WINTER LEAGUE 16-17 SEASON REPORT

Southend & DTTL 2016/7 Season Summary

The Winter Season has drawn to a close and our 4 Divisional Results Secretaries have prepared Summaries of their Divisions, which provide an excellent overview of the past 9 months. Thanks go to Duncan Taylor, Premier Division; Barrie Delf, Division 1, David Barnes, Division 2 and Paul Strutt, Division 3, who every week prepare their Reports promptly; Reports that were very interesting, factual,  and at times humorous. These were sent to me to send out using just an iPhone via the 365 Email Programme set up by Chris Dangerfield of Table Tennis England. Jayne Johnson, the Southend and County Secretary, initially worked hard with Berti Makolli, Southend's Web Secretary, to bring the 365 Facility to our League and the Feedback from our Members has been excellent: great effort all of you. We also thank Paul Strutt, our Press Officer, for getting regular Reports and Pictures in the online Yellow Advertiser and when the Echo had space in their daily edition too. Finally we thank Berti Makolli for keeping our Web Site up to date with the various Reports and Jayne Johnson for ensuring that all Players were Registered and ironing out any problems with Table Tennis England.

* A Reminder to all Players, Parents and Coaches: it is essential that all Players are registered with Table Tennis England. If you attend matches as a Parent, or a Non Playing Club Member  then you can enrol as an Associate Member, free of charge. The key protection for everyone in the litigious World we live in, is the safeguard against a Civil Liability Claim that may be taken out against you: Accidents do happen, you or your family could be sued; don't take the risk, keep your Player or Associate Membership up to date. Those of you playing in our Summer League, make sure you renew your Membership in July, which the window opens.

Wishing you all a good and healthy Summer 

Ken Field 
Chairman
Southend & District Table Tennis League

Season Divisional Summaries:-

* Premier Division
Well we now know who the champions of the Premier Division are and it is congratulations to Hullbridge A. After all the other games had been played they actually needed to beat Lentern A 9-0 in their final game to take the title and that is exactly what they did, as Kevin Caldon, Sam Hulme and Stuart Gibbs brought home a whitewash. This bought them level with Thorpe Bay A on points but they take the title by virtue of having won two more matches than their rivals.
 
It has been a very keenly contested division this season with Rawreth A and Thorpe Bay A pushing Hullbridge A all the way, with the squad of Caldon, Hume, Gibbs, Dave Bowles and Richard Brown with cameos from Adam Brewer, Gary Young and Glenn Johnson just edging it. It has been the closest title race for many a year and so a special mention should go to the Thorpe Bay squad of John Poysden, Paul Sayer, Mark Stones, Paul Whatton and John Monk for ending up on the same points as our winners, I’m sure they will be keen to reverse the order next season.
 
The next three in the table were headed by Rayleigh Mill, who had a strong end to the season including a couple of good wins against the top three, followed closely by Thorpe Bay B and Lentern A. The strength of the players within these sides really does go to show the strength in depth that the Southend league has these days. The same can also be said for the sides that find themselves in 7-9th place, when you consider that Hullbridge B have the likes of Burnham Men’s Singles Champion Reece Seddon in their ranks, Rawreth B have Southend Men’s singles finalist Matt Spero and Castle Point who, with their vastly experienced team with a range of styles, proved a challenge for any team on their night.
 
Speaking of Castle Point, one final result to bring you is their rearranged game with Rayleigh Mill, which brought a mixed night for one of Southend’s longest serving players, Chris Jacob. First Chris had a titanic battle with Duncan Taylor. Leading 2 sets to 0, and 7-2 in the 5th, Chris eventually succumbed 11-9 in the final end to the dogged Taylor. He went on to beat Steve Sawyer but then lost another great battle in the 5th against Steve Maltby. The reason I mention this game is that both players were racking their brains, and we think this is the first time Steve has beaten Chris in the best part of 40 years! Let’s hope it’s not another 40 till the next one, Steve J.
 
The next two teams in the table, who were never in danger of falling into the relegation places, were Hadleigh Forum A and Warehouse A. There were some great individual wins for the players in both of these sides, none more so than impressive scalps for Kim Shead, as he took his average again to over 50%.
 
At the bottom end of the table it has been a long hard season for Customs A, who, while they failed to pick up a win as a team, did record some fine individual victories along the way. Second and third from bottom Stanford-le- Hope and Hockley fared better by winning four and five matches respectively, with Rahul Sharma from Stanford close to delivering a 50% average.
 
