An unfortunate ending to a championship decider as Poulton beat Hesketh Fleetwood 13-11. However, the score does not reflect the dramatic events of the night. Defending champions HF went into the match needing just a draw and although they lost the first mens, HF managed to win the other 2 sets to give them a 4-2 advantage from the mens levels.
It was in the ladies however where the drama unfolded. In the first set the 2 top ladies pairs in the league faced off. Hesketh Fleetwood's Caroline Andrew and Cath Bagley won the first game 21-18 against Nikki Wilford and Michelle Skinner. In the second game Cath was injured and couldn't continue with the score at 18-15 in favour of HF meaning the game was conceded.In the second set Caroline and daughter Elizabeth won both games against Nikki and Emily Monk but Cath's injury meant the 3rd set was conceded to leave the ladies at 3-3. Despite these conceded games, HF still found themselves in the lead after the levels at 7-5.
In the first mixed Poulton's unbeaten pair of Michelle and Nick Hodgson took an important set to level the scores at 7 all. The second set had to be conceded but Elizabeth Andrew and James Lester then won a pair to keep the scores level at 9-9. The 4th set saw Caroline and Dave Wiseman play Emily and Jack Needham resulting in 2 very close games which were ultimately split. The 5th set was conceded which left the scores at 12-10 for Poulton. In the final set Nikki and Ant Forrest won the first game to win the match, despite HF winning the second game.
Commiserations to HF who, excluding the games that were conceded, actually won more of the games that were played by 11-6.
Big congratulations to Poulton though, who have pushed HF for the past 3 seasons. Poulton still with 1 match to play, which they must win or draw against Kingfisher B, to become champions for the first time!
As expected there were many close games in the battle between Kingfisher B and Hesketh Fleetwood B. Kingfisher ladies were on top form as they won 5, and although their men only won 2 it was just enough to keep them ahead after the levels. In the first mixed set, Kingfisher won both games to extend their lead. This was quickly followed by 2 split sets to put them in a winning position at 11-7. In the second half of the mixed Lynne Williams and Tim Chetwood won their second set of the night to win the match. The final 2 sets were then split. Ant Cross won most games for HFB with 5 but Lynne had a great night, winning 3 ladies and all 4 mixed. Kingfishers excellent win moves them onto the same points as HF and gives them a lifeline to finish above their nearest rivals. They need just 1 point ie 8 games in their final match against potential champions Poulton to finish outside the bottom 2.
Lightning duly beat Stanley 24-0 in a match where there was only 1 close score. They end the season in 3rd spot. Stanley make a quick return to Division 2 but managed to play all their matches and were good sports throughout the season.
A fantastic match which ended 12-12 between second placed Kirkham Charter A and third placed Lids. Kirkham, thanks to their ladies who won 5, took an early 8-4 lead after the levels. In the mixed, Lids won 2 sets to close the gap to 10-8. Kirkham looked to have secured the win when Amelia Parker and Ian Chase won a pair to lead 12-8. In the penultimate set Lids pairing of Linda Settle and Alan Hardaker easily won the set to reduce the score to 12-10. In the final set of the night Helena Lempur and James Norman won 2 very close games for Lids to earn them a well deserved draw. Amelia Parker won 6 for Kirkham but POTM was Alan who won 3 mens and 4 mixed. Kirkham guaranteed to finish runners up whilst Lids complete an excellent season to finish 3rd.
The big match between already crowned champions Lightning A and last years champions Hesketh Fleetwood A ended in a narrow win for HF 9-7. Home team HF made a strong start to the match winning 5 games from the first 3 sets. Lightning responded well and they in turn won 5 from the next 3 sets to leave the match finely balanced at 6 games all. In the penultimate set Ben Yau and Sean Andrews won both games to put HF in a great position. In the last set Manoj Manandhar and Ant Cross won the first game to push HF over the winning line. Nathan Bunting was Lightning's best scorer with 5 but this was bettered by Ben who won 6. Congratulations to both teams as they pushed each other all season.
Lightning B stay in mid table after taking all 3 points against Kirkham Charter by 12-4. Dave and Hollie Mackay played well to win 3 games whilst Lightning's James Bunting was easily the POTM as he won 8.
Jordan Taylor Millington and Richard Pascucci won the second set but they were the the only wins for Bloomfield A in their match at Lids A. Jason Lydon and James Leigh won maximums in a comfortable 14-2 win.