Brotherhood E of Division Three took the honours in Round One of the Clacton & District League’s Handicap Cup with a 5-3 win over top-flight Walton A.

With the grade difference between the two sides being substantial, it was no surprise the contest developed into a marathon match which lasted over four hours, Lucy Carvell (+2) beating Colin Dearman (-18) 3-2 (11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3) in match eight to clinch the tie as the clock approached the midnight hour.

In an excellent team performance, Dan Grindrod and Andrey Pavlov both stayed unbeaten in their singles for Brotherhood, although it was 11-4 in the fifth for Grindrod (+3) against Kevin James (-17), 11-5 in the fifth for Pavlov (+4) against the same player (on -18), and 11-1 in the fifth for Pavlov (+2) against Colin Dearman (-15).  

But it was a brave effort from the Walton veterans who, in most of the matches, had to concede an average of 20 points. To their great credit, Walton took both doubles, Dearman and Derek Willis (-18) beating Pavlov and Carvell (+2) 11-7 in the decider, and Dearman and James (-18) beating Grindrod and Carvell (+2) in three-straight.

By contrast, First Division Walton C had no such problems against their Division Three opponents, Mark Gale, Mark Ratcliffe and Paul Meikle winning 5-0 against Nomads Bobcats, despite having to recover equally large handicap deficits.

Windsor Buzzards’ excellent season continued as the Division Two side beat Division One outfit Windsor Hawks 5-1. Despite the scoreline, it was a hard-fought match, with the Buzzards taking both the doubles which both went the distance. Andy Cawley and Ray Chillingworth (+1) defeated John Barton and Ian Fielder (-1) 6-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, whilst Chillingworth and Pete Bloomfield (+1) beat Fielder and Felipe Rodriguez (-3) 11-3, 9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8.

In another Division One v Division Two clash, it was the higher-ranked team who came out on top, Brotherhood A beating Brotherhood B 5-1. But, once again, it was a tight fought match with the ‘A’ team taking two matches which went the distance, Russell Hillier (0) beating Mark Salter (0) 11-4 in the fifth and Kevin Gowlett (-6) just beating the unfortunate Salter (+2) 13-11 in the fifth.

An all-Brotherhood tie saw the ‘C’ team from Division Two defeat the ‘F’ team from Division Three 5-2. The Brotherhood F youngsters took the opening doubles, Joe Sherwin and JJ Barry (+2) beating Mark Beckham and Paul Metcalf (-11) 11-8 in the decider. But the ‘C’ team took control from thereon, their closest victory being the middle doubles where Metcalf and Mark Boyland (-15) edged past Barry and Tom Bryden (+2) 11-9 in the fifth. Boyland remained unbeaten on the night.

In the meeting of two teams struggling at the bottom of Division Two, Windsor Kestrels were surprisingly comfortable 5-0 winners over Brotherhood D. Four games were settled in three-straight, with Jackie Bunce’s (+1) 2-3 (4-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9) win over James Smith-Daye (-1) the only close match.

The all-Division Three encounter between Nomads Leopards and Windsor Magpies was also expected to be a close-run affair between two evenly-matched teams. But it turned out to be a straightforward 5-1 win for Bob Jillins, Dominic Joannou and Stuart Wilkinson of the Leopards. Only two matches were extended to a fourth set.

Round Two will be played during week beginning 20th February. The draw and further details will be circulated by 4th February at the latest.   

* The Handicap Singles Tournament takes place next Saturday, 4th February, at St James’ Hall, Clacton-on-Sea. Pleasingly, there will be a full quota of 32 players. Play starts at 10am but players will be notified individually of their checking-in times in advance. Any player who has not received this information by Friday 3rd February should contact Peter White on 01255 425292.

Brotherhood C 5 Brotherhood F 2
Brotherhood E 5 Walton A 3
Brotherhood D 0 Windsor Kestrels 5
Walton C 5 Nomads Bobcats 0
Windsor Magpies 1 Nomads Leopards 5
Brotherhood A 5 Brotherhood B 1
Windsor Hawks 1 Windsor Buzzards 5
Nomads Lynx v Walton D (result tbc)