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East Lancs tennis players compete in knockout finals
THERE were expected results and unexpected shocks as the Slazenger East Lancashire Lawn Tennis League held it’s annual team knockout finals.
Blackburn Northern ‘A’ once again swept all before them – as they have done in all but one of the last 13 years – to win the Open Division One final.
But Darwen ‘A’ upset the odds by beating Burnley ‘B’ in the Open Division 2/3 final.
And it was a dismal day all round for Burnley as their ladies, who have been just as dominated as the Northern men, suffered at the hands of Feniscowles.
Burnley’s downfall was made all the worse as it happened on their own courts.
In the Open Division One final, Blackburn Northern made it four wins on the trot and incredibly, 13 successes in 16 years since the competition went Open in 1997.
Only Feniscowles, winners in the opening two years, and Crosshills as recently as 2008, have got their hands on the trophy.
But there was no way Whalley were going to join that illusive group as Northern romped to a 4-0 win.
The outstanding pair on the day were Jamie Hutchings and Howard Best who were in outstanding form.
Hutchings and Best beat Andrew Moore and Andrew Walters, 6-2, 6-2 – then followed that up with another dominant display, beating Henry Farrar and Tom Ormerod 6-2 - 6-1.
Northern's other pairing also won both their rubbers in the final – but their victories were anything but straightford.
Charlie Hutchings, the son of Jamie, and Peter Bradley beat Farrar and Ormerod, 7-6, 6-2.
If that was tough, then there second rubber was a real battle.
Moore and Walters took the first set 6-2 before the Northern pair dug in to take the second 7-5 and in an exciting third set, Hutchings and Bradley won 6-3 to win and complete a whitewash win. If Northern were expected to win the Division One Cup, that certainly wasn’t the case with Darwen ‘A’ who won the Division Two/Three Open Cup for the first time.
Imran Ahmed and Damon Bleazard were in inspired form, winning both their rubbers as Darwen recorded a shock 3-1 win over favourites Burnley ‘B’, winners in 2010 and 2008.
Ahmed and Bleazard got Darwen off to a perfect start with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Matthew Hargreaves and Michael Harris.
They then went on to beat Steven Blackadder and Adam Walne, 6-2, 6-4. Darwen’s second pairing of, Mark Edwards and Simon Whalley Blackadder and Walne, 6-1, 6-4 but lost to Burnley’s first pairing Hargreaves and Harris 4-6, 4-6.
Burnley ‘A’ were looking to make if five straight wins in the Ladies final but again the host club were beaten against the odds.
The outstanding ladies pairing on the day were Liz McCrae and Tess Moore who brushed aside their opponents.
They beat Elaine Varcoe and Susan Brown 6-3, 6-2 and then outclassed Burnley's second pairing of Jo Heywood and Alison Padgett 6-1, 6-3.
Feniscowles second pair of Marjorie Hunt and Tracey Fleming won and lost a rubber – beating Heywood and Padgett 6-3, 6-4 but they lost to Burnley’s first pair Varcoe and Brown, 4-6, 2-6.