THE top of the table clash between Whitehall and Country Lads proved to be a nail-biting affair which was in doubt to the end.
For Whitehall, Steve Baker and Tim Coates both shot 99 yet finished up on the losing side having previously lost to Country Lads in their last encounter.
Top scorers for Country Lads were Derek Atkinson and Robert Lamerton with 97 although a solid team performance saw them through.
Whitehall, however, will count themselves unlucky and point to the fact that, in a must-win match, they were unfortunate to shoot a man short. No strangers to shooting with a weakened team, Country Lads found themselves in the same position in the previous round.
Both teams dropped valuable points in matches they could and perhaps should have won.
Esk Valley had the narrowest of victories over Average winning by just half a point. A moderate performance from Esk Valley with 97s from Nigel Scarth and Jackie Hay leading the way.
The third match in A League saw Castle Park easily beat an out-of-sorts Wrong Trousers team who will be glad to get to the end of the season to regroup. Colin Moore top scored for Castle Park and Paul Hurworth for Wrong Trousers both with 97.
In B League, back to back wins for Universal saw them draw level with Firemen in the lower half of the table.
Despite have the top score of the week Paul Cattermole’s 97 could not prevent Firemen slipping to their ninth defeat of the season.
Universal, meanwhile, only had to put in a reasonable team performance to beat a lacklustre Firemen’s team which they did with ease.
Maurice Troughton was the best on the night for Universal but all four team members shot into the 90s.
Watkinson’s maintained their position as league leaders with a convincing win over Farmers still suffering from their heavy defeat the previous week. Although shooting a little below average, Watkinson’s with 95 from Matt Marsay, coasted to their 12th win and look favourites to take the B League title.
In the third match, Patch narrowly beat Average to maintain their title challenge in a shoot they, and their leading scorer Colin Rutland, will want to forget. Everyone will occasionally have an off day but the usually high scoring Colin will have difficulty in remembering when he last shot so badly. Fortunately it did not impact on the match result and a win, however narrow, had to be the main objective for Patch.
Castle Park 376 C Moore 97 M Dossor 95 C Dossor 93 A Eddon 91 beat Wrong Trousers 357 P Hurworth 97 P Lindley 92 A Martin 89 J Stokoe 79, Country Lads 386 D Atkinson 97 R Lamerton 97 M Atkinson 96 S Atkinson 96 beat Whitehall 383 S Baker 99 T Coates 99 M Ware 95 A Rowell 90, Esk Valley 376 J Hay 97 N Scarth 97 C Williamson 96 D Noble 86 beat Average 375 .5.
Universal 366 M Troughton 93 GW Flower 91 D Holloway 91 J Hugill 91 beat Firemen 359 P Cattermole 97 B Gibbons 90 I Clarkson 89 H Russell 83, Watkinson’s 367 M Marsay 95 J Kenworthy 94 N Sawdon 89 J Headley 89 beat Farmers 344 CS Thompson 91 M Noble 87 Y Williamson 84 RM Franks 82, Patch 361 I Harrison 93 J Wood 92 P Rutland 90 C Rutland 86 beat Average 359.