2017 Scratch League Review

2017 Scratch League Review

LETCHWORTH SCRATCH TEAM CAPTAIN CHARLES MCKAY (L) RECEIVING THE PRESIDENTS CUP FROM HGU PRESIDENT ROBIN COLBOURNE (R)

 

The 2017 Scratch League trophies were presented at the HGU County Dinner at The Shire London on 20th October. This was the 29th season of the Scratch League and it also saw the first playing of the B League. This league was designed for clubs blessed with more low handicap players than their scratch team can accommodate. It comprised teams from five clubs in Divisions 1, 3 and 4 of the Scratch League. Next season it will be expanded to eight teams with the addition of Ashridge, Essendon and West Herts. This season Berkhamsted briefly led the B League twice, but Letchworth finished the season unbeaten with three wins and a draw to seal the title.

Division 6 comprised two sub-divisions of three teams playing each other home and away. Bushey managed to achieve a perfect 4-0 record to clinch promotion. However, in a pattern repeated elsewhere this season, they were unable to maintain this form to the end. Mid Herts claimed the other sub-division. After losing a transatlantic coin toss, they had to travel to Bushey where the divisional winners were to be determined by a play-off. Against the odds, Mid Herts emerged victorious.

In Division 5 The Shire London started with a heavy home loss to Cheshunt and a draw before winning three straight matches. This was enough to ensure promotion. However, the winners went unbeaten with three wins and two draws. Having been crowned last season’s Division 6 champions, Cheshunt have now achieved back-to-back titles.

Division 4 saw three teams exchange the lead until Old Fold Manor and East Herts entered the fray. These two teams were destined to play the final match in the division. Starting the match with a perfect record of 5-0, Old Fold Manor only needed two points to win the title. Alas, they stumbled at the last and had to console themselves with promotion. This final victory was enough to win the title for East Herts.

Division 3 started with three straight draws suggesting it was going to be closely fought. Essendon’s consistency saw them take second spot and thus promotion to Division 2. With a series of convincing home wins, however, Royston finished the season with four wins and a draw to remain unbeaten and win the division.

From early on Division 2 looked like a two horse race. Ashridge and The Hertfordshire both started with three straight wins, while West Herts suffered three losses. At this point fortunes took an abrupt about turn. Ashridge suffered two heavy defeats. West Herts, meanwhile, won their three remaining matches to clinch second place. However, two narrow away losses to close the season were enough for The Hertfordshire to win the division.

In Division 1 next season The Hertfordshire will meet a familiar foe. In 2012 they were both in Division 5, in 2014 they were both in Division 4 and in 2015 they were both in Division 3. In 2018 they will cross swords again with Hadley Wood.

Meanwhile, this season started with a statistical quirk: every team except one started their season with a loss. Hadley Wood and Berkhamsted both overcame early set-backs to briefly lead the division. Our winners, however, are the first team to win all their matches in Division 1 since 2010. In doing so they scored an incredible 76.5 points from a possible 96. Having finished as runners-up in both 2015 and 2016, they have finally become Champions. Congratulations to Letchworth.

Fixtures for 2018 are already being arranged. I’d like to wish all participating clubs every success in next year’s competition.

Patrick Wright

Scratch League Organiser

ROYSTON SCRATCH TEAM CAPTAIN STEVE ROGERS RECEIVING THE DIVISION 3 WINNERS SHIELD

EAST HERTS SCRATCH TEAM CAPTAIN KENNETH HAYES RECEIVING THE DIVISION 4 WINNERS SHIELD

CHESHUNT CLUB PRESIDENT MICHAEL WHEELER RECEIVING THE DIVISION 5 WINNERS SHIELD

MID-HERTS SCRATCH TEAM CAPTAIN DAVID HALL RECEIVING THE DIVISION 6 WINNERS SHIELD

LETCHWORTH CLUB CAPTAIN JIM ABRAHAM RECEIVES THE B LEAGUE WINNING SHIELD 

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