And so the league programme for 2022-23 has come to an end. I can announce that the winners and runners-up for each of our divisions was as follows:
Men's Division 1
Men's Division 2
As far as keeping things undecided until as late as possible is concerned, it would have been difficult to map out the fixture programmes any better. All 3 divisions were decided in the last fixture round of the season, with multiple outcomes possible in each case:
* Maidstone Diamonds’ win over Strood in their final match lifted them into 2nd place, 1 point ahead of Invicta.
* The following weekend, Invicta were at home to Dartford in the final match in the division.
* A 3-0 win for Invicta would have seen them take the title at Dartford’s expense. A 3-0 win for Dartford would have left Invicta in 3rd place, 1 point behind Diamonds.
* In the end, Dartford prevailed 3-1 to secure the title and Invicta drew level on points with Diamonds. But Invicta’s higher sets difference saw them take 2nd spot, with Diamonds slipping to 3rd.
Men’s Division 1
The contest had boiled down to a straight race between Dartford-1 (reigning champions) and Team Medway.
* Dartford played their final league match of the season on 19th March, gaining a 3-1 win over Oasis (more about that later).
* Medway’s 5-set win over Strood the same day (15-13 in the final set and with only 5 points between the teams over the 5 sets) kept the gap at 6 points in Dartford’s favour but with Medway having 2 more matches to play.
* Medway then notched up a 3-0 win over Tonbridge on 16th April, to close the gap to 3 points.
So, all to play for as Medway went into their final match of the season, at home to Oasis.
* Mathematically, Dartford had their fingers crossed for an Oasis win as even a 3-2 win for Medway would have been enough to draw level on points and sets difference, but with Medway having a superior aggregate set points difference.
* Medway secured a 3-1 win in the end, so they pipped Dartford on sets difference, by just 1 set.
* Back to that Dartford v Oasis match on 19th March.
* The 3rd set between the 2 teams went to 35-33 in Oasis’ favour. If Dartford had been able to sneak that set instead of losing it, we would have needed to get the calculators out for possible outcomes.
Men’s Division 2
* Tonbridge-2’s win over Maidstone-Cobalt drew them level with Maidstone-Rocks on league points and with a tantalisingly close sets difference.
* But Rocks’ 3-1 win over Dartford-3 a week later sealed Rocks taking the title by 3 league points.
* It also left D-3 just a single point short of T-2. If D-3 had been able to take an extra set against Rocks, then Tonbridge and D-3 would have been tied on league points and with an identical sets difference. With an aggregate set points difference of only 11 separating the 2 teams at the end, who knows how it could have finished if D-3 had won that extra set……
The Foundation League has a number of fixtures which have not yet been played and I hope that at least some of them will be played in the coming weeks.
Updated full tables and results can be found on the Tables & Results tab.