Competitive action last week was devoted to three fixtures in the second round of the Handicap Cup.
The Handicap Cup is often a good leveller, giving a better chance for teams in the lower divisions to compete by assigning handicaps according to ability levels. For instance, a third division player might start the game on 20 points and a first division player would begin on 3 points; first to 31 points wins.
Prospects (Division 3) were playing at Ward Road Gym in Dundee against first division title contenders Knights. The hosts were all starting on 3 or 4 points while the guests’ starting score ranged between 16 and 20. Despite the generous lead awarded to them, Prospects only managed to win two game while Knights secured the ten needed to progress to the next stage of the competition.
New Kids (Division 2) were hosting Tass (leaders of Division 3) from Dundee at the Victory Memorial Hall in St Andrews. Despite the favourable handicaps, Tass still had a mountain to climb as they could only field two players including a reserve. However, it proved easier than a short walk in the park as they surprisingly won every single game they played. Given the emphatic result, New Kids will doubtless be traumatised by the handicaps assigned for the match.
On the other table, Swots (Division 2) were playing Earls (Division 3). Both teams had brought a reserve player, which made some of the handicaps slightly unorthodox. This fixture was probably the most balanced of the three, and after the first three matches, the teams were neck an neck with three points each. However, Earls took control of the match in the next three by grabbing all six points available. Collin Bleak kept the Swots’ hopes alive in game 7 by breaking the Earls’ impressive winning streak but then succumbed in the next game, handing Earls the tenth and qualifying point. The fixture was played out, but Swots had no complaints as Earls took the remaining points anyway.
With all the St Andrews teams crashing out of the Handicap Cup, the focus returns to league matches next week.