JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT DIVISION 1 – 02.03.19 - DAY 4
CLEEVE PARK A CLAIM TITLE AT FOURTH MEETING
Cleeve Park A on 29 held a comfortable seven point lead over Tandridge A on 22 at the start of the penultimate meeting. Amherst A, who had to forfeit 10 points at the third meeting as they were representing Kent at the English School TTA Zone 7 finals in London, were in equal third place with Darenth A on 12. South Croydon A had eight and Cleeve Park B seven points.
South Croydon A were unfortunately let down by one of their players at the last moment leaving Dominic Faulkner on his own to face Darenth A (Matthew James/Ben McKay). However Amherst loaned him a partner and play went ahead as scheduled. Faulkner did well to take James to a fourth game but found McKay on good form so it ended as a 5-0 to Darenth A.
The top of the table clash between Tandridge A (Matthew Woodgate/Izaac Duncan-King) and Cleeve Park A produced some very close games. Cleeve Park were themselves struggling to find another player but Harry Turner came up from Division 2 to partner Chris Chin and performed very creditably indeed to help the team keep a clean sheet.
Without doubt the match of the Round and possibly the day, was that between Cleeve Park B (Jake Murrison-Waller/Nick Hurst) and Amherst A (Sam Arnott/Felipe Fujimori). Battle was well and truly joined from the outset. Arnott sped off into a two game lead over the left hander Murrison-Waller who then recouped the deficit. Arnott might have had the fourth which he only just lost 10-12 but despite a determined effort in the fifth Murrison-Waller clung on to his lead to win. Much the same thing happened with Hurst and Fujimori who lost it on an unreturnable edge at 9-10 in the fifth. It was tough for the Amherst boys to take when it happened again in the doubles but full marks to the Cleeve Park boys for pulling out such a good lead. However, the Amherst boys picked themselves up and got to work to take both the reverse singles to keep the result as a 3-2 win to South Croydon. The standard of play was exceptional and much appreciated by a sizeable group of supporters.
After round 7 the standings were therefore Cleeve Park A 34, Tandridge A 22, Darenth 17, Amherst A 14, Cleeve Park B 10 and South Croydon A eight.
Given Cleeve Park B’s outstanding performance against Amherst A, Tandridge A (Duncan-King/Woodgate) were understandably wary and their caution was borne out during the opening singles with Duncan-King losing in five to Hurst after recovering 1-2 deficit while Woodgate got past Murrison-Waller in four having dropped the first. Tandridge won a tight doubles and then backed this up by taking both the reverse singles.
Cleeve Park A (Turner/Chin) duly recorded a 5-0 over South Croydon A but all credit to Faulkner who kept doing his best and to Cleeve Park A for making sure of the points.
Darenth A (James/McKay) might have expected some kind of backlash from Amherst A (Fujimori/Arnott) and it certainly looked as if that might happen when Amherst A won both the opening singles. They should have also had the doubles but service errors in both the fourth and fifth games cost them dearly. The reverse singles were shared with Arnott romping away with a straight games win over James while McKay and Fujimori fought out one of the most tense sets of the day. It was nip and tuck all the way throughout the fifth only being won by McKay picking off a couple of forehand drives at 11 all to take it 13-11. It was a fine set to bring to a close an outstanding afternoon’s play.
Going into the final meeting, Cleeve Park A are in an unassailable position but what happens between the next three is anyone’s guess. Tandridge A might be sitting seven to the good ahead of Darenth A but they have both Darenth on 19 and Amherst A on 17 to play. It’s going to make for a cracking afternoon’s play.