Tuesday, September 03, 2013

This Blog has moved

Nobby & Ready have moved their Fantasy Football blog to http://nobbyandready.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Thank you!

Sorry to get this out so late. The end of the season coincides horribly with the busiest time at work.

Thanks to you all for your patience, and the the many posts below will hopefully give you plenty of reading material and a nice round up of the season.

This was our 17th (Seventeenth) N&R FL season..... some of you whipper snappers were in nappies, when Keith and I used to hand deliver the weekly results!

Our reach is now way beyond the London Property Market and we now have managers from Atlanta, Chicago, Munich, Sydney, Adelaide, Auckland, Paris, New York and Bermuda all playing.

The N&R FL is if I'm honest often a labour of love, but it is very rewarding and it's especially been a fantastic way for Keith during his time away and me for the last 10 years of keeping in touch with old mates and acquaintances as well as be able to meet and get to know many new people.

Thank you to every one for competing and staying with us, and joining in the banter. A special thank you to Mark Simmons, who is our master of scoring, and whom without the N&R FL would not happen, on this scale anyway.

We hope to see as many of you as possible on July 11th.

Nobby & Ready

N&R end of season drinks and prize giving

Another reminder to all of our London folk, and any others of our managers in far flung places who will happen to be in The City on the evening of July 11th.

The end of season drinks and prize giving will take place from 5pm outside The New Moon in Leadenhall Street on Thursday 11th July.

I know a few of you will be coming from the Aon Benfield Race Day, so I trust you will hold back £25 for next year's entry and just enough to buy Keith and I a pint Fosters.

If okay with the prize winners we, as usual, will pay out the prize money less next year's entry fee of £25.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible for what is one of my most enjoyable evening of the year.

Nobby & Ready

Photograph of the week

Looked good, didn't they?

Blow by Blow - The Title Run In

Ryan Saveall had led the Div 1 table since the week before Christmas, but unlike Santa he hung around to take his first ever N&R FL Championship Title to emulate his now wife Soozie, who lifted the title in 2005/6.

Ryan actually started out slowly, very slowly, and was bottom after week 1 and 2nd bottom week. He slowly by week 7 had pulled himself out of the relegation bear pit and started his upwardly mobile climb up the table. Week 11 saw him in 8th, and he was quickly 3rd in week 14.

By week 15 he was 4th, and then in a closely fought top 5 which then included Chris Wright, Neil Reynolds, Greg Foulger, Tim Harris and Ricky Wood, Save hit pole position and that was where he was to stay for the next 22 weeks.

Steve Black joined him in the race and was his closest competitor and Neil Reynolds also got in touching distance but Sav, with transfers in the bank, edged his way comfortably to the 17th N&R FL Title.

Sav finished 59 points ahead of Runner Up Steve Black and a big cheque and a sparkly trophy will be handed to Ryan on the Prize Giving Evening. He also brought home the Div 1 League Cup. Congratulations mate, well deserved. A++

Steve after finishing 3rd last season and 4th the year before, and 3rd the year before that now has a 2nd to his name! That run of finishes is incredible from probably the only American Barnsley supporter living in Atlanta!

Steve has shown himself to be a superb Fantasy Football manager, and if only because it would be fair, must be due the famous N&R FL title that has so far eluded him.

For the record Steve was in the promotion paint all but 6 of the 40 weeks, top in week 7, he used his transfers inspirationally but spent the last 18weeks of the season tracking Ryan. He had to fight of a challenge from Alastair Bigg and Neil Reynolds but it was another excellent season from the Tyke. There was also two MoW's and the joint top weekly scorer. A+

Alastair Bigg was a slow starter and flapped around midtable for the first 20 weeks of the campaign but he moved through the gears after New Year and was 2nd before you knew it. He then got into a 5-way title contest with Ryan, Steve, Brett Davey and Neil Reynolds but held his own well even leaving a transfer opp in his drawer. A

Alastair slipped to 4th in the closing weeks but a sparkling final week pushed him back into 3rd finishing just 2 points ahead of previous champion Brett Davey.

Brett won the title at the turn of the century but after winning promotion last season, not only was he the highest finisher, he also showed why he has a N&R Title trophy very dusty taking space on his desk.

