SOUTHPORT WIN DRAMATIC HANDICAP LEAGUE PLAY-OFF
Following the unprecedented tie at the top of the handicap league (see league tables), Southport and Bowdon St. Mary’s met at Pendle on Sunday, 13 October 2002, to decide the league title. The format was as for the Secretary’s Shield; round one being one doubles and two singles with round two, four singles. This was to ensure a result with no possibility of another draw.
The morning singles were shared one all. The doubles was a tense affair with Southport attempting to peel St. Mary’s through rover and peg the ball out. Unfortunately the peel was a success but hoop position was sacrificed. Bowdon returned the gesture by peeling Southport and pegging out their ball. Ray Belcher however sprang to Southport’s rescue by hitting in and playing a faultless three ball break to peg. 2 – 1 to Southport at lunch!
Bowdon won the first of the afternoon singles, score 2 – 2. Southport were well down in the fourth pairing and never looking to win it. Everything depended on pairs one and three, both games being very close. In another three ball ending Southport eventually hit the peg and won the first pairing, 3 -2 to Southport. With the fourth pairing going to Bowdon everything depended on the third pair. With time approaching Bowdon were one up with control. Southport hit in and made a couple of hoops, Southport ahead. In one of those senior moments, of which we all have experience, the Southport player laid up at penult. Time about to be called, two balls in the middle of the lawn!! It was worse than that, Bowdon’s forward ball was for penult!!! But that’s not all, Bowdon’s backward ball was for six!!!! If Bowdon hit they will win if they miss Southport win. After all the seasons matches the league title would be decided on one shot. Bowdon missed, Southport win 4 – 3. The Southport player incidentally has changed his name and is now wearing false beard and glasses!!