Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blow by Blow - Division 2 - The Promotion Race

Aaron Barden pipped friend and colleague Ben Guarino by just 11 points to collect the Div 2 1st place prize of £100 plus a nice little trophy to put on his desk. It was a close-run thing with the managers locked at the top in week 35 and with Luke Sloan knocking on the door and actually being top himself in the last week we had a very exciting 3-way to end what was a highly competitive Div 2 this year.

The top 8 teams in Div 2 all scored greater than last season's winner Rosie Dalton which proved how strong this 2nd string league is.

Aaron and Ben were both top 16 times during the season and Luke twice, but it was he that finished like a steam train and caused the two AIG boys to be on their game right to the very end. Luke used his transfers very well, yet Aaron still had some in the bank and all three should be very proud of their season and will compete at the top table next season.

Luke was in his very first season and starts next season also with a new job with Gallaghers. A

Ben we think finally came a man this season, a number of disappointments followed an impressive first N&R year as Francey's caretaker manager but superb season this time out. A

As for the winner Aaron was relegated two seasons ago but deservedly takes his team into 'the ultimate fantasy football league challenge for insurance professionals and assorted hangers-on'. Congrats mate A+

Richard Nathan ran a superb race. He struggled intially to keep up with pace of it all, but found his feet in week 7 and never looked back. Top 4 for almost the entire 2013, his transfers were timely and he also collected a MoW. A superb season after disasters of the last two - 60th overall two seasons ago and 64th last season. Razor was 6th overall this season. A+

Mitesh Patel was one of three managers in Div 2 who spent the entire 40 weeks in a promotion place so obviousy deserves his place amonsgt next season's elite. A fantastic first appearance for the AIG young man plus a MoW in week 31. He did get to 3rd in week 36 and was in spitting distance of top spot, but we'd imagine is more than happy with his promotion and 5th place finish. A

In 6th was Neil Addington. Neil hit the promotion party in week 8 and never left. 2nd on a number of occasions, he did fall away from the race for first around April, but he made a big improvement on 16th last season and the Tokio lad will take his place in the 1st Division next season. Two MoW's as well. B+

Ian Kennett for once in his fantasy career did not disappear when the going got tough. As per normal Ian started well, then had a few familiar hiccups but kept coming back and then by January was a regular in the top 12. It was then we thought he may fall over himself, but transfers were made and it was an easy 7th place and promotion after the disappointment of relegation last time out. B+

In the final prized position in the promotion race from Div 2 was Paul Hodges. Introduced to the N&R FL by Simon Ward, Paul had a terrific season as one of the 4 managers out of the 69 never to leave the coloured places in the table. Paul was as high as 3rd and ended well ahead of the 9th placed side. He also picked up an early MoW prize as well. A-

In 9th was another manager that was relegated the year previous. Sweaty managed his team masterfully in the 2nd half of the season and hit the top 12 in week 27 and never looked back for another deserved crack at top flight N&R FL. B

Another newbie, although hardly new to fantasy football, was Andi Turner. There was also a tied MoW to add to his successes as well as Runner Up in the Div 2 League Cup.

Andi turned it on after Christmas and although he sailed a bit close to the wind as the season drew to a close, he had already banked enough points to see off any challenges and at the first time of asking will be playing at the highest N&R level. B

The final two promotion places were the only two that the chasing pack in the final few weeks could get near to attack and under attack they were. Mark Simmons to be fair was a top 12 resident for 20 of the last 21 weeks and deserved his promotion despite it being under threat from those below him.

Mark was also the Div 2 League Cup winner beating Andi Turner in the final 55-51. B

The final promotion place saw Nobby on the final day of the season nip ahead of Jason Syrett to beat him to 12th by 4 points! Yes, yes recount, whatever! Desperate news for Jase though who had been in the top 12 since week 2!

Jason was top for 7 weeks in October and November and manfully used his transfers, yet it was not meant to be despite picking up the MoW in the penultimate week!

Even going into the last week he was 16 ahead of Nobby, but after just missing out last season, he missed out again to a return to the top table. Commiserations Jason. B

Nobby meanwhile was banging on the door for weeks but held his last transfers back to use them with maximum impact for the last week with a couple of teams playing twice. Nobby was 7th just before Christmas but couldn't seem to find a way into the top 12, that was until the final day! B+

Back to the elite after relegation last season means that Nobby joined Sweaty, Kennett and Mark Simmons in an immediate return to Div 1.

In 14th was Kate Chillman who we had high hopes for but she had such a sluggish start that she was always up against it. However a much better back 9 brought her close but she had too much to do. Kate won the week 20 MoW. B-

15th and the final manager in this segment was Neil Wallis. Neil started really well, and laughed handsomely at Mark Hughes, but he slipped out of the top 12 in week 14 and didn't find a way back, hindered not suprisingly by forgetting how to make transfers!! C+

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