As expected the JCR Premier league has proved to be tightly contested between a number of evenly matched sides. Rather unpredictably however, Worcester are not only not leading this pack, they are not even among them. Worcester entered the season, as ever, as the team to beat, yet their start to the season has been rather tepid. A quick glance at their teamsheet however, reveals that this moderate start was only to be expected. They have lost a large number of last year’s title winning side including captain Danny Plaxton, and this year they have been unable to replace them with quite the same calibre of first years.
Their demise has left the race for the title wide open, with just four points separating the top four. League leaders as we approach the halfway stage are Teddy Hall, who after a first day blip have proved imperious. Their five game winning streak has saw them obliterate all-comers, particularly through the incomparable strength and power of forward Charlie Southern and the driving running of midfielder Tim Hoffman as well as a formidable defensive record.
Hall are chased by three equally matched sides.
Unsuprisingly among them are St Anne’s, who, currently in second place, will be looking to go one better than their second place last season. Lead as ever by the goals of the giant Ed Border, so far top goalscorer in the league, and the twinkling feet of captain George Kynaston, they will be hoping to start turning the slightly large number of draws into wins if they are to press on.
The other two sides in the mix are somewhat more of a suprise, especially New who have shaken off their attacking woes of last season while retaining their defensive rigour to find the winning formula they were missing. St Catz form from last season makes them rather less the suprsie package, but the way they have transferred from the First to the Premier division is startling; that is, until they are observed in action. Their brand of high tempo pass and move, centred around targetman Alan McNaughton and the buzzing running of midfielder Carl Assmundson has made them a formidable force and seemingly the side most likely to be able to counter the sheer power and strength of the giant Teddy Hall side.
At the other end of the table matters are equally as tight. Promoted Magdalen are propping up the table without a single win to their name and look likely to go straight back down. Fellow new boys Christ Church are not far ahead, though will be buoyed by this week’s win over fellow relegation candidates Wadham. The latter are a suprise member of those at the bottom of the league given their strength last season. Yet despite some good football their chief problem has been a lack of goals, the lowest of any side in the league. Despite this the fight to stay up between themselves, Christ Church and Oriel promises to be one of the most exciting battles of the season.
Worcester’s apparent fall from grace, while suprising, has only served to set up one of the most exciting leagues in recent memory. Predicting the eventual winner is undoubtably tough, but at the moment the focus will be on stopping the steamroller that is Teddy Hall.