Another high scoring week in which the questions (set by the Castle) were very favourably received for the most part.
In the A League, the Ox-fford need one more win to secure the League title after pipping the Principals in the tightest of contests, finishing 179-176 to the Ox-fford. Their meeting earlier in the season resulted in a narrow win for the Principals (171-166), so there has been barely anything to choose between the teams this season, both contests having been played on nights when the questions have favoured those of us who have answered a lot of quiz questions over the years! Mark Watson had his second 57 of the season for the Ox-fford with only the true identities of Hinge & Bracket sinking the full house ship...Paul Morrissey also scored a season's best 42. The Principals scored very consistently also with Graham Bailey and Alan Levitt each contributing 42. Tim Findlow and Alan Gilday had season's best 39s.
Elsewhere, the Dolphin beat the Ox-fford 'C' 174-156 albeit the 'C' were missing some regular players due to illness and that awful "earning a living" business. Peter McBride (45) and Alan Hodgson (39) top scored for the Dolphin and Derek Owen contributed his season's best score of 27. Alice Walker chipped in with 45 for the Ox-fford 'C' and Tim Massey scored a season's best 30.
The Dolphin Dragons secured their A League status for next season after a narrow 6 point win over the New Castle. Chris Wearne top scored with 27, another season's best (lots of them this week). Graham Wallace and Shauna Barstow each scored 30 for the New Castle.
The two relegation places will be shared by two of three teams - the Castle, New Castle and the Church House Bollington. All three teams have identical records and are separated only by "total points scored". The Castle and Church House Bollington meet each other in Week 17 which could be decisive...
In the B League, congratulations once again to the British Flag whose promotion to the A League is assured. On the night the Flag lost to a thumping performance from the Harrington Academicals, who now look favourites to join the Flag in the top shop next season. Dave Partington (39), Rob Parkin and Stuart Mills (33 each) and Mike Hewitt (30) all scored heavily for the Academicals.
The Three Crowns have become the League's draw specialists and shared their match with the Baths Hotel 143-143 to give the Three Crowns their second draw of the season. Dave Pennington top scored for the Three Crowns with 33 whilst Mike Vickerstaff (39) and Mary Bloor (season's best 36) did the same for the Baths.
The Cock Inn just beat the Waters Green Wonderers by 1 point, with several people on both sides getting 27s - Jackie Hulme for the Cock, Bob Langstaff, Wendy Brown and Jon Thompson for the Wonderers.
Finally, the Lamb Inn edge ever closer to the trapdoor to the C League as they lost 128-119 to the George & Dragon who continue their extraordinary second half to the season winning their 5th game on the trot. 27 was the highest score here too, with Paul Griffiths (Lamb) and Malcolm Asquith (G&D) being the top scorers.
The situation at the bottom of the B League is nothing like as clear cut as the A League, but the Lamb are running out of options and need to win their last 2 games to survive. The other place looks like it might be between the Three Crowns, Baths Hotel and George & Dragon, but much can happen yet.
In the C League, 1 more point will guarantee the Knot Inn promotion in their debut season, despite their loss this week to a bravura performance from the Albion, who it was pleasing to note had a full complement of 4 again this week. John Hargreaves (42) and Roberto Rodriguez (30) had season's best scores for the Albion who won 150-136, Art Higham scoring an excellent 39 for the Knot.
The second promotion spot looks like it should be between the Albion and the Puss Artists who completed a 139-116 win over the Harrington 'B'. Andy Bailey maintained his form with 36 whilst Matt Eagles had a season's best 27. Dave Cooper for the Puss and Geoff Parkin for the Harrington also scored 27.
The Sutton Church House beat the Prince of Wales with yet more "best scores", 27 from John Stein and 24 from Ray Henry doing the trick. The Park Tavern beat the Waters Green Rams thanks to 42 from Nick Lloyd-Griffiths and 30 from Shaun Lloyd-Griffiths, again both season's best efforts.