With the first half already over, there is still one match to go before the seasonal break and some teams are due to be back in action on New Year’s Day, but matches can be played earlier or in the same week, so now’s the time to be making alternative arrangements.
There’s no rest for teams still in the Sentinel Cup and Bradwell Handicap events, as the next rounds will be played in the week before Christmas, with two MESC teams and Penkhull having two matches if they get through to the next round. All matches will be played in the first 3 days of the week, leaving plenty of time to relax before the break.
There haven’t been any changes in the Premier Division, but Penkhull A’s team of Dave Mottershead, Mark Turner and Yao Li held Crewe Post Office to a draw, but it was good to see Geoff Cummings back in action for the Crewe side, having returned from working away. Kidsgrove C, despite losing 4-6 to Bradwell B and stuck at the bottom of this Division, have young James Courtney who is fast becoming the one to beat as he gained another maximum. Other maximums were won by Natalie Riley from the MESC A team, Robert Rhodes from Penkhull B and Dave Savage for Norton A, along with Paul Malkin for the Norton B team.
Clear leaders in Division 1 are Norton E, who had a 10-0 win over newly promoted Penkhull D, with the MESC B team in second spot. Norton D’s chances of going back to the Premier Division were dented, when the Fenton squad of Neil Rowley, Steven Elphinstone and Paul Boumford took the match 6-4, pushing Norton D back into 3rd spot, but Norton are now some 4 points behind the MESC B team and have a lot to do to in the second half. Next week Norton E visit Bradwell E who are just two points behind the Norton team, so positions could easily change.
Norton K and MESC D are the teams to beat in Division 2, both having 10-0 wins, as did the MESC C team. The Norton G team of Keith Evans, Graham Savage and Nick Heath all earned maximums in their 9-1 win over their own H team. Newcomer to the league, George El-Nimr also had a maximum for the Kidsgrove E team, who had an 8-2 win over Bradwell G. Other maximums included Dom Hulme for the Norton J team, now in 3rd spot and Nathan Brindley for MESC C.
Throughout all the Divisions, for those having played more than 30% of the matches, only Norton A’s Dave Savage in the Premier, Neil Colville from Bradwell F in Division 1 and 3 Division 2 players, Patrick Hall and John Riley from MESC D and Robert Warman from Norton K still have 100% records, so these are the players to beat in2018.