Stu Wilkinson has been a regular in the Leopards’ side in Division Three of the Clacton League since he joined the Nomads club 10 years ago, and he’s developed into a reliable 70% player at this level without ever hitting the headlines.
But the often underrated Wilkinson stepped into the limelight this week as Nomads Leopards’ unlikely hero in their encounter with Windsor Magpies, putting in a notable unbeaten performance. Playing without their No 1 Dominic Joannou, the Leopards did well to record a 6-4 victory, Wilkinson taking a fine maximum.
He picked up impressive singles wins over John Plummer, Alan Rutledge and Dave Sweetland, and shared an important doubles victory with Bob Jillins 3-2 (11-7, 9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9) against Plummer and Sweetland. Jillins won two for the Leopards but was denied his own hat-trick by Sweetland who edged their match 11-8 in the fifth.
The Magpies had a second tough match, this against Brotherhood E. Four matches went the distance, each side winning two of them, but Brotherhood came out on top 7-3. Fred Gallone won three, Tricia Salter two and Tony Edmonds one.
Gallone’s maximum included an 11-8 in the fifth win over Dave Sweetland, the same score by which Salter defeated Alan Rutledge. For the Magpies, Sweetland won two and Rutledge one, both players edging out Edmonds by the same 11-7 in the fifth score.
Brotherhood E also played twice this week and they followed up their success against the Magpies with an 8-2 win against Nomads Bobcats. Duncan Dunne and Fred Gallone took maximum points, with Rodney Betts defeating Alex Baldock 11-5 in the fifth for a point. Jack Riddleston and Matt Sage, with a debut League win, took the Bobcats’ points.
Walton E overcame Nomads Lynx 8-2, with Lynette Sparks unbeaten, and Maggie Earle and Adrian Sexton winning a pair apiece. Ian Gwillim took the Nomads’ points with two close wins, 11-7 in the fifth against Earle and 11-4 in the fifth against Sexton, whilst Gerry Widnell narrowly failed to get on the score sheet, going down to Sexton 11-2 in the deciding set.
Finally in Division Three, Windsor Harriers defeated Nomads Ocelots 10-0, none of the matches extended beyond a third set. Jenny Higgins, a late call-up for the Harriers, recorded hat-tricks in successive weeks for the first time in 17 years.
In Division One trebles for James Denyer and John Hatley, and a couple from Gill Locke, saw Nomads Panthers home 9-1 against Walton B. The only match which went the distance was Locke’s 11-4 in the decider win against Graham Buxton. Gavin Price took the Walton point.
Three for Daniel Young, two for Andy Vincent and a crucial 12-10 in the fifth win for John Barton against Russell Hillier gave Windsor Hawks the edge 6-4 against Brotherhood A. Gary Young won two and Kevin Gowlett one for Brotherhood. Highlight of the match was the final encounter of the evening where son Daniel earned the bragging rights over Dad Gary with a 3-1 (14-12, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6) victory.
For a second week running, Walton A lost 9-1 to a Windsor side – last week it was the Hawks, this week the Eagles. Mel Rampton, Phil Smith and, making a rare appearance for the Eagles, Gary Cattermole all stayed undefeated. Walton’s point came from a five-set doubles win for Colin Dearman and David Binns over Smith and Cattermole.
In Division Two, Brotherhood D extended their lead at the top with another convincing performance, defeating Windsor Penguins 9-1, Simon Smith-Daye and Sam Plummer unbeaten. James Smith-Daye’s two wins for Brotherhood were both five-setters, 11-6 in the decider against Sharon Gowlett and 11-8 in the decider against Annabelle Stallwood. But he couldn’t get the better of Scott Campbell who took the Penguins’ consolation point.
Brotherhood B were predictable 10-0 winners against Windsor Kestrels. John Owen returned to League action with an undefeated three, whilst there were trebles also for Barry Allen, his first wins of the season, and Paul Alden. Debra Found was the Kestrels’ best player, narrowly going down 11-6 in the fifth to Allen and 11-9 in the fifth to Owen.
Finally, Walton D were 6-4 winners against Brotherhood C, Andy Foster winning three and Clive Allenby two. Walton’s Paul Woolnough will consider himself the unluckiest player of the week, if not the season, losing three tight five-setters – 11-5 in the decider to John Gallagher, 11-7 in the decider to Paul Metcalf and 11-9 in the decider to Mark Beckham.
Brotherhood’s fourth point, and Gallagher’s second win of the evening, also came from a match which went the distance, Gallagher enjoying an unexpected win 11-5 in the fifth over Allenby.
* Members of the League will be saddened to learn of the death this week of its most senior Vice-President, Brian Baines. As a player, supporter and official, Brian had been associated with the League for over 70 years. A full appreciation of Brian’s contribution to the League will follow in due course.
Walton A 1 Windsor Eagles 9
Nomads Lions 9 Windsor Buzzards 1
Walton B 1 Nomads Panthers 9
Brotherhood A 4 Windsor Hawks 6
Brotherhood C 4 Walton D 6
Windsor Penguins 1 Brotherhood D 9
Windsor Kestrels 0 Brotherhood B 10
Nomads Bobcats 2 Brotherhood E 8
Windsor Magpies 3 Brotherhood E 7
Nomads Leopards 6 Windsor Magpies 4
Nomads Ocelots 0 Windsor Harriers 10
Walton E 8 Nomads Lynx 2