Mid Lancs Inter League Report 2014-15
It’s been a busy season for our Inter league teams with a total of 20 matches played by the 4 teams. This year the Inter League reduced to 4 divisions and it left us with a team in each division.
The 4th team got off to a flying start with comfortable 14-1 victories over both Southport 4 and Blackburn 2. This was followed by a very closely contested match against an unbeaten Bolton 3. 10 of the 15 matches went to 3 ends with Mid Lancs just edging the match 8-7. Promotion seemed a distinct possibility until they were well beaten 5-10, by what appeared to be an artificially strong Liverpool 4 team. Lots of sour grapes! However, other results worked in our favour and a big win in the final match against Wigan 3 would secure promotion. The match turned into a victory for experience over youthful exuberance and we narrowly lost 7-8!
We finished 2nd in the division, one point behind Wigan 3.
4th team Town Team colours have been awarded to:
Our 3rd team, captained by Caz Grimbaldeston, faced a strong Liverpool 2 in the first match and lost 6-9 to the eventual Division 3 winners. Pride was then restored with 9-6 win over Southport 3 and comfortable wins over Blackpool 3 (14-1) and Liverpool 3 (10-5). The final match was against Bolton 2 and any lingering hopes of promotion were dashed by availability problems. Saturday evening matches are not a great time to get a team out! One of the last minute recruits to the team was our League Secretary, Sam Gorrell. Sam has a unique badminton ambition! He’s hoping to secure Town team colours without winning a match for the team! The ambition looked in jeopardy as he won his first singles game but he came up trumps again by losing the next two! He also lost his two men’s doubles. He’s represented the league 4 times now and is yet to win a single match! Two more to go! He’s a great guy and 10 out of 10 for support and commitment particularly as he missed Ant and Dec to play!
The team eventually finished 3rd in the division.
3rd team Town Team colours have been awarded to:
Our 2nd team was captained by Jaqui Gibson. Three wins against Southport 2 (9-6), Rossendale (9-6) and Wigan 2 (10-5) set them up for a crunch match against Division 2 pacesetters Blackburn 1. The traffic gods conspired against us with two players delayed and two late replacements drafted in. Thanks to Lyn Hosegood and Matt Norris for turning out at very short notice. Matt had already played in the 4th team that day! We lost the match by the narrowest of margins (7-8) and the division title went to Blackburn.
Despite only losing 1 match very narrowly the 2nd team only finished 3rd in the Division 2.
2nd team Town Team colours have been awarded to:
For the 5th successive year our 1st team won Division 1 with only Bolton 1 providing any significant opposition. Wins were secured over Southport 1 (13-2), Bolton 1 (8-7), Blackpool 1 (15-0), Liverpool 1 (13-2) and Wigan 1 (14-1).
Steve Andrews, Alan Clarkson, Liz Holt, Karolyn Hustler, Nicki McGrath, Katie McWalters, Tom Monk, Fay Ormesher, Steve Taylor, Mark Tuttle, Richard Wallbank and Darren Whitley played for the team with Nicki McGrath the captain.
1st team Town Team colours have been awarded to:
I thought it might be worth dwelling on the performance of our 1st team and how it reflects on the standard of play in our league. As I’ve already said we have now won the league for 5 consecutive seasons. Throughout this period they have been captained by Nicki McGrath. They have never lost a fixture and of the 375 individual matches played only 64 were lost.
24 different players have contributed to this success. Those individuals are listed below with their number of appearances.
The outstanding player throughout this period has been Mark Tuttle. As you can see he has appeared 23 times. I don’t believe he has lost a match in this time and has rarely dropped a game (all matches being best of three). I think he has played 46 doubles, 23 mixed and 2 singles and won the lot!
I have a few records missing but by my reckoning he has only lost five games at men’s doubles. The first was in the year BC (Before Clarkson). In fact, it was against Mr Clarkson. Mark & Darren Whitley took on Alan & Scott Webber playing for Bolton. They lost the first game before winning the next two. And for the record Mark & Nicki McGrath also easily beat Alan in the mixed that day! Alan then saw the light and decided to play for Mid Lancs! Mark and Alan obviously make a very formidable pair but by my reckoning have dropped 1 game against Southport and 1 against Bolton. Mark has also dropped 2 other games playing with Darren.
At mixed Mark always plays first mixed, 14 of those with Nicki McGrath, and therefore will play the top ranked pair from the opposition. At least that’s what the rules say!!! Their stand-out performance was a relatively comfortable win against Greg Mairs and Claire Weaver ranked 12 and 15 respectively in the national rankings at the time. According to my records, Mark and Nicki have dropped two games. I recall that one of those was when Tim Cope engaged Nicki in a clearing competition with Mark a bemused onlooker! Order was restored eventually and they won in three. I believe Mark has also dropped one game playing with Karolyn Hustler.
Quite an achievement!
As usual, we’ve experienced availability issues, late withdrawals, hangovers (lots of them from nights out in Preston, stag do’s & parties) and a few communication problems. I think all the leagues face the same issues although I think we score highly on the hangovers chart! However, we’ve fulfilled all 20 fixtures and only lost 5 with our 1st team being overall champions for the fifth successive year. Not bad really!
48 different players were selected this year, representing 9 of our 18 clubs.
Thanks are due to the captains, Caz Grimbaldeston, Jaqui Gibson and Nicki McGrath who work hard to organise their teams.