Wed 02 Nov 2011 18:34 David Saunders
Handicapped cup matches may give all teams a chance of success but in the Bolton Badminton League’s first round one team simply emphasised its supremacy.
Forrest D has already established a comfortable lead at the top of C Section. So when bottom team Smithills A visited Forrest’s Bolton Arena base, they must have been hoping for a decent handicap to boost their cup hopes.
Unfortunately, Forrest’s No.1 couple Jacquie Carter and Steve Irvine took the opening games to 8 and 9, and second home couple Elaine Power and Mark Allan then won theirs 11 and 3.
As points make prizes in this competition, Smithills had some work to do. But their third couple, Lesley Heyes and David Edwards, dug in to take the first of their mixed to 18, and Linda Singh and Malcolm Rolfe added their final two mixed to 14 and 12 to boost the Smithills’ cause.
Forrest, however, pushed ahead in the men’s and ladies’ games, losing just one (to 15), and ensuring wins in the rest in spite of Smithills battling throughout. When the handicaps’ envelope was opened at the end of the match, Smithills found that +120 was not quite enough to beat Forrest who took the match 353-343.
EDIT: Please note that since the writing of his column Forrest D have been disqualified. Smithills A will therefore go through to the next round of the Robert Cup.
In the same division, DL Farnworth C are in second place and Moorside A fourth so the two sides are evenly matched. Farnworth struck first when Julie Butler and Jason Horsfall took both opening games to 16, but it was Moorside who had the better of the mixed sets. They restricted Farnworth to fairly low scores and ensured they kept their own high.
When they took the first ladies’ games 11 and 11 and the second 12 and 9, thanks to steady support from third lady Joanne Egan, they put themselves in the driving seat. Even both final men’s games going to Farnworth via sterling work from Jason Horsfall and Ajath Babu couldn’t make enough difference. When the handicap was revealed as scratch each, Moorside progressed to the next round 341-287.
The importance of fighting for every point was underlined by Bolton Lads and Girls Club B when they played Sharples C away.
The home side are currently at the bottom of C Section and BLGC B towards the bottom of D so the handicap was always going to favour the latter. Sharples set off at rate of knots taking first all the mixed and then all the men’s and ladies’ games, but BLGC lost 11 of their games to double figures and scored 19 in two to keep scores high.
When the envelope revealed a handicap of +190 for BLGC, it took their score to 388 – just 10 in front of Sharples, giving the visitors a pass to the next round.
Deane B are mid-table in C Section and Metro A third so their cup clash was always going to be close. Deane took the initiative with Ann Hayton and Kanti Mistry taking the first mixed set but with all the remaining mixed shared and scores close they were neck and neck going into the men’s and ladies’.
Metro A was the stronger in the first four games, but Bharti Bhadia and Janice Munns took both second ladies’ to keep Deane’s hopes alive. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done and when the handicap was revealed as scratch each, Metro’s lead meant they won 354-320.