Weekend 1 at Derby Arena (Picture by Chris Rayner)

Titles wide open as JBL returns

Paul Stimpson

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The Junior British League comes to a conclusion at the weekend and to say there is plenty to play for at Derby Arena is something of an understatement.

A highly competitive first weekend in November left the destination of the titles wide open in several divisions, including the Boys’ Premier Division.

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With only two points separating the top six, and several fixtures to come between them, it is not just the title at stake but also a place in the top half when the division splits.

That will happen after two more rounds of fixtures and currently in possession of the top four slots are Fusion and Cliffedale Chandlers, both on 7pts, and Dublin and Ormesby who are a point behind. With XLNT Draycott and BATTS on 5pts, a lot of the positions could change hands.

The Girls’ Premier Division is more clear-cut. London Academy lead the way with a perfect record of 10pts, two clear of Kingfisher and three ahead of Cardiff City and Fusion. With a three-point gap to the fifth-placed side – XLNT Draycott – the divisional split looks virtually set in stone.

The lower divisions do not split, so each team will face each other once more in the six-team leagues. Leading the way in the boys’ Division 1 are Swerve, but it is another close one as they hold just a one-point advantage over three others, in a division in which no team is unbeaten.

The second division tables are both led by unbeaten teams – Ormesby B have a perfect 10 points in 2A, two clear of Cardiff City, while Colebridge head 2B with nine points, again two ahead of the team in second place, Britannia Ipswich.

However, there is a contrast in the two Division 3 tables. In 3A, it is Dublin B’s to lose as they are three points clear of Ormesby C, having racked up 10 points on the first weekend. But 3B has a three, or even four-way tussle for supremacy. Cardiff City B, Wigan and Kingfisher all have seven points and all took points off each other back in November. Wood Green, two points behind, are not out of the picture either.

The situation is the same in 4A, where Rotherham Scorpions, Bishop Auckland and Generation 2 all have seven points and Byng Hall have five. In 4B, leaders Halton II have a three-point lead ahead of a log-jam of four teams on five points.

Girls’ Division 1 is the closest of them all, with only four points separating the entire division and no side undefeated. XLNT Draycott II are top, a point above Ellenborough, but no team is totally out of contention.

Brighton have a two-point cushion on both Wensum II and Halton in Division 2, while Wensum III are in the box seat in Division 3, unbeaten on nine points and with a two-point advantage over Woodfield.

Several 100% records are also on the line, with two in the Girls’ Premier Division – London Academy duo Nomin Baasan and Annie Hedlund. Woodfield’s Megan Jones (eight matches) is the other girl to boast a maximum record, while in the boys’ divisions, Kian Burgess (Britannia Ipswich), James Skelton (Dublin B) and Louie Evans (Cardiff City B) all boasted 10/10 on the first weekend.

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