Well we are almost there…………only 2 weeks to go of the 2023League season, but another couple of weeks of play for some with the Finals Night at Abingdon United on Wednesday September 13th, details of order of play, start times etc will be published in the next few days and then the following week for the over 50’s it’s the open Founders & Legends Trophy which this year will be held sat Abingdon Conservative Club with registration on the night.
Back to last week and a quick round up of some of the highlights. It was a return of the “sixers” with both Phil Adams for the Plum Pudding and Derek Fletcher for Steventon Sports both managing one leg maximums. Surprisingly despite their maximums both sides ended up sharing the spoils with their opponents with 3-3 draws. Phil hit 15 dolls which, I think, equals the highest individual score of the season so far, and he was well supported by Terry Downes contribution of 10 dolls, but opponents Berinsfield SC A with Andy Phelps top scoring with 10 dolls. The shared points mean Plum Pudding are surprisingly at the foot of the Premier Section, but have an opportunity this week to spoil league when leaders Abingdon Utd/Con Club’s party when the 2 Premier “scratch” teams meet at the Con Club in their penultimate game of the season.
Abingdon United/Con Club were defeated by Croft Nomads last week 4-2 with Croft maintaining their recent run after a poor early season. Alan Bell was in fine form for Croft with 13 dolls and he was matched by who else but, Dave Dix who also hit 13 and Bob Duff, who has also been a consistently good scorer for the Utd side through the season contributed another 11 dolls. United may feel they were hampered as they were missing key players with both Paul Barrett and Darren Holmes unavailable, but over the 18 week season it is many sides are unlikely to field their strongest side every week which is why sides can comprise up to 15 registered players .
In the A section Hart Harwell made it 5 games unbeaten edging our Stanford In the Vale FC 4-2 and Bystander A also got a 4-2 result against Red Lion A with the ever consistent Dean Bowler the top scoring player on the night with another 10 dolls
In the B section 8 was the lucky number for Abingdon United C with Matt Ashmall, Mickey Fenton and John Worrell all hitting 8 dolls in their 5-1 win over the Plough, Long Wittenham.
In that section College Oak A also had a 5-1 win against the Eight Bells. Eight Bells landlord Tom O’ Sullivan hit his best of the season 10 dolls, but the Oak’s 5 points ensured the B section Championship for them with 2 games still to play.
The battle for runners up in this section is a going to be a close run thing between Fleur de Leys and Harwellian B who face each other this week at Harwell.
In the D section near neighbours College Oak B and Croft Bar B met with the visitors Croft winning 4-2 to go top of the section, but top doll scorer on the night was James Faulkner with 10 dolls.
In the E section Brewery Tap B had a “funny old night” in their 3-3 draw with the Prince of Wales. Thanks to Ian Northover with 9 dolls and 8 from Jonathan Hutt they salvaged 3 points despite two of their players failing to trouble the caller in all 3 legs.
So how does the tables look with just 2 weeks to go? Well the Premier section looks like Abingdon United/Con Club’s to win. They need 6 points from their last 2 games to secure the title, but Plum Pudding may have a say in that this week!
The B section is already decided with College Oak A champions and probably looking for a quick return to the top sections next season, Croft B look favourites for the Section D title, but both College Oak B and the Bystander could potentially still catch them.
The C section looks to be in the hands of Grapes B with a 5 point advantage as we go into the last 2 weeks of the season.
There’s a battle royal in the E section between Harwellian A and the Prince of Wales level on points, but Harwellian seem to have the advantage with 2 games remaining whilst the Feathers only have the 1 game left, but it is against Harwellian in the last game of the season next week, so it will all be decided on that game!
In the F section although Abingdon Arms B are only 2 points ahead of Wheatsheaf it looks like thie title as Wheatsheaf have actually only 1 game left whilst Abingdon Arms have 2. Both teams have to play the Fox, Boars Hill who could determine the winners and runners up in this section.
I am aware that there are still a few scores outstanding in some sections either because of postponements, no shows or late submission of results. I will sort all those outstanding this week so no scores are outstanding or are incorrect when we play our final games of the season which with the exception of Bystander C who have a bye as a result of the Black Swan’s withdrawal in the F section will involve all 50 teams on the finale to the 2023 season
Finally, just a couple of reminders Finals Night on the 13th, Founders & Legends for over 50’s on the 20th of September. Also if we have to have any play offs for winners or runners up in any of the sections (level on points, dolls don’t count!) these will be arranged during week commencing September 11th at neutral venues.
Also we need to have trophies returned by the end of September. I will be e mailing Captains and Secretaries to remind them later this week. Ideally any trophies that are not to be retained need to be returned to your pub or club for collection so that this year’s recipients can collect them on Presentation night in good condition in November!