Next week’s half term will bring a respite for many teams and players when league matches take a break, but all the attention will be on the Sentinel Cup and Bradwell Handicap competitions. There is a quarter final match in the Sentinel Cup on Tuesday, when Norton C and Crewe Post Office meet, with the winners having to play again the following night at Norton. Their opponents will be the Norton A team of Dave Savage, Mark Evans and Brian Johns, who are after trying to regain the title. Also on Tuesday Bradwell A ‘s team of Tony Jeynes, Gareth Dunn and Paul Steele play hosts to current holders Norton B, whose team should be Chris Bailey, Paul Malkin and Neil Hough and unless something drastic happens, it could be yet another all Norton final.
The Bradwell Handicap competition has another quarter final to play on Monday, when Norton J’s team of Oliver Merritt, James Cooper and Dom Hulme take on the MESC F team at the Norton club, with the winners travelling to meet Bradwell C on Tuesday. The other semi-final will be between Norton K’s team of Lucie and Molly Hancock and Robert Warman against a strong MESC D side of Joe Allen, Elliot Evans and Patrick Hall. The Norton K team beat MESC D 9-1 in the league recently, but handicaps can make a difference and it should be a close match.
With top teams playing those lower down in all divisions, there haven’t been any changes at the top or bottom, but some teams have consolidated their positions and it is relegation almost certain for others. Unless minor miracles occur, Kidsgrove B and Bradwell C look to be going down from the Premier Division, whilst up at the top, the Norton A and B teams don’t meet until the last match of the season.
Division 1 leaders are still Norton E, with injury problems, holding on by the skin of their teeth to top spot after they were held to a draw by lowly Fenton, with Fenton’s Neil Rowley player of the match with a well-deserved maximum, also giving Fenton an addition boost as they are only just above the relegation zone. MESC B’s team of Danny Sullivan, Alan McDonald and Peter Hernadi had an 8-2 win over Penkhull C and now share the points at the top with Norton E, but Norton do have a better sets average.
The top 3 in Division 2 all had good wins and consolidated their positions and are now 5 points clear of the rest, but Norton K still hold the lead, whilst the MESC C and D teams are still fighting it out for second place.