Brett won a MoW was top at week 2 but suffered a loss of form up until around Easter when he made a surging run back into the pack. 6th in week 37, he grabbed 2nd in week 39 only to slip back to a very creditable 4th as the curtain came down on the season. A

In 5th was Neil Reynolds. Another previous N&R Champion, he won the title in 2008/9 and has been a contender every year since.

Neil was the only manager to spend the whole 40 weeks in the top 8. He hit every spot from 1 to 8, and was top in weeks 5 and 6. Mostly he was in 3rd - 15 weeks in all - but with Brett and Alastair improving towards the end Neil was clinging onto 3rd with his fingertips and then in the final week slumped to 5th - a £40 differential in the prize money.

Neil collected a MoW award and although we are sure he'll be disappointed to finish 5th, the lowest place he was in since January, it was still a good season and an improvement on 9th last time out. A

There's always a manager that arrives late on the scene and Tim Harris was fighting a relegation battle for 19 weeks up until January. Tim made some changes and in fact even stored some, and made an incredible run up the table from week 22 to hitting the top 8 in week 39!

Tim's charge helped knock a couple of managers out of the prize money and pushed Chris Wright down to 7th. Tim also rounded up 3 MoW's and his end of season form took him to the holy N&R Cup Final where in a close encounter he beat Luke Sloan to claim a glittering trophy for this desk. It was great campaign underscored by a stunning best in class second half of the season. A+

Chris Wright's se
ason will be defined by a lacklustre 2nd quarter of it. A good start, 3rd after week 3. Then a slump but back in the top 8 before Christmas. Then he played well, good changes, but mostly just keeping his head above the top 8 tidal mark before giving it a right go in the last 8 weeks.

He hit 4th in week 36 and I had him down as a good bet to give Sav a run for his title, but then despite having a couple of transfers left, he slipped up as others rallied and ended clutching to 7th.

It was a sterling campaign after juggling with relegation last season which saw him survive on 'goal difference.' He reached the Div 1 League Cup semi's and won 3 MoW's along the way. B+
The last prized place went to the well deserving John McGowan. Another who suffered a slow and then uninspiring first half of the season, but by week 23 when he won the MoW he was up into 5th. 3rd was his highest but John struggled to keep up with the pacemakers and found himself competed for a smaller prize.

He battled Soozie, Ricky Wood and Geoff McCormack and looked like he was out of it in the final 5 weeks, but a combination of good consistency with help from Geoff imploding meant he just had to contend with Soozie as Ricky also left himself a lot to do.

In the final week John made his final 2 transfers, whilst Geoff and Soozie sat on theirs and it was as simple as that as Johnny Mc hurdled 3 places to grab that final cash prize of £50. B+

Soozie Sav to be fair had an excuse as to why she took her eye of the N&R ball a few times this season. Olly Saveall - the first ever N&R FL baby - was born during pre-season and that might explain Soozie's slow start, but by the time she had Olly out doing a paper round she found time to work on her renowned N&R FL skills and moved herself
into contention.

She was always competing for a lesser prize but Sooz will be annoyed to know that she missed out on the prizes and even more annoyed to see her husband collect the title. Maybe little Olly might be better off following the Spurs and not the Gunners..... #justsaying B

Ricky Wood was the defending champion and only the Godders & Rose dream team of the mid-90's were able to win back to back titles, so it was always going to be difficult but Woody did a good job only missing out on the top 8 by 6 points.

It was a close finish with 5 or 6 teams fighting it out for the last couple of prizes but Woody was spent in the transfer market and had to rely on good fortune and he didn't get enough of it even though he sat in the top 8 for 3 of the last 5 weeks. Good effort though and he was also the first recipient of the MoW fiver. B-

The final prize challenger in that final week was Geoff McCormack and he should be the most pissed off of them all. Geoff was
in the top 8 from week 1 to week 38 but slipped back in the home straight dash and ended potless in 11th.    We must not forget that he was promoted last season in 10th, so it was a very creditable effort for the Darts boy but he will be horribly disappointed after being top for the most times other than the eventual champion and 4th as close to the end of the season as April. B

Monday, July 01, 2013

How the prizes were won

36 prize winners sharing almost £2,000! And all for the small entrance fee of £25. Tell your friends, we will be back for version
_18 in August.

