The pre-Christmas gathering summarises the season so far

By Katie Garner

After our initial meeting at the season start in September, us hard-core nosy parkers turned up promptly at 8.00pm this evening for one of our regular league committee meetings, at Dagenham Park School, the home of Hunters. Chaired by the wizened Stephen Beech, we had a quick catch up on the season so far, as well as picking the draw for the New Year’s Challenge Cup, lottery style.

First things first, a provisional date has been set for the annual cross club league tournament, that has proved such a success for the past two years running now. Secretary Mike Smith, who is leading the charge with this, has requested the same weekend in May that has worked in the past, so things are looking ship shape in that department. Fellow committee member Kellie, from Hunters, is also taking the helm at arranging the bi-annual Dinner and Dance, which is hoping to be hosted next June. Kellie will email the league clubs come January to confirm member interest and available dates.

Whilst munching on Paula’s delicious homemade toffee apple cupcakes, the topic of refreshments arose. Interestingly, it is actually in the rules that the home club have to provide refreshments on their match nights, for their opponents. Suddenly our bottle of squash and water seems substandard, however this does count as refreshment to a thirsty player I’m sure. Definitely something to bear in mind moving forward, especially the team captains (aka myself for the Mixed and Ladies and Gary for the Mens).

An issue that my team asked me to flag with the committee was the issue of disqualified club Shuttlers, who seem to have made a reappearance under the guise of new club 7 Kings, who joined the league this season. After raising this during the meeting, I was reassured that although the majority of the players are the same as the previous Shuttlers squad, the troublemakers have now actually joined Barking, who are keeping a close eye on them. Hopefully this puts your mind at rest fellas.

Match updates

Now on to the more interesting stuff. With only one match night under the belt of both our Ladies Pairs, there is nothing huge to report in this arena. Wychelm A (myself and Kay) are currently sitting in second place out of five with three points, with Redbridge A sneaking the lead with four points. Wychelm B (Janet and Tracy), are currently in fourth place with one point. But like I say, with only one match night done and dusted, it is still anyone’s game, although I have a gut feeling that Redbridge will do very nicely here.

As for the Mixed, Wychelm are sitting pretty at the top at the moment, with a comfy lead of five points to second place Redbridge with one point. So far, three games have been played in Division Two and they have all involved us, so that could be one reason for our high total, however we have won two of our three match nights, so that definitely works in our favour. Our squad is quite strong here, so I’m keeping everything crossed for a decent season.

Moving on to our Men in Division Four, they are currently down in fifth place out of six, with three points, leaders 7 Kings with  a cushy seven points, closely followed by Frenford with six. Plagued by pre-season injuries, our reserves have definitely been getting a good workout in this quarter, so thanks to all the guys who have had to step in. Hopefully our men can up their games for the second half of the season to clock up some more points.

We also did the draw for the Challenge Cup tonight, which kicks off with the quarter final stage in late January, followed by the semi finals in mid March, whilst the finals occur in May. Taking part this year we have Emerson Eagles, who have entered two teams, Ramgarhia, Hunters, Redbridge, Harold Hill and ourselves. Due to the odd number of contestants, this means that one club was going to receive a bye, which means they skip the quarter final stage and turn up straight in the semis. Luckily for us, Wychelm received the bye, so we go through the first round with flying colours and minimal effort! We are due to face either Ramgarhia or Emerson Eagles B in the semi finals, so although I predict it will be high flyers Ramgarhia, I’m hoping the handicap system will help us out here to give us a look in at the win.

Our next meeting is pencilled in for early January, so if you have any issues, questions, queries or complaints you would like me to raise in the next meeting, come and see me on club night or get in touch. Remember, I am Wychelm’s representative for the league, so I’m there for you and your interests.