WITH two weeks to go, Holcombe Brook A have already retained the Bolton Sports Federation’s Mixed Tennis League Division One title for the 15th successive year.
The Bury team top the division with a 100 per cent record from 12 games played, five points ahead of their nearest rivals Markland Hill A.
Their week 12 match was against bottom-placed David Lloyd (Chorley), and with nine set wins under their belt, Holcombe ran out comfortable 64-29 winners.
Also at the foot of the league is Walmer A. Both David Lloyd (Chorley) and Walmer were promoted last season and with just five points each, relegation back to Division Two is looming.
Hawkshaw B lead the way at the top of Division Three with 22 points and in second place are Markland Hill C with 20 points.
Neither Hawkshaw or Markland Hill play each other or the third place team Walmer C (16 points) in the last two matches, and so both teams are likely to return to Division Two.
At the foot of the division are Elton Vale with no points and David Lloyd (Bolton) D are second bottom on six points and will do well to survive from their last two matches.
At the top of Division Four, it is a three-way tie with Hawshaw C, Markland Hill D and Eagley A each on 20 points.
None of the teams play each other in the last two matches of the season and so an exciting finish is in prospect. Eagley B are currently rooted at the foot of the division with no points and are already relegated.
Meadow Hill are second bottom with six points, but with their next match against Eagley B and their last oneagainst mid table Barrow Bridge A, they have a realistic chance of survival.
It is a two-way fight at the top of Division Five between Lostock E and Markland Hill E, both on 16 points.
In third place on 12 points is Holcombe Brook D with Hawshaw D in fourth also on 12 points. It promises to be a close finish to the season, particularly as Lostock play Markland Hill in the next match. Barrow Bridge B hold up the division without a win, but they face two of the top four teams in the last two matches.
In the Cecil Cup semi-finals on July 27, there was a close encounter between Division One rivals Lostock A and Hawkshaw A (+10.5). Lostock are the current cup holders and while they won seven of the 12 sets available, it was Hawkshaw who ended up victors. Hawkshaw’s Lisa Cartwright was dominant and it was her 6-1 win with Ed Brown in the mixed and her 6-1, 6-0 wins with Rachel Branagan in the ladies that effectively clinched the match. The final score was Lostock A 49 Hawkshaw A 60.5.
In the other semi Ellesmere could not raise a team against Hawkshaw C and so it is an all Bury final to be played on August 17.