As the new season approaches in the Hastings & District Table Tennis League, the league has attracted 36 entries, spread evenly over three divisions, an increase of 10% on last season. Hollington, with 8 teams and Bexhill with 7 have now overtaken Saints as the biggest clubs in the area.
The increase from eleven to twelve teams in Division 1 sees Saints B and Saints C promoted from Division 2, replacing the former Saints B who have effectively disbanded.
The division should still be dominated by three teams, Bexhill A, Hollington A and Saints A, although Bexhill and Hollington have both suffered setbacks. The strength of champions Bexhill A has always been the size and strength in depth of their squad, but, with two players recovering from illness, their resources may be stretched. Lewis Mayhew, Rob Warner and Martin Kellaway, however, will not easily give up their title.
Meanwhile, Hollington A, led by Paul Barry, have lost Nathan Darby to work commitments but have signed Basher Obeyed, a former Syrian international, to replace him. Saints A’s ability to move into the top two will depend, as usual, on the availability of Ritchie Venner and Dave Butler.
Nick Standen returns to league action with Hollington C, but Bexhill C, with Graham Gillett to the fore, will make do without Stuart Hobden, who has retired.
The promotion of the two Saints teams should ensure a mini-league with Tigers A to attempt to stave off relegation. Saints C will probably be favourites to survive, if they can field hard-bat man Ron Davenport on a regular basis.