Drumchapel Glasgow dominated the Premier Division as the Women’s British League returned to WV Active Wolverhampton.
More than 150 players in 38 teams competed across six divisions. The titles will be decided on the second weekend of competition, which is on January 20-21.
Player of the Weekend was Natalie Riley of Halton 1, which was accepted on her behalf by team captain Clare Peers. WBL debutants TJs Super Women were the Team of the Weekend.
Drumchapel Glasgow took a large step towards the Premier Division title as they put down a perfect weekend with five wins out of five and only five individual matches conceded.
They lead Ormesby by three points, while champions Fusion are back in fourth place on four points, having won only one of their matches.
Drumchapel’s closest match was actually their first, which they won 4-2 against Dun Laoire. The Irish side twice levelled the match, notably when Mia O’rahilly Egan defeated Hannah Silcock 3-2 (9-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 15-13) in match two. That tremendous fightback was the spur for O’rahilly Egan to go on to top the averages with a full set of 10 victories.
Her second victory of the match, over Yat Poon, made it 2-2 but Drumchapel sealed their victory as Bethany O’Connell overcame Sabina Devereux and Silcock beat Erin Thompson, both in four.
Ormesby opened up their campaign with 5-1 victories over Colebridge and Halton, and with Drumchapel beating Colebridge 6-0 in Round 2, their meeting with Ormesby in the third set of fixtures already had a pivotal look.
They shared the first two matches, Poon defeating Karina Le Fevre to put the Scottish side in front, but Mollie Patterson levelling by getting past Silcock. That was as close as it got, though, as Drumchapel won the next four, though Silcock had to withstand a spirited Ella Pashley fightback to win the final match in five, having led 2-0.
The leaders rounded off their weekend with 5-1 wins over Halton and Fusion, but Ormesby will be disappointed to have dropped a point against Dun Laoire in their final match, leaving the Irish in third place having won one and drawn three.
Ormesby led 2-1 and 3-2 – O’rahilly Egan’s double kept Dun Laoire in it and included an 11-8 in-the-fifth triumph over Patterson. Devereux then clinched a point as she beat Rebecca Savage 3-2 (12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 11-6).
O’rahilly Egan is the only player with a 100% record in the averages, followed by Poon, whose only defeat in 10 was against O’rahilly Egan.
In Division One, there are two unbeaten teams at the top of the table – though both Joola Plymouth and Draycott only won two matches each to stand on 7pts, one ahead of Byng Hall and Fusion II, leaving plenty to play for on weekend two.
Plymouth started with a 6-0 win over their second team and beat Fusion II 4-2 in the final round, bookending three draws in the middle. Draycott’s victories were against Plymouth seconds and Byng Hall.
The meeting between the top two came in Round 3 and was a switchback as Draycott took a 2-0 lead, Plymouth hit back to lead 3-2 and Draycott then clinched a draw. The standout match was Yuki Gresswell’s 3-2 (10-12, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6) win over Isabelle Lacorte to put Plymouth’s first point on the board, but Lacorte bounced back to win the all-important final match in four against Gemma Kerr.
In the averages, Naomi Coker of Draycott won all eight of her matches to top the list, one ahead of Plymouth’s Rachel Trevorrow. Letitia McMullan of Byng Hall won 8/10.
In Division Two, Wensum came as close as it’s possible to get to a perfect record, winning all five matches and dropping only a solitary individual tie. They hold a four-point lead at the top, with Drumchapel Glasgow II in second.
With four 6-0 victories, their only dropped match was in the 5-1 win over Ellenborough in Round 2, and it came in the opening match as Hurey Ahmetoglu beat Ayla Chitty 3-2 (7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7).
Not surprisingly, Wensum dominate the averages as Mei Yin Au Yeung and Tsz Yan Nancy Yeh won all 10 of their ties. Joining Chitty on 90% is Ahmetoglu.
Cippenham are also in the 100% club and they lead Division Three by two points from Worthing.
Their closest match was the one against their nearest challengers, in Round 4. Cippenham were never behind, though they were pegged back to 1-1 and 3-2, while Anna Piercey was taken to a decider by Holly Holder. The sixth match sealed the overall win for Cippenham as Mia Lakhani beat Holder 3-1 (12-10, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7).
Rachael Iles had a perfect record from 10 matches for Cippenham, with team-mate Lakhani and Lok Sze Sum of Worthing just behind on 9/10.
Ackworth head up Division Four and are unbeaten, with four wins and a draw. They are two points ahead of Youngs at the top.
They beat their nearest rivals in Round 2 and their dropped point was two rounds later, against Cippenham II, who led 1-0 and 2-1 but then needed Julie Dean to rescue a point with a four-game win over Maahi Dahiya.
Ackworth’s Sophie Ackred won all eight of her matches, while Silke Heinen of Jersey won nine of the full complement of 10.
There are no unbeaten teams in the eight-team Division Five, where Drumchapel Glasgow III and Greenhouse II are top with four wins and one defeat apiece, putting them a point clear of St Neots B.
Drumchapel’s defeat was 4-2 in the first round against St Neots, who won four of the opening five matches, including a 12-10 in-the-fifth victory for Sarah Hudson over Senga Thomson.
Drumchapel’s victory over Greenhouse in the final round of matches put them level at the top and was also by a 4-2 margin.
They won the first three, including Thomson overcoming Luna Archard 13-11 in the fifth, but were forced to sweat on the result as Greenhouse won the next two. Thomson clinched it for Drumchapel in three against Emilie Fray.
In the averages, St Neots’ Hudson won all eight of her matches, while Archard won nine from 10.