DIVISION 2 – 08.10.17 – DAY 1
LEIGH C GET THEIR NOSES IN FRONT ON DAY 1
Division 2 had its first meeting of the season and, as is customary with the Sevenoaks League after promotion and relegation, had a very different look about it. Only Darenth C and Bromley Common A remained with Leigh C and Darenth B promoted, Leigh B and Teen & 20 coming down from Division 1 and Coney Hill A withdrawing. This therefore meant Leigh B and C did not change their suffixes and they raised a fourth team to replace Coney Hill. Inevitably there was some reshuffling of players and new signings.
The two remaining teams from last year, Bromley Common A and Darenth C met in this round. Stuart Inglis transferred to Bromley Common from Coney Hill and was joined by Dave Gabriel as regulars Neil Warren and Dave Walkley were unavailable. Darenth moved Steve New up from Division 3 and he was partnered by Thomas Arnott. Darenth posted a 5-0 victory. However, it was no walk in the park. Inglis was all at sea for two games against Arnott before gradually getting to grips with Arnott’s serve and only succumbed 13-15 in the third. It was a similar story between Gabriel and New who held him off 19-17 in the third. Darenth made a shaky start in the doubles but roared away with the third. Inglis found his feet for his set with New which was an interesting one going the distance with New having to up the ante in the fifth. Being positive and patient were the watchwords for Arnott against Gabriel who none-the-less took a game from him.
The Halstead A and Leigh C match was a lengthy and close-run affair. Halstead called in Richard Nash to partner Ted Tydeman while Leigh C were struggling to get out a team. Sylvia Trenti answered the call and accompanied Michelle McGovern. The opening singles were shared, Mc Govern beating Tydeman in four after dropping the first game while Trenti lost by the narrowest of margins to Nash 9-11, 10-12, 9-11. The ladies, a right-left hand pairing, took an epic doubles turning a 1-2 deficit into a five game win 11-9 in the fifth by keeping an excellent length on their pushes and some shrewd placements. The left handed Trenti then took on Tydeman and got embroiled in a very long set. She was 2-1 up, got pegged back to two games all and, by careful shot selection, took the fifth 11-6 for a 3-1 lead. Mc Govern wrapped it up for Leigh C with a straight games win over Nash.
The new Leigh D team had Dan Powley leading it with Robert Karafa making his League debut against the well-established Teen & 20 team of Ming Majoe and Nick Smith. Majoe was quick out of the blocks against Karafa and Smith followed this up. The set was not as straight forward as Smith might have liked and he found himself 1-2 behind. He did, however take the fourth 11-9 and then got ahead to hold on in the fifth. As might be expected, the regular pairing of Majoe and Smith cruised the doubles and Smith made it 4-0 with a straight games win over Karafa. Powley gets a long of good stuff back and held Majoe at bay to take the fourth game 12-10 and open Leigh D’s account.
The closest match in this round saw an excellent duel between Darenth C (New/Arnott) and Teen & 20 (Majoe/Smith). New has frequently played Majoe and Smith throughout his career and was hopeful that he could repeat his successes over them in the West Kent League last week but it wasn’t to be. His opening set with Majoe was a terrific struggle with Majoe taking a 2-0 lead. New responded by levelling at two games all and it was nip and tuck in the fifth. It went to Majoe 14-12. Arnott quickly found his feet against Smith and took the first two games. Smith pinched the third 12-10 but Arnott built a good lead in the fourth and Smith was unable to catch up. Teen & 20 won a close doubles in four and Smith made it a winning lead by keeping New at bay. Arnott took the first two games from Majoe who then took the initiative to storm back at him. The fourth was brewing up nicely when Majoe suffered an attack of cramp. He carried on playing but Arnott knew enough not to let him off the hook so it finished as 2-3 in Darenth’s favour. It was an excellent afternoon’s work from Arnott who won all four of his singles. He was the only player who managed to keep a clean sheet during the meeting.
The other two matches were no less keenly contested, especially the domestic derby between Leigh C (Trenti/McGovern) and Leigh D (Powley/Karafa). This was a hard match for all four players. Powley took Trenti the distance levelling at two games all despite taking a tumble. Trenti kept in the rallies in the fifth to take it 11-8. McGovern got a flyer against Karafa who promptly bounced back to take the second. McGovern kept it tight and won the next two. The ladies added the doubles in four for a 3-0 lead and then came another long tussle between Trenti and Karafa who took a 2-1 lead. Trenti regrouped to take the fourth 11-7. There was some excellent play in the fifth with Trenti squeezing home 13-11 for four points in the bag There were likewise some fine rallies between McGovern and Powley. It was extremely close apart from the second game which Powley ran away with. The other games just could not have been any tighter, 14-12, 11-4, 12-14, 13-11 to Powley tells the story.
There were some very close sets in the Bromley Common A (Inglis/Gabriel) and Halstead A (Nash/Tydeman) match too. Halstead took a 2-0 lead before Inglis and Gabriel put a stop to their charge in the doubles which they won 12-10, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10. The reverse singles both went the distance. Nash was pegged back to two games all by Inglis before getting home 11-8 and likewise Gabriel giving Tydeman a run for his money coming back from two games behind before having to give best in the fifth.
At the end of Day 1 the ladies of Leigh C therefore lead on eight points with Darenth C and Teen & 20 hard on their heels on seven. Halstead A have five, Leigh D on two and Bromley Common A on one are both off the mark. There will be a lot more good matches to come from this Division and the next meeting will be eagerly anticipated.