DIVISION 2 – DAY 4 – 03.02.19
LEIGH D REMAIN ON TRACK FOR DIVISION 1
Whilst Leigh D led the table by seven points before play began at the fourth meeting of Division 2, only six points covered the other five teams. South Croydon A were on 16, neither they nor Darenth B or Bromley Common A were out of the running on 14 points each while Darenth C had 13 and Bromley Common B were on 10. A poor performance or a great one could therefore have a major impact on the table so an interesting day’s play was in prospect.
This Round brought three fine, competitive matches, all with a bit of an edge to them given the League table. Leigh D (Dan Powley/Roger Harris) were given a stern test by Darenth C (Scott Gabriel/Vander Caceres) in a match when the result could easily have been the other way around. Darenth set out their stall from the beginning – Powley being given a hard time by Gabriel as 12-10, 9-11, 13-11, 12-10 to Powley suggests. Caceres took Harris to five games, leading 2-0 before Harris found his range to win the next three. It was a hard earnt 2-0 lead for Leigh. They took the doubles in four games and then it was heads down for the reverse singles. Powley led Caceres 2-1 but the latter stuck to his task and turned it around over five games. Gabriel then kept steady against Harris and pulled off a fine win in straight games to peg the score to 2-3. It was a narrow escape for Leigh but a very good effort from Darenth C.
Darenth B (Thomas Arnott/Dave Bonner) were looking to strengthen their promotion hopes against Bromley Common A (Dave Gabriel/Sylvester Czapinski) and it began well for them with Arnott defeating Gabriel in straight games. Czapinski had to pull out all the stops to hold Bonner off in the third to level the match. Darenth won the doubles in four after dropping the first 10-12. Arnott backed this up winning a very close set with Czapinski 11-9, 11-9, 12-10, breaking Czapinski’s 100% record in the process. It gave Darenth a winning lead. Bonner consolidated their position by beating Gabriel for a 4-1 victory.
South Croydon A (Alex Ito-Aramendia/Graham Hansen) had their hands full with Bromley Common B (Dave Walkley/Stuart Inglis) as two sets went the distance and three sets to four games would indicate. Ito-Aramendia had to go to four to beat Walkley who was defending well. Hansen and Inglis had one of the closest sets of the day which went in five to Hansen 10-12, 11-9, 12-14, 11-9, 11-7. Bromley Common B put the brakes on by taking the doubles but Ito-Aramendia found the unorthodox Inglis a difficult customer and had to go to five to beat him, making the scoreline 3-1 in the process. The final set between Hansen and Walkley went to the wire, Hansen breaking through Walkley’s defence 11-6 in the fifth making it 4-1 to South Croydon.
At the halfway stage, South Croydon A had closed up on Leigh D by one point while Darenth B had opened up a gap of three points on Bromley Common A. Darenth C had drawn level with Bromley Common A while Bromley Common B were still hanging in there two points behind.
This round threw up some crucial matches and there was an upset amongst the results.
There was a key match between South Croydon A (Hansen/Ito-Aramendia) and Darenth B (Bonner/Arnott). The opening singles both went to five and were shared – the left hander Hansen certainly gave as good as he got from Bonner and led 2-0. Bonner worked even harder to get back on terms and never let Hansen get back in during the fifth. There followed an excellent junior singles between Ito-Aramendia and Arnott who have a long history of good matches. Arnott led 2-1 only for Ito-Aramendia to level and finally sneak home 11-9 in the fifth. South Croydon A won the doubles to lead 2-1. Arnott brought it back level by holding Hansen off 12-10 in the third. It was thus down to Ito-Aramendia and Bonner to decide the outcome. It went to Bonner who had to work hard to beat Ito-Aramendia in four tight games.
There was another very important match between Darenth C (Scott Gabriel/Vander Caceres) and Bromley Common A (Czapinski/Dave Gabriel). Czapinski got Bromley Common A off on the right foot, defeating Scott in straight games. Caceres was feeling the after effects of his earlier efforts and Dave Gabriel isn’t the kind of player you want to run into under those circumstances. It went to five with Dave pulling through in the end. Not for nothing is he known as The Limpet Man. Bromley Common A won the doubles to make it a winning lead. Scott then beat his Uncle so it was then down to Caceres and Czapinski to decide the outcome of the last set. Caceres put in a fine performance but Czapinski was not giving ground and won it in the fourth to give his team a 4-1 victory. Who knows what ramifications of this loss might be?
The upset came when Bromley Common B (Inglis/Walkley) took on the table leaders Leigh D (Powley/Harris) and gave them a real run for their money. Powley was stretched to the limit by Inglis and only just survived to extend the set to a fifth game, scraping home 12-10 when 1-2 down. He got the lead in the fifth and stayed there. Walkey then pulled off a great win over Harris, taking it in four. The doubles went to Bromley Common B in straight games, scoring the highest game of the day 20-18. The reverse singles were shared, Powley defeating Walkley in four while Inglis got the better of Harris in five, recovering from 1-2 down to make it a most unexpected but richly deserved 3-2 victory to Bromley Common B.
At the close of play, whilst there were no changes in the order, the situation had clarified a little but there is all to play for at the final meeting. Leigh still head the table on 28 but there is little to choose between South Croydon A on 22, Darenth B on 21 and Bromley Common A aren’t far away on 19. Darenth C have 16 and Bromley Common B 14.