Written by DB
Gateshead and Basingstoke&Mid Hants were reasonably comfortable in securing their places in next summer's Division Four line-up after shunting the relegated Norwich and Swindon teams out of the equation at the Abingdon BAL Qualifier on September 10th. The full scores - Gateshead 386/Basingstoke 370/Norwich 310/Leeds 277/Swindon 269/Yeovil 229/Coventry 173/Deeside 111. Full individual results can be found on the BAL website now - www.bal.org.uk
Your BAL TM's observations follow!
The weather was on the damp side early on and may have affected some field performances but,in general,the two promoted teams were solid-looking,as one would expect,without real stars,though Basingstoke were missing new GB 400m gem,Robert Tobin. The leading points scores were,perhaps,exaggerated by the poor turnouts from Coventry & Deeside.
As an overview,and given our squad remains intact,my guess is that their throwers should not take many points away from our throwers,their sprinters and long & triple jumpers are on a par with ours,whilst I am afraid the remaining selections will not give us much more joy than did those of the departing clubs.Indeed,the same could be said of the teams coming down! The clubs relegated from Div 3 - Rugby & Notts - have had poor seasons,particularly Rugby, but it is dangerous to compare teams 'on the up' with those ' on the slide' since a new season brings new hope.
That result gives Division Four - Gateshead from the North;Notts,Derby & Rugby from the Midlands and the other four - K&P/Southampton/Medway/BMH - from the South. Sadly,the most important criterion now for fixtures is not necessarily geography,standard of facilities or the rotation of promoting,but the availability of officials. So,in 2006,whilst we should expect at least two trips north(though not necessarily Gateshead this time - wrong again,Ed!) and two somewhere down south,it will depend on how the Promotions Officer & Officials Secretary of the BAL view the prospects of a decently-organised and reputable match rather than anything else. There will undoubtedly be more double matches throughout the BAL,whether with 2 BAL divisions or with a UKWL match.These matches,though,require an outside throwing cage and no more than a handful of venues can provide this. Provisional venues should be known by the AGM in mid-November - the very very very provisional dates are May 6/June 3/July 1/Aug 5.
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