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Bistro Semi-Finals time

Veterans League

Lockwood Con 'A' are the holders of the Bistro KO title but it is the club's 'B' side that will defend that honour when they step out in the semi-finals tomorrow. They take on the one remaining Division 1 side in Longwood when the teams meet at the Bradley & Colne green.

This is the second semi-final that the Lockwood Con 'B' side has reached in the past week after going out of the Team KO last Thursday when beaten 141-133 by Cowcliffe Lib. Not bad going for a team that has struggled all season in the lower regions of Division 3. Ironically in that same competition, Longwood were knocked out by the Lockwood Con 'A' team in the opening round.

This week it is down to the Bistro format of 5-Pairs where Longwood have to claw back a 16-points deficit when the handicaps come into play. With the outcome decided solely on the aggregate score that works out at an average greater than 3 points per game, no easy task at any time.

In the other semi-final there are two mid-table teams in opposition. Thongsbridge 'A' who are in 8th position in Division 2 and they will meet neighbours Brockholes 'A' who are a distant 5th in Division 3. Both teams defeated Division 1 opponents in the quarter-finals without requiring the handicap advantage. In fact the Thongsbridge team have beaten three Division 1 teams (Cowcliffe, Clayton West and Marsh United) en route to the semi-finals so no one can say that they have had an easy passage.

Longwood are the only club in the last four that have never won this competition with Lockwood Con the current holders but you have to go back to 1999 to see when a B team last won it. Brockholes and Thongsbridge have both won this trophy once before, Brockholes in 2001 and Thongsbridge back in 1994.

The Bistro is notorious for shock results with the unique 5-Pairs format and can be relied upon to produce some giant-killing feats every season. However, the handicapping system has been tweaked this year although I am not sure what the objective of that was but no doubt someone will review the outcome at some stage to see if it achieved its goal.

For now we have an intriguing pair of matches to savour with the two winners to contest the Final scheduled to be staged at Brockholes on 21 September. It remains to be seen if the Final venue is changed if the Brockholes team win their semi-final match.

SEMI-FINALS Thursday 17 August

Thongsbridge 'A' (+13) v Brockholes 'A' (+19) on Longwood Longwood ( +3) v Lockwood Con 'B' (+19) on Bradley & Colne

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