It’s been a splendid season with some really high quality table tennis on show. I wish you all a good summer, whether having a well-earned rest from table tennis or continuing to play. See you all in September.

Duncan Taylor
DRS Premier Division

* Division 1
 (Team positions and points have been influenced by only having 13 teams in the division this year so in effect
there are two games less and a possible 18 points).
 
Hadleigh Forum B have been no lower than 2nd in the table and led from match 3 winning with a points total of 166 points (17 points less than Hockley A, last year’s winners) but 47 points clear of second place. They lost only 3 games in total (two of those in the final week) with Hullbridge D managing to do the double over them. With 5 regular players all averaging over 60% (Mick Tappenden, Gus Heath, Dave Woolmer, Tony Jacks and Anthon Ranjit-Singh), and three over 80% (Mick, Gus and Tony), it was always going to be difficult for the remaining teams to make any impact. With the maximum of 9 points scored in 5 of their fixtures and 8 in 8 matches, they were strong as a team and new player Gus Heath topped the averages with 93.18% (losing only 3 times all season, twice to Dave Colwill and once to Ray Wilson) and POTM no less than 10 times. However, the Premier division is a different ball game and it will be interesting to see how they fair, with the Hadleigh Forum A team in the lower half of the Division there may be a chance to swap players around to see if both teams can do any better. Survival in the premier would be an achievement.
 
There seems to be a theme here as the second placed team, Rawreth C, also have a squad of 7 players all above 42%. Rawreth ended the season on 119 points (20 points down on last year when they finished 3rd) but had a much better second half of the season, which pushed them into the runner-up spot. Losing 10 games in total (but only Hadleigh Forum B and Hullbridge C doing the double) it wasn’t until the final couple of matches that they regained the runner-up position, having been there 4 times previously in the season, all in 2017. The team squad was made up of John Blackman (42.22%), Gary McCarthy (48.78%), Colin Clements (46.67%), Trevor Ward (42.31%), Chris Aukett (94.12%), Mike Worship (50%) and Chris Nunn (100%). Chris Nunn ended up top of the division averages but was only able to play in 4 matches. Mike Worship sustained an injury in December and was unable to play after that. Chris Aukett played well to finish third in the divisional averages but again only played in 6 matches. It must be mentioned that he lost only one game to Matt Rolfe from Hullbridge D. Some others were down on their previous season averages. Similar to last year the first half of the season was ok followed up by a good second half to push to the top. Having only been in the Premier two seasons ago, it is not sure if Rawreth will be keen to take up their position in the top flight especially if their players have other commitments limiting their appearances but as we know, the Rawreth club always seem to pull tricks out of the hat.
 
Warehouse B have managed to finish third with 117 points (1 point down on the previous season) with a team consisting of 4 main players, playing out of Selborne Road. This may have contributed to their downfall with Martin West, out for 8 weeks with an elbow injury, and Berti Makolli, out for 11 weeks with a leg injury requiring other players to step into the team, leading to 9 different players getting a game during the season. The team led the table for the first 3 weeks of the season and were second for most of the second half, being pipped in the final weeks by Rawreth C. However a huge jump from 8th place to 3rd should be applauded and if the squad can keep together then looking good for one of the top two spots next year. Harry Small started the season in this team but left in November having played only 3 games. James Marshall returned and played a couple of games losing only one match to Phil Puckey and then playing with the A team for a number of matches. James Spencer played up from the C team for 4 matches winning 33% of his games. Of the main 4 players Martin West (95.24%) finished second in the Division averages and posted 12 POTM awards and only lost to Russell Bright and Colin Clements all season. Berti Makolli (56.67%), Micky Baker (49.02%) and Tony Wright (35%) were the mainstays of the team. The team were boosted by the inclusion of Martin for most of the season, and if he stays at this level, expect to see them near the top next year.
 
Hullbridge C sit in 4th place with 114 points (20 points less than last year). With Peter Saunders and Maxine Abbott only playing limited games, Richard Gill rejoined the league having played in the previous century sometime. It took a little while for the table rust to wear off but once it did, Richard started to show some of the old dazzle and razzmatazz from a bygone era ending up with a 19.05% average, and should continue to improve the more games he gets under his belt (if he doesn’t get injured in the inferior cycling sport he also undertakes or falls off the tables doing magic tricks). In February, another old face rejoined the scene with Linda Hales joining the club, and obtaining a 77.78% average for the C team as well as playing up for the B team a number of times. With Andy Seaman taking a Captain’s role ending up on a 66.67% average, closely followed by Lin Roff on 64.29% and Bill Smith (they must be getting used to his serves!) on 57.78% (20% of which I am reliably informed were made up of forehand winners!). It is difficult to predict where this team may end up next year as you never know who is going to turn up to play next.
 
