Last year’s beaten finalists Higham Harriers A won a gripping contest against Chesterwell D as they moved into the second round of the Wellingborough & District League’s Stanley L Hunt (Printers Ltd) Challenge Trophy.
For visitors Chesterwell, Bryan Farrar and Henryk Schmied performed admirably but Peter Atkins was well off par.
The highlight came as early as game two, where Atkins went down to Norman Wooster 3-11, 1-11, 1-11, 2-11 to completely wipe out Farrars’ shared opener with Graham Bird 7-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8.
Always slightly behind handicap, the match swung dramatically when Farrar won out 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 over Neil Stevens to put the visitors 33 ahead with one singles and the doubles to go.
Unfortunately, the luckless Atkins went down to Bird, reducing the lead to six.
Bird and Wooster won out in the doubles over Farrar and Schmied for another nail-biting eight-point victory 400-392.
Works Warriors (240) 446 (Alan Woolston 32/132, Stephen Woolston 82/126, Roger Fleming 66/130) Westfield A (0) 432 (Kevin Bird 132/62, Daniel Smalley 130/60, Alex Aston 126/56): The savage handicap reflected the all-round strength of Westfield A as they started 240 points behind Works Warriors.
Works’ Alan Woolston’s fast-fading form found the going much too hard, managing a mere 32 points but his team-mates were made of sterner stuff.
Roger Fleming, whose performances, if not results, have improved considerably, gave the performance of the night against Daniel Smalley before going down 11-9, 2-11, 7-11, 9-11.
This was followed by Stephen Woolston gaining a further 30 points in a 6-11, 11-5, 6-11, 7-11 loss to Alex Aston, games which swung the match.
Thirty two points ahead at the doubles, Stephen Woolston and Fleming hung on against Aston and Kevin Bird to win an excellent game by 14 points and a 446-432 scoreline.
Westfield’s fine performance, albeit a losing one, was a lesson to other sides facing a large handicap.
Wanderers A (0) 425 (Gene Brown 125/64, Andy Law 126/82, Stewart Williams 129/87) Westfield D (150) 411 (Alfie Wright 56/130, Owen Morris 88/122, Milan Modha 89/129): The visitors fought hard and picked up legs in five of the 10 games.
The match swung on the opening set when Alfie Wright gained a measly 12 points against Gene Brown. With most of the rest bang on handicap, Owen Morris, in game nine, gained 32 points in sharing with Brown to leave the Westfield side two points in front at the doubles.
Andy Law and Stewart Williams then ran out 11-7, 11-5, 11-1, 11-6 winners over Milan Modha and Morris to gained a hard earned 14-point victory.
Wanderers C (0) 424 (James Findlay 132/69, Maurice Jones 114/82, Jon Taylor-Burt 132/46) Wanderers E (200) 433 (David May 77/123, Derek Shears 61/132. Steve Hoole 59/123): For the hosts, Jon Taylor-Burt was in fine form conceding only 46 points.
James Findlay also saw off Steve Hoole but these results were negated by a below-par Maurice Jones who only shared with David May and Hoole, dropping 64 points in the process.
Nineteen points behind at the doubles, Findlay and Taylor-Burt won out 11-5, 11-10, 11-4, 11-6 to tie the game. But in the deciding doubles, starting 6-0 down to May and Hoole, they lost out to conclude a gripping match.
Westfield G (280) 446 (Sidney Wright 50/132, Linda Freeman 51/128, Amrat 49/130) Westfield B (0) 434 (Patryk Polanski 132/30, Will Shepherd 132/38, Mike Ainsworth 126/82): This was a clear case of age letting youth down as excellent performances from Will Shepherd and Patryk Polanski should have seen the first division side home.
However, Mike Ainsworth was well below par and as such dropped 58 points in matches against Amrat Mistry and Linda Freeman cost his side dearly.
The best result for the B team was Polanski’s win over Mistry, but it was too late and the G side claimed a somewhat fortunate 12-point victory.
Chesterwell B (0) 435 (Craig Dilley 129/61, Carl Singh 130/61, Luke Hughes 132/61) Wanderers F (220) 425 (Brian Pearce 66/128, Heather Sawyer 37/132, Diana Wiseman 80/131): This was an excellent result for the lowly Division One side, all three players finishing with almost identical records, which is a most unusual feature.
For the visitors, Diana Wiseman did well gaining a leg against Craig Dilley and 80 points on the night. However, Heather Sawyer found the going tough and her 2-11, 2-11, 5-11, 2-11 defeat to Carl Singh proved fatal.
Twelve points behind going into the doubles, Luke Hughes and Singh won out 11-8, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 for a 10-point victory in yet another close tussle.
St John B (0) 366 (Alan Hill 132/91, David Hatherall 117/109, Paul Lipczak 99/127) Old Grammarians B (15) 386 (Chris Smith 116/119, David Bayes 108/111, Martin Rice 103/118): Two evenly-matched sides in Division Two saw no shock singles results and most with an expected outcome.
Game nine saw Alan Hill gain 14 points in an 11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 win over David Bayes to leave St John B six points in front prior to the doubles.
Alan Hill then left the doubles to his team-mates, which proved a blunder as they crashed badly, losing out 2-11, 6-11, 8-11, 2-11 to Bayes and Chris Smith who gained a winning margin of 20 points, the biggest of the night.
