BUDMOUTH D edged out Preston E 5-4 in a nailbiting round of the Weymouth & District League Handicap Cup.

Preston’s Eric Chalker, Mal Smith and Martin Singer pushed Budmouth’s Liam Critchard, George Ackerley and Sam Melhuish all the way, eventually losing out 5-4.

The cup sees matches over three sets up to 21 points rather than the five sets up to 11 points seen in the league and does not involve a doubles match. The handicaps are worked out by league fixtures secretary, Andy Crouch, and allow the lower league teams to compete more closely with their higher-placed compatriots.

Chalker lost the first tie 2-1 to Critchard.

Smith then faced Ackerley with the first game going to the latter as Smith could not match Ackerley’s top spin so, resorting to a chop game, Smith managed to win the next two to take the match.

Singer then lost to Melhuish 2-1 followed by Smith playing Critchard where the handicap gave Critchard a three-point start which proved to be the difference and gave Budmouth a 3-1 lead.

The strike power of Ackerley was too much for Singer in the next match and with the tie now at 4-1 to Budmouth it looked like it was all over.

Up stepped Chalker with an eight-point lead over Melhuish. A brave fight ensued by Melhuish but the handicap proved too much and so an unexpected win for Preston now made it 4-2.

Singer had to win the next match against Critchard in order to keep Preston in it, but Singer just edged it to bring Preston to within a point at 4-3.

Chalker had a 10-point start in his game with Ackerley and he managed to keep it on the table and wait for the odd mistake from the youngster, resulting in a win for Preston and bringing the tie to 4-4 going into the final leg.

Starting handicaps for this one saw Melhuish start with a five-point advantage over Smith and the way the Budmouth lads were playing this looked like a certain defeat for Preston. Unfortunately for Preston this turned out to be the case with first game going to 20-20 but Melhuish winning the next two points and also the next game by a 22-20 scoreline.

Budmouth will play Colliton X in the next round.

Budmouth E and All Saints played on the adjoining the table and this was just as close a match with All Saints eventually coming through by the same 5-4 scoreline.

All Saints did very well to come back from 4-2 down with Ethan Clark beating Ashleigh Browne in the deciding rubber.

Wyke B will be All Saints’ opponents in round two.

All league and cup fixtures and results, league tables and averages can be viewed at http://www.ttleague.co.uk.


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