The last weekend of the round robin stage of the Winter League was one of the tensest seen at Burghley for years.
The course was packed on Sunday, with the outcome of all the four leagues remaining in doubt until the end of the day.
The top two teams from each division progress to the knockout stages and some exciting ties are already in prospect in the quarter- finals.
In League A three teams were fighting for the two qualifying places, but when leaders Martin Ash & Stuart Blesset went down 2&1 to Clive Knox & Simon Tee things started to get interesting.
Second placed Richard Vaughan & George Beadle made the most of the opportunity this gave them, and their solid 3&2 victory over Matt Lem & Jacob Howe leapfrogged them into top spot.
Doug Hunter & David Shales were in 3rd spot at the start of the weekend, but were on the wrong end of a 4&3 loss to Stewart Ward & Jon Tyrrell, and slipped to 4th in the division, losing 3rd to Ward & Tyrrell.
The other match in the group saw James Vaughan & Sanjay Nithiyilingam overcome Mike Barton & Chris Quinn 4&3.
League B saw four teams in with a chance of taking the two qualifying places at the start of play.
Top placed Dave Millichip & Alex Cole made no mistake, playing steadily to record a 3&2 win over Graham Camp & Steve Hopkins and go through as divisional winners.
Second placed Dean Vaughan & Lewin Auciello had high hopes, but could only half with Andy Sandel & Bob Howe, which slipped them down to 3rd place.
Chris Townsend & Alan Cole took full advantage, coming in with a good 4&2 victory over Stuart Pringle & Andy Vaughan to grab the second qualifying spot.
Dave Tilley & Graham Bedford might have squeezed through if they had won and all the other results went their way, but a 3&2 defeat to Bernie Clark & Craig Neal made this academic.
Three teams were in with a shout of qualifying in League C, although 3rd placed David Jackson & Javan Argent needed a slip up from those above them.
There was a mouth-watering clash at the top as the two leading teams played each other, with 2nd placed Doug Watterson & Mark Yarham knowing that they could not afford to lose.
After a tight struggle all the way round, Watterson & Yarham secured a half against leaders Jordan & Adam Mayman, and both teams went through. Argent & Jackson went all out for victory, beating Chris Lees & Bob Chapman 5&3, but to no avail, and ended up 3rd.
Paul York & Paul Redfern had a good 4&2 win over Barrie Dawson & James Bust to take 4th spot, and Bob Emmins & Chris Bradshaw claimed a walkover against Steve Coultas & Jason Rudkin.
League D had been really tight all winter, and at the start of the day any two of the top six teams could have made it through if the mathematics had gone their way.
Four teams shared the top of the table as play began, but three of them lost. Dave Marsden & Garry Harrison lost 1 down to Richard Gilbert & Richard Cook, Bill O’Driscoll & Terry Austin went down 2&1 to David Gibson & Peter Barnes, and Rob Fisher & Garry Steadman were defeated 2&1 by John Mayman & Paul Wilkinson.
The only winners from the top four were Paul Ramm & Richard Allen, who had a tough struggle against Keith Duff & Phil Hunt, but just managed to prevail 2&1.
The result was that Ramm & Allen go through as winners, with last year’s winners Mayman & Wilkinson, who started the day in 5th place, having lost their first 3 matches, completing an amazing recovery to claim the runners-up spot in the league. Marsden & Harrison hung on to 3rd place.
The quarter-finals must be played by March 3, and the draw has thrown up some interesting matches including a family clash which pits juniors Jordan & Adam Mayman against their grandfather John Mayman and his partner Paul Wilkinson.
In the other games, Richard Vaughan & George Beadle take on Chris Townsend & Alan Cole, Dave Millichip & Alex Cole face Martin Ash & Stuart Blesset, and previous double winners Paul Ramm & Richard Allen play Mark Yarham & Doug Watterson.
The first Ladies’ mid-week Trophy competition of the year was held on Tuesday, and featured a stunning performance by the winner.
Pip LeSage scored a spectacular 46 points over 18 holes. Pauline Crampin’s creditable score of 37 gave her second place.
A nine hole competition was also held, with Janet Roberts winning with 22 points, followed by Shirley Caruth on 19.