WHITEHALL were given a huge helping hand towards retaining the A League title by Esk Valley who beat their main rivals Country Lads, by the narrow margin of two points.
In a must-win match, 98 and 97 from Derek and Maxine Atkinson got Country Lads off to a good start.
However, their team total of 379 always looked vunerable against an Esk Valley side who can beat anyone on their day.
Although out of the running themselves, Esk Valley may yet have a say in who finishes the season as champions.
Whitehall equalled Esk Valley’s score of 381 in their match against bottom of the table Wrong Trousers.
In a rich vein of form, Steve Baker churned out another 99, missing the ultimate score by no more than a hair’s breadth.
Wrong Trousers, meanwhile, did not surrender without a fight and returned their best team score for some weeks, Peter Lindley’s 97 being his best of the winter season.
After some good scores in recent weeks, Castle Park suffered a dip in form against Average and will be unhappy to shoot 10 points below their team average and to lose the match by the same margin.
Highest score for Castle Park was Colin Moore with 95.
In B League, the mini-run of victories by Universal came to an end with a 19 point defeat by league leaders Watkinson’s for whom Jeff Kenworthy and John Headley both scored 96 which proved to be the top score and the highlight of a rather disappointing week.
Universal, shooting 12 points below their average, found it difficult to get out of bottom gear and could not raise a challenge in a match they will want to forget.
Patch in second place also had an easy win over Firemen to maintain their outside chance of retaining the B League title.
Without having to be anything like their best, Patch coasted to victory by the huge margin of 15 points.
Top scorer in this match was Brian Gibbons with 94.
Bottom of the league Farmers also struggled with a weakened team. No-one in the Farmers side managed to break 90 and defeat was inevitable, however a 20 point reverse to Average will be hard to take for a short of confidence Farmers team who will want to improve against their traditional rivals, Firemen in round 16.
Esk Valley 381 N Scarth 97 C Williamson 97 J Hay 96 D Noble 91 beat Country Lads 379 D Atkinson 98 M Atkinson 97 S Atkinson 92 R Lamerton 92; Whitehall 381 SP Baker 99 T Coates 96 M Ware 93 A Rowell 93 beat Wrong Trousers 375 P Lindley 97 P Hurworth 94 J Stokoe 94 A Martin 90; Average 379 beat Castle Park 369 C Moore 95 M Dossor 92 C Dossor 91 A Eddon 91.
Watkinsons 369 J Kenworthy 96 JR Headley 96 M Marsay 89 N Sawdon 88 beat Universal 350 D Holloway 92 M Troughton 87 J Hugill 86 B Martin 85; Patch 368 C Rutland 93 P Rutland 93 J Wood 93 C Orr 89 beat Firemen 353 B Gibbons 94 P Cattermole 91 I Clarkson 87 M Holmes 81; Average 356 beat Farmers 336 RM Franks 87 CS Thompson 85 Y Williamson 85 M Noble 79