Fusion are the Women’s British League champions – but only just as they held off Drumchapel Glasgow on weekend two of the competition.
Brighton’s team in Division 1 were the Team of the Weekend, while Player of the Weekend wa sKate Watkinson of Draycott III in Division 5. The Solihull Trophy was awarded to umpire Dave Edwards. The award is for a coach, official or player who has most enhanced the WBL this season, based on the most nominations from clubs.
Londoners Fusion (pictured above) held a two-point lead over Drumchapel Premier Division going into the weekend at WV Active Wolverhampton, and both teams got off to the ideal start with matching 4-2 and 5-1 victories in the opening two rounds.
Things opened up for Glasgow in the third round, when Fusion dropped a point in a 3-3 draw against Colebridge. Fusion were never behind, but were pegged back from 2-0 by five-game wins for Amy Marriott and Mari Baldwin against, respectively, Elena Todirca and Tianer Yu. Fusion then took a 2-0 lead, as Maria Engelson completed a double, but Lara Whitton earned a point for Colebridge by defeating Todirca 3-1.
However, Glasgow could not take advantage as, at the same time, they were also drawing 3-3 against Joola Plymouth. In contrast to Fusion, it was Glasgow who had to fight back from 2-1 and 3-2 down as all three Plymouth players – Lois Peake, Sienna Jetha and Rachel Trevorrow – picked up a win. In the end, Hannah Silcock rescued a point for Glasgow by sinking Jetha 3-0 (11-9, 16-14, 11-7).
Sunday began with 6-0 wins for Fusion and Drumchapel against Plymouth and Draycott, setting up the final tie between the top two as the title decider.
The Scottish team needed a 6-0 win to take the title but Tianer Yu shut down those thoughts by putting Fusion ahead with a 3-0 (10, 9, 7) win over Silcock.
Glasgow took the next four to guarantee victory, and it finished 4-2 as Fusion took the title on sets difference of 41-19 to Drumchapel’s 38-22.
Jiaqi Meng was Drumchapel’s lynchpin and ended the competition with a superlative 20 wins out of 20 to top the averages – the next best win-rate was Yu’s 16/20 (80%).
There was a double celebration as Fusion’s seconds took victory in the eight-team Division 1, finishing three points ahead of Dun Laoire.
Fusion won their three Saturday matches to take charge of the division and despite a 3-3 draw against Halton in round 9, they could not be overtaken by the Irish team in the final match.
That finished 3-3 as Dun Laoire twice came from behind to lead 3-2, but were hamstrung by only having two players on duty and therefore gave away two matches, including the sixth.
One of their players was Mia O’Rahilly Egan, who finished with a perfect record of 20 wins from 20 to op the averages.
In Division 2, Wensum took top spot, two points ahead of Drumchapel Glasgow II, but they had a hiccup in Round 8 as they drew with Fulham Brunswick, seeing a 3-1 lead clawed back.
That potentially opened the door to Drumchapel, but Wensum made sure of the title in Round 9 with a 5-1 victory over their rivals, recovering from Ella Barnard losing the opening match to Paula Callaghan as Saskia Key and Isabelle Lacorte both won twice.
Key topped the averages with 18 wins out of 18, a rate she shared with Mijung Choi of Fulham Brunswick.
Ellenborough Ladies held off St Neots to win the eight-team Division 3 by a point – and both NETTS and Cippenham were just a point further behind.
Ellenborough actually failed to win after the split into top and bottom halves as they were beaten 4-2 by Cippenham and then held 3-3 by both NETTS and, finally, St Neots.
St Neots lost to NETTS and beat Cippenham, and victory over Ellenborough would have seen it come down to countback. But Ellenborough led 2-0 and 3-1 to make sure that was not going to happen.
Hurey Ahmetoglu of Ellenborough won all 14 matches before the split and four out of six afterwards to top the averages on 90%.
Greenhouse beat Worthing by two points to win Division 4 as the top two were both unbeaten and streets ahead of the rest.
The difference was that Greenhouse drew twice and Worthing four times. The meeting between the two in round 10 was one of the draws as Worthing led 1-0, trailed 2-1 and led 3-2. It was Holly Holder who put them 3-2 up with a fine 3-2 (11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 10-12, 15-13) win over Luna Archard. Parmis Ahsani clinched a draw for Greenhouse by defeating Sandra Yee in three.
Ahsani was the pick of the players who played all 20 matches, winning 18 of them – though Worthing’s Emma Torkington had a 100% record from 10 matches.
Division 5 went down to sets difference and it was Ackworth TTC who edged out Bishop Auckland by a ratio of 44-16 to 42-18.
Ackworth actually lost twice over the season and Auckland only once – a surprise 4-2 reverse to fourth-placed Cleeve Park.
But two draws meant Auckland’s victories over Ackworth were not enough – though had they won the last match 6-0 instead of 5-1, it would have sent the referee scurrying for the abacus. In the event, Matilda Simms beat Holly Davis in match 3 to get that all-important set on the board for the champions.
Simms won 14 out of 16 matches overall to top the averages on 87.5%, though Auckland’s Emily Flynn was not far behind having won 17 of the full complement of 20.