A Tale of Two Halves
Report by Mike Holiday - Ruckinge
Upon reaching the half way point of this season division is shaping up to be a very close affair. The top three sides are separated by a point, with only one promotion spot available. Then at the other end there are also three teams separate by a point but a difference in number of games player. However in many ways this will be a closer battle as there are two relegation spots, so only one of three can avoid demotion to the third tier.
Current division leaders Ashford A attained this positon in their final match with an 8-1 win over Ashford B, and all credit must go to Luke Garvey stepping up from Division 3 and winning all three of his games, with his best win coming over Matt Hills in a five leg, three deuce thriller (12-10, 10-12, 11-13, 11-8, 9-11). Louis Bigalett recorded his now customary three wins without conceding a single leg. The only dent in the score line for Ashford A came as Ashford B’s Matt Hills edged past Russell Swain in another tight five leg affair (5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 15-13, 17-15). This win meant Ashford A leap frogged both Ruckinge B & Postling C to take a one point lead.
The single point for Ashford B meant they end the half a point clear of the both two sides of Ruckinge D & Postling B, but both of these sides do hold a potentially decisive game in hand.
Ashford A’s ascent to top was ably supported by Postling C who paid a visit to fellow title contenders Ruckinge B. The Ruckinge side started the night was a three point lead over Postling, but over the course of the evening this lead was eroded to nothing with Postling C sending Ruckinge B to their first defeat of the season 6-3. The Postling C side of Steve Powell, Adam Gadjewski, and Nigel Stansfield all overcame an out of sorts Trevor Heales, with only Adam requiring a fifth leg seal the win. The form player for Postling was Steve Powell who dropped a solitary leg to Chris Cloake to take a hat trick of wins. Nigel Stansfield lost out to a very stubborn Chris Cloake in his first singles, but easily came through against Mike Galvan and Trevor Heales. At 6-2 the final singles was critical, a win for Postling C and they would be joint top, a win for Ruckinge B would keep Postling C in joint second. On this occasion is was Mike Galvan who produced a captains performance, after sharing the first two legs with Adam Gadjawski, Mike was able to calm his nerves quicker and ran away with the final two legs 11-2, 11-4. With Ashford A top, Ruckinge B are second but only by virtue of games won, and Postling C are third. These three are now over ten points clear of the chasing pack.
Sportsmen A & Hamstreet A now find themselves in no man’s land, a drift of the top but a few points clear of the relegation battle, and their head to head might make all the difference, getting a few points closer to the top or being dragging into the relegation fight.
Due to the adverse weather the final match of the week Ruckinge D v Postling B was postponed, but this was bottom against second bottom, and any result other better than 8-1 for either side would see both teams leapfrog Ashford B and closer to safety.