Higham Band B (240) 459 (Deirdre Kiziak 73/132, Raylee Burton 70/132, Chris Kiziak 56/132) Old Grammarians A (0) 440 (Phil Laurence 132/73, Mick Ball 132/73, Perce Sharp 132/64): In recent years, the Old Grammarians have performed well below par but, despite losing this match, gave a much improved display.
In virtually every game bar game six, where Mick Ball won out 11-6, 11-6, 11-2, 11-3 over Chris Kiziak, the OGs were slightly below the handicap although dropping no legs.
This meant a 39-point deficit at the doubles and the mother and son combination of Deirdre and Chris Kiziak earned 20 points in a 6-11, 5-11, 3-11, 6-11 defeat to Laurence and Ball, and Higham Band B won in by 19 points.
Westfield C (140) 436 (Travis Holly 81/126, Ethan Ali 91/118, Cameron Elliott 91/132) St John A (0) 408 (Jon Perkins 117/106, Richard Wills 127/75, Grant Timms 132/82): Lacking Pete Boustred, this looked a tall order for St John A but the first division side fought valiantly against the in-form Division Two leaders.
Key game on the night proved to be the fourth where Ethan Ali gained his side’s only victory, winning out 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6 over Jon Perkins.
With virtually every other thereabouts on handicap, St John had a 27-point deficit at the doubles, which they never looked likely to make up as Westfield’s youngsters Cameron Elliott and Ethan Ali shared 7-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-5 with Grant Timms and Richard Wills to run out 28-point victors.
Thrapston (0) 439 (Ian Donaldson 132/63, Chris Warliker 131/77, Mark Stockley 132/38) Wanderers D (180) 374 (Roger Ellingham 57/132, Graham Babbage 48/132, Mike Howorth 73/131): Thrapston, another side who have recently underperformed in cup, had no inhibitions as they crushed the struggling Division Two side, making light of a heavy handicap.
Undoubtedly the performance of the round was that of Mark Stockley who conceded a mere 38 points and his 11-2, 11-2, 11-0, 11-2 defeat of Graham Babbage meant he had the lowest point tally of any player in the first round.
Wanderers managed one leg, which was earned by Mike Howorth in his 5-11, 10-11, 11-10, 11-4 defeat to Chris Warliker.
Westfield E (0) 376 (Mark Ramsden 115/112, Peter Sheldrick 120/95, Dave Long 105/117) Higham Harriers B (110) 469 (Bob Collyer 119/105, Martyn Reeves 123/106, Craig Hartwell 82/129): One of the few games not to be hotly contested saw the Division Three side romp home.
It was hard to recognise who was the higher league side and for the hosts, Dave Long actually dropped points on the night, going down 11-10, 5-11, 10-11, 6-11 and 6-11, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6 to Martyn Reeves and Bob Collyer respectively.
A sign of the rout to come was the opener where Mark Ramsden went down 9-11, 7-11, 5-11, 10-11 to Collyer and the subsequent 107-point deficit rounded off a dismal night for the hosts.
Stanwick (120) 432 (Ian Baldock 130/97, Carl Eaves 103/105, Al Hayes 62/130) Higham Band A (0) 354 (Pete Martin 117/93, Fred Sorrell 92/110, Nigel Magee 113/92): A low handicap for the hosts was more than justified as Stanwick cruised home, Ian Baldock well below his level gained 53 points on the night.
However the hero of the night for Stanwick was Carl Eaves who only dropped two points, beating a returning Fred Sorrell and sharing with Pete Martin.
Westfield F (300) 512 (Joel Storr 70/124, Piotr Polanski 67/132, Mark Holly 49/132) Chesterwell A (0) 432 (Stan Galkowski 130/55, Valdi Papiernik 126/74, Mike Pond 132/57): It was an abysmal performance by the top division side against lowly Westfield F and they crashed out by 80 points.
Stan Galkowski actually dropped a leg to Joel Storr in the opener but managed to restrict to 18 points. Villain of the peace was Valdi Papiernik who dropped a massive 74 points, which unbelievably saw him sharing 9-11, 11-10, 11-6, 9-11 with Storr.
Chesterwell C (0) 374 (Maxine Shears 126/73, Stuart Coles 98/108, Clare Coles 122/98) WDHA Royals (100) 418 (Shivam Mistry 112/96, Shyam Bavalia 94/124, Kishan Patel 83/122): A fine performance from Maxine Shears, who more than halved the handicap, proved fruitless as the Royals went through by 44 points.
For the hosts, Stuart Coles found the going tough and his heavy defeat in game four, going down 6-11, 7-11, 2-11, 6-11 to Shivam Mistry saw no inroads into the deficit.
Thirty seven behind at the doubles, Shears and Coles dropped a further seven points in a 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 3-11 loss to Mistry and Kishan Patel to go down to a much heavier defeat than expected.
WDHA Superkings (240) 526 (Chiraag Modha 73/132, Rishan Patel 98/124, Jack Bain 88/121) Wanderers B (0) 428 (Paul Goodman 127/78, Bob Hickson 123/93, Richard Adams 132/83): Normally a good cup side, Wanderers B looking anything but a first division team and were well beaten by their Division Three hosts.
In no game did Wanderers attain handicap and in games six and seven a massive 72 points were gained by Jack Bain sharing 6-11, 11-6, 11-10, 8-11 with Bob Hickson and Rishan Patel going down 7-11, 9-11, 10-11, 10-11 to Richard Adams, to see newcomers to the league go through to the second round.