IT'S that time of year when the Clacton and District League's resident pundit looks into his trusty crystal ball to consider the possibilities for the new season, which begins on Monday.

Nomads Panthers, who've reigned supreme for the past five years, are favourites to retain their division one title.

In James Denyer, John Hatley, Sam Hume, Gill Locke and Colin Webber, they have the players capable of making it a sixth success.

Windsor Condors pushed them all the way last year and their unchanged quintet, headed by Colin Stallwood and Greg Green and including Martin Hogg, Annabelle Rodriguez and Felipe Rodriguez, could again be their nearest challengers.

Just three points separated Windsor Eagles, Brotherhood B and Walton A last year.

The Eagles retain their squad of Gary Cattermole, John Hobson, John Pattrick, Phil Smith and Sue Welham and will, as ever, be a highly-competitive outfit.

Brotherhood B are also unchanged but, with the ever-improving Gracie Edwards and the well-travelled Andy Warner, they might go one better than last year's fourth place.

The trimmed-down Walton A team of Kevin James, Gavin Price, Paul Woolnough and Gary Young has the class to challenge for a top place - although much will depend on the regularity with which they can turn out a full team.

Brotherhood C have strengthened their side, with newcomer Abhi Peshkar lining up alongside Alan Burgess, Kevin Gowlett, Oli Reynolds and Kevin Pryor, and they could spring a surprise or two.

Walton B, captained by Mark Gale, retain the same squad which averaged five points per match to finish seventh last season.

They have the look of a mid-table team so expect nothing better or worse this term.

Much interest will surround the progress of Nomads Lions who, without Adam Wilkin, have promoted Ethan Lloyd and Jason Lloyd from last year's Bobcats. They join Adam Cuthbert, Roger Hance and Paul Hume in what has the makings of an impressive side.

The new Walton C team includes half their former A side - David Binns, Peter Burrows, Graham Buxton, Paul Newbould and John Rankin.

Any success they have will be conditional on their fitness and ability to turn out a full team.

Andy Vincent was one of last season's most improved players and his continued good form will be an important factor in ensuring Windsor Hawks, who finished ninth last year, maintain respectability and safety.

There's a welcome return to local table tennis for Bob Sawyer with Windsor Kestrels, who also have Graham Bunce back after injury.

However, unless the Kestrels can pull several rabbits out of the hat, they look likely to be one of the relegation-threatened teams.

Promoted Brotherhood D is an amalgam of the cream of last season's division two Brotherhood players - Russell Hillier, Lee Harvey, Grant Sharpe and Scott Campbell - and they'll need to hit the ground running if they're to avoid a speedy return.

* A preview of division two and division three will appear next week.