Canvey A take 5th place with 113 points (10 points less than last year), up from 6th last year, and again are the most consistent team. Canvey had a good 2016, never dropping lower than 4th in the table, but an indifferent 2017 has seen them falter to as low as 9th, before rallying to finish in 5th. With the introduction of Phil Puckey this year, Canvey were able to draw on a 4th squad player and as predicted have been able to secure a top 6 position. Ray Wilson again topped the team averages with 75%, Backed up by Peter Cray with 50%, Terry Giddens, 44.44% and Phil Puckey with 43.75%. Gavin Warner played in 5 games in the first half of the season and had a 40% average. With the same players, Canvey again will be the consistent team in the Division and should secure a top 6 finish.
 
Invicta A are in 6th spot and are in the running for one of my most improved teams for the season, finishing with 109 points also (14 points more than last year and up from 10th spot). With the same team as last year, the undoubted star of the team is Steve Marr who finished on a creditable 60.29% average and 8 POTM awards (he even had points to win games from me early season, but experience won over youth!). Nearly with joint-billing must be Michael Piper with 52.94% (up from 36.67% the previous year) and Neil Daines 42.59%. Dave Barnes again chipped in when short with 21.43%. Finally, another return to the league at the latter end of the season, saw a very rusty Sid Dorn win 50% of his matches in the two games he played. The team got as high as second at the turn of the year and were back up to 4th in March before losing their last 3 games. Having improved every year, and with the inclusion of Sid in the team, I don’t think you could bet that they won’t be pushing at the top end of the table next year.
 
Hadleigh Forum C have again finished in 7th place also with 109 points (13 down on last year). With Russell Bright restricted in the games he played due to injury it was always going to be difficult to improve, although Forum found an impressive replacement in Charles Yeung from their Basildon team. Russell again hit top average with 79.31%, followed by Charles Yeung on 53.66%, backed up by Mark Everard on 47.69%, Graham Farmer 45.45% and Tony Mace on 39.39%. Again with only 12 points separating 2nd from 8th I can easily see Forum C improving on this year’s position, but must stay injury-free for key players.
 
With the addition of Pat White this year, Lentern C improved one place to finish in 8th remarkably with all the other players retaining their averages from the previous year. Lentern scored 107 points (6 more than the previous year). Their fortunes have fluctuated widely having been in 2nd position midway through 2016 to as low as 9th in week 2 although the majority of their time has been spent between 3rd and 6th. Top player for the team was Pat White with 63.33% followed by Mark Jupe 56.41%, Martin Archie 52.94%, Wayne Farmer 42.86% and Brian Spencer 41.03%.From these sets of averages, you can expect them to finish in or around the same position next year.
 
Hullbridge D were the surprise package of the season having come up as runners-up in Division 2 last year and finishing in a creditable 9th. The only team to beat winners Hadleigh Forum B, not once but twice in a topsy-turvy season having reached 3rd spot in November only to gradually fall down the league. The team is based around 4 main players with Matt Rolfe (78%) playing well, Ben Matthews (73.21%) returning to something of his former self, Jo Hills (13.56%) and Adam Deadman (14.29%) playing a limited number of games. The team has also not been afraid to through in youngsters from their lower teams and have given opportunities to James Goddard, Dan Payne and Adam Jackman during the season. I expect that they may be able to improve slightly on their finishing position next year, but will need to rely on Ben’s improvement and Matt’s consistency.
As with Lentern C, the addition of a new player, Dave Colwill (dropping down from the A team), to the Hockley B team justified them retaining their Division 1 status from last year. Although occupying the 9th to 11th spot for most of the season they have never looked like being in trouble at the bottom, finally finishing in 10th and noteworthy is that Dennis Squirrell has greatly improved over last year. Dave Colwill played in the majority of games for the team and ended with an 84.21% average boosting the points tally at the same time. The introduction of Craig Auckett to the team in December after having played a few first team games also helped with the squad. Dennis Squirrell ended with 47.73%, Keith Abbott 24.39% and Paul Strutt 15.63%, Alan Tideswill 33.33% and Craig Auckett 50%. As a club with a lot of strength in depth, I can see this team ending around the same position or higher next year.
 
