THE first round of the cup competitions in the Bolton Badminton League led to some close scores and tense matches.

And few were closer than the Robert Cup clash of two C Section sides, with Forrest D winning a see-saw battle away to Westhoughton B by just three points.

It was always going to be a tight affair between two teams close to each other in mid-table and the match set off at a furious pace.

Forrest’s second couple, Pratibha Patel and John Austin, started their side’s scoring by taking the first game to 16, only for home number one pairing Val Marsden and Mel Rosser to snatch the next game back by the same score. The visitors’ own top couple, Elaine Powers and Stuart Holden, made no mistake, winning their two games to 15 and 9 to take the points.

But in a battle of the third couples, Westhoughton’s Viv Coleman and Peter Nicholson took the first 24-20 before Jackie Carter and Ray Schofield hit back to win the second to 18.

The seesawing scoreline continued in the men’s and ladies with Forrest’s top men’s partnership of Schofield and Holden taking both their games to 13 and 14. Then Coleman and Maria Oliver ensured some much-needed points for Westhoughton, winning both second ladies games to 12.

Typically, the final games of the night reflected the close nature of the contest and, when the handicap envelope was opened, Westhoughton received +25 to add to their score of 330 — Forrest clinching the narrowest of victories with 358.

The match between Farnworth C from C Section and Smithills A, who are mid-table in D Section, was packed with incident.

Farnworth’s third lady arrived late, so they gave the third mixed set to Smithills — then the Smithills third lady was injured during the second of the ladies’ games and they had to forfeit that game to 15-21.

The fixture had already started competitively with home first couple, E Forrester and A Clarke, taking both opening games to a useful 8 and 16, before Rhona Royle and Dave Edwards took the next two back for Smithills.

Farnworth had the best of the remaining mixed games and only gritty work by Smithills’ Linda Hawker and Diane Leigh to take the second of the top ladies’ set stopped the rot. Top men’s went Farnworth’s way 16 and 12 thanks to A Clark and A Babu and, with the rest of the games featuring fierce competitive play, the match went to the wire.

The handicap of +30 to Smithills, gave them a narrow 316-308 victory