Southend District Badminton Association’s Peter Gibbs Cup reached the semi final stage this weekend at Rayleigh Leisure Centre. Fitzwimarc met Phoenix Flames in the first semi final while Fitzwimarc Seconds played Westcliff in the other match.
The level doubles began with a close fought match between Holly Sims (-2) and Tracey Carey (+1) against Kera Lewis (-2) and Sarah Hall (-3). After both winning a game 21-18, Sims and Carey used their handicap advantage to good effect to win 21-16 to put Phoenix in front.
In the first men’s level doubles, it was a similar story. Both pairings took a game each, this time both 21-15, before Fitzwimarc won through with Jay Crewe (-5) and Harris Foster-Carter (-4) taking it 21-16.
The next two level doubles also saw the points shared overall. Sims teamed up with Tracey Haylett (-3) for a straight games win in the ladies while Crewe partnered Michael Clark (-10) to victory in the men’s.
Ben Bradford (-3) began the mixed doubles with Carey and put Phoenix 3-2 up as they used their five point advantage to beat Hall and Foster-Carter in straight games. However, Fitz came back at them to tie the scores overall again. Clark won in straight games with Becky Terry (-14) overturning their big deficit against Sims and Alex Cheung (-3).
Crewe and Lewis then put Fitz in front for the first time. They edged past Haylett and Andy McMahon (-3), 21-19, 21-18. Clark was then looking to win the tie for his side and seal a hat-trick, as he partnered Terry again. They successfully turned round the -20 start against Bradford and Carey in the first game but then lost the second to 11.
Clark wasn’t to be denied though, winning the third game 21-10 to make it 5-3 overall. Hall and Foster-Carter then made the scoreline look more convincing as they won in straight games over Haylett and McMahon. 6-3 to Fitzwimarc and back in the final for the second time in three years.
The other semi final presented the opportunity of it being an all Fitzwimarc final as the Seconds took on Westcliff. They got off to the perfect start as well, taking the first two level doubles in straight games. Chloe Baker (+2) and Kay Bailey (0) saw off Vicki Russell (-3) and Emma Anderson-Brown (-2) while Peter Smith (-3) and Adam Dixon-Peters (-1) edged past Anthony Weingarten (0) and Rob Perry (-8), 21-18, 21-20.
Those fine margins then went the other way in the next two level doubles for Westcliff. Russell was joined by Jade Timms (-8) as they beat Baker and Donna Venables (-3) 21-18 and then 21-20. The men also had a 21-20 scoreline as Matt Tonge (-5) and Weingarten narrowly won the first game before comfortably taking the second against Smith and Oliver Smith (-3).
This left it 2-2 overall as the mixed doubles began. Fitzwimarc Seconds then moved back in front as Dixon-Peters and Bailey came from a game down to win in three against Perry and Anderson-Brown. They then narrowly missed out on making it 4-2 as O Smith and Venables lost to 18 in the third game against Weingarten and Russell.
Again the scores were tied overall and another tight mixed match ensued. Finally though Westcliff went in front as Tonge and Timms overturned a -10 handicap to win in three games. Then came the closest match of the semi final as Perry and Anderson-Brown looked to seal the win for Westcliff against O Smith and Venables. The Fitz pairing took the first game 21-18 and then had a chance to make it 4-4 as the score went to 20 all. However, the Westcliff outfit grabbed the last point to force a third game. This again went down to the last point and again Westcliff took it to guarantee victory overall.
Unfortunately the final rubber couldn’t be completed with it tied at a game apiece but it didn’t matter as Westcliff had reached the final, having exited at the first round in the previous two seasons. They will fight it out with Fitzwimarc for the Cup on March 28th at Chalkwell Badminton Centre.