Lentern B were relegated from the Premier last year and were expected to be pushing at the top end of the table having won this Division two years ago. However, things have not gone well and have been occupying 11th position for most of 2017, this was the position they ended up in. Having to replace Gus Heath and Paul Churn from the team that got relegated, Malcolm Henstock and Paul Sims have been added. John Lott finished top of the averages with a creditable 66.67% followed by Paul Sims on 46.67%, Steve Appleby finished on 35.09% (well down on 2014-15) and Malcolm Henstock (21.05%)
 
Lentern D had a difficult start to the season and flirted with the bottom position in Oct/Nov 2016. However, with a slight rally at the beginning of 2017, they managed to finish in 12th position, including some good wins over Rawreth C, Hadleigh Forum C and Warehouse during the season to show the potential that could have been. With 5 players registered everyone was rotated and had a fair few number of games. Captain, Peter Pond finished on top of the averages with 56.86% and Peter Lucraft 46.67%, with Chris Crooks and Sue Body chipping in with 33% and 36% and uncharacteristically, Dave Kirston only able to register 11.11%. Perhaps the distraction of his beloved Spurs team being at the heady heights of the Premier division have not helped him!!
There would need to be some improvement to get any higher in the Division for next year, but there is a lot of experience in the team so this cannot be ruled out.
 
Finally, newcomers Castle Point B, after their promotion last year, added the experience of Mick Grout to see if they could earn enough points to stay up in the Division. With regular players Tony Ayliffe, Martin Roberts and Keith Neville struggling in the earlier part of the season, some games were played by Barrie Delf who managed to add a few points before winning enough in the A team. Mick Grout was very consistent and ended the season on 61.36% Keith Neville 30.3% Tony Ayliffe 26.76% and Martin Roberts 5%, this was not enough to keep them off the bottom of the league since December 2016. There have been some encouraging signs of improvement in the second half of the season and with more or less the same team, should fair well in Division 2 next year to regain promotion.
 
Barrie Delf
DRS Division 1

* Division 2
One team dominated the season. The young players of Hullbridge E won every match from first to last and topped the table for 25 out of 26 weeks. They are the only team in all four divisions to have such a proud record. James Goddard, Adam Jackman, Daniel Zeffie and Reece Harris-Griffiths have a great future ahead of them in our sport. The squad was Managed by the experienced Howard Grant and well supported by the boys’ parents.

Early opposition at the head of the table came from the experienced Canvey B and the much-improved Hockley C. In a close run thing, Hockley pipped the Canvey side to second place by a narrow 8-point margin. Hockley’s Stuart Adshead had a fine season, returning an 81% average.
RESSC struggled at the outset, but once the experienced trio of Rob Skews, Ron Coutts and Stan Dyson built up a head of steam, their eventual fourth place was no more than they deserved.

Basildon Hospital’s Kevin Smart had another steady season, winning 44 out of 53 of his matches and helping his side to a very respectable position. The Medic’s ability to unearth new talent continues with Jay Shivapujimath, Abhinandan Bidari and Olu Oyeleye all making their first appearances for the club.

Another up and coming young star was Canvey C’s Harry Keys, who is another one to watch for the future. He averaged 86% and took some notable scalps. Along with Ross Warner their side’s mid-table position was very respectable.

Wakering’s squad now has more strength in depth than in previous seasons. They can boast four players all with averages over 50% and one of them, Zac England has much potential.

Castle Point C completed their first campaign at this level and acquitted themselves very well. David Jacob, Sean McNabb and Mark Sayce are all to be congratulated for fulfilling their fixtures so well despite a very small squad.

James Spencer and Andy Humphris were Warehouse C’s most consistent players cementing ninth position in the table.

The two Rawreth teams both finished in the bottom half of the table. Rawreth D struggled to field full-strength teams in the early part of the season. The fact that they called upon 14 different players by the end of the season is an indication of some of their issues. However, they did manage to find a new talent in Sam Thompson who recorded a 78% average from 45 matches. His contribution was a big cause of the team’s survival.
The E team have experienced Andy Deadman to thank for a useful contribution. His craft and the youthful talent of Botond Mezo and Matt Barber ensured they will remain in the division for another season.

Runnymede kept everyone guessing as to which players they would include. If Tony Millward (95% average) or Tony Coeshall (88%) turned up, the opposition knew they were in for a hard time. Fortunately Runnymede’s selection process ensured a fair crack of the whip for other squad members.