This was how the cash and trophies were won:
N&R Div 1

N&R FL Champion - £250 plus coveted title trophy
Runner Up - £170

3rd - £140

4th - £120

5th - £100

6th - £80

7th - £60

8th - £50
Bottom 12 teams relegated to N&R Div 2

N&R Div 2

Winner - £100 plus trophy
2nd - £60

3rd - £50

4th - £45

5th - £40

6th - £35

7th - £30

8th - £25

9th, 10th, 11th and 12th placed also promoted

N&R Cup Winner - Trophy
Div 1 League Cup Winners - £40

Div 2 League Cup Winners - £40

Team Challenge Winners - Trophy
Penultimate Overall League Place (2nd worst score) - £25

Best Weekly Score - £25
Worst weekly score - £25
Manager of the Week

£5 or shared equally if any one week was a tie. Winners:


Prizes will be paid in GBP or in local currency based on current exchange rate.

N&R FL Roll of Honour

A couple of new names to be added to the N&R Roll of Honour. Congratulations to Ryan Saveall, who after winning this year's title means that the Saveall's are the first ever husband and wife to be N&R FL Champion. We expect their son Olly to win the title in around 14 years time!

Aaron Barden will be awarded the Div 2 Winners trophy and Tim Harris will collect the coveted N&R Cup.

In the Team Challenge Trophy the new name of Miles Smith is added to those of RSA, QBE, Bluefin, Willis, BMS, Layton Blackham, AIG, Marsh (twice), Allianz, Avon and HSBC.

Congratulations to the winners.
17 years of Champions:
2012/13 Ollympic Games - Ryan Saveall
2011/12 Woody's Round Up - Ricky Wood
2010/11 To Elland Back - Rob Munden
2009/10 Hannoi Utd - Keith Read
2008/09 Gooner win league - Neil Reynolds
2007/08 Tally.Wacker.co.uk - Paul Kelleher
2006/07 Savchenko Spurs - Ryan Saveall
2005/06 Ping Pong Yo-Yo - Suzie Syrett
2004/05 Ginger (not so) Athletic - Peter Doyle
2003/04 Chang Noi's Ham Yai - Keith Read
2002/03 2Infinity & Beyond - Barry Plummer
2001/02 Read 'em & weep - Keith Read
2000/01 Brighton Revenge - Jonathan Poole
1999/00 Cowboys Ride Again - Brett Davey
1998/99 Millennium Buggers - Richard Taylor
1997/98 Flo's Champs - Godfrey, Rose
1996/97 Flo's Army - Godfrey, Rose

N&R Cup Finals
2012/13 Tim Harris bt Luke Sloan
2011/12 Kate Chillman bt John Hardiman
2010/11 Neville White bt Rob Munden
2009/10 Keith Read bt Scott Morgan
2008/09 Neil Reynolds bt Feldbruegge/Malloy

Team Challenge Winners
2012/13 Miles Smith - Baughan, Sloan
2011/12 RSA - Foulger, Cassell
2010/11 QBE - Wright, Richards
2009/10 Bluefin - Ready, Saveall
2008/09 Willis - Baillie, Sheron, Kennett
2007/08 BMS - Wenman, Reddy
2006/07 Layton Blackham - Read, Saveall, Thomas
2005/06 AIG - Waterman, France, Dewberry, Barwick, Higgs, Ryan.
2004/05 Marsh - Simmons, Doyle
2003/04 Marsh - Simmons, Doyle
2002/03 Allianz - Jenkins, Day
2001/02 Avon - Godfrey, Rose
2000/01 HSBC - Waters, Murrell, Ready

Sunday, June 30, 2013

5 years in Bermuda

It is five years today that I left Chicago for Bermuda. In the blog post I wrote the day after I arrived I said work was like the first day at school, and I have just been thinking about that, and remembered how long 5 years was when I was actually at school.

Can you remember how long being
at school appeared? I stayed on in sixth form for a year, but 5 years is a whole lifetime at secondary school, and it is seems implausible that I have now been in Bermuda that long!

I have written before that the weather and the restrictive nature of activities there are to do that a 21-square mile island brings makes living here a little like Groundhog Day, accelerating time to the point when often I never know even what day it is.

