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More Bull, Different Koch
Sara'sman (IP Logged)
19 February, 2018 10:54
I can't rival GazzaFez's brilliant pun on the Vincent thread (my nomination for an end of year "Post of the Year" award DG) but I'd like to offer the following on a quiet Monday morning.

When he isn't making cringingly embarrassing statements to female pundits for BT at the Tigers v Quins game ("So you've not been to Welford Road before - well this is the pitch, over there is the crowd") the Salesman likes nothing more than repeating clichés. A favourite of his is that the AP is more competitive every season. Well, is it?

I decided to have a look at the statistics over the past 15 seasons. One way of assessing the competitiveness is the points difference between the sides finishing top and bottom. Unfortunately this is unduly affected by outliers in several seasons (London Welsh and Rotherham at the bottom, Leicester and ourselves at the top) and it is good practice to attempt to avoid such exceptions.

So I looked at the points difference between teams finishing 2nd and 11th from the seasons ending in 2003 to 2017 (l to r):

26, 36, 33, 25, 37, 36, 32, 39, 53, 41, 41, 56, 41, 47, 51

These figures show very clearly that the top 7 largest points differences (least competitive seasons) were all in the latter 7 years (2011-2017) whilst the 7 most competitive seasons were all in the earlier 7 years (2003-2009).

Clear evidence that the gap between top and lower teams is growing rather than narrowing and something that I think should concern us all. Any thoughts?

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
JO'G (IP Logged)
19 February, 2018 12:17
could you compare the points difference to the points scored

I would think that generally over time, the number of points scored by teams increase significantly. Scoring 40 points in a match was something that used to happen once or twice a year - now it happens fairly often

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
Sara'sman (IP Logged)
19 February, 2018 14:55
JO'G - Your wish ....

To minimalise the effect of outliers I again used the 2nd and 11th highest points scorers and compared the difference in the points these teams scored in each of the past 15 seasons. e.g. last year Exeter scored the second most points (667) and Newcastle the second least (430), a difference of 237. Values for the 15 years are:

171, 177, 183, 134, 193, 215, 203, 168, 173, 188, 130, 279, 221, 228, 237


The statistic similar to the one in my OP is that four of the smallest points differences occurred in the first 7 years, four of the largest in the last 7. Not a strong statistic!

However, all 4 of the largest differences have occurred in the past 4 seasons. Based on the above data alone, it seems reasonable to state that:

between (seasons ending in) 2010 and 2013 the league was more competitive
between 2003 and 2006 also competitive
between 2007 and 2009 less competitive
between 2014 and 2017 the least competitive

Pint of Wolfpack from the first to mention Disraeli's quote!

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
1876-Fez (IP Logged)
19 February, 2018 15:40
I'll nibble... "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."(Sm100)



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Re: More Bull, Different Koch
Darraghgirl (IP Logged)
19 February, 2018 17:11
Quote:
Sara'sman
I can't rival GazzaFez's brilliant pun on the Vincent thread (my nomination for an end of year "Post of the Year" award DG)

For those who missed it (as did I) the pun was:-
"Considering the team he was supposedly transferring to, this really was a ..........

Koch & Bulls story! "

Brilliant!(Sm22)

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
GazzaFez (IP Logged)
19 February, 2018 19:20
(Sm59) (Sm128) you're too kind.


An interesting set of figures - both versions. When presented with that, it certainly looks like a fairly decisive polarisation, certainly of the top and bottom halves of the league. I've read a couple of pieces recently about what should happen to the leagues in terms of expansion, contraction and/or ring-fencing in light of all this. All of them seem to have some merit and yet none of them have a compelling argument to change from the current situation. I guess if you're sitting comfortably in the top half, for a prolonged period as we are, then these matters don't have quite the same complexion.

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
AP (IP Logged)
19 February, 2018 20:07
Interesting, but you are still just looking at the ends of the distribution and not analysing where the other 8 clubs lie in between.

Also, have you adjusted for the introduction of bonus points?

It could be illuminating to see what score the relegated club had each season, and by which round relegation was decided. My recollection is that it was for some seasons around 20 points and that there was one season when on the last day we were one of three clubs that could be relegated but ad a good win and finished eighth (I think).

Likewise, at the top.

But I think you are right that there is a bigger gap now between top and bottom.



Successful hills are here to stay
Everything must be this way
Gentle streets where people play
Welcome to the Soft Parade

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
Sara'sman (IP Logged)
19 February, 2018 20:49
Thanks for your feedback AP. If I may I'd suggest in response to your points

(1) True! But my life is only sad to a limit! I don't have the time or will to make a deeper analysis - the original only took 10 minutes to do, longer to share! Perhaps analysis of the points difference between the average of positions 2-5 and 8-11 over the years would produce a stronger statistic?

(2) I spotted fortunately - they came in for the 2000-1 season.

