SW League Format 2020-21

SW League Format response summary

Thank you to everyone who has expressed an interest in entering the SW League for next season and answered the questionnaire. We had 25 responses giving us a possibility of 14 ladies teams and 11 men’s teams next season.

Here is a summary of the responses to the key questions:

  1. When do you feel you are most likely to be ready to start matches? Both ladies and men had a significant majority wanting a November start (86% ladies, 82% men)
  2. What type of matches would you prefer to play? This was also dominated by teams wanting to play normal 5 set league matches (100% ladies, 91% men)
  3. How many match dates can you play assuming a January start? This was much more evenly split with a small majority voting for more matches (57% ladies, 55% men)
  4. How far are you willing to travel for a single header? This had a very wide range of responses from 25 to 150 miles with some teams having no limit.
  5. Are you dependent on VE decisions before committing to SW league? This appears to only affect a small number of teams (29% ladies, 9% men)
  6. Can you offer a two court venue? Only 4 out of the 17 clubs have access to a two court venue.

Given the fantastic response in terms of the potential number of teams and the dominant wish to play normal five set matches, this gives a very real likelihood of having two divisions in both ladies and men, with 5 to 7 teams per division. We are looking at various possibilities and therefore these may not be traditional ranked divisions. We will be looking for a format which ensures that all match dates and venues will be known at the start of the season.

Register Now for Entry to SW League 2020-21

Thank you for all the feedback at the AGM on how we can structure competition in the SW League for next season. We would like to now get an indication of teams wishing to enter the league next season. This is NOT a commitment at this stage but will give us a good idea of what options are possible and who we need to be getting in touch with when we open up.

We may need to move quite quickly to get the most out of the season. We have had a number of new teams expressing interest, which could result in either larger leagues than this year or splitting into two divisions.

In terms of competition format, we had 4 main proposals:

  • 5 set matches in home and away but possibly with smaller divisions
  • 5 set matches only playing once
  • 3 set matches in a Grand Prix format with multiple teams at a two court venue and more matches per day
  • If required either a play off or a final round of fixtures based on league position (cut down version of super league) on a pre-determined date and venue.

We would normally start the league at the beginning of October, so have options to delay until a November start or go for a half year starting in January. Anything later than January is likely to be an ad hoc Grand Prix format and December is too short a month.

Looking at the calendar starting in January there are a maximum of 15 playing Sundays (excluding 3rd Jan and Easter Sunday), but I am assuming that most teams are not going to want to commit to playing SW fixtures every Sunday, so we are probably looking at formats that use between 5 to 8 match dates, with a possibility of one additional final round.

I have been looking at some combinations and the following are guides as to the number of match dates for different formats, obviously as the number of teams per division changes so do the number of fixtures

  •  12 teams playing once – most teams 5 triangulars plus one single, some may have more singles. The fewer teams there are in a division the harder it is to fit them into triangulars, nine teams being the ideal!
  • 12 teams playing twice in a Grand Prix format requires 8 match dates per team
  • 6 teams playing home and away – 5 match dates per team

We normally have a number of teams with constraints on when they can play due to sharing players/venues/organizers with VE competitions. These teams need to think about the impact of VE also compressing matches into a shorter playing season and how many free dates this will leave for SW competition.

If SW has to wait for VE to complete their scheduling before we can start this is likely to add a 2 to 4 week delay before SW competition can start.

Please register your place before 30th June by completing the form below for each team interested in entering.

Rachel Swindell
Competitions Secretary