Age brings less haste and more speed into the process and since we arrived on the island we also had our beautiful daughter join us, but bloody hell is she growing up quick.

I miss Chicago and rarely does a day pass without me reminiscing about the five years I lived there, but fortunately I still have a lot to connect myself to the windy city. London, the world's greatest city, is of course where my heart is, especially that little pocket in SE7, but our lives are in Bermuda and we expect to stay here for a little while yet.

On the 0-10 scale of love, my needle has probably moved from like, to like a lot particularly since the birth of our daughter, because Bermuda is a fantastic place for young children and with busy lives, I challenge anyone to rival the work-life balance alongside the natural beauty that Bermuda gives.

The weather ain't bad either....

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blow by Blow - Division 1 - The Almost Nearly's

Barry Paull our Parisien aristocat had a suprising collapse in the second part of the season. At week 25 Barry was in 7th, previous to that he was top for 4 whole weeks in October and was in the top 8 every week bar 4 from day 1. So what happened? Barry is still cavorting around the Eiffel Tower in his full kit wanker Palace number, so probably doesn't really care but it was an interesting fall from grace when I think Keith and I had him down for an almost cert money winner. C+

The experienced fantasy manager has regularly featured in top 8's although never won the ultimate prize. 4th in 2004 and 2007 were his best finishes. His end of season collapse nearly ended in tears with a unheard off relegation threat but he finished 31 points ahead of the bottom 12. B-

Ready will be disappointed with his campaign. No prizes unusually for the twice champion and a middling kind of season. Yes, he had a spell in the top 8 but only for 4 weeks back in the Autumn. Never threatened with the drop, but he exited both cups early and will want to improve on his 18th place next season, one mind you when he will be fully focused on the N&R as he is now back in the market. B-

Bix started slowly but got going and was as high as 7th in week 21, but also settle into a midtable stride. An improvement on last season and never any concerns over the drop. B

Previous champ Rob Munden spent almost the entire first half of the season in the prized places but failed to maximise his transfer opportunities and slipped into a midtable mojo. B-

Godders, also of course an ex N&R champion, albeit Gary Lineker was in Leicester City's youth team at the time! Early relegation wobbles were soon overcome but alongside Munden, Ready, Paull, Plummer, Wood and Cobbett all potential winners, they each had to settle for a midtable finish. Godders did finish a place higher than last season though and was a N&R Cup semi-finalist. B

Barry Plummer, another full kit Palace wanker waving his ultra's flag around Croydon, actually was a little relegation threatened around the turn of the year, but comfortably pulled clear to finish in 14th. The ex-champ addressed a slump last year by winning promotion last year back to Div 1 where the boy Baz, does deserve to be. 1 MoW. B+

Graham Ward on the back of last season's promotion had a very good campaign after a shaky start amongst the big knobs. Graham was a beaten Div 1 League Cup finalist and two MoW wins. A good foundation to begin perhaps a challenge on the top 8 next season. Oh, and he comfortably beat his brother as well. B+

Ken Cobbett didn't live up to last season's 4th place and the season before's Runner Up. So a disappointing 12th. There was a MoW and a flirtation with both relegation and prize winning. 6th in week 13 was his highest place. B-

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Blow by Blow - Division 1 Relegation

After winning promotion last season Micahel Stout dropped staright back down finishing rock bottom and also having the honour of scoring the least points out of all 69 N&R managers. Some people say that German football is the best in the world, but clearly it hasn't had an affect on Michael yet, who spent the season in the Munich. D-

Francey has gone into hiding after poogate and Poyetgate and he has also gone into Div 2 as well after a poor season where he never left the bottom 12. Like his beloved Seagulls, he will be hoping for a bit of bouncebackability in 2013/14. D

Another promoted manager Kirsty Baillie also came a cropper at the higher level. She started ok, but fell into the relegation scrap the first time in September, although she managed to yank herself out but it was only temporary as he dropped back in again in early January and that as they say was that. C

Daniel Weeks was a third promoted manager to go straight back down. After week 6 Dan was in trouble and despite manfully being very active in the transfer market, bad luck and not being able to find any consistency all contrived against him. Clever team name though. C

