DIVISION 3 –04.02.18 – DAY 4
SOUTH CROYDON A SURGE AHEAD AT THE TOP OF THE TABLE
This Division has become a two horse race after Day 3 – South Croydon A led the table on 24 points with Bromley Common B on 22. Neither Darenth D on 15 nor Bromley Common C or Darenth E were entirely out of the running both on 14 but would have to mount a sustained charge to get back in contention. Plumstead Radical were not likely to be able to avoid relegation now.
The closest match of this Round came between Darenth D (Scott Gabriel/Ben Jakes) and promotion hunters Bromley Common B who have had difficulty getting out a regular team in recent times. Dave Gabriel had a different partner in Mark Whitney on this occasion. The opening singles were shared, Scott Gabriel getting the better of Whitney while Dave defeated Jakes in four. Darenth won the doubles in straight games for the lead and consolidated with a win for Scott over Uncle Dave in four. The closing set went to five with Jakes working hard for a 2-0 lead over pips user Whitney who regrouped and came back strongly to win in five which kept the score to 2-3.
Bromley Common C (Steve Harmsworth/Piers de Caestecker) gave South Croydon A (Alex Ito-Aramendia/Graham Hansen) a run for their money, starting with a lengthy five game set between Ito-Aramendia and Harmsworth which swung this way and that as 8-11, 13-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6 to Ito-Aramendia shows. De Caestecker got a point on the board for Bromley Common C with a four game win over Hansen and then the really tight sets began. The doubles went to the left-right handed South Croydon A combination 11-8, 12-10, 12-10 followed by 11-8, 11-13, 14-12, 11-9 to Ito-Aramendia over De Caestecker and the tightest of the lot 12-10, 12-10, 12-10 for Hansen over Harmsworth. A 4-1 victory it might be for South Croydon A but it could so easily have been the other way.
Plumstead Radical were a man short at the start of play. Fortunately the Venue Supervisor for the day Roger Pingram was able to get in touch with Peter Duke was immediately downed tools and made his way to the venue. Keith Young therefore began against Darenth E (Mark Cooper/Chris Mitchell) without him and found Cooper in good form. Duke’s first game was against Mitchell and it was a bit of a tussle, both men being very good with block and counterhit skills. It was close, but Mitchell prevailed in the end. Darenth took the doubles for a winning lead which Mitchell then consolidated with a win over Young, but Cooper had his work cut out against Duke who was seeing the ball well by now. Cooper got home in five but might well have lost in four as the third was very close and only taken by him at 12-10. It did, however, mean a most welcome five points in the bank for Darenth E.
South Croydon A had therefore extended their lead to four points ahead of Bromley Common B. Darenth E had, however, leapfrogged into third place on 19, one ahead of their D team with Bromley Common C on 15 and Plumstead Radical still stuck on one.
Darenth E (Cooper/Mitchell) were proving themselves to be a handful and were once again involved in a lengthy match, this time with promotion hunters Bromley Common B (Whitney/Gabriel). Cooper found himself 1-2 down to Whitney in the opening set but got back on terms and battled his way home 13-11 in the fifth. Gabriel brought it back to par with a win over Mitchell and things began to look up a bit when Bromley Common B took the doubles. Back into the fray came Cooper, defeating Gabriel in four after dropping the first 10-12. So, it was down to Mitchell and Whitney to decide the outcome. Mitchell took a 2-0 lead but dropped the third 9-11 before securing it 11-8 in the fourth for a 3-2 victory.
Bromley Common C (De Caestecker/Harmsworth) boosted their hopes of survival recording a full house off Plumstead Radical (Young/Duke) but are not out of the danger zone yet. Darenth D (Gabriel//Jakes) lost a much closer match to South Croydon A (Ito-Aramendia/Hansen) then 5-0 would suggest. Four sets needed a fourth game and there were many “deuce” games.South Croydon A have therefore opened up a seven point gap at the top and are now on 33 points with Bromley Common B on 26. Darenth E have made a charge and now sit in third place on 22, two ahead of Bromley Common C while Darenth D have slithered into the relegation zone on 18. Hard pressed Plumstead Radical remain on one.