The semi finals of the John Ford were played at Alsager on Thursday 10th March. Whitfield took on Holmes Chapel Honeybees, and Canute V1 Kings played South Cheshire Collegiate. The handicappers dutifully gathered early to deliberate.
In the Whitfield/Holmes Chapel game a recognisable set of names looked on paper fairly even. Whitfield's strong league performances this year led us to think they may have the edge on a Holmes Chapel team struggling one division above. We chose to go with 48 points. In the other game we had the classic John Ford situation. Canute fielded a very strong team against a team on paper well below their standard. That is with one exception - Jennifer Smith who was described as a novice. Would South Cheshire be able to capitalise on this or would the strong male partner dominate anyway? We chose to give South Cheshire 150 points.
Whitfield duly delivered by winning the match 13 - 5 in games. They accumulated 329 points en route. Notable successes for Holmes Chapel came from Colin and Sally who beat Phil and Becky in one game 21-17 upsetting the form book. Colin and Sally then showed it was no fluke by taking out Aaron and Jane 21-12. Whitfield recorded 329 points whilst Holmes Chaplel reached 283. A difference of 46 points. Some basic maths then showed Holmes Chapel to have done the job by the grand total of 2 points with their handicap. Neither team could believe it! but Holmes Chapel are in the final.
In the other match Canute were as strong as predicted. A bonus for them was a superb debut by Jennifer who despite being a relatively new to Canute played very well indeed. In the first match she and John won 21- 10 against an experienced opponent in Rose and Mike. Jennifer then played a Ladies ably and vocally supported by Mie. In losing their games 21-15 and 21-16 they had played above par. The best was yet to come. John and Jennifer took on a very experienced pair of Reddy and Aurelia and went on the win both games 21-15 and 21-10. Canute went to 359 points and restricted South Cheshire to 203 points, a difference of 156 points. Even with the addition of 150 handicap South Cheshire were left agonisingly short by 6 points. Canute therefore progress to play the final against Holmes Chapel on 23rd March again at Alsager.
All of the teams expressed their thanks to the handicappers for such a good estimation, well done Gents. Score sheets attached.