Clacton & District: Panthers target magnificent seven

Tony Oswick

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Please note - this news article was published more than three years ago. Some of the information contained may no longer be correct.

The 2018/19 season of the Clacton & District League begins next Monday, and the big question in Division One is “Can anyone stop Nomads Panthers?”

The Panthers keep last year’s title-winning line-up and, although Sam Hume’s appearances may be restricted because of university commitments, the champions are boosted by the addition of Paul Hume.

It’s a strong-looking squad and it would be a brave pundit to bet against the Panthers taking a seventh consecutive title.

Last season’s runners-up, Walton A, have a fresh look this year with talented juniors Jared Chelski and Daniel Young joining old hands Kevin James, Paul Woolnough and Gary Young.

They should be capable of a top-three finish, as should Windsor Condors, who replace Felipe Rodriguez with promising youngster Ollie Rampton.

There was little to choose last season between Windsor Eagles and Brotherhood C. The Eagles are strengthened by the inclusion of Rik James whilst, for Brotherhood C, Martin Edwards and Andy Warner join stalwarts Alan Burgess, Kevin Gowlett and Kevin Pryor.

There’s no Paul Hume or Roger Hance for Nomads Lions but, with Adam Wilkin in the squad, they still have enough quality to establish themselves safely in the middle of the table.

The same should also apply to Colin Dearman’s reliable Walton B outfit, without Mark Gale but otherwise unchanged.

There’s no Ian Fielder or Elliott Attrill for Windsor Hawks but, with Felipe Rodriguez and Roger Hance as replacements, they’ll go into action with a renewed sense of optimism.

But the same may not be true for Walton C who, although finishing only four points adrift of the Hawks last season, relied heavily on Peter Burrows. Much will depend on him if the Walton side is to avoid becoming involved in a relegation dog-fight.

Brotherhood D, and promoted Lawford and Nomads Tigers, are the three teams who start the season as relegation favourites.

Although finishing one from bottom last year, Brotherhood D were not relegated. They are unchanged and have the advantage of a year’s experience at this level.

Lawford have twice won promotion in recent seasons and twice made prompt returns to Division Two, and they may find it difficult to prevent a hat-trick of speedy relegations.

Last year’s Second Division runners-up, Nomads Tigers, are unchanged apart from the absence of Eric Lemke. They’re experiencing top Division action for the first time and their fate will depend on how quickly they can adapt to the higher standard.

A review of Division Two and Division Three will appear next week.

* A handful of players have still not registered with Table Tennis England. Any matches played by an unregistered player will be voided.

* The Windsor and Nomads Clubs are combining to hold a Quiz Night at St Osyth Village Hall on Saturday 6th October, 7.30pm for 8pm start. The cost is £3 per person for teams of up to six. Bring your own drink and nibbles. For details, contact Jenny Higgins (01255 432397) or Gill Locke (07765405563).

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