As the first half of the Leicester League season draws to a close the top three divisions still have a few matches to catch up which might well be significant as far as top positions are concerned.
Meanwhile, towards the lower end, the other two divisions have things relatively settled, at least for the time being.
It has been quite a battle in the individual stakes in Division Five between no fewer than seven players who have opened up a gap between themselves and the rest, with two new players to the league well to the fore.
Not least is Knighton Park XI’s Nikki Farrall who came back this season to league play after a 15-year absence, formally playing in the Nottingham area. She has lost just one and is residing at the very top.
Second is Farrall’s team-mate, Paul Ducksbury who has lost two, but is only just ahead of Luke Blair of Desford Village IV, who had the beating of both of them on a night to remember, and he is third only because one of his opponents had to cry off with an injury during another match, leaving him one short on sets played and just 0.5 bereft of equal second.
Another new player, Mike Eastell, has spearheaded Lutterworth Rotary into a challenging position, having lost three from 24 played, just ahead of Electricity VI stalwart, Dave Silvester. One of the youngest players in the division, Jack Kermode, is next having played well for Winstanley Wizards, alongside Desford’s Mike Pratt who is belying his relatively lowly grading in having his best season to date.
Best all round performance, however, so far must be that of Desford’s Lee Berrill who is on 67 per cent, which translates to a grading of around 107 if he can maintain this form, a very hefty increase from his current mark of 73. The increase translates to around a 30 per cent increase in his individual average.
The chart shows Knighton Park XI ahead by some seven points of Winstanley Wizards, bearing in mind that the league awards four points for a win and two for a draw, with a consolation point available for 7-3 or 6-4 defeats and so often they decide final placings.
There is very little between the Wizards and the next five teams and any one of them could still capture the second promotion spot with a good run of results. Eagles in sixth place overall, for instance, now have a settled team and are gaining some very useful results, while Knighton Park X just below have a very young team, which is improving with every match.
The top three teams in Division Four have completed their fixtures with a significant 5-5 draw between the top two when Leicestershire Police held on to their five-point lead ahead of Electricity V. Lucki Obi led the way with a great maximum including a five-game success over Dave Cox. Chetan Tailor supported with two but needed a fifth game in all three sets, losing to Dave Bray along the way. Team Dave has had Dave Greasley spearheading but he managed only one this time but combined with Bray to clinch that all-important doubles for the share of points.
Third-placed team, Knighton Park IX, rely on complete team skills with all four squad members blessed with completely different styles. They defeated Wigston Conservatives 8-2 to round off the first half with Mike Smith claiming a hard-fought maximum, while Eddie Kwok and Milan Sodha both won two, both losing to Ian Lockington.
Dave Dewsbury celebrated his 25 years as secretary of Regent Sports with his 25th Club Tournament in its normal format as a handicap singles. There were two groups of six playing all-play-all with the top two from each group going through.
Semi-finals: Rob Price beat Keith Bramhall 2-0 (21-14, 22-20), Tim Cawston beat John Dewsbury 2-0 (21-18, 22-20). Final: Tim Cawston beat Rob Price 2-1 (21-8, 7-21, 21-17).
The excellent Daytime Ladder Singles continued with its fourth outing when 13 of the 20 players registered battling out another four sets. Each month there has been a change at the very top with Charlie Bateman coming through this time with a plus score to take over from the absent Andy Seale, who was on holiday. Steve Bessant also made good progress in a very competitive top group of six.
John Bowness (publicity officer)
December 8, 2014