Rule Proposals 2019

The Committee:

To make minor amendments to rule 12 (c) to remove any possible ambiguity and swap (iii) and (iv) around.

(c) The step up rules are as follows:

(i) Any player may play for another team in their own squad providing that the team is higher in the league tables and the player’s % average of their own division is less than the third placed player for the team in the divisional averages. After the first week, one player only may be used from a different club or squad providing they are assigned to a team in a lower division and there are five teams between them in the league tables. They can only represent the one team in any one fixture. The bottom six teams in the league may use any player from any team in the bottom six.

(ii) Any registered player may play as a substitute for any other player within the league a maximum of six times within a season.

(iii) Any player achieving an average of 80% or over in the previous season and remaining in the same division are excluded from assisting stepping up for other teams.

(iv) If either (i), (ii) or (iii) are broken, a team may choose that the player remains with their own team, pays a £3 fine and forfeits any wins or is permanently transferred to the higher team at the discretion of the Committee.

 Background: There had been some misinterpretation of the above rule from a couple of quarters. It was felt that the word ‘assisting’ should be replaced with the words, ‘stepping up for’ since that was the title of the rule and that the existing paragraph (iii) and (iv) be swapped around as shown would make the overall intention clearer.

The Committee:

That the Cup Handicaps be reworded as follows:

Add the three player places together for each team as published online from the cumulative averages. Subtract one total from the other. Divide by three and round down to get an average separation. Teams with an average separation of five or less will be on scratch. For the rest, the handicap will be 33 plus 1.15 per place separation with 0.5 added to the total, subject to a maximum handicap of 301.5. The handicap for each average place separation will be put online.

Background: It had already been shown that basing the handicap on the Provisional Rankings as in last year’s experiment did not give a reliable handicap across all levels as has already been communicated to players by this graph, which did not produce anything like a straight line.

It was noted that in previous season we had a fairly reliable system based on team separation. The only criticism being, that it did not allow for weaker or stronger players turning up on the night. The General Secretary had analysed over 250 Premier sets and adjusted the results so that they were all out of four games. He compared these with player position in a list of 240 and also % averages. Both these gave the same result, so player position would be the easiest to work with.

Apart from showing that no system can be totally reliable as results are scattered all over the place, these is an average straight line pattern as shown by the trend line here. There is a constant of 11 for one player which would be 33 for three and is similar to the 35 used in the season before last, plus a gradual increase based on 4 games of 0.1186 per place which translates to 1.15 over 36 games (x9). Players would not be expected to work this out. They would work out the average player separation from a table and then look up the handicap in this table.  

Although we have received the following, I don't think any league has specific rules as to how the league is set up, otherwise the Committee is restrained from making adjustments depending on how many teams enter. However, it can be a discussion point:

Hi Roy,

I would like to float an idea with you for the 2019/20 season. There is an opinion that there is too big a gap in standard between the current 2nd and 3rd divisions. (As I'm sure, there is between all divisions). Given the reduction in teams over the last few years, I feel that this has contributed to the huge gap in ability levels and has led to many uncompetitive games.

What I would like you to consider, is to introduce a lower division structure of 8 teams per division in a division 3 and 4 (Premier, 1st and 2nd divisions to remain as a 12 team structure) Each team will play each other 3 times in a season giving the same number of games per season that we currently have. (This 8 team divisional structure could be included higher up the chain if necessary).

I know some people may say that they would have more away games than home games but in my opinion, I doubt anyone would object as there is no real "home" advantage to be had in a match played either at home or away. I feel that the smaller divisions would produce more competitive games over a bigger period of the season for many teams. This is of course dependant upon the number of teams entered for next seasons competition which is a major factor

Regards Dave Rogers FSC

Hi Roy,

If Dave’s idea becomes a proposal the I would certainly second it!

There is the ability gap to be considered and also you will remember the 16/17 season when there were only 9 teams in divisions 3 and 4. Teams in those divisions played 16 league games as opposed to 22 games if there had been 12 teams in each division – I know that there were players who were not exactly happy with that situation, having gaps of maybe 4 or 5 weeks (taking into consideration bank holidays and cup weeks) without a game.

Any road up, the idea is there!

Thank you Dave-W Farnworth SC D

  ..... I would like to support the above proposition. At the moment we feel that with 13 teams in our division the playing standard has a big gap from top to bottom, and a three divisions format would even this out. Ian Wheeldon

Yes. Will be up for discussion. Of course we may lose a team or two. We already know Irlam are going. Maybe Nomads too. I remember when it was 14 teams per division with all cups played alongside. I am sure you do too.


The General Secretary commented at the May meeting that this would be difficult to set up having three divisions on a different system to two others, but probably not impossible. He was not fully convinced, as it may have just been a perception of Divison Three play only. It had already been shown that Division Two was by far the most competative division of the lot.

Roy Caswell, General Secretary of the Bolton & District Table Tennis League