The 2013/14 season of the Clacton and District Table Tennis League begins next Monday with Nomads Panthers favourites to retain their Division One title.

They keep the same squad as last year, bolstered by a number of high-class reserves.

Brotherhood A are also unchanged and, if a fully-fit Dave Binns is able to play more often and they can regularly field full-strength teams, they won’t be far away from the top come the end of April.

Annabelle Rodriguez joins Windsor Condors in place of Gary Young and although any side that includes Gary Cattermole, John Pattrick and Colin Stallwood will be competitive, don’t expect them to equal last year’s runners-up position.

The precise line-up of the four Walton teams is not certain, with a number of players signed on for their Division Three team in order to allow flexibility and cover for early-season absences.

However, Colin Dearman’s Walton A side which finished third last year looks the strongest of the bunch whilst Kevin Gowlett’s presence

in the Walton D squad should ensure them a top-half finish.

Mark Gale’s Walton C team has enough ability and experience to garner sufficient points to stay clear of the relegation zone, as have Paul Newbould’s Walton B – provided they can avoid injury and turn out a full team each week.

Brotherhood B replace Ian Graham with David North and they will be hoping this injection of youth will see them improve on last year’s seventh place.

Ian Fielder is another young player given the opportunity to test himself at this level. He joins Windsor Hawks alongside regulars John Barton, Felipe Rodriguez and Andy Vincent.

Windsor Eagles are unchanged but they will have to play well to retain a proud record which has seen them finish in the top-half of the table for the last ten seasons.

The ‘three Johns’ of Nomads Lions – Fenton, Hatley and Weller – displayed grit and determination last year in order to stay above the bottom two places and they will need to do the same this season if they’re to avoid being dragged into the relegation battle.

Interest will focus on the progress of star junior Sam Hume who joins old hands Brian Parish and Colin Beaumont in the new-look Nomads Cougars’ team and much will depend on Sam’s continued improvement if his team is to maintain their top-flight status.

Brotherhood D keep the same quartet which gained promotion and, although all four players have the ability to cause a surprise or two, the surprises may be insufficient in regularity to prevent them suffering the fate of many promoted teams – a swift return to Division Two.

Players are reminded that they must register with the English Table Tennis Association in order to be eligible to play League table tennis. If there are any queries please contact League Secretary Annabelle Rodriguez on 01255 221259.

Written by Tony Oswick (September 10, 2013)