LEAGUE RULES.  Issue 9.1,  December 2001

An up to date version of these rules should be downloadable from the web, currently at http://www.tvbsl.org

The changes since issue 9 only affect document formatting. The changes since Issue 9 are to rule 4b., related to ex-employee eligibility and rule 7f., related to the abolition of match fees.  These changes were voted in at the AGM, August 2001


  1. The Rules represent the current set as approved by the Committee after consultation with all teams.
  2. Any changes to these Rules may be made only after agreement by a full Team Representatives Meeting. Requests for any change should be made to the Chairman in advance of such meeting, in adequate time for any preliminary investigation should this appear desirable.
  3. Any question of interpretation of the rules or queries concerning matches, etc. should be referred in the first instance to the appropriate Division Coordinator. If he cannot resolve the matter it will be referred to the Committee.


  1. Fixture lists are published showing fortnightly periods during which matches should be played.
  2. The fixture lists are drawn up on a home-and-away basis. the left hand column is the home team. It is the home team's responsibility to contact their opponents as early as possible, provide courts, and nominate a date for the fixture. Fixtures should be on a weekday evening unless mutually agreed otherwise. It is the away team's responsibility to do everything possible to accept the nominated date. If, in exceptional circumstances, the nominated date is totally unacceptable to the away team, they may offer their courts and date as an alternative. This, in turn, must be totally acceptable to the home team.
  3. Court time booked should be a minimum of three and a half hours; preferably four hours.


  1. In the majority of cases it is expected that matches will be played during the appropriate two week period.
  2. It is, however, recognised that difficulties may occasionally arise, e.g. no courts, which prevent the match being played in the allocated period. If reasonable grounds exist, an extension of a further two weeks may be allowed.
    Note:  It is not considered reasonable to postpone a fixture solely because one or two regular players are unavailable, if reserve players are available.
  3. Any proposal to play a match outside the allocated two week period should be referred by the home team to the Divisional Coordinator for information and approval. If, after the agreed extension period, a fixture has still not been fulfilled, it is expected that one team will recognise itself as being at fault and will concede the match to the other team. In such instances a 5-0 win (20-0 in terms of points) will be entered on the results sheet.
  4. In the exceptional circumstances of teams not being able to agree on which team was at fault, the Committee will adjudicate. If they can clearly decide fault, then a 5-0 win (20-0 in terms of points) will be awarded to the non-offending side. If fault is not clear then the match will be declared void, and no Rubbers or Games will be awarded to either side.
    Note:  It is earnestly hoped that all teams will wish to win points through playing matches rather than through claiming concessions.


  1. Players may be drawn from parent companies or organisations and 100% subsidiaries whose locations are in the Thames Valley. Each player's normal place of work or his home must be at such a location.
  2. At the time of playing, each player must be one of:
    One exception, is that ex-employees who are made redundant or resign may continue to play for that team for the remainder of the season, provided they do not join another company which fields teams in the league.
  3. No player shall play for more than one company or organisation in any one season, without prior approval by the Committee.
  4. In the case of doubt concerning a person's eligibility, the circumstances should be referred to the appropriate Division Coordinator before fielding the person as a player. If he cannot resolve the matter it will be referred to the Committee.
  5. If it is proved that a team has played an ineligible player, the result of this rubber will be declared void and a 3 games to nil win will be awarded to his opponent.
  6. The committee reserve the right to allow players that do not stricly match the above criteria, providing that the team under investigation is regarded as working within the "spirit" of the league.   Essentially, the rules above are intended to guard against "ringers" and seeking unfair advantage, not limit the flexibility of the league.


