The Reading table tennis league season gets underway next week with 48 teams spread across 4 divisions, giving a full quota of 12 teams per division.
For this season points will be scored for each set won rather than 2 points for a win and 1 for a draw. This is a fairly controversial change but one the RDTTA committee felt was right to try following significant support for it at the Associations AGM. Meanwhile more teams and players will be taking part in the popular Youth League at the Bluecoat School, Sonning.
Here's a preview of the 4 new Senior Divisions...
In Division 1, Kingfisher A and Kingfisher B look like the two clear favourites for the title. Only 3 or 4 teams remain from last season’s division 1 with no Our Lady of Peace team now featuring in the top flight. Kingfisher A have Hari Gehlot, Dmitry Khakhamov, Krasimir Ivanov and Sagar Sawant in their squad while the B team may just have the edge on their rivals with Mark Banks and Martin Adams in their quintet alongside Richard Rosinski and new recruits Artur Morar and Lyazid Wirkhani.
Sonning Common & Peppard A could feature highly after finishing 4th last year with Gary Morgan, Neil Hurford and Joe Barraclough in their side alongside Jason Roberts and Malcolm Gregory, as may Tidmarsh A with Steve Murgatroyd added to their squad, and Sonning Common & Peppard B with Andy Wang added to their division 2 promotion winning team. Division 2 champions, Curzon Club A, can also expect to be vying for a top half finish with regular trio John Willcocks, Jon Willis and Pete Bradley likely to be better than most.
Tidmarsh B also look good enough to avoid the drop, as do new team Kennet Valley Free Church A, led by Julian Telford (84% in division 2 last year), and Kingfisher C.
With so many teams moved up to division 1 it could be a real battle at the bottom. Last season’s division 3 champions Milestone A, Sonning Common & Peppard C and Kingfisher D may have most to do in what promises to be an intriguing season’s table tennis.
In Division 2 most teams featured in last season’s division 3 so perhaps promoted Springfield A may start as favourites with Phil Burke 88% in division 3 last season. Other challengers may include Sonning Sports A and Sonning Common & Peppard D, 4th and 5th in Division 3 last time around. Curzon Club B could do well with Charlotte Binley and Carine Bey in their side as could Pangbourne WMC.
Milestone B are a merger of last season’s Milestone B side and Saiyan Brothers so may do well, as should both Kingfisher sides E and F. Tilehurst Methodists A and three Our Lady of Peace teams complete the division and any of them could challenge. Chris West and Clive Perry will spearhead OLOP A’s challenge while Johnson Xu could do well for OLOP B after stepping up from division 4 last season where he got an impressive 94%. Perhaps Tilehurst Methodists A and Our Lady of Peace C have most to do to avoid the drop.
In Division 3 promoted Sonning Sports B will want to do well although a second promotion would perhaps be a step too far. Reading FC A have always featured near the top at this level and a serious promotion challenge may ensue this time around. Both Kingfisher G and Kingfisher H may do well, particularly the G team with Nils Wedi, Joaquin Sabater and Gwynne Penny in their side, as should Springfield B. Tidmarsh D and Tidmarsh E will at least be mid table, along with Tilehurst Methodists B. Of the rest Springfield C, Our Lady of Peace D, Curzon Club C and Sonning Common & Peppard E will do well to avoid trouble at the bottom.
Favourites for promotion in Division 4 appear to be Sonning Common & Peppard F and Sonning Common & Peppard G with Our Lady of Peace E also likely to feature. Mike Casserley, Gerry Bacon and Julian James are a formidably trio at this level for SC&P F, while Anthony Reeve and Marko Madzar should see the SC&P G team in contention. Reading FC B may be good enough to challenge this season while new team Kennet Valley Free Church B may surprise a few. Springfield D and Springfield E are likely to end up mid-table as should Sonning Sports C and Tidmarsh E. Kingfisher I, Milestone C and Tilehurst Methodists C complete the division and all will be keen to steer clear of the bottom.
Many clubs would welcome additional players – contact Nigel Maltby at email@example.com who can put you in touch with a team / club in your area.
Also there is plenty of room for more junior players in the Youth League on Friday evenings. Anyone interested in that can contact Nigel who will put them in touch with Youth League organisers Wendy Porter and Emma Barraclough.
RDTTA General Secretary