Dewbs was a real disappointment. After a 5th place finish last season, 6th the season before that and promtion by winning Div 2 the year before that, relegation will come as a big blow to the N&R stalwart. Dewbs also never left the bottom 12, was actually bottom in week 6 and simply had a disastrous season, his worst ever. D-

2nd in week 1, it went wrong from there for Steve Merchant, who came off the back of a couple of very decent seasons. Active in the transfer market. Tick. Some decent scoring weeks. Tick. Interesting team name. Tick. Relegated. Tick. D

Rosie Dalton, last season's Div 2 winner, relegated after just 40 weeks with the elite. All that hard work undone. Plenty of transfers made, but her timing was no where near as good as last year, nor her consistency. There was a real flurry of good scoring in the last month though including a MoW, and this will give her hope for next season. Don't worry love, you can keep the trophy but please be available for drinks on July 11th.... the rest of yous we're not worried about.... C

Andrew Shepherd was our 4th promoted maanger
to get relegated after just one season, proving how hard it is in the top division with the very best. Andrew did put up more of a fight though, played the transfer card numerous times but unlike his beloved Lions couldn't save himself from the drop. C

Lee Horne will be kicking himself after a poor season. 6th last time out, he was in the bottom 12 the entire season apart from a 4-week sojourn over Christmas. He also finished the season well making him one fo the early favourites for an early return to Div 1 next season. C-

Bingo, again was put in the shade by his bro. Wardy had a most remarkable collapse of form. Top 8 in weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 19. What the f*** happened? D+

Another. Mark Gregory who slipped back into the quick sand in the final week after looking safe and clear for the 2 months precluding it. It appeared all the hard work was done after clambering out of the relegation pot not once, twice, but three times but a terrible final week sent him spinning down to Div 2 after a 2 year stay in Div 1 and I believe Mark has a number of bets to meet as well! C

The final relegated place was once again tied. The first maanger will come as a bit of a shock. Greg Foulger was never in the bottom 12 until week 39. Transfers were thrown in early as is Greg's custom but for many weeks it was about winning prizes for our ex-Mexico City fella. 6th, 8th, 7th, 5th, 3rd, 4th and even top in week 17!

What a sorry state of affairs for last season's Runner Up. His worst ever campaign. C-

The next manager on 1,549pts was Paul & Christian Long, Paul and his son Christian battled with relegation the whole season. Always though they showed some promise, such as scoring the joint best weekly score of the season in week 21. C+

But one of them has to go.....

The tie-break question was who was in the bottom 12 the most time? They will be the 12th team to get relegated.

Paul & Christian Long 30 weeks
Greg Foulger 2 weeks

Greg survives, just, but Paul & Christian drop! Hard luck guys.

Now for the two managers who escaped the drop. Hilary Flynn like Greg suddenly found herself in the relagation places in week 39 after 38 pretty mundane weeks previously, but she hauled herself out and ended up in 21st place and survived her first season in Div 1 by 11 points. B-

6 points above Hils was Richard Richards, who was the ultimate Houdini, missing out on relegation after 38 consecutive weeks in the bottom 12. Some clever transfers put him in the position to save himself and as improved he even hit 108 in week 36 to win the MoW. B-

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+

In the media

If Kinnear's intention was to make his appointment more palatable to those who question it - and most on Tyneside appear to question it - then he failed miserably.

He may also be receiving a phone call from former Magpies manager Graeme Souness for claiming credit for the signing of Newcastle's excellent goalkeeper Tim Krul.

"I brought Krul there," said Kinnear. Not strictly true, this. He was brought to Newcastle by Souness as a promising 17-year-old from Den Haag in July 2005. Kinnear arrived at the club in September 2008.

Phil McNulty on the face of it crazy decision by Mike Ashley to appoint Joe Kinnear as Director of Football at Newcastle.

Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Blow by Blow - Division 2 - Middle for diddle

James Down is one of two N&R managers based in Atlanta. Your could draw comparisons but I won't. The Archdukes of Hazard was one of my favourite team names but we didn't utter it much at the NR FL Press Office this past season after week 6.

