DIVISION 6 – 07.01.18 – DAY 3
DARENTH H EXTEND THEIR LEAD AT THE TOP
At the start of the third day of Division 6, the table had split into three - Darenth H led the table on 16 points, one point ahead of South Croydon D, Darenth I had 11 and Halstead C 10. Bromley Common E were on seven and Tandridge had opened their account on one.
The closest match in this round was that between Darenth I (Joseph Tickner/Sophia Lipscombe) and South Croydon D (Omari Levers/Leone Saccoh). Apart from boosting their own tally, Darenth I could do some damage to South Croydon D’s hope of promotion so there was quite a lot riding on this match. Tickner got the ball rolling for Darenth with a four game win over Levers and Lipscombe used Saccoh’s power against him to good effect to take him to five but couldn’t quite nail it in the fifth. Darenth took the doubles in straight games to go 2-1 up. The next set between Tickner and Saccoh was an absolute cracker and plenty of power play. It swung this way and that to two games all but the fifth saw some extraordinary rallies and amazing retrieving of “nets”. It finally went to Saccoh at 14-12 which made it two sets all so it was down to Lipscombe and Levers to settle the issue. It was a close run thing – 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 12-10 to Levers just about sums it up.
Darenth H (Eddie Gillhouley/George Lipscombe) cashed in on this and bagged all five points from Halstead C (Jo Fooks/Wendy Ansell) though some of the games were quite close.
Bromley Common E (George Rogai/Michael Elliott) had a bit of a tussle with the Tandridge boys, Alex Wright and Sam Cowlard who had forgotten it was his turn to play and had to be rushed to the venue. Although he was late and should have been faulted, the Bromley Common men were happy for him to play so Wright started the match on his own. He did fine against Rogai and managed to pinch a game but fell victim to Elliott’s power. Cowlard did better against him but found Rogai a very awkward customer to deal with. However, the Tandridge boys managed to pinch a point when they won the doubles 12-10 in the fifth.
The competition had now reached the half way stage and Darenth H on 21 points had extended their lead to three points over South Croydon D on 18. Darenth I were comfortable in mid table on 13 with Halstead C on 10 and Tandridge now on two points.
This Round brought some very keenly contested matches which were not necessarily reflected by the final results. One such was Darenth H’s match where Gillhouley and Lipscombe were taken on by Bromley Common E (Rogai/Elliott). The Darenth boys had to mind their Ps and Qs here – Gillhouley trailed 1-2 to Rogai and had to pull out all the stops to take the fourth. Fortunately, he had another gear he could go to and this saw him safely home 11-6. Elliott’s more open style suited the boys better but they had to work hard in the third game of the doubles to secure it in straight games. Lipscombe, like Gillhouley, had to up his work rate to beat Rogai – 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9 gives a clue but it was a clean sheet for the Darenth boys.
South Croydon D (Saccoh/Levers) kept tight control against the Tandridge boys, Cowlard and Wright who gave of their best but didn’t manage to pick up a point from the promotion hunters.
By far the closest match was that between Halstead C (Fooks/Ansell) and Darenth I (Lipscombe/Tickner). Lipscombe got Darenth off to the best possible start, beating the long reached Fooks in four. Fooks likes to attack and this suited Lipscombe just fine. Tickner backed it up with a straight games win over Ansell but the doubles was a different story and Darenth could easily have lost this. It went to five games and they looked to be doing well, leading 2-1. Halstead rattled off the fourth game 11-5 so it was two games all. Darenth held the lead but Halstead wouldn’t give ground and fought back. It was anybody’s at the end but went to Darenth 13-11. Both the reverse singles went to five games and were well fought. Fooks held a 2-0 lead over Tickner but he found a path back to two games all. It almost worked in the deciding game but Fooks stuck to her guns and pulled it off 13-11. Ansell made a flying start in the first game against Lipscombe taking it with a bit to spare. Lipscombe, however, adapted to dealing with Ansell’s defence and took a 2-1 lead. Ansell decided to attack a bit more and that brought her the fourth though it let Lipscombe back into the set as she blocks well. Some thoughtful placements gave Lipscombe the fifth and secured a 4-1 victory for her team.
Darenth H therefore lead the table on 26 points with South Croydon D just behind on 23. Darenth I are on 17 in third place with Halstead C and Bromley Common E equal on 11. Tandridge are struggling on two – such is the standard of this Division. There’s a long way to go yet and the top two teams can’t afford to rest on their laurels.