Bath & District League table tennis is something I’ve always played since my teenage years. There has been so many changes in those 15 years to the rules, ball sizes and players coming and going. However the coverage has stayed the same, just the odd small piece lodged between Sunday football, skittles and darts at the end of the sports section of the paper.
However this season saw another increase in playing standards in the bottom league of the Bath & District Table Tennis leagues. The Radstock Wreckers joined the second division as a new team who are looking to move swiftly up the leagues into the Premiership where most of their squad could hold their own.
Every member of their 5 man squad carries an over 50% win ratio with four of them over 70%. Wayne Button and David Gamlin are their two top players both on 80% plus. So it’s not surprising that they have won 7 of their 17 games 10-0 with their only loss coming to Bear Flat A in second place.
Standing in their way though is the impressive Bear Flat A team who signed on Paul Green who is yet to lose a game in the division. Up until last night they were top but having played a game more and now trail by just 4 points.
Their team has improved massively under the guidance of captain Justin Johnson who kept together the core of this better performing players from last season. Andrew Steady and Johnson have both achieved over 70% win ratios this season which is around 20% better than they both did last season. This coupled with Peter Gibbs and Mikhail Asanovic getting 67% and 54% respectively in a well balanced rotation system.
So going into the last week of the season it looks like this:
Radstock 37 points
Bear Flat A 33 points
Both teams are away but the Wreckers have the advantage of sealing the league title a day before Bear Flat play. Bottom club Bathford E host the Wreckers on Tuesday 5th April whilst second bottom club Batheaston B host Bear Flat on the Wednesday.
The Wreckers need just 7 points from the 10 on offer to clinch the league next week after overcoming my team Key Centre B last night (30/03/16) 7-3 to go top. Our captain Sue Ruse managed a win along with my brace but we couldn’t manage to get anything more out of the game with Button putting on a very strong showing for the hosts (sorry Justin).
So can the bottom two clubs take any points in these two remaining games?
Both teams only have pride to play for but they could still spring a surprise or two. Bathford E have Mark Davis playing for them who was a Division One player only two seasons ago. He rarely loses all 3 games but will need the help of John Holding to try and stop another rout by the Wreckers.
Batheaston B fair slightly better with Phil Gentle currently on 56% win ratio and Norman Thomas capable of pulling off good results against better players.
To conclude I think the Wreckers have won the division despite Paul Green’s 100% record for Bear Flat A. They have shown over the course of the season that they can play any combination of their 5 players and still win a game with near maximum points. Both teams should be given the opportunity to go up with Batheaston A coming down along with either Yatton Keynall C or Mayfield.
But come on, everyone wants to go up as champions right?! Should be some exciting games next week!