(3) and (4) I think fail to meet the criticism you offered in (1). I'd also suggest they are affected by outliers such as Rotherham ahead of reflecting trends. But I'd be interested to see the strength of any correlation of e.g. relegated team's points with time.

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
MyCupRunnethOver (IP Logged)
20 February, 2018 11:17
Koch & Bulls...had me giggling all day

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
JO'G (IP Logged)
20 February, 2018 12:06
It does seem that the position taken by Sara'sman does seem correct

What is interesting is that if you take the 2 teams in 6th and 7th place and add up their points scored - as an indicator or the scoring power of the league - the total is pretty consistent at 1,000 between them except for the first three years

Its interesting that the point score was around 20% more, in the first 3 years of the premiership life

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
LutonS (IP Logged)
20 February, 2018 14:00
What would total points average per side look like?

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
20 February, 2018 14:57
There's two slightly different questions here:

- How competitive are individual games?
- How competitive is the overall league?

Though we'd expect the answers to be correlated.

The first we can proxy using the number of losing bonus points collected per season, as it's a good measure of games where the other side could have won.

Season - Losing Bonus
2000-01 - 48
2001-02 - 40
2002-03 - 48
2003-04 - 49
2004-05 - 58
2005-06 - 64
2006-07 - 63
2007-08 - 59
2008-09 - 62
2009-10 - 55
2010-11 - 54
2011-12 - 69
2012-13 - 63
2013-14 - 65
2014-15 - 51
2015-16 - 59
2016-17 - 53
2017-18* - 51.3 *forecast

2011-14 was a high water mark, but 2014-18 has been below the long-term average.

It's harder to measure the parity of the overall league, and I don't have the time just now to look at all the options I can think of (I'd like to compare league positions after 11 round and after 22).

But a quick check compared the average league points of 2nd to 4th with the average points of 5th to 8th and 9th to 11th over the last decade.

The top group are adding ~0.8 points per year, the middle group are flat, and the bottom group are adding ~0.1 points per year. So yes, I think the league is getting marginally less competitive, not more. Especially compared to 5 years ago.

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
20 February, 2018 14:57
There's two slightly different questions here:

- How competitive are individual games?
- How competitive is the overall league?

Though we'd expect the answers to be correlated.

The first we can proxy using the number of losing bonus points collected per season, as it's a good measure of games where the other side could have won.

Season - Losing Bonus
2000-01 - 48
2001-02 - 40
2002-03 - 48
2003-04 - 49
2004-05 - 58
2005-06 - 64
2006-07 - 63
2007-08 - 59
2008-09 - 62
2009-10 - 55
2010-11 - 54
2011-12 - 69
2012-13 - 63
2013-14 - 65
2014-15 - 51
2015-16 - 59
2016-17 - 53
2017-18* - 51.3 *forecast

2011-14 was a high water mark, but 2014-18 has been below the long-term average.

It's harder to measure the parity of the overall league, and I don't have the time just now to look at all the options I can think of (I'd like to compare league positions after 11 round and after 22).

But a quick check compared the average league points of 2nd to 4th with the average points of 5th to 8th and 9th to 11th over the last decade.

The top group are adding ~0.8 points per year, the middle group are flat, and the bottom group are adding ~0.1 points per year. So yes, I think the league is getting marginally less competitive, not more. Especially compared to 5 years ago.

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
Sara'sman (IP Logged)
20 February, 2018 15:45
Even stronger evidence that the league is less competitive than in the earlier years of this century. Following AP's feedback I looked at the difference between the total of the points scored by teams finishing 2-5 and the total of those finishing 8-11 (e.g. in 2017 286 - 168 = 118).

Differences for seasons ending in May 2003 to 2017 (l to r):

86, 91, 83, 73, 94, 107, 84, 107, 129, 114, 117, 139, 110, 112, 118


In every year post 2010 the difference is greater than in every year prior to 2010, largely due to the trend for the higher teams (2-5) gaining more points as time progressed.

You'll be pleased to know that's me finished! But does anyone else see cause for concern in the league becoming less competitive?

LutonS - you tell me! (Though you'd only need to look at total bonus points plus 4 per game. And I'm not sure what conclusions could be drawn if a pattern was found).

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
Sara'sman (IP Logged)
20 February, 2018 16:07
PJs - interesting, and certainly worth posting twice!winking smiley

I couldn't think what to conclude from LBPs (should 2014 be 64?) - to some extent it depends whether it is the weaker or stronger teams gaining/losing them.

Your final paragraph is particularly interesting - in essence the top teams are pulling away albeit slowly. Reinforces and adds to my last post which was completed before seeing yours!

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
JO'G (IP Logged)
20 February, 2018 16:25
or does that all mean that sides are simply better at getting the 5th point now than they were in years gone by

 
Re: More Bull, Different Koch
AP (IP Logged)
20 February, 2018 22:40
Thanks everyone for the input!



Successful hills are here to stay
Everything must be this way
Gentle streets where people play
Welcome to the Soft Parade


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