LETTERS: “Must consider costs and fairness of potential play offs”

Northern League Division Two play off attendee, David Beecroft, has set the ball rolling with the debate about play offs, with a well balanced and thoughtful offering…

The famous Welsh singer Max Boyce used to be known for one of his sayings when talking about one of the great rugby matches, “I know, ‘cos I was there!” Being fortunate enough to be able to say that about the Edinburgh Falcons/Sheffield Rockets Division Two play offs I feel as if we should have special T shirts made for everyone involved. It was that kind of an afternoon. It is wonderful and right that the “official” match report came from a neutral in Neil Magee from host club Northumbria and a fair and balanced one it is. There was hard racing and plenty of contact with the track but the sporting spirit never waned. Interesting that Neil, one of the sport’s thinkers, should pose the question about more play offs.

I feel there are several angles from which this needs to be considered. In a situation like the match just gone there is no question. The teams were so evenly matched and had such similar records with equal match points that any other method would have been unfair. I think if this had been conducted like a World Series (as in baseball) over seven matches it could well have finished 4-3 and I’m not sure in whose favour. However, had, say Sheffield been four match points clear would it have been fair to have had a play off? I think not.

However, if, at the beginning of the season, it was stated that, say, the top four teams would play off in a round robin for the Northern Premiership or something with seeding being given to teams with higher points and a neutral track final, that would be fair and perhaps interesting. There is no reason why the remaining teams could not play off for a separate competition.
A major consideration too is cost. Travelling for any match from Scotland is a major expense for the Falcons (and Glasgow) as is travelling up here for the other Northern teams. Unless the play offs could attract a major sponsorship the proceeds of which could be used to assist travelling costs it might be a non starter.

This lot has just come straight off the top of my head in response to Neil’s excellent match report and there’s probably holes in my arguments. Just wanted to set the ball rolling.

By the way any play off final in future would struggle to beat the organization, welcome and expertise displayed by our chums the Vikings. Well done wor lads and lasses!

Many thanks for your contribution, David.

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