N&R Premier League Final Table – part 2
It became a bit of a two horse race the challenge for the 21st N&R Championship title
but below them there were some fantastic shows of fantasy football management.
In the early weeks Lee Baughan, Jordan Perry and Ben Guarino all sat at the summit, and all three continued to challenge with Jordan eventually grabbing 3rd place 21 points ahead of Ben Guarino in 4th. Jordan was in his first PL season and has all the characteristics of a future N&R Champion. One time Francey caretaker manager, Ben was runner up in in 2013/14 and 2014/15 and will no doubt give it another go again next season.
In 5th was one time winner Ricky Wood and another perennial challenger Mark Gregory was 6th. In many years past Mark’s score of 1,651 would have been enough to have won the title, so good were these season’s top managers.
Ricky spent 40 of the 42 weeks in the top 8 but Mark, up until week 41 had hardly featured. There were some telling transfer decisions from Mark that earned him his 6th spot.
In a tie for 7th were Lee Baughan and Lee Blackman. Sweaty just missed relegation last season but started this one well. And then after hanging around mid table he put together an excellent last 2 months to push himself into the prize money.
Lee Blackman spent the first 2 months in relegation trouble and again in week 16, and as recent as week 29, when after a super run of form hurtled him up the league table. In fact Lee’s first appearance in the top 8 was only 5 weeks ago and he clung on to collect £67.50.
Tom Lamb was promoted last season and had a real go. He will be gutted to miss out on a top 8 spot after spending 14 of the last 17 weeks in it. Tom fell just 2 points short.
Another previous Champ Barry Plummer for the longest time looked like a relegation cert and probably if we played another 4 weeks Bazza would have kept climbing the table. Barry ended up in 10th, 6 points ahead of Tim Harris, who was 4th last season. Tim started slow but got himself as high as 3rd in weeks 34 and 35, but ran out of steam.
Another ex-champ Ryan Saveall had a mixed campaign. Poor start, then a good run in October, then a dally with the drop again in December before moving back into the top 8 in February. In March and April he looked good for some prize money but fell again, although a rasping MoW week in week 41 helped Sav to finish 12th.
Matt Pini was 6th last year and this year 13th. He had his moments good and bad but ended safely in mid-table obscurity. Steve Black is still the only manager outside of the UK to have won the N&R FL title and he also had a non-descript season ending in 14th.
Luke Patey toyed a bit with the drop but was 15th as did Will Jackson, but both ended the season comfortably safe. Neil Bixby came the closest to the drop finishing just 4 points from safety.
Both Jason Syrett and Simon Ward will be disappointed in their relegation as both played many weeks at the top end of the table. Neil Addington was 8th last season but this time finished 20th and will drop to the Championship. Richard Nathan spent all 42 weeks in the drop zone but improved a lot towards the end but ran out of weeks.
Steve Merchant was 5th last season but a year later drops to the Championship as does shockingly last season’s 20th N&R FL Champion Graham Ward, who despite how hard he tried could just not repeat last season’s outstanding display. Both of the Ward bro’s relegated then.
Old N&R timer Danny Rose was 2nd in week 3 and fell to the grey zone in week 5 and never recovered. Likewise his partner Peter Godfrey also falls to the 2nd tier, for the first time!
Another surprise was seeing George Watson struggle. He ran away with the Championship last season hitting 1,815 points. This year he scored over 400 points less and goes back to whence he came.
James Stiff, Michelle Fudge and Max King all lived the entire 42 weeks in the grey zone and fall to the Championship. Dan Weeks who came up last year fell well short and Geoff McCormick who finished 10th last season took the wooden spoon.
Interestingly and proving how hard the N&R Premier League has become, 9 of the 15 manager’s that came up last year went back down again.