smith each took one for the Eagles, Rampton’s point a narrow 11-9 in the fifth victory against Hillier.

Windsor Hawks, who are aiming to repeat their best-ever third position achieved eight years ago, added valuable points to their tally with a 9-1 success against Windsor Buzzards. Daniel Young and Felipe Rodriguez stayed unbeaten. The only blemish on the Hawks’ evening was a notable win for Ray Chillingworth over John Barton. Alas for the Buzzards, it now confirms they will finish the season bottom of the table.

Nomads Lions are the other team battling for third place and they also enjoyed a 9-1 victory, this over Walton C. Adam Wilkin, Jason Lloyd and Adam Cuthbert all took hat-tricks although Wilkin had tough battles before beating Mark Gale 13-11 in the fifth and Walton reserve Paul Woolnough 11-7 in the fifth. Gale and Paul Meikle took the Walton point with an 11-9 in the decider doubles win against Wilkin and Cuthbert.

* In the semi-finals of the Knock-Out Cup, the two Division One teams have been drawn against lower Division opposition. Windsor Hawks will face Nomads Bobcats, whilst Walton C will be away to Windsor Penguins. The matches are to be played in week beginning 11th March, with the final taking place on Tuesday 2nd April.

* Friday 15th March is the closing date for entries for the League’s Closed Championships. Entry forms have been sent to all players and full details are on the League’s website. Entries should be sent on-line to Peter White or by post to Tony Oswick.  

Division 1

Brotherhood A 8 Windsor Eagles 2
Walton A 0 Nomads Panthers 10
Windsor Buzzards 1 Windsor Hawks 9
Nomads Lions 9 Walton C 1
Division 2
Walton D 6 Brotherhood C 4
Windsor Penguins 5 Brotherhood B 5
Windsor Kestrels 6 Nomads Tigers 4
Windsor Kestrels 2 Windsor Penguins 8
Brotherhood C 5 Nomads Jaguars 5
Lawford 4 Brotherhood D 6
Division 3
Nomads Bobcats 3 Windsor Magpies 7
Brotherhood F 2 Brotherhood E 8
Nomads Lynx 1 Windsor Harriers 9
Walton E 3 Nomads Leopards 7