As the 2023/24 season comes to an end, we reflect on a year which has seen important new functionality added to the system. TT Leagues continues to be used across a wide range of competitions at local, regional and national levels.

The 2023/24 has seen continued growth and development of TT Leagues. The software is now used across a wide range of competitions at local, county, regional and national levels as follows:

  • 140 local leagues
  • 4 regional/county leagues
  • 6 competitions in the British League
  • 5 competitions in the County Championships
  • 16 venues that run competitions in the National Cadet and National Junior Leagues

Applying TT Leagues to such a diverse range of competitions with so many different formats and regulatory structures has tested both our ingenuity and the flexibility of the system. But TT Leagues has proved it can meet the different challenges these competitions present.

And there has been increasing cross-fertilisation across the competitions – new features developed specifically for one competition have proved useful in other competitions.

We are currently working with a few leagues as they trial TT Leagues ahead of adopting it for next season, so we expect to see further expansion in the use of TT Leagues next season.

Continued growth brings its challenges – particularly in terms of maintaining and improving the speed and performance of the system. The developers are introducing a new approach to the management of server capacity. In future, as demand on the system increases, more capacity will automatically be made available on the server so that it can deal with sudden increases in demand. We hope that this will significantly improve the performance and robustness of the system – but speed and performance will still be monitored on a regular basis.

Knockout and Handicap Formats

These new formats were the main development in TT Leagues this season and represent a significant step forward in the competitions that can now be managed within TT Leagues.

The initial focus has been on using these formats in Local League competitions. Thirty leagues have been using the new formats to run their Divisional Cups and Handicap competitions. Others have been trialling the formats in the background on the Admin system. Some have used them for just one competition, whilst other leagues have used them with multiple competitions. With the further development that we plan, we hope to see an increase in uptake next season.

It is still our aim to produce formats that will enable leagues to run their Closed tournaments using TT Leagues software. The KO formats are a big step forward, but we still have work to do before we reach that goal.

Tom Purcell (League Secretary, Liverpool & District Table Tennis League) commented on his experience in using these new formats: “We have used the new KO and Handicap formats for both our Divisional Cups and for our Handicap competition. These formats are easy to apply and players value seeing the results in the same way that has applied to league matches for some time. We look forward to using them again next season.”

National Competitions

The extension of TT Leagues beyond Local League competitions has been the main feature of the development of TT Leagues since the pandemic. Successively, we have applied it to British League, County Championships and National Cadet & National Junior Leagues. This has significantly increased the number of results handled by the system.

For British Leagues, there are more than 13,000 individual matches played each season, for County Championships about 7,000 individual matches and for NCL/NJL about 3,000 individual matches.

Henry Arthur (Executive Officer for the British League) says: “The online entry system for British League has streamlined the entry process and avoids the repeated entry of information that occurred with the former paper-based system. We can see from the data that we now extract from Google Analytics, that large number of players use their mobile phones at the various British League venues to get updates on results.”

Mark Roper (Organiser of NCL/NJL at Cippenham Table Tennis Club) said: “We have been using TT Leagues to manage NCL/NJL at Cippenham for two seasons now. Initially there was a fair amount of work to get things set up and become familiar with the system. This process was made relatively straightforward by the excellent online tutorials and timely support from Neil Hurford to overcome any glitches.

“Once up and running it has been a great to be able to make results available to all players and coaches on our website on the day of the event.”

Planned developments for next season

As in previous years, we will be using the summer months to develop the functionality of the TT Leagues system. This year the initial focus will be on the following priority items.

  • Completing the development of the KO/Handicap formats: These will improve the way the formats operate and deal with areas for further enhancement that have arisen during the season. We wanted to make these formats as flexible as possible – but it is apparent that there is still more required to meet the needs of how leagues run their Cup and Handicap competition. As part of this process, we will explore how the formats can be developed so that they can be used for national cup competitions such as the SBL Premier Cup and the finals of the English Leagues Cup Competitions.
  • Incorporation of features that are already in TT Clubs: In particular, greater flexibility about the display of information on the homepage of TT Leagues sites. This has been a frequent request from Leagues.
  • Extend the functionality available within the App: The intention is to start the process of adding further features that will transform the App into an information hub for league table tennis.
  • Public Scoreboards: These will provide “real-time” display of the match score. This will enable Local Leagues to provide a “professional standard” display of the match score on a video screen for their “Finals Nights” or other prestigious competitions.
  • Further Development of British League Online Entry System: Various changes are planned to streamline the operation of the system and make it easier for clubs to submit their British League entries.
  • Development of an Online Entry System for NCL/NJL: This will follow in the footsteps of British League by enabling clubs to enter teams and register their players online.

These will be the priority items. Once they are nearing completion, we will consider what further developments can be undertaken within the time and resource available.