NOTE. This report has had this first paragraph added as a result came up after the original was posted: Unicorn beat Thringstone 9-1 when Jared Patel, Lois Peake and Yiji Zhao took what looks to be a relatively easy nine singles. They did give Thringstone a Christmas present by way of the doubles, hence 9-1 and not 10-0. The following report will, therefore, be a little out of date in places.
This season must be seeing one of the strongest top spheres in the Leicester and District League for many a long year, despite the league losing Ajax Wolvey just before the season began due to one of their top players losing his life in a motor accident.
One thing that doesn’t change is the team at the top of the chart as defending champions, Unicorn, sit astride the highest point perhaps because of rather than in spite of using a high number of players, none of whom have played in more than six matches, apart from Geoff Parsons who, in a previous life, won two bronze and one high jump silver medals in the Commonwealth Games during the 1980’s and 1990’s, his best jump being 2.31m.
Included in the other seven used is George Briskolas who is still undefeated in five matches while they have the likes of Lois Peake, Jared Patel and Garry Knights at their disposal. Currently Unicorn are on 34 points, two ahead of their own second team, emphasising the depth, with a match in hand against Thringstone who are third.
Holwell Sports have the same number of points as Thringstone with the strange likelihood of the two of them swapping places if Thringstone lose to Unicorn as it will affect the sets averages. Newcomer to the league, Mark Green, has played six times for Holwell and has won all 18 sets and is one of a large number of players in the top division who have not played enough to qualify for the individual competition.
Top of the official averages is Craig Witheford of the Unicorn second team on 91.67%, ahead of Knighton Park’s Jack Rogers (81.48%) whose team will not feature at the top, largely because of injury to top player, Chris Rogers, who is still suffering with tennis elbow. Third is Thringstone’s Maurice Newman on 77.78%.
One team will go down and that will be Abbots Road who, because of circumstances beyond control, are having to play largely players from division two to complete fixtures who have done sterling work in very difficult circumstances. Vishal Parmar has won almost a quarter of his sets while Geoff Hancock has grabbed some victories and Fahed Sacoor has also fought hard.
Division Two is similarly afflicted with having eleven teams with the withdrawal midway through the first half of Abbots Road II, the other three divisions all having twelve teams.
Dominating at the top is the young Knighton Park third team of Brajesh Patel, Oscar Bentley, Patrick Cox and Vishaal Sharda who have 40 points, nine ahead of nearest rivals Desford Village while Regent Sports could overtake Desford as they have a match in hand.
Top of the averages is a player from the other Knighton Park team, Osman Bawa, who has 94.4%, a long way ahead of anyone else. Second, in fact, is Patel on 80.9% while Winstanley Wizards’ Dan Andrews is third with 80%, just ahead of Rhys Emery (Arnesby) who has 79.2%.
At the moment it looks as if the one team going down, after gaining promotion last season, will be Great Glen who have a fair amount of catching up to do to survive.
Next report will feature divisions three to five.