Before week 6 James had made 5 appearances in the top 12 on the back of selecting well, out of the box. He was back in the promotion race in mid-October but somehow between then and November his season fell apart. He dallied with the bottom feeders but rallied to end 24th Div 2, but we were hoping for better. C

Muddy will be pretty pleased with his lot we think. The Happy Hammers stayed up comfortably and Alan was never in any threat of fighting near the bottom. He spent almost the entire season in the environs of mid table and bugger us but he also made some transfers. Whatever next? B

John Hardiman is our man in New Zealand. The ex-QBE man is in his 2nd season and didn't quite have as much success as last time out. John missed out on promotion by just 10 points last season but this time it was more than a couple of hundred points. He made an early change but travelling half way around the world after he left London probably affected his N&R FL performance understandably. C+

Wenners is another long time player and his side was in need of some transfers but he happily knocked around midtable. He did improve on last season by 6 places and did have an early flirtation with promotion. B -

Danny Rose's end of season slide was disappointing. It was a fine start from the fantasy stalwart and he was knocking on the door for some time but around week 30 started to go backwards mostly because of a lack of action in the transfer mark
et. His stock fell and he ended up in 20th, which was a lot better than last year.

The frustrating thing for Dan was that he won three MoW's showing the rest what he is capable of. B-

James Stiff had a slowish start, improved steadily but was never higher than 16th and eventually settled into midtable mojo and finished 19th. A decent first season
but restricted by the lack of transfer activity. C+

Tony Murray again improved his league position. Bottom 3 years ago, 23rd last year and 18th this, there was a little dalliance in the transfer market, but not enough although Tony did collect the week 35 MoW award. B-

After relegation last season more was expected of Huw Thomas especially after such as solid start. Nonetheless it was a pretty non-descript season from our Welshman in Australia. That top 10 finish in 2007/8 does seem like a long time ago. C+

The sanctuary of midtable was Dan Duboux's mantra as well after a pretty dull campaign from the Bluefin broker. He did do better than last year though so he can take some positivity from that. C+

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blow by Blow - Division 2 - the lower echelons

Well the lowest of the lowest echelon was dear old Peter Doyle. Ginger Rabbit inexplicably forgot that he could make transfers and thus despite a promising start was bottom of Div 2 by December and that is where he stayed. Doyley's worst ever finish and remember, because Pete does, that he was N&R Champion in 2004/5. In saying that he was a winner this year collecting £25 prize for Penultimate Place. C

When Alex Boswell and I shared a few beers earlier this year here in Bermuda I am sure he told me that he was going straight back to make some transfers. A slight problem was that he went from here to Edinburgh to watch the rugby and thus probably killed the few brain cells that he had left.
Alex never got out of first gear but as the season came to a close he gradually slipped nearer to the bottom and ended up 67th overall. Nothing to be proud off there. D

Chris Minchell's first ever season and he ended it as the worst newcomer. Sorry Chris, but it is true. Nonetheless please don't be despondent, even Doyley once won the N&R title you know? D+

Chris was only 6 points worse than our next new manager Paul Keaveney. From the AIG stables of up and coming London Market insurance talent, Keavo struggled to make his mark despite somehow being 4th in week 2. He even named his team after one of the rules, and now has to raid his piggy bank to buy the whole team the losers curry, normally the job of Chris Waterman. D+
Sarah Sheron disappoints me sometimes. She showed so much attitude and promise in those early seasons. There was early season encouragement though just as there was last year, but a complete lack of activity in the transfer market saw her fall head over heels down the Div 2 table to finish 32nd or 64th overall. Sarah's highest place was 9th in week 12. C-

Rutts, what is there to say about Rutts? Never a believer in the Arsene Wenger mould of spending any money in the transfer market. All 12 options still sat there at week 40 and like every single other manager who was the overall worst bottom 10 (except for one) he paid the price for not making any transfers. Still, we will welcome the Fac guru back with open arms next season. C-
Oakers was relegated from Div 1 last season and did his very best impression of Wolves by flying through Div 2 to end up 29th. There is no where to get relegated to (yet) but it was disappointing by Al even though he did better his last year's score by over a 100.  
And it all started so well for the Chelsea boy too. 7th in week 5, and even at Christmas still on the periphery of the promotion pack but it was only downhill after that. C  

Mark Sterry however was active in the transfer market. Mark busily moved players in and out but could never put a run together and ended the season where he pretty much started it but did improve on last year's finish. B-  

