DIVISION 1 – 08.04.18 – DAY 5
DYNAMIC DUO REIGN SUPREME
Crownwoods were streets ahead of their nearest rivals Darenth A, being untouchable on 37. Otford A were lurking close to Darenth on 21 with a gap to Leigh A on 15 who could not be considered safe with their own B team just three points behind. It seemed unlikely Darenth B could stay up, but stranger things have been known to happen.
The were some high score lines in this round.
Leigh B’s hopes of survival took a knock as Roger and Sue Pingram suffered an expected 5-0 loss to Crownwoods (Richard Beckham/Richard Farthing). However, there were a couple of close sets here, Roger taking a game from Farthing while Sue led the same player 2-1 but then lost the fourth and fifth.
The domestic derby between Darenth B (John Dyson/Dave Bonner and Darenth A (Terry McKee/Peter Davis) produced a similar result. The opening set between Dyson and McKee was very keenly contested with Dyson coming back from 1-2 down only to lose out in the decider. A look at the scores gives a clue – 9-11, 13-11, 11-9, 4-11, 12-10. Bonner got quite close to the same player, but it still finished as a 5-0 to the A team.
The closest match of the Round was that between Otford A where Peter Holt came in as substitute to partner Martin Tate against Leigh A who were likewise in trouble. Once more Dan Powley came in to support Fazeli. One set went the distance and three others required a fourth game, an indication of how fiercely fought this match was. Tate and Fazeli played some brilliant stuff in the opening set, Tate coming through 11-5, 13-15, 11-7, 11-9 giving Otford an excellent start. Powley finally broke his duck in Division 1, winning a very close set with the left hander Holt – 7-11, 15-13, 12-10, 11-6 to level the match. Leigh won the doubles in straight games to take the lead and then it was back to the hard graft for Powley where he took on Tate in the first of the reverse singles. It was a fine set which could so easily have gone against Powley but didn’t – the scores are worth a look 15-13, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7 is an indication of how tight it was. The last set between Holt and Fazeli was no less keenly contested with Fazeli having to pull out all the stops to recoup a 1-2 deficit before getting home 11-8 in the decider.
Before the final Round, Crownwoods were on 42, Darenth A on 31, Otford A were on 22 with Leigh A snapping at their heels on 19 and now safe from relegation. Leigh B were on 12 and Darenth B on 9.
Despite Crownwoods (Beckham/Farthing) being in celebratory mood, they were still given a bit of a run out by Otford A (Tate/Holt) who took four of the five sets to a fourth game. However, they fared no better than Leigh B had in Round 9.
There were two very close matches of which one was between Leigh A (Fazeli/Powley) and Darenth A (McKee/Davis). There was plenty of good play here and very open stuff from Fazeli and McKee in the opening singles. It went to four with Fazeli holding McKee off 11-9 in the third and 11-9 again in the fourth. Davis has been troubled by a knee injury in recent times and his movement was subsequently hampered against Powley but he gave of his best, coming back from 0-2 down before losing out 11-8 in the fifth which made it 2-0 to Leigh. Darenth scraped the doubles in four which got the ball rolling for them. Davis had to stay up to the table against Fazeli, but it paid off with a straight games win for him. That made it two sets all, so it was down to Powley and McKee to settle the issue. It went in four games to McKee but all credit to Powley who worked incredibly hard for his team.
The second close and quite lengthy match was that between Leigh B (Pingram/Pingram) and Darenth B (Dyson/Bonner). Three of the four players were using combination bats. Leigh B got the lead through Roger beating Dyson in four while Bonner replied for Darenth beating Sue narrowly 11-9 in the fifth. Darenth won the doubles in straight games – no mean achievement seeing as the Leigh pair are the Open Doubles champions. Bonner pinched the third game from Roger and it so nearly went to five as Roger only held him off 14-12 in the fourth. It was thus down to Dyson and Sue to decide the outcome. Sue took a game but Dyson held sway in the fourth for a 3-2 victory.
Crownwoods thus took the title with 47 points while Darenth A finished in second place on 34. Otford A on 22 just about held on to third place with Leigh A on 21. Leigh B ended on 14 with Darenth B on 12.
Crownwoods had led throughout the season with the two Richards playing every match and the main issues were the runners up spot and the relegation battle. Chapeau to Crownwoods and well done to all the teams who had problems with availability in honouring their commitments. One player deserves a special mention and that is Dan Powley who answered the call for help from Leigh A at very short notice on one occasion and finally got the reward he so richly deserved with taking three out of his four singles on the final day.