Deadline day for deciding the divisions has arrived as the teams are finalised

By Katie Garner

With the league season well and truly wrapped up, trophies dished out and rankings revealed, it’s now time to turn our attentions to the upcoming games in September, with the latest league meeting focusing on settling the divisions for the new season. Usually what happens is the winning teams will go up a division, whilst the clubs that came in last place will drop down into the division below. Sometimes deciding the divisions requires a bit of juggling if some clubs have more than one team in a division, however as a committee, we always do our best to make it as fair as possible.

Our Mixed squad came second in Division Two last season, which means we remain in the same division. Division Two is a smaller group featuring only four clubs, but it should be quite different this year with an injection of new clubs. Redbridge One have dropped down, so they should be a tough opponent, whilst brand new club Seven Kings will be joining the division for the first time. Shuttlers will no longer feature on the rota after being expelled from the league due to bad behaviour, however we shall still be seeing the familiar faces of Corinthians Two. Our Mixed team will be experiencing some changes this year as well, with a couple of new ladies stepping up the plate, since Jess has had to leave due to work commitments in Southend, with Helen also departing the squad because of a hectic work schedule. The Mixed team is still being debated due to oversubscription so I’ll reveal the squad details nearer to September when I’ve finished brainstorming.

End of an era for the ladies pairs

End of an era for the ladies pairs

Our Ladies Pairs are also undergoing drastic changes for the new season, which is all very exciting. Interestingly, both of our two ladies pairs duos will be in the same division this year. Jess / Janet and I, who played as Ladies Pairs A, unfortunately came last in our division meaning that we drop out of Division One to enter Division Two. Despite also coming last in the second division, our B pair will also be remaining in Division Two  instead of going to the third division since Hunters B are withdrawing meaning there is space for us to stay. So, not only for the first time in a number of years are both of our ladies pairs playing in the same division, but we are also completely re-vamping our squad with some new blood, meaning anything could happen! I have high hopes however, as I will now be paired with ex-Emerson Eagle Division Two winner Kay, who last season played with her daughter Nicola. Now formally moving over to Wychelm, Kay will be playing in our team instead, filling a Jess sized gap as my partner as our A pair. We are also changing our B pair, putting in place champion smasher Clem playing with Welsh net supremo Janet. I think the complimenting qualities in their play will make them pretty damn good, and I am looking forward to seeing how their ranking develops. Hopefully we can both do well and make our mark on Division Two with some trademark Wychelm gusto, enthusiasm and energetic flair.

A quick note, but the ladies pairs format has also changed after some clubs based further away made complaints about having to travel to so many away games. Now, each club will only host one home game, where they will have to play all of the pairs from each club. This means more matches on one night and makes it even more vital to attend, so please can our new ladies bear this in mind. I believe it will still be best of three games to 21, so it could make match nights a bit longer and mean we need to make allowances for more court time, or more courts available. We’ll have to see how it goes. We will be taking on Emerson Eagles B and Corinthians C as well as each other, which will be quite odd!

Lastly, on to the men’s team. I think we came fourth last season, so we will be staying in the same division, which is concluding Division Four. On the line up are Barking Three, Kudos, Emerson Eagles Three and Barking Four, so should be quite an interesting one. From our point of view, I am thinking of mixing up the men’s team a bit this year because of the heaps of interest we’ve had from club players, so once again I’ll let everyone know nearer September once the final squad names have been decided.

Numbers are sadly dwindling for the Challenge Cup, which is a shame as it is a refreshing tournament injection to the league season. There are currently only seven clubs entered for this year, including Ramgarhia, Harold Hill, Hunters, Redbridge, Emerson Eagles A and B as well as us. Even more exciting is the fact that potentially one team could go straight to the semi finals depending on the draw, so please everyone keep their fingers and toes crossed as it would be fabulous if this was us!

Any questions just let me know, and remember I am your representative at the league meetings, so if you have any issues or queries you want to raise, then just speak to me – feedback is always useful!