Like their familiar Christmas card cousins, Windsor Robins strutted their stuff in the all-Windsor clash against the Falcons in round one of the Clacton & District League’s Division Three Handicap Challenge and emerged the narrowest of 5-4 winners.

With both teams in the lower reaches of the Third Division, it was always likely to be a closely-contested encounter and so it proved, with four of the matches going the distance – and the Robins having the good fortune to win all four.

Robins’ captain Bob Bales, who stayed unbeaten in both singles and doubles, was involved in three of the five-setters, all of them also involving the Falcons’ number one player, Kayley Rodriguez.

In the top singles (on +1) he beat Rodriguez (-5) 11-5 in the fifth and, with Jo Parsey (+1), he followed this with an 11-7 in the fifth doubles victory against Rodriguez and Barbara Rogers (-3).

And then, in the final and decisive encounter of the evening, Bales and Oleksandra Klymenko (+1) edged past Rodriguez and Mark Lamb (-1) 11-6 in the fifth to seal the match victory.

The fourth of the close matches saw Klymenko (-3) beat Rogers (+1) 4-11, 12-14, 11-6, 15-13, 11-8.

It was far more comfortable for Brotherhood E who were 5-1 victors against Windsor Merlins. Duncan Dunne and Tony Edmonds stayed undefeated and only Bradley Henshaw’s (+1) win over Rodney Betts (-6) prevented the whitewash.

The draw for round two will be made in mid-January.

* It was also round one in the Handicap Knock-Out Cup but the two ties failed to raise any excitement.

Brotherhood J could field only two eligible players against Windsor Penguins and, despite taking the first two matches, went down 5-2 whilst, in the other scheduled tie, Walton D were unable to raise a team and conceded against Nomads Leopards.

In round two, the Penguins will be at home to Brotherhood I whilst the Leopards will play club-mates Nomads Pumas. All second round matches are to be played in week beginning 7th January.

* In the sole Division One League fixture, Nomads Lions beat Brotherhood D 6-4.

Every player picked up at least one point. For the Lions, Adam Cuthbert won three, Ethan Lloyd two and Jason Lloyd one whilst Russell Hillier, Scott Campbell and reserve John Owen each took one for Brotherhood.

The only other result was in Division Three which saw the completion of the Brotherhood J v Windsor Penguins fixture, a match which had started on 18th October, only for the lights to go out at the Brotherhood Hall after game eight.

The final two matches having now been played, the eventual result of this unique league match is a 6-4 win for Brotherhood. Harley Wood beat Jackie Bunce in match 10 to record the most protracted hat-trick in the League’s history.

* The League’s Management Committee would like to take this opportunity to wish all players, supporters, readers of this column and their families, a happy and contented Christmas.

Division 1
Nomads Lions 6 Brotherhood D 4

Division 3
Brotherhood J 6 Windsor Penguins 4

Handicap Knock-Out Cup Round One
Windsor Penguins 5 Brotherhood J 2
Nomads Leopards (w/o v Walton D)

Division Three Handicap Challenge Round One
Windsor Merlins 1 Brotherhood E
Windsor Falcons 4 Windsor Robins 5