National junior competition has a new format this season which doubles the number of trophies and clubs’ designating their teams’ playing level as “Tier One” or “Tier Two” should reduce the chances of one-sided matches, the benefits enhanced further when pool results divide Tier One teams into gold, silver and bronze standards.
The opening games for players under 16 years old took place over the past weekend. Five teams from London entered the boys’ Tier One with four sides in one pool and one in another. In Chelmsford, London Lynx lost to the Boswells School and Urmston Grammar School B team despite competing well. For its four other entrants the draw meant that they had to travel over a hundred miles to Poole in Dorset, Wessex’s home. Each match was won by two sets to none and Richmond earned the gold rating while London Giants, runners up and Wessex are rated silver.
Many more girls’ teams had entered Tier Two than One with just two London sides in Tier One, Dartford in one pool and Richmond in another. Unbeaten in four games, Richmond topped its pool while Dartford could manage only one win in four games.
The format seems to have worked for Tier Two entrants too. Giants, London Lynx,
Onyx Echo and Willesden Divas were in one pool and, while Divas lost all its matches, the others each won two games and lost one, the excitement remaining until the final whistle. Another pool including London teams opened with Richmond beating Polonia Ladies. Neither team then lost again showing their superiority over the other four.
Richmond’s under-sixteens are all Gold Standard.