With the league title already in the bag, Todmorden’s mixed badminton team failed to clinch the double for a second successive season, when they lost out in the Sherratt Cup final to Burnley at St Peter’s Leisure Centre.
Tod came up against a spirited home performance which saw Burnley comfortably lift the cup even before the handicaps, which favoured the home side, were applied.
Steve Larkin stepped in for Richard Hollows to lead the defending champions, but himself and Kathy Wilde found themselves immediately in a scrap against Karen Rogan and reigning men’s singles and doubles champion Lawrence Whitaker, losing their first set 21-17.
They rallied to win the second 21-16. Over on the adjoining court, Sandra Simpson and Phil Howitt were undergoing similar fortunes, levelling their opening match 17-21, 21-17 against Tamse and Ward.
In the reverse pairings, Simpson and Howitt beat Rogan and Whitaker 21-17, 21-16 but Wilde and Larkin lost 21-17, 21-19, leaving Tod only four points ahead on aggregate going into the final matches.
It was then that things started to fall apart. Simpson and Larkin shared sets with Ward and Whitaker, but crucially lost their first set 21-8, while Wilde and Howitt took a 21-13, 21-7 pounding from Val Tamse and Rogan.
Tamse had been the star of the show all night, producing some dazzling badminton and a never-say-die attitude which the Tod quartet failed to match.
The final aggregate scores were Burnley 231 – Todmorden 203, which when added to a handicap of 30 in Burnley’s favour meant a 58-point victory for the hosts.
It was Todmorden’s first cup defeat in their three years of competition and a disappointing end to another fine season.
Meanwhile, the men’s A team rounded off their league-winning season as invincibles, inflicting a 18-1 defeat on the Tod B team.
Missing their captain John Appleby to food poisoning, and No1 Hollows to injury, David Crowther and Phil Howitt joined regulars Paul Hackett and Stuart Horsfall to show no mercy to the Tod B quartet of Trevor Wilcox, Mike Kaye, Paul Atkinson and Robert Pearson.
Kaye and Wilcox at least took a set from Hackett and Horsfall, but the highlight from the A team’s point of view was Horsfall and Crowther’s 21-4 crushing of Kaye and Pearson to complete a memorable year as the league’s top dogs.