THE second round of cup matches produced some thrilling action which was helped by good handicapping.

There was a nailbiter at Bolton Arena, where Forrest A beat Section A high-flyers Markland Hill B in the Jane Fletcher Memorial Cup.

Christine Seddon and Matthew Green got the home side off to an excellent scoring start with a 21-10 win, but Jo Denner and Roger Taylor put Markland Hill’s scoring back on track with both their wins.

Forrest’s third couple, Caroline Everitt and Gary Bradshaw, provided two useful wins to 12 and 15, but the match’s epic battle was between the second couples. Forrest’s Paula Wright and Ron Welsh just managed to get the better of Kate Nightingale and Phil Howe by 21-13 in the first game and 27-25 in the second. Both teams kept the points flowing but it was Forrest who got the better of the men’s and ladies’ games – notably a second ladies’ game to six – and managed to win the match 352-311, even without the +65 handicap.

Current league champions Markland Hill A fared better against D L Farnworth A at the David Lloyd Centre, but the home side refused to be overawed and consistently kept up the scoring rate.

Farnworth’s Diane Hale and Adam Rowan pushed Julie Lowe and Chris Taylor 20-22 in the second of their games, and only two of the mixed games – all won by Markland Hill – strayed below double figures.

This trend continued in the men’s and ladies’ games. Although the top ladies’ set was lost to eight and six to Julie Lowe and Ruth Flatman, the first of the second men’s games was won by Farnworth’s Howard Ryding and Rob Platts, and they scored 18 in the second.

In spite of some sterling work from Markland Hill’s ladies with two more single-figure wins, Farnworth managed 231 to the visitors’ 374 at the end of the match. But when the envelope was opened and the handicap of +180 added to Farnworth’s score, the home side had clinched the match.

The DL Farnworth teams’ tenacity also paid off in the Robert Cup, in which the club’s D team from Section E entertained Westhoughton C from the division above.

Although Westhoughton refused to relinquish a single game, Farnworth kept up the points throughout the mixed with second mixed pair Marge McCormick and Sam Ford getting 19 in one of theirs.

Farnworth continued this throughout the men’s and ladies’, and their persistence finally paid off. At the end, they had 228 to Westhoughton’s 378, but the +160 revealed in the handicap envelope gave them just enough points to go through to the quarter-finals.