  1. Some companies may field more than one team in the League. If company team selection procedure allows any eligible player to qualify for any company team, those teams must be designated 'A' and 'B' (and 'C' if applicable), and ranked in descending order. Any other selection procedure (for example by geographical location or department) requires the teams to be differently named. In such cases any player who is eligible to play in the League is eligible to play for one team only, and any transfer in the current season must be justified to and approved by the Division Coordinator.
  2. Before the first league match in any season, those companies having both 'A' and 'B' teams must nominate three players who will be designated 'A' team players and who will not be eligible to play in any other team during the season. These three designated players will be the first three players in the current order of merit. If, at any stage during the season, a designated player becomes permanently unavailable for selection, a new designated player must be nominated for the remainder of the season. Designated players must be notified to Division Coordinators.
  3. Designated players (if selected) and the remainder of the 'A' team and all the 'B' team (and 'C', 'D' teams if applicable) will play in current order of merit. Due to changes in order of merit, it is recognised that some players may be selected for both 'A' and 'B' (and possibly 'C', 'D') team matches. This is permitted, but the total number of matches for which such a player is fielded may not exceed the number of matches in a Division for the season, or the greater number if the Divisions concerned differ in size. Team Captains may, however, be asked to justify to the Committee excessive movement between teams


  1. Teams must play in current order of merit. Compliance with this rule rests firmly with the Team Captain.
  2. Team Captains will normally take internal ladders/leagues as the main guideline for deciding order of merit. Discretion is given to them to make allowances for recent injury or illness, freak results, or any reasonable circumstance.
  3. The Team Captain's knowledge of his players and his judgement will be respected. Team Captains may, however, be required to justify to the Committee apparently 'suspect' ranking orders.
  4. Team Captains must arrive at a fixture with their ranking (string) order already written out on the match result sheet. This will then be declared 'blind' to the opposing Captain.


  1. A match shall consist of five rubbers. A rubber is the best of five games.
  2. Rubbers should be played in accordance with current SRA Rules.
  3. Matches should normally be played in reverse order of strings, i.e. fifth string rubber first, finishing with first strings. Any variation from this (e.g. due to an individual's constraint on the time he is available) must be arranged between Team Captains in advance.
  4. It is desirable that all rubbers should be marked/refereed. Team Captains should arrange before the start of a match who is available as markers/referees.
  5. Ball speed (spot colour) should be mutually agreed between players. Failing agreement, the team captains should decide. In the event of team captains being unable to decide, the usual rule at the club where the match is being played should be followed.
  6. Match related expenses (courts and balls etc) should be met by the home team.  What teams do about funding  of any drinks and food that the home team chooses to provide needs prior agreement between captains.


  1. Unfinished rubbers, e.g. when court time expires, will be awarded to the player leading at the time by games; by points in the unfinished game if games are equal; and by 'in-hand' if both games and points are equal.
  2. If there is no time (or only a few minutes) left to start a rubber, the two players and captains may mutually agree to play the rubber 'privately' at a later date. This should be as soon as practicable after the match proper, and in any case no later than two weeks after.
  3. A team knowingly arriving for a fixture one player short will concede the fifth string rubber by three games to nil. 
  4.  If a player unexpectedly fails to turn up for a fixture, the corresponding rubber will be conceded by three games to nil. However, an eligible substitute may be played at the appropriate 'missing' string level. A person who has already played (or will play) in the match as another string is not eligible.
    Note:  The main causes of unfinished matches have been identified as late arrivals and unmatched players in terms of playing order. The message to team captains is clear


  1. Following a match, the team captains should sign on the form provided to indicate agreement of the result as entered. The home captain is responsible for sending the result to the Division Coordinator.
  2. One point is awarded for the winner of each individual game, (each completed rubber scores 3-0, 3-1, or 3-2). An unfinished rubber as in Rule 8 (a) above scores point(s) for the completed game(s) only, but counts as a rubber win (as determined by 8 (a)). An additional five points are awarded to the team winning most rubbers.


  1. Teams are ranked in order of points scored as in 9(b). In cases of equal points, ranking is determined by number of team victories, then the difference of individual games won and lost.
  2. If a team withdraws from the League during the season, points gained from its matches shall be ignored.
  3. At the end of each season, normally TWO teams are promoted and TWO relegated between Divisions.  The committee has discretion to vary this to accommodate abnormal circumstances such as: As a guideline, teams in the league should aim to finish above 3rd from bottom to avoid relegation.
  4. The bottom three teams in the lowest Division may be subject to scrutiny to determine their acceptability to continue in the League.