Week 12 Round up and some examples of how and why the handicap system worksPremier and A ZSections

Firstly let’s start with the results from last week and there was a lot of good scoring in all sections as we complete week 12 which means two thirds of the league season is now behind us, but as there are still 6 matches remaining for most sides it’s still all to play for in terms of league and section winners and runners up and for some sides how to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon!

In the Premier section Abingdon United and Plum Pudding are still going head to head with Croft Nomads hanging on their tails and having played each other twice it’s all about their respective results in their remaining fixtures so it is still up for grabs with United and Plum playing Croft in the next couple of weeks. United look favourites at the moment, but Plum will chase them all the way and last week Phil Adams was the top doll scorer hitting 15 dolls his best of the season including a first leg 6, there was also a long awaited and welcome return to form for Dave Butler who hit 11 , his first double figure score of the season.

Abingdon United though were also in fine form with Alec Chamberlain hitting 13 dolls and Dave Dix and Scott Humphries 12 apiece in their win at the Red Lion.

Elsewhere in the Premier/A section Croft were a little fortunate to escape with a 3-3 result at the C0llege Oak who only needed 2 dolls from Paul Kelsey their anchor with the final throw of thee 3rd leg for a 4-2 win,, but unfortunately (or fortunately for The Croft) he only managed 1 to level the leg. College with a few regulars missing hit a credible 21 dolls in the second leg which with their handicap gave them a leg score of 26 easily their best of the season.

Prince of Wales Veterans secured their first 6-0 victory of the season against The Hart Harwell and there was a welcome double figure return from Dave Hudson and another 10 from the consistent  Jumbo Mott. 

Overall there were 18 individual scores of 10 or better including a first of the season 6 for Dave Sapey in his 13 dolls for Abingdon RBL and although not hitting double figures last week Steve Enock became the 8th player to pass 100 dolls for the season so far.

Determining handicaps and who plays in which section

Now, it’s probably time to try to explain how the handicap system in the Premier and A sections established are  and indeed how the whole section composition is determined at the start of the season. Firstly the intent of both is to try to make each of the sections as competitive as possible so sides have a reasonable opportunity every time they play and it is all based on previous “form” of the registered players from the previous year (this year it had to be based on 2019!). The top 8 players from thos registered is added together and then a handicap set for all of the teams which make the respective average scores competitive.

The handicap assumes that the top 8 regular players continue to score similarly in the following season and those with lowest aggregate scores are given the maximum handicap against those with the highest to make each of the legs competitive and hopefully more enjoyable  and challenging for both sides.

The other sections are determined in the same way although this can be more difficult as more players who are new to the game cannot be included in the top 8 from the previous season. But overall we try to achieve the same objective sometimes it works well, sometimes not so well and that is mostly determined by some individuals registered, but not playing regularly, losing form, not playing at all or suddenly hitting a lot more dolls than they have previously did! There are, lots of evidence of these this year and a couple are identifiable in last weeks results.

It will always be a bone of contention, but it seems the best way to try to make games as competitive as possible.

Out of interest after 12 games this season in the Premier/A sections on total doll count the league order would look like this (based solely on dolls scored and with all handicap dolls removed.

Premier                                                             A Section

  1. Abingdon United         814                 Berinsfield        611
  2. Plum Pudding               765                 The Vine           514
  3. 3. Croft Nomads           629                 Red Lion           487         
  4. POW Veterans              597                  College Oak      487
  5. SSSC                               579                   The Hart           463

In reality the difference in dolls scored each leg  at this stage of the season between the top team in the Premier and the bottom side in the A section is over 10.5 dolls per leg, that’s why we need and have a handicap system. We haven’t and will not get it right every time and this year was more difficult as we hadn’t played for 2 years, teams have disappeared, players have moved between teams  but probably without a handicap system in place we would struggle to have anything other than a “super league” with the top 2 sides playing each other every week!

Based on the team results so far this season next year there would be minimal change next year to the composition of both the Premier and A Sections with only 2 or 3 sides outside of the current Premier/A sections scoring collectively more dolls than the current Premier/A sections!

To show we do get some things right…… in the B section after 12 weeks there is only a 47 doll difference in dolls scored between the side at the top and the side currently at the bottom of the section!

So for those sides who average over 20 dolls leg playing sides who average 12 or 13 dolls per leg that’s why we give them a 4 or 5 doll advantage per leg.

Sorry if this sound like a whinge, it’s not meant to but it is intended to explain how and why the sections are constructed and handicaps are determined.


Have a good night everyone!





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