Shrewsbury & District Air Rifle League: 1st round of the Match play Handicap Cup

In the first week back after the festive break, there were five matches between the ten teams in the league, using a handicap adjustment based on the season’s average scores to level the playing field.

Martin Pearce for Halfway House shooting against the Telepost
Martin Pearce for Halfway House shooting against the Telepost

In the match where the Maddocks Social Club visited the Cock Inn at Hanwood, the win went to the home team with 3.5 wins to 1.5 out of the five pairings. With a single possible on the night from Lee Garbett who scored a 36.5 from an available 38.5. It wasn’t enough though as after being adjusted for her average it was 39.8, against her opponent Bill Duckett who scored a creditable 34.5 and an adjusted score of 41.9 made it an insurmountable hill to climb.

Wins from Paul and Val Chilton along with Duckett and a draw from Vic Ingram against the visiting teams win from Ian Craik and the drawn result from Dave Price it meant that the Cock were first to three wins. The Cock proceed to the next round and the Maddocks team move into the Consolation Cup.

Bomere’s Red Lion team hosted the Harlescott Social Club’s B team. With the handicap adjustments it transpired that the HSC B team would win the first two rubbers, the Lion the third and then Harlescott took the last two. With an overall of 1-4 the B team go into the next round and the Lion join the Maddocks in the Consolation cup. No possibles in this match but Adam Binnersley came closest just letting his first shot go wide to land a 35.5 that adjusted to a 39.8 taking his match point from Steve Harris who shot a 33 adjusted to 39.4. Steve Williams for the Red Lion team got their highest with a 35.5 (37.8) but lost out to Paul Binnersley who shot a 32.0 (38.4)

The handicaps are calculated by using the maximum available score minus the shooter’s average. This is then added onto the shooters score to help level the matches as happens in golf. If a shooter is on top form all season, their adjustment figure is small and can easily be beaten by someone who has shot lower scores all season and then gets a better than average score in their match.

League Leaders Halfway House were always going to struggle in the handicap event after have a superb, high scoring season so far. As a result, Telepost used their home advantage too to take the first two matches and the fourth and fifth, with the visiting team taking the third rubber only. The fifth match of the evening, after the result had already been settled saw the only competitive possibles of the evening. Rich Morgan shooting first scoring a 35.5 (36.8) was beaten by Aaron Knight with a 36.5 (39.5). Both scored a possible but Rich’s average for the season so far was 37.2 hence a 1.3 adjustment and Aaron’s was 35.5 with a handicap adjustment of 3.0.

Unison Club invited Harlescott’s A team to play and were the victors on the evening with the first match going their way, the second going to the HSC A team, and the remainder swinging back to the home team. It also finished 4-1. Good scores on the night from Luke Thomas 35 and James Morgan 35 added to with their handicap meant that their 39.9 and 39.6 respectively, made it difficult for their opponents Reg Quinn and Dave Evans to take anything away from them.

These matches are different in that only five shooters from each team shoot and are randomly drawn out against each other to avoid any strategic team selections. The first to three match points takes the entire match, and this is different from the usual aggregated score method utilised in the weekly league shoots. It’s sometimes trickier to do the maths and organise it but it sure does mix up the results.

In the final match between Condover at home and Marchamley, the honours went to the visitors after consistently higher pre-handicap scores were helped by the adjustments and they took four of the five available match points. Dominic Spenser and Dani Forrester both shot 35’s adjusted to 38.8 and 37.7, taking the point for their rubbers from their opponents Helen Alderson 34 (38.7) and Stuart Morgan 33 (35.9).

Preliminaries in the Main and Consolation Cups take place next week with Telepost facing Marchamley and Maddocks visiting Harlescott A. After these two matches the Semi Finals will happen and teams will take their places in the finals.

Report by: Bob Griffiths