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Leicester League: Bowness puts Nutters into final

John Bowness (publicity officer)

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The second semi-final of the Leicester League’s summer competition for the Elbow Tankard was even more exciting than the first or, at least, closer with a sudden-death play-off needed after the teams finished at 10-10. Once again, fine handicapping.

Geoff Hancock gave Bishops a 2-0 lead by beating KP Nutters’ Robert Geary and the latter’s team was playing catch-up all the way from there, at one time 4-8 down. Three 1-1 results followed before Bishops went further ahead with a 3-1 return from the doubles, with Chetan Tailor featuring in this discipline.

Another 1-1 and then Geary played well to defeat Tailor 21-19, 22-20 to give Nutters some hope, while Hancock fought out a thrilling 1-1 draw against Steve Bessant, who won two from four for Nutters. In the final set John Bowness managed to beat Raju Rahul 21-19, 21-19 to bring the scores level at normal full time, at which point three single games are played to find a result.

Unfortunately for Bishops, Tailor had gone home so only two could be played with Hancock beating Geary 22-20 before Bowness again overcame Rahul, this time 21-15, to give Nutters the 2-1 advantage. Both Hancock and Bowness came through with four from six. Nutters now play Knighton Park club-mates Park Rangers in the final.

Sixteen players in two groups contested the first round of the Daytime Ladder League with defending champion Andy Searle, who headed the initial ratings, picking up a positive return when winning two 3-0 but losing his other two 2-1.

Chris Woodward started in fifth place but, including a 2-1 victory over Searle, won all four to almost bridge the gap and is now one point down in second position.

Stu Jones headed the second group and produced excellent form to leap into sixth position overall when winning all four to gain plus-six, while Eddie Kwok continued his improvement by winning three out of four to move to eighth overall.

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The main Leicester League season begins this week and might well have been a humdinger of a start at the top of Division One as last season’s champions, Unicorn, were scheduled to face second-placed team, Knighton Park. Normally, however, Unicorn postpone their first two matches so this will almost certainly have to wait until later in the season.

The two promoted teams have tough baptisms. Division Two champions, Desford Village II, face Thringstone, who normally have Maurice Newman spearheading and he is usually in the top three or four individually, while Electricity II visit Ajax Wolvey, who finished third in the top sphere and are always difficult to beat.

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