Nomads Panthers were without a match in the final week of the season but they had already confirmed their position as well-deserved champions yet again of Division One of the Clacton & District League.
Windsor Eagles drew their last match with Brotherhood A and those five points were enough to guarantee them the position of 2022/23 runners-up. There were two each for Gary Cattermole and Mel Rampton but no-one could get the better of Brotherhood’s Kevin Gowlett who remained unbeaten on the night.
The Walton A v Windsor Hawks match also ended with honours even. Andy Vincent took his treble for the Hawks while there were a couple each for Walton’s Kevin James and Derek Willis.
A two-man Nomads Lions beat Walton C, who were playing with a guest, facts which account for the unusual-looking 6-3 scoreline, all of which leaves the Lions in third position and Walton C bottom.
In Division Two, Mark Salter of Brotherhood B stayed unbeaten but Windsor Buzzards took the match 6-4, Pete Bloomfield, Ray Chillingworth and Andy Cawley each taking a couple. The result confirms they are the Divisional champions, this after finishing as runners-up last season.
Walton D enjoyed a 7-3 success against Windsor Kestrels. There were two each for their regular trio of Andy Foster, Clive Allenby and Tony Sherman but Windsor’s Graham Bunce finished his season with a flourish, staying undefeated. But the seven points were sufficient to see Walton D as finish as worthy runners-up.
Lawford drew with Brotherhood C, a seventh draw of the season for Brotherhood. Mark Boyland stayed unbeaten for Brotherhood with Richard Spence and Ian Sherwood each taking two for Lawford, who finish in third position.
In a crucial match at the bottom of the table, Nomads Jaguars defeated Brotherhood D 7-3. But those three points for Brotherhood, all from the bat of Kevin Pryor, mean they finish above Windsor Kestrels who, with bottom team Windsor Harriers, occupy the relegation places.
The season entered its final week in Division Three with Windsor Merlins and Windsor Penguins level on points and the title depending on their last matches.
On Tuesday, Windsor Merlins beat Brotherhood E 8-2, Sam Plummer and Joe Plummer each taking trebles and Ruby Gallagher one, a win in four against Andrey Pavlov. So, on the next evening, the Penguins knew they needed nine points against Nomads Bobcats to secure the title.
The Penguins took the first seven games of the match, including a tense 11-5 in the fifth win for Kayley Rodriguez against Doug Green, and an even tenser 11-9 in the fifth win in the doubles for Neil Chegwidden and Annabelle Stallwood over Green and John Morley.
But then Green defeated Stallwood in match eight, which meant the Penguins had to win the final two games of the season to take the title. Thankfully, Chegwidden and Rodriguez obliged to leave the Penguins champions by a single point in one of the best title races for some time. Congratulations to both the Penguins and the Merlins.
In the battle for the minor places, Paul Woolnough took a maximum for Walton E but Nomads Leopards won the match 7-3 to stake their claim as the third-best team in the Division.
Elsewhere, Brotherhood F were 10-0 winners against Nomads Lynx, Tom Bryden, JJ Barry and Joe Sherwin recording trebles. It’s been an excellent first season for the ‘F’ team, as it has for the other young side from Brotherhood E.
Finally, Windsor Magpies beat Nomads Ocelots 10-0, John Plummer, Alan Rutledge and Dave Sweetland ending the season on an unbeaten note.
* This year’s Cup Final will be between Division One side Brotherhood A and Nomads Leopards from Division Three, the first Third Division side to reach the final since 2008. The date of the match is different from that noted in the League Handbook and will now be played on Tuesday 11th April. As usual, the final takes place at the Brotherhood Hall, with play starting at 7.30pm. All spectators are welcome.
Windsor Eagles 5 Brotherhood A 5
Walton A 5 Windsor Hawks 5
Nomads Lions 6 Walton C 3
Walton D 7 Windsor Kestrels 3
Brotherhood B 4 Windsor Buzzards 6
Lawford 5 Brotherhood C 5
Brotherhood D 3 Nomads Jaguars 7
Nomads Leopards 7 Walton E 3
Windsor Magpies 10 Nomads Ocelots 0
Brotherhood E 2 Windsor Merlins 8
Brotherhood F 10 Nomads Lynx 0
Windsor Penguins 9 Nomads Bobcats 1