Promotion chase takes a twist with Ormskirk win
THE battle for promotion in division five of the Master Lock & Safe Southport and District Badminton League took a vital twist, as Ormskirk III secured a 5-3 victory over then unbeaten leaders Formby II.
A strong start in the mixed doubles saw Ormskirk’s third team battle hard to secure a vital three points that pulls them further away from third place side Hesketh Bank II.
After well fought wins over several teams from the chasing pack in the last few weeks, Formby II were feeling confident of going through the season unbeaten.
But with a matchup against second place side Ormskirk III next, one more victory would almost cement their place as division champions.
But it was underdogs that came out of the stalls well and jumped straight into a 2-0 lead.
It began with a 21-18, 21-15 win for top mixed doubles pair of Mike Kirby and Jane Worsley against Steve Rees and Julie Shinnick.
It was a much tougher ask for second mixed doubles pair Jack Kinsey and Vickie Jenkinson, who battled past Martin Wilkinson and Carol Rowlands 13-21, 21-12, 21-14.
Formby responded well as Peter Jones and Victoria Wolfe halved the deficit with a 21-17, 21-17 victory against Peter Roberts and Miriam Charlesworth.
In the last of the mixed doubles matches, Chris Bunclark and Christine Thomas came close to levelling the match.
But an impressive turnaround by Ormskirk’s Jeff Draper and Lou Symes gave Formby a 3-1 lead after prevailing in three sets 20-22, 21-15, 21-14.
The second half of the match already saw Formby on the ropes, as Ormskirk’s first women’s doubles pair of Worsley and Jenkinson eased past Shinnick and Wolfe in dominant fashion 21-5, 21-8.
As soon as that result was confirmed, the match as a contest was over. The first of the men’s doubles matches saw Ormskirk’s Kinsey and Draper prevail against Wilkinson and Rees 21-18, 21-15.
Despite Ormskirk confirming the three point victory, Formby kept battling hard as set difference could play a role by the end of the season.
It saw two tight straight set wins for the Formby pairs of Jones and Bunclark, and Thomas and Rowlands.
With Formby aiming for a return to form, their next couple of matches against relegation candidates Mawdesley V and Southport VII could be the perfect remedy for this slight setback.
As for Ormskirk, their fight for finishing in the top two is not over. Their upcoming clashes with Churchtown IV and Hesketh Bank II could secure automatic promotion.
Meanwhile in the sixth division, it is back to winning ways for Woodvale’s seventh team in their 5-3 upset victory over Southsands IV.
After a disappointing start to the season, the youth of Woodvale VII could have made a strong turn, and a potential late run into the top half of the division.
It was a near perfect start for the hosts, as Woodvale won three of the four mixed doubles contests.
While first and third pairs Greg and Tasha Johnson, and Dean Wyke and Lauren Oates came through in straight sets.
Second pair Jack Sweetenham and Carrie Newnham battled hard to edge out winners in three sets 21-14, 15-21, 21-19 against Southsands’ Tom Rigby and Katie Sykes.
Southsands gave themselves a slice of hope as fourth mixed doubles pair Andy Sweeney and Carole Moorcroft took down Kasra Mohammed and Faye Lowery 21-12, 21-10.
Almost unexpectedly, Southsands managed to level proceedings with two wins in the men’s doubles.
After losing the first set, Tom Rigby and Graham Neale came through against Johnson and Sweetenham 15-21, 21-6, 21-15.
Despite the best efforts of youngsters Wyke and Mohammad, the experienced pair of Andy Sweeney and John Marsh came out victorious 21-19, 21-19.
Despite the pressure coming from the visitors, home side Woodvale held their nerves to secure all the points after winning both of the women’s doubles encounters.
Both pairs of Newnham and Oates, and Johnson and Lowery battled hard in two comfortable sets.
Next up for Woodvale VII is a couple of fellow bottom half sides West End Park IV, St. Cuthberts IV. After that upset lost, Southsands IV will be looking to regather their push for promotion against promotion chasers Southport VIII and strugglers Hesketh Bank III.
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Victoria Wolfe in action