THE Boston and District Table Tennis League has reached the half-way stage - and Penmaen D are being tipped to earn promotion to the toip flight.
This week, correspondednt Michael Maltby discusses the fortunes of teams competing in the A D Dickinson Division Two...
Mid-season review by Michael Maltby
PENMAEN D have been one of the success stories of Division Two in the first half of the season.
Without doubt, the team have benefited from practising with some of the top players based at the club, and this has allowed them to put themselves into a prime position for promotion at the end of the season.
Adam Elston, Gavin Herberts and Matt Lilly are top 10-rated players and, together with Darron Kent, they have all had the benefit of appearing for their C team in Division One.
Their current fourth-place position in the league has to be measured against their three remaining matches due to be played this half.
They, more than any other team, have suffered from on-going postponements.
Hopefully, the pressure of fitting in these extra matches during the second half will not compromise their promotion aspirations.
One of only three teams to have completed their fixtures (there are still eight matches outstanding in the division) are Graves Park D – and they head the league by three points.
The D team, relegated last season, are experienced campaigners, and have Mick Dodes and Paul Matschull in the top 10.
They appear to be handily placed to bounce straight back up next season.
Although Mark Vere has only turned out for one match for Lodgers E, the team are still in second place in the division, and must consider themselves to be strong contenders for promotion – especially now that Steve Harker has joined their ranks.
Third-placed Graves Park F, meanwhile, can point to the form of John Gibson (second-ranked to Colin Bell from Lodgers E) for much of their success this year so far.
They require nine points to go top of the division – but their outstanding match is against Penmaen D. Nevertheless, they must be in the melting-pot for promotion, along with outside tip Lodgers H, for whom Boyd Smith is ranked ninth at the halfway stage.
These top five teams have only lost four matches between them, which bodes well for a really open race for the promotion spots.
Graves Park Nomads are enduring a difficult season, and have had more postponed matches to rearrange than anyone.
They are hoping 2011 will run a little smoother for the team, who are currently well off the promotion pace, in mid-table.
The next group of teams – Wrangle B, Sibsey A and B, and Lodgers D – are separated by only 11 points, although all of them have matches still to catch up on Wrangle B, another of the teams to have completed their fixtures.
This makes for a most interesting mini-league, and adds a little spice to their matches against one another.
Wrangle B have been especially hard hit by player unavailability, and have played five matches with only two players.
If they can put out a full team consistently for the rest of the season, they will certainly close the gap on the teams above them.
Otherwise, they will become embroiled in a dog-fight at the bottom of the table.
Belchford may be propping up the others at the halfway stage, but they deserve credit for the way they have kept battling for every point.
To compound their problems, their hall has been damaged, and may be unavailable for a few months, meaning that they need to make alternative arrangements for their remaining home matches.
P W D L Pts
Graves Park D 10 7 2 1 71
Lodgers E 10 6 3 1 68
Graves Park F 9 6 2 1 63
Penmaen D 7 6 1 0 54
Lodgers H 8 4 3 1 45
Graves Park Nomads 9 3 1 5 43
Wrangle B 10 3 0 7 36
Sibsey B 8 2 1 5 26
Lodgers D 9 2 0 7 25
Sibsey A 8 1 3 4 25
Belchford 8 0 0 8 14
Player Team P W %
Colin Bell Lodgers E 30 28 93.3
John Gibson Graves Park F 27 25 92.6
Adam Elston Penmaen D 15 13 86.7
Gavin Herberts Penmaen D 15 13 86.7
Mick Dodes Graves Park D 24 20 83.3
Paul Matschull Graves Park D 27 21 77.8
Matt Lilly Penmaen D 18 14 77.8
David Kime Lodgers E 21 16 76.2
Boyd Smith Lodgers H 21 15 71.4
Tristan Clow Graves Park Nomads 26 18 69.2