Mon 04 Feb 2013 19:27 Ann Schofield
The handicap system worked a treat in two of the Bolton League’s cup competitions. In both handicap competitions teams from lower sections beat high-placed opponents – but only by narrow margins, and results were in doubt until the envelopes were opened at the end of the ties.
A Section team Forrest A knew they would be heavily handicapped when they came up against Westhoughton B from Section B in the third round of the Jane Fletcher Memorial Cup. Predictably they dominated proceedings from start to finish – apart from in one of the pairings when Westhoughton dug in and picked up valuable points along the way. Forrest’s top couple, Paula Wright and Ron Welsh, won 21-14, 21-8 against Westhoughton’s second couple Mandy Gow and John Cole. Lisa Harrison and Tony Augustyniak, then won 21-19, 21-18 against Westhoughton’s first couple, Gill Moar and Mike Nicholson – a result that proved crucial in the final reckoning. Carolyn Wood and Chris Mealor, playing third for Forrest against Viv Coleman and Anthony Hughes also won their games 21-4, 21-9, but when the two second couples met, Westhoughton’s Gow and Coles won the first game 21-17 boosting their morale as well as their points tally. Harrison and Augustyniak won the second game 21-12, but the damage had been done. And even though Forrest dominated the level doubles games, allowing their opponents to reach double figures in only four of the last eight games, Westhoughton progressed to the next round with a 378-374 win by virtue of a 170 point start.
There was another high handicap tie In the Robert Cup when D Section Moorside C, played C Section’s Sharples C, which would be another high handicapped match. Once again the higher section team dominated the games but Moorside refused to be over-whelmed at any stage – and got their reward in the end, winning 392-371 thanks to a 170 – point start. Judith Parker and Stuart Hall, Moorside’s top couple, lost to Sharples’ Anne Marie Saunders and John Pimblett 21-9, 21-11, and second couple Rhian Vickers and Alan Parkinson went down 21-18, 21-7 to Sharples’ top couple, Eileen Beaney and Nick Hitchin. But they were valuable points and when Moorside’s third couple, Helen Williamson and Brian Bainbridge, shared their games against Kath Heywood and David Fairclough, winning the first 21-12 before losing the second 21-11, Sharples were clearly not having things all their own way. When the second couples’ games were also shared, Moorside’s Vickers and Parkinson winning the first 22-20 and Saunders and Pimblett taking the second 24-22 for Sharples the tie was in the balance. Although Sharples won the remainder of the games with the final two men’s games going to Pimblett and Fairclough, 21-16, 21-8, Moorside had continued to add to their tally and when the opening of the envelope revealed a +170 handicap in Moorside’s favour it gave them a 392-371 win.