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B&D League Christmas break

Christmas is upon us and the final match has been played in 2013. The league is settling down now as we approach the break when the competition separates into two divisions. With most teams having a couple of fixtures remaining in this section, it is not at all clear who will be up and who will be down - apart from the top and bottom of course which is pretty clear cut.
B&D League Christmas break

The Silver Kingers

The current standings for the league ranks teams in points order and apart for Lagan (+1) and Lindores (-1) all the teams have played 8 games so far.

Fisherwick have established a clear lead of almost 7 points from their closest challenger; more or less a full match result ahead of the rest. They are certain to start as favourites in Division 1 and indeed it is difficult to see who can offer a real challenge to their continuing domination of the quest for the Silver King. Especially when they carry over their current points advantage into the second stage.

At the bottom of the pile, 4 teams are almost guaranteed to miss the cut: Ballynafeigh 3, NICS and Fruithill have too few points to have any chance of making the cut. On the other hand, Bangor have a slim mathematical possibility of pulling themselves up. But they would have to whitewash Lindores and hope that 3 other teams currently above them fail to pick up any points next year. Still, if there is one team could pull it off it would be Bangor: they have suffered a couple of drubbings at Ballynafeigh but apart from that:

  • they are the only team not to have suffered a defeat at the hands of Fisherwick this year (the match ended 2.5 each)
  • in their final match of 2013, they took out Belfast South in an away match where they gave up over 600 points over the 5 boards

But the odds are stacked against them.

That leaves Muldoons, Ballynafeigh 1, Belfast South, Lagan, Ballynafeigh 2 and Lindores to fight it out in the remaining two weeks of matches in the New Year. Only 5.5 points separate the 6 teams and with Lindores a match in-hand, the points difference is really closer to 3. Check the standings and the final column gives an indication of each teams performance so far. Based on that and Lagan having only one match left to play, it is difficult to see them surviving the cut regardless of their final match result. It could be that either Ballynafeigh 2 or Belfast South will be accompanying Lagan into Division 2. The Ballynafeigh team has failed to live up to its potential with 4 straight loses at the start of the season while Belfast South has lost their early promise despite being bolstered by a well-rated Dutch contingent. Most likely it will be Ballynafeigh's matches that will determine who succeeds. First-up they face whipping-boys NICS, struggling to steal more than a single point from opponents. Then their finale is against Lagan; Lagan will not be giving up gracefully. That could be quite a match - make it a date Thursday 16th January at the Boatclub. Everything to play for.

Stop Press: the rumour mill has it that there may be six teams competing in Division 2 next year with a new team entering the fray. Folks are pointing fingers in all sorts of directions. So far the League Controller has been able to hide behind a Santa costume, but not for much longer...

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