Both division one and two of the Northampton Men’s Veterans Winter League are shaping up for an exciting end to the season, writes OLIVER CONOPO.
With both divisions beginning to take shape, a handful of teams are fighting it out for the division one title, and for promotion from division two.
It’s the familiar face of County A who lead the way at the top of division one, having played nine matches, winning seven and losing just one.
Their latest victory came at Northampton B, where a side of David Brown and Graham Irons, Tony Pratt and Anthony Kendall comfortably dispatched their opponents 6-2.
It is far from comfortable at the top for County, with Northampton A just a point behind them, but having played two matches less.
Third-placed Dallington A also increased the pressure on County by closing the gap at the top to two points with a game in hand, following their 7-1 win over Abington A.
The pairing of Oli Reis and Phil Lewis were formidable on the night, winning all four sets for the loss of just two games.
Dallington’s second pair of Mark Gillinson and Paul Hampden-Smith lost just four games in their three sets won, but were edged out in the fourth 6-2 by Abington’s Karl Adams and Dominic Sefton.
Things are not looking so close at the bottom of division one however, with a winless Northampton C stuck to the foot of the table, 11 points from safety.
The race for promotion looks set to go down to the wire, with all but one team still in the hunt for the title. Just 18 points separate top side Nether Heyford and second bottom Dallington B, but if Dallington pick up maximum points from their three games in hand, they will go top.
Table-topping Heyford may have a 10-point cushion over second place County, but again, games in hand look to be playing a key role in the promotion battle.
Having played a game less than Heyford, maximum points in their next outing would see the gap cut to just two points, highlighting how close the race to join the top division really is.