We welcomed Martin Singleton to the fold this season. Martin is one of longest serving managers stretching back to 1998. Martin spends his life travelling around the UK, occasionally stopping in Preston to see his beloved North End. Martin ended up in 27th or 58th overall and improved as the season grew after a dodgy start. C+
Our man in Oz, Henry Williams was controversery relegated on the last day of the season a year ago and he was a pre-season favourite for promotion. He began the season like he was going to run away with the league, and was the first Div 2 leader. Up until week 10 he was still in the mix but as the season progressed he needed some flesh blood and with the likes of Odemwingie still in his starting XI his any promotion hopes diminished. C
Another relegated manager was Neville White, who won silverware a couple of seasons ago by winning the N&R Cup. No silver this year I am afraid. Like Martin Singleton as the season went on Nev did start to make some inroads up the table with some good transfers but he was a long way from making an immediate return to the big time. C+

Monday, May 27, 2013

Team Challenge Trophy - Miles Smith hang on to triumph

Miles Smith's team of Sweaty and Luke swept to the title of the 2012/13 N&R Team Challenge Champions. This despite a late rally from QBE, who ended Runners Up.

QBE were winners two years ago and last year's winners were RSA who came 3rd. Gravity, who are also previous winners ended up 4th with Bluefin 5th despite having the champion in their ranks again.

AIG's motley crew were 6th even though they had the most managers in prized positions - Guarino, Patel, Barden and Bigg. For the record Paul Keaveny will be buying this year's curry.

In 7th was Aon Benfield's Fac mob led again by Neil Reynolds. Rutts brought up the rear.

8th was the dynamic duo of Godders and Dan and JRP, just ahead of Aon's Global collection of studs somehow working in unison despite being in 3 different countries.

10th was Tokio led by Brett and Neil with the wooden spoon going to Gerling.

The final table will be sent with the final scores and table. The only company fantasy football trophy for insurance professionals is currently being engraved with the name of Miles Smith on it!

Penultimate Place - The Ginger Nuts

Fair play to our friendly Ginger Rabbit. Up until week 37 Michael Stout's No Hopers occupied the Penultimate Place for 31 of the previous 34 weeks yet Pete's Forest Green Gingers improved just enough to snatch the £25 prize.

Incredibly one of the other Penultimate Place holders during the season was Champion Ollympic Games, in week 2. Cobra held it in week 1 and the only other occupiers of 68th place were the Preston Pie Muncher, Archdukes of Hazard and The Billion and a Half Dollar Man.

Congratulations to Pete and this is how it finished:

69. The No Hopers, 1,090 pts
68. Forest Green Gingers, 1,102 pts
67. Morgan & Hannahh's Newco, 1,144 pts
66. Cobra, 1,170 pts
65. Limited to £50m, 1,176 pts

Arsene knows what he's doing

Week 40 - MoW
The final MoW was won by Danny Rose, who signed off a really mixed campaign by winning a fiver. 83 points was 3 more than Rutts, whose 80 points was an even bigger surprise than Danny's.

Only in MoW winning week 24 did Rutts get a bigger score than he did last week. I am sure a Psychiatrist somewhere will make sense of that!

Another flop this season, in the nicest sense, was Rosie Dalton and she hit an impressive 73 which was also her 2nd best score of the season. In fact Rosie finished the season very strongly winning MoW in week 38 but still got relegated.

Champion Ryan Saveall hit the next best score of 72, Nobby scored 68, Lee Horne 65 and Aaron Barden 63.

Notables were Mark Simmons 62, Ben Guarino 57, Alastair Bigg 55, Ricky Wood 54, Steve Black 52, Jason Syrett 48, Hilary Flynn 46, Luke Sloan 45 and Greg Foulger 36.

The two lowest were Mark Gregory 19 and Mark Sterry 17.

N&R Cup Final - Cupper Harris

A closely fought N&R Cup Final but it was Tim Harris who took the honours and will be presented with the coveted Cup in the summer. Tim beat Luke Sloan 48-45 in the final to make it a tough final week for Luke.

Congratulations to Tim.

N&R Cup Final Result
Luke Sloan 45-48 Tim Harris