Woodfield TTC report: Junior Boys British League, Division 4A.
Just like Hillary Clinton, Woodfield’s junior boys scored more points than any other team in a keenly-contested division of this season’s JBL championships, yet were trumped when it came to the top prize.
Woodfield regulars George Carroll and Jack Wood were joined by Worcestershire junior Craig Witheford for this season’s campaign, which took place over four days at the Derby Arena.
And while the trio racked up points aplenty against their rivals, they lost too many games to mount a serious challenge for the league title and ended up comfortably in mid-table. More importantly, however, they avoided the dreaded relegation play-offs.
Woodfield may have been competing in the fourth tier of the JBL but there were some top players competing at this level. Britannia, from Ipswich and with a Dutch coach on board, were on paper the strongest team, with Kian Burgess, ranked 45 in England, as their number one. Over in division 4B, meanwhile, Halifax’s Zac Cantor had a national ranking of 36, a good ten places higher than others who were playing at Premier League level.
Woodfield did well to beat Harrogate in the first round of matches, then drew with them second time round. The weaker sides in the division, Burton & Uxbridge and Fusion, were dispatched comfortably.
Woodfield’s scores against the top two sides do not look good but that does not tell the full story. In these four matches, half of the games were five setters and Britannia scraped a 4-2 win in October only after Jack was pipped 14-12 in the fifth and final game of the match.
Many opponents found Craig Witheford, who stays at the table and blocks intelligently, awkward to deal with. The newcomer, playing at number one, beat the highly-ranked Burgess twice and ended up fourth in the divisional averages with a creditable 70 per cent win record. George had a 50 per cent record while Jack chipped in with 40 per cent.
All in all, a solid display and Woodfield can come again at national level next season.
Congratulations to Ashford Brunswick, from West London, who came from 3-2 behind to force a draw with Britannia in the final match and take the division title.
JUNIOR BRITISH LEAGUE Division 4A final table 2016-17
1. Ashford Brunswick 16
2. Britannia TTC 16
3. Harrogate 13
4. Woodfield TTC 11
5. Fusion TTC 3
6. Burton Uxbridge Boys 1