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BSF TENNIS LEAGUE - by Mark Pearson (Junior League Match Secretary) - 11th July 2018
There was an exciting conclusion to the Howarth Cup final played at Lostock. The handicapping system had given Bellingham of the first division a significant challenge. Their opponents Holcombe Brook B, leaders of Division 3, were awarded a 58.5 games advantage. Bellingham’s challenge was to restrict Holcombe Brook to no more than 13 games over 12 sets.
The mixed sets went in Bellingham’s favour by 24-4. The left-handed Max Carroll’s serve had caused Bellingham some early, minor trouble, but Rangel Metodiev, with a fine outswinging serve of his own, partnered by Emily Broughton saw them comfortably through their set. Ewan Findlow and Gracie Grundy battled very hard in the face of stronger firepower, but perhaps a little unluckily, only finished with one game.
Bellingham continued ahead of their target during the second group of matches, taking a further 24-2 return.
As the final sets commenced, the girls’ sets were running ahead of the boys. Livia Harper and Charlotte Broughton completed a very tidy performance winning 6-0. Scarlett Simmons and Imogen Short put up more resistance against Bellingham’s second pair of Emily Broughton and Grace Preston and took two games. Holcombe Brook B then looked to their boys to produce an unlikely result.
Rob Cowley and Rangel Metodiev could not be touched. Cowley has a strong game and his forehand is a particularly powerful weapon. They took little time in registering another 6-0 victory for Bellingham. All eyes now turned to the final set with match score standing at 66.5-66 to Holcombe Brook B. Joe Hamer and Adam Scarth had taken an early 2-1 lead for Holcombe Brook but could they sustain it? Dan and Ben Hurst were battling hard in long rallies, but the defence of Hamer and Scarth was secure and the Bellingham pair started to make more errors. What had seemed impossible now started to become a very real possibility. It was the ideal finish for the neutral, but a rather harrowing experience for both sets of supporters, especially during the many long rallies. There always seemed to be the possibility that the greater weight of shot from Dan Hurst would reassert itself, but slowly the set slipped away, finishing at 6-2 and a final match score of 72.5 – 68 to Holcombe Brook B.
Congratulations to both teams on producing an excellent final with everyone playing their part.
The full teams were:
Holcombe Brook B: Imogen Short, Kate Hainsworth, Scarlett Simmons, Gracie Grundy, Joe Hamer, Max Carroll, Adam Scarth and Ewan Findlow.
Bellingham: Livia Harper, Emily Broughton, Grace Preston, Charlotte Broughton, Rob Cowley, Rangel Metodiev, Dan Hurst and Ben Hurst.