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Highley's Historic Harris Cup Triumph - But Only Just . . .

posted Sep 15, 2019, 12:10 PM by Malcolm Fletcher   [ updated Sep 22, 2019, 12:16 AM by stephen wall ]

Hot favourites Highley were forced to deliver their own version of the Great Escape to win the Harris Cup for the first time.

The reigning Mid Shropshire champions trailed until the 11th of the 12 games came off against battling first division side Newport A at Bowring on the night of Saturday 14th September.

In the end they had a 19 shot margin of victory, after overcoming a five shot handicap, but the 218-199 scoreline did not reflect what had been a mighty tense night for the villagers from south Shropshire.

For underdogs Newport had flown out of the blocks, Claire Williams (21-11) and Graham Handley (21-13) giving them a superb start on an immaculate No.2 green at the Wellington club.

And when Staffs star Darrell Handley had to concede his game 21-8 to Newport stalwart Alan Davison due to a back injury when trailing 9-8, it looked all over for this season’s Premier League new boys.

They were 21 shots adrift after the first four - without the five chalk handicap - and their support from greenside was loaded with frustration and anxiety.

But three winners in the middle gave the Miners hope at just 13 adrift - and a clean sweep of the back four got them over the line thanks to three late 21-11 cards from Paul Busby, Danny Statham and Stuart Gittings to give them eight out of 12 winners.

Yet it was relief that was the main emotion as they celebrated an historic success against a brave Fishes side that had gone so close to adding to the club’s four successive cup triumphs between 2013 and ’16.

“What a great final that was on a superb green,” said league competition secretary Phil King before chairman Sean Round presented the trophies after another cracking final to the league's main team knockout.