Congratulations this week go to Nomads Panthers in Division One of the Clacton & District League who finished the season with two 10-0 wins to end as champions once again, 21 points clear of the nearest rivals.

It’s a ninth successive title for the all-conquering Panthers who thus equal the record achieved by Brotherhood A between 1998 and 2007.

In their first match, the Panthers’ top threesome of James Denyer, Sam Hume and Greg Green breezed past Windsor Hawks. Seven of the matches were settled in three-straight and only one went the distance, Hume defeating Felipe Rodriguez 3-2 (11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 8-11, 11-8).

It proved slightly tougher for a changed threesome of Hume, Liam Harris and John Hatley against Walton D where just three matches were settled in three-straight. All three of the Panthers remained unbeaten but Walton skipper, Mark Gale, came close to getting on the scoresheet, losing 11-9 in the decider to Harris and 12-10 in the decider to Hatley.

The result means Walton D, despite battling hard all season, will definitely finish bottom whilst the result from Windsor Hawks’ second match – a 6-4 win against Nomads Lions – means both the Hawks and Lions are safe and that Walton C, despite still having a match to play, will be the side which finishes one-from-bottom.

It was only a second win of the season for the Hawks. Andy Vincent and Felipe Rodriguez each won two, John Barton one, with Vincent and Rodriguez sharing a close 3-2 (11-6, 14-12, 11-13, 9-11, 11-6) doubles success over Jason Lloyd and Adam Cuthbert. But none of the Hawks’ players could get the better of the in-form Cuthbert who stayed undefeated. Lions’ skipper Lloyd picked up the fourth Lions’ point one and went close to taking another, which would’ve secured his side a draw, narrowly going down 11-8 in the fifth to Vincent.

Windsor Eagles and Walton B finished the season in third and fourth places respectively, and both should take satisfaction from their performances during the year.

The two teams met this week in their final match and it was the Eagles, fielding their strongest trio, who ended 8-2 winners. Paul Hume won three, and Phil Smith and Mel Rampton two each, Smith beating Derek Willis 11-3 in the decider and Rampton edging past Colin Dearman 11-8 in the decider. Kevin James won the two Walton points.

Walton B also finish the season as the only team in the League which played the same three players – Kevin James, Colin Dearman and Derek Willis – in every League match, a credit to their commitment and fitness.

In Division Two, champions Brotherhood B marked their last match with an authoritative 8-2 win over Lawford. Grant Sharpe starred with a hat-trick, with John Owen and Paul Alden each taking two. So Brotherhood failed to repeat their early-season 10-0 win, losing the final two matches of the evening, Richard Spence beating Alden and Ian Sherwood defeating Owen to ensure Lawford avoided a second whitewash.

But Brotherhood B end the season as one of only two teams in the League to remain unbeaten throughout, the other being Nomads Panthers.

And the result also means that Lawford, despite having one match to play, cannot now catch Windsor Buzzards who are confirmed as divisional runners-up.

The mid-table clash between Brotherhood D and Nomads Jaguars ended all-square, with no-one staying unbeaten but every player picking up at least one point. John Gallagher was Brotherhood’s best player, notching up unexpected victories over Daryl Lott and Chris Petrou, but going down to John Hockley. Brotherhood’s other three points all came from close five-setters, Paul Metcalf beating Hockley 12-10 in the fifth, Mark Beckham edging past the unfortunate Hockley 13-11 in the fifth, with Gallagher and Metcalf defeating Petrou and Lott 11-7 in the fifth in the doubles.

For the Jaguars, Petrou and Lott each won two and Hockley one, Lott involved in the closest match of a closely fought contest when he scraped past Metcalf 14-12 in the decider.

There were trebles for Ferdy Rodriguez and reserve Sam Plummer as Windsor Harriers defeated Nomads Bobcats 9-1 in an encounter closer than the scoreline suggests. Three of the Harriers’ points came from matches which went down to the wire, Plummer needing to show determination as well as talent to overcome Andy Teemal 3-2 (9-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6, 11-5) and Allen Denyer 3-2 (11-4, 11-6, 4-11, 11-3, 11-9). Denyer took the point for the Bobcats.

In Division Three Windsor Penguins had to field a guest but were good enough to beat a weakened Nomads Leopards 6-4. Kayley Rodriguez took three, Sharon Gowlett two, with the pair sharing a doubles success. Stuart Wilkinson prevented Gowlett getting her treble, winning 3-2 (11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7) in the closest match of the evening.

Although disrupted by a mid-year injury to Gowlett, it’s been a good season for the Penguins but, alas for the long-time Divisional leaders, they will have to settle for the runners-up spot, with Walton E declared the new Division Three champions – without raising a bat in anger.

The Walton side would have expected to have won their final match with Windsor Robins but the fixture was sadly cancelled because of an outbreak of Covid in the Robins’ side. With the teams unable to arrange a suitable alternative date in the few days remaining in the season, the Robins conceded and so the 10 points were awarded to Walton who, nevertheless, have proved themselves worthy Divisional champions.

Brotherhood F, fielding a guest player, concluded their season with a 7-3 victory over Nomads Ocelots, Ben Bryden and Alex Marsh unbeaten. The Brotherhood team finish in a creditable fourth place, just a point behind third-placed Windsor Magpies.

But the Ocelots had the consolation of enjoying a win in their second match, beating Windsor Merlins 6-4, despite Windsor’s Sam Plummer capping a good week by taking his maximum.

John Magill and Arthur-Wells-Garrett each won two for the Ocelots, Wells-Garrett beating Yulian Yaramenko 3-2 (11-13, 4-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-4) and, partnered with Magill, beating Yaramenko and Ruby Gallagher in a five-setter doubles. Hazel Blanche took the sixth Ocelots’ point but went down to Gallagher.

* The final of the Handicap Knock-Out Cup between Nomads Panthers and Walton A takes place on Tuesday 5th April at the Brotherhood Hall, with play starting at 7.30pm. All spectators are welcome.

* The League season closes next weekend with the 2022 Closed Championships, sponsored by The Survey Initiative, courtesy of Gary Cattermole. It takes place on 9th and 10th April at the Coastal Academy Sports Hall. Play starts at 9am on Saturday and 9.30am on Sunday, with the finals due to start at approximately 4pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday.  Further information, including details of check-in times, have been sent to all entrants. Any competitor who has not received this information should contact Peter White (Tel: 01255 425292).  

Division 1

Windsor Hawks 0 Nomads Panthers 10
Windsor Eagles 8 Walton B 2
Nomads Panthers 10 Walton D 0
Nomads Lions 4 Windsor Hawks 6
Division 2
Brotherhood B 8 Lawford 2
Windsor Harriers 9 Nomads Bobcats 1
Brotherhood D 5 Nomads Jaguars 5
Division 3
Nomads Leopards 4 Windsor Penguins 6
Nomads Ocelots 3 Brotherhood F 7
Windsor Merlins 4 Nomads Ocelots 6
Walton E 10 (w/o) v Windsor Robins