NATIONAL CADET LEAGUE 2 – 02.12.18
STEEP LEARNING CURVES FOR BOTH THE A & B TEAMS
After promotion and relegation from Day 1, the A team had done well to remain in Division 1. It would, however, be a huge challenge for them to stay there, given that the top two from Division 2 would be coming up. The B, though, should be finding things somewhat easier in Division 2, not that playing at NCL level for the first time is ever easy.
The A were minus the services of Sam Arnott so Tommy Cowling, Ben McKay and Felipe Fujimori had all five matches to play. They began with a match against the newly promoted South Croydon G (Chidumebi Egbeama/Lucas Gabb/Josh Albequeue). Anyone having thoughts that what appeared to be one of the weaker teams were quickly dispelled. It took the boys a while to settle down. Whilst no one expecting to do particularly well against such a strong side, they did at least manage to take games and that was encouraging.
Daniel Henderson had been “borrowed” by Cleeve Park 3 who were one short so it was down to Konrad Johnson, Oscar Owen and Matthew James to fly the flag against South Croydon F (Anishka Vijay/Calina Dawson/Caron Charles). Konrad won both his singles against Anishka and Calina while Matthew opened his account with a win over Caron. A draw was certainly an encouraging start.
The A’s next opponents were South Croydon D (Yuvathi Vijay/Rocco Martinez-Paoli/Naziyah Hasan). The boys did all they could against a strong and much more experienced team. Tommy and Felipe took games which, in reality, is all they could be expected to do – Yuvathi is playing STTL Division 3 and Rocco Division 4 whereas Tommy is finding his feet in Division 6 and the others are all in the STTL Development Divisions.
Oscar, Matthew and Daniel took on Elmgreen 2 (Gus Leggat/Isaac Lovely/ Frank Ottoway O’Mahony) and played some good stuff in places but needed to be able to hold it together longer. Oscar was unfortunate not to take Isaac to five and Daniel also took a game from the same player.
This Round saw the A fare somewhat better against Elmgreen 1 (Danner Cordova/Franklin Almonte/Jherson Gonzales) and scored their first points of the day with a straight games win for Felipe over Jherson and a four game win for Ben over the same player. There were signs of the boys finding their feet as both Tommy and Ben took Franklin and Danner to five games. A 2-4 loss at least meant a couple of points deposited in the bank.
Morpeth (Luke Westgate/Ennan Ziddah/Eugene Ziddah) were closer to the B’s standard. Konrad picked up one beating Enan in four while Daniel’s busy buzzy style brought him two wins over the Ziddah brothers. They were three very hard fought for points.
Cleeve Park 1 (Isaac Egginton/Aniket Bhanushali/Aydin Saju) were never going to be easy opponents and the boys found it hard to get points against a team likely to challenge for the top spot. It was, however, valuable experience for them.
If the B thought South Croydon G (Gosinached Egbeama/Shantosh Therevavasa/Adrian Vasudevan) were going to be easier than the F, then they had to do a rapid rethink. They were closer in some games than they were given credit for and it was only a magnificent effort from Konrad to beat Gosinached, avenging his recent loss to him in the STTL Junior Development Division meeting, which prevented the whitewash. He also did well against pips user Shantosh.
The final round against Cleeve Park 2 (Mark Yin/Sayd Hamad/Devan Vadukal) was a much closer match. Tommy was the only one to get on the board 11-7 in the fifth against Mark but it was uplifting to see four other sets being taken to a fourth game at the end of a long and very hard day.
The B (Konrad/Matthew/Daniel) likewise finished on a stronger note against Cleeve Park 3 (Arjun Thakar/Chris Chin/Jake Murrison Waller). It was a hard-fought match. Daniel secured the only point beating Jake 11-9 in the fifth. Konrad ran Chris close losing only 9-11 in the fifth and three other sets went to a fourth game.
All in all a tough day for both teams but gaining experience can only be learned the hard way and it will stand both teams in good stead for the future.