Halfway there – Summer 2023


Well, it seems only a few days since we were looking forward to a new season and yet here we are halfway through the season already! Where does the time go when you are enjoying yet another year of Abingdon and District Aunt Sally.

Week 9 should have been the first week of this season when we had a full fixture lists with all the teams numbers listed as byes in Sections through C to F were actually drawn against each other (team 2 v team7). Unfortunately the withdrawal of the Black Swan spoilt and Bystander C were the only side not playing last week as a consequence. 

Now to last week’s matches and top scorers. In the Premier Steventon Sports remain at the top of the table despite their first defeat of the season going down 4-2  when they visited bottom of the Premier Croft Nomads. In Stevie’s defence they were missing their leading doll scorer Colin Brind and his absence clearly upset them as in the first leg 4 of their 8 players act failed to trouble the doll!

Elsewhere in the Premier both Abingdon Utd/Con Club and the Plum Pudding  both recorded 6-0 victories against The Hart and Stanford FC respectively. The Bystander continued their recent good form and Jumbo Mott was the week’s leading doll scorer including the week’s only 6 doll maximum and hitting  14 cracking dolls at Berinsfield and he was  ably supported by Captain Steve Martin with Bystander winning 4-2.


Lots of double digit individual scores last week With Jumbo at the top of the tree with his 14, Barry Townsend and Dave Dix both hit 13 for Plum Pudding and Abingdon Utd/Con , Steve Enock hit 12 for the Croft and there were  11’s recorded by Phil Adams, Alan Bell, Paul Barrett in the Premier and Dean Bowler for the Red Lion in the A section and Paul Ealey for Abingdon RBL in the B section. Lot’s of 10’s as well last week including Dave Butler a welcome first double figures of the season, Geoff Lee. Paul Kelsey and Phil Soden for the College Oak A in the B section Richard Bunce and Ian McCregor for the Chequers, Charney and Steve Soden for the Grapes (matching his old man for bragging rights! Dave Heard for the Queens Arms Didcot and Karl Humphries for Abingdon Arms B also showed again that high scoring individuals don’t just belong in the higher section both contributing 10 dolls apiece for their sides.

I should also mention that Fox Denchworth who last week (8) recorded their first win of the season and probably against the local rivals  who they would most like to beat from up the road in Charney!! They followed that up with a share of the points against the Royal Oak.

A few interesting encounters tonight including the “battle of the Taps” in the E section as Brewery Tap A and B meet, College Oak A entertain Abingdon United C with both sides including a Worrell in their line ups and The Chequers have another West Berks derby when they travel to play the Bell at Grove.

Finally for this week we have a lot of discussions and sometimes debate about the handicap system, how fair it is, and why we need it. I think the reasons we need it are pretty obvious it’s to make the section’s as competitive as possible and also to give encouragement so that all games are competitive. It’s for broadly the same objective as the handicapping of racehorses based on previous form, golf uses handicaps and so does table tennis it’s a form of “levelling up”.

Out of interest and of no particular importance I have looked at the results in terms of average leg scores for the Premier/A and B sections after 9 games have been played and removed the handicap received by each of the teams in the Premier and A sections. The total dolls and  leg averages in rank order show the following:

  1. Abingdon Utd/Con Club                                             566      20.96
  2. Plum Pudding                                                                523       19.37
  3. Steventon Sports A                                                       450      16.66      
  4. Berinsfield A                                                                   449      16.63
  5. Croft Nomads                                                                 443      16.40
  6. Red Lion A                                                                      422      15.63
  7. Bystander A                                                                     412      15.25
  8. The Vine                                                                            400    14.81
  9. Stanford FC                                                                       383    14.18
  10. The Hart                                                                            380    14.07
  11. College Oak A                                                                    373     13.81
  12. Fleur de Leys                                                                     352     13.03
  13. Abingdon United C                                                           330     12.22
  14. The Plough                                                                          328     12.14
  15. Abingdon RBL                                                                    312    11.55
  16. Harwellian B                                                                        310     11.48
  17. The Wheatsheaf                                                                   307     11.37     
  18. Berinsfield B                                                                         300    11.11
  19.  Abingdon Arms A                                                                259     9.58*
  20. Eight Bells                                                                              252       9.33*                                                        
  • Have only played 8 games, but total and average assume same doll count and leg average for the 9th game which was forfeited by both teams.

Using the actual leg average and the handicap added together means, shows that at this stage of the season  there is only 1.9 doll difference between the highest scoring team (no handicap) and the lowest scoring team (+5) in the Premier/A section. Without a handicap there would be a massive 7 doll difference and that would be neither competitive nor challenging for most sides in the Premier and A section. 

The comparison of scores for all teams based on actual results of the top 8 players is a much more useful way of determining the sections rather than straightforward promotion and relegation as is the norm in most sports.

My final word for this week is that the closing date for the final 4 competitions, Captains, Secretaries, Pairs and Singles is Monday 17th July. The Competitions will take place on Sunday August 6th at Abingdon United and the draw will be made on the day based on both entries and attendance.

Have  a good week



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