Invicta B were promoted from Division 3 last season. However, they were hit by problems and injuries almost from the outset. Their small squad struggled with the higher standard and they plunged to penultimate position in the table.

Castle Point D are to be praised for their commitment during a campaign that they found very challenging. All their matches were conducted in a cheerful and sporting manner. If they had been able call upon John Beddow a little more often, their chances of survival may have been stronger.

Finally, this season was notable for an unusual first. Never before had Rawreth D’s David Barnes faced up to his namesake at Invicta B across the table. The record shows David Barnes won, but you will need to check the results to find out which one!

David Barnes
DRS Division 2

* Division 3  
The dye was cast early in the Division as Hockley D and Stanford Le Hope B both got off to excellent starts with both teams sweeping all before them. Stanford suffered a slight blip in week 5 being held to a 5-4 win against Canvey D but they more than made up for this the following week by beating Hockley 5-4 and inflicting on them what would prove to be their only defeat of the season.

The make-up of the teams was interesting as the Stanford team already had  league experience from their time in the Basildon League whilst Hockley fielded a comparatively inexperienced side but one that had been put together with the sole aim of promotion. One unknown quantity was the inclusion of Alex Barnetson, brand new to the club and had played in other leagues, but not recently.

From then on, despite the earnest endeavours of Warehouse D and Canvey D it was a two horse race. The two favourites swopped wins each week like boxers exchanging punches but Hockley edged ahead on points by winning by the slightly bigger margins than Stanford. Hockley picked up 12 x 9-0 victories and 5 x 8-1 whilst Stanford recorded 5 x 9-0 victories and 10 x 8-1. 148 points to 125. Hockley went top in week two and stayed there. Stanford went second in week 8 and stayed there.

So far as the rest of the division was concerned then there could not have been more of a contrast for the other new team to the League, Rochford LTC who, unfortunately, picked up records for the wrong reason. Clearly out of their depth they battled on all season in search of their first win which eventually came with just three matches to go.   A 7-2 win at Warehouse E would have brought a big smile to the faces of all the Rochford players and full marks to them for continuing throughout the season fulfilling all their fixtures despite their results.

Warehouse D finished third and their best player Dave Walton picked up no less than 11 man of the match awards, more than anyone else.

Canvey D made a good start to the season and were second in week 6 but a crushing 9-0 defeat to Hockley in week 8 saw them drop to fourth and they could not recover from there.

Possibly the most improved side in the division were Hockley E who rose from 10th last season to finish 5th overall and edge out Hullbridge G. Five wins in their last six games was the key.

The three Hullbridge sides had mixed results. The G team had finished fourth last season but a comparative lack of games for Dave Booroff (30) appears to have cost them dear. The F team finished third last season but here the absence of Paul Ogden was obvious. Sue Reece stepped up to the plate well but in the end they slipped to 9th in the division. The bright note for Hullbridge was the form of their youngsters in team H who finished the season in fine style with five wins in their last six games and they appear to have found one for the future in William Skelt.

Customs B and Invicta C fought out the middle of the table positions with Customs taking 7th and Mark Rose and Richard Kidd put in some good performances throughout the season.

Invicta will not be happy especially with their second half of the season performance which saw them slip from 5th.  They lost 10 of their last 13 games and recorded only one win in their last six.

Hockley F, as usual a mixture of younger and older players, did slightly better than last season finishing 11th after picking up four wins in the second half compared to two in the first. Harry Sawford was their best player improving his average from 12.5% last season to 61.9% this season.

Rawreth F finished 12th despite having one player, Ryan Williams on 88.8% and another, Keenan Ford, on 64.1%. Their problem was having a third player who could come somewhere near those levels but one failed to emerge.

Players of the Season:-
Hockley D – No surprise here, Alex Barnetson-unbeaten all season.
Stanford B – Adrian Armstrong/Dan Harris – both players only lost 3 games
Warehouse D – Dave Walton – outstanding season for him.
Canvey D – Geoff Banthorpe
Hockley E – Gary Linzell (otherwise known as the EIGL)
Hullbridge G – Tony Molisso
Customs B – Mark Rose
Invicta C – Keith Baxter
Hullbridge F – Sue Reece
Hullbridge H – William Skelt
Hockley F – Harry Sawford
Rawreth F – Ryan Williams
Warehouse E – Graham Back
Rochford LTC – John George
 
Player of the Division 2016/17 – Alex Barnetson
You can’t argue with a 100% record!
 
Paul Strutt
DRS Division 3

Author: via Southend Table Tennis League
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