The Southend and District Badminton’s annual handicap cup competition, the Peter Gibbs Cup, kicked off with eight teams entering at the quarter final stage. Two ties were played in the morning at Rayleigh Leisure Centre on 19th January, and two in the afternoon. Phoenix Flames faced off against Eastwood while last year’s runners-up SLH Rayleigh had to take on Fitzwimarc Seconds in the early matches.
It was a good start for Eastwood as Lorene Roberts (-1) and Dawn Muggleton (0) kept their advantage over Carly Horsler (-2) and Tracey Haylett (-3) to win in straight games. However, the Eastwood men, John Kindred (-3) and Adrian Watling (-3) suffered a straight games defeat with Ben Bradford (-3) and Tim Baskett (-5) overcoming their deficit.
The next two level doubles went the way of the Flames as they moved into a 3-1 lead overall. Holly Sims (-2) partnered Carly for the second ladies to win 21-16, 21-15 while Andy McMahon (-3) joined Ben for a similarly comfortable win.
Tim and Tracey took Phoenix to a point from victory with a straight games win over Martin Rainbow (0) and Dawn. Then Holly and Andy struck the vital blow as they also won in straight games against John and Lorene.
Adrian and Debbie Moon (0) pushed Ben and Carly all the way in their mixed match but couldn’t stay in front in their third and final game as they lost 21-17, 19-21, 21-15. Then Martin and Dawn also went to three against Holly and Andy but lost 21-14.
Tim and Tracey comfortably overturned the disadvantage in their final rubber to put another point on the board for Phoenix and seal an 8-1 victory.
It was SLH Rayleigh against Fitzwimarc Seconds for the second year in a row and after SLH edged it 5-4 last year, it was bound to be another close encounter.
Fitz started off the level doubles with a straight games win for Emma Dixon (1) and Kay Bailey (0) in the ladies but their men’s pairing were edged out in three games, with Joe Garnett (-3) and Jinu Jacobs (-3) coming back to win for SLH.
Emma then teamed up with Donna Venables (-3) and found themselves a game down to Judy Slater (+4) and Jan Watt (-2). The second game was very tight and went to 20 all but Emma and Donna got that point and turned the game on its head to win the third, 21-13.
SLH soon tied up the scores overall though as Peter Hall (-2) partnered Joe to a straight games win. However, Adam Dixon-Peters (-1) and Kay then put Fitz back in front as they beat Caroline Fletcher (+3) and Jinu 21-13, 21-13.
They then moved within a point of victory as Oliver Smith (-3) won in three sets with Donna against Joe and Judy, just edging it 21-18. However, SLH refused to give in and Peter and Jan overturned their handicap against Emma and Mike Vardy (0) to win in three, taking the final decisive point to get it 21-20.
The final two mixed matches went on at the same time and despite Peter and Jan again winning in three games, Oliver and Donna beat Jinu and Caroline to help Fitz to a 5-4 win overall and a place in the semi’s.
In the afternoon, Fitzwimarc’s first team looked to join their Seconds in the semi finals as they took on Phoenix Flames Seconds.
They got off to a good start as Sarah Hall (-3) and Kera Lewis (-2) recovered from losing the first game to Mandie Breed (-4) and Vikki Walker (+1) to win in three. This victory was then backed up by a straight games triumph for Jay Crewe (-5) and Harris Foster-Carter (-4).
Sara Thompson (-2) and Mandie looked to get the first point for Phoenix in the second ladies doubles but again lost in three, against Sarah and Becky Terry (-14). The Phoenix men were also edged out, 21-19, 21-20, as Jay and Michael Clark (-10) put Fitz within a point of the win overall.
That came in the first mixed doubles as Harris and Kera managed to edge out Russell Dobson (-1) and Vikki in three games. However, they did put their first point on the board with Danny Peach (-1) and Sara grabbing a straight games win.
Despite big handicap deficits, Michael and Becky successfully teamed up for two straight sets wins against Peter Lewin (-1) and Mandie and Russell and Vikki. Danny and Sara nearly added another point for Phoenix but Harris and Kera came through in three, winning 21-18 in the final game. An 8-1 win and safe passage through for Fitzwimarc.
The second afternoon quarter final was a much tighter affair as Hawkwell and Westcliff squared up to each other, with the former looking to reach the semi’s for a second successive season.
Caroline Trace (+3) and Farnaz Siddiq (+1) notched up the first win for Hawkwell in the ladies and were backed up by the men as well. Matt Smyth (+1) and Mike Smyth (+1) recovered from losing the first game to Anthony Weingarten (0) and Rob Perry (-8) to win the deciding game 21-16.
Westcliff though came storming back into the contest as Vicki Russel (-3) and Jade Timms (-6) edged out Meghan Hughes (+5) and Farnaz 21-18 in the third game. Meanwhile Matt Tonge (-5) and Anthony came through in straight games to tie things up 2-2 overall.
Emma Anderson-Brown (-2) and Rob played Matt and Caroline in the first mixed doubles and all three games were extremely tight. The Westcliff pairing were able to overturn their handicap and win the deciding game 21-17.
Anthony and Vicki moved them within a point of victory with two very close games against Andrew Strutt (-2) and Meghan, taking both 21-20. Matt and Jade then had the first chance to secure win against Mike and Farnaz and did so in straight games.
Hawkwell rallied well in the final two rubbers with Andrew and Meghan winning in straight games over Rob and Emma, and Matt and Caroline also winning comfortably against Matt and Jade. However, Westcliff had already secured the win and moved into the semi final 5-4.
The semi finals will take place in March with Fitzwimarc taking on Phoenix Flames while Westcliff will meet Fitzwimarc Seconds.