Entries for the County Association’s Rose Johnson Challenge Bowl, a four-a-side handicap event, were an awkward, but even, number, so it was decided to have no early-round byes to give every team an opportunity of more matches.

The quarter-final stage was reached with six teams, the idea being to have the three winners plus the best loser through.

The results showed how accurate the handicapping is, although the losers of the first match might not agree, but it was a key performance by one of the lower-graded players when Stu Jones, who had curtailed his league appearances this season because of knee problems, coming through to win his four games with an overall total of 84-31 for The Ladder Boys who beat Nomads Two 327-277 after giving away 100 points as the handicap.

Jones received good support from Charlie Bateman, Chris Woodward and Tim Cawston in this hybrid team of players from different clubs. For Nomads, Laszlo Kocsis, who plays in a much lower division than his opponents, did well to finish at minus 14 with a win over Cawston along the way.

Nomads firsts had better luck when they defeated Knighton Park I, who had an 84 start, 324-302 with Andy Searle in fine form in recording an 84-26 return, while Cliff Smith, Terry Highton and Dave Croucher provided ideal support.

For KP, their two youngsters from Division Five, Maya Dehnen and Ella Parmar-Saville, were given the task of holding their combined deficits to the 84 difference, which they did splendidly, but their team-mates could not provide the small positive numbers required.

The task of sorting the best loser was avoided when Abbots All Stars drew 306-306 with Knighton Park III, the latter having a 68 start.

Abbots, with Ross Adams leading the way at 84-38, plugged away, gradually reducing the deficit to all square after 14 games, whereupon KP’s Simon Aldis beat Ketan Tailor 21-12 to put his team in the lead again. This left Fahed Sacoor needing to defeat Martin Pember by the same score to at least level things for Abbots, which was the ultimate result amid great nailbiting excitement.

Sacoor finished at 84-54, while Tracey Smith on minus 5 was the Park’s most successful player, but all eight players produced a memorable and enjoyable encounter. Steve Pratt, the other Abbots player, was on plus 7 while Alec Downes produced an excellent minus 21 for the Park.

Andy Searle retained the Daytime Ladder League with a positive result of four points in the final session. His one loss came at the hands of Charlie Bateman, who did enough to move into second position. Stu Jones who has been playing well of late topped the second group with four victories and a plus-five score.

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