1B or not 1B?

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At the start of the 2012 National Hurling League campaign, Waterford had lost only one more match than we had won in the history of the competition. There is a slight wrinkle in that statistic in that it looks like we gave walkovers to three counties in the first year of the League, which would count as defeats, but I’ve not been able to confirm that the games did not take place. It’s a moot point now though as the scales are firmly moving in the direction of the Lost side. The 31 points we shipped yesterday to Tipperary, quite apart from being the number of the Beast  to Waterford supporters, is the fourth highest total score we’ve conceded in the NHL . . . .

. . . and the highest amount of scores ever conceded.

(Click on the row heading in this table to sort the matches by points or total score.)

Another wrinkle in these statistics is that League matches were only 60 minutes long until a few years back, but it’s a bad stat whatever way you cut it, made worse by Tipperary scoring an eye-watering 26 points from play.  So it’s not surprising that some people are wondering whether dropping down a division would be such a bad thing. There’s some merit to the idea that we’d be better prepared if we could play in a few matches where we had a hope of victory. The absolute worst thing Michael Ryan could do now would be to ‘blood’ a few more youngsters as their confidence would be in bits before they ever had a chance. Just as being massacred when they made their infrequent forays in with the big boys never did the likes of Derry or Down any good, maybe a few matches against Clare or Limerick would build up our reserves.

It’s a superficially attractive idea, but wrong. As the Offaly contributor dotsflan points out, playing at what is meant to be their own level has done a lot of harm to the Faithful County’s prospects. The game is simply too ‘plodding’  to be any kind of preparation for the move up in the ranks. And besides, I want Waterford to be playing Kilkenny and Tipperary. It’s an extension of the idea I’ve being banging on about recently with the League of Ireland – you want to see the big teams, and with hurling you have the added bonus of knowing this is the best that the sport has to offer rather than just being the best this island has to offer. We still have a clear path to survival. Hope Dublin lose to Tipperary then jam it against the Dubs in Fraher Field. Oh, and we could beat Galway too, right?