At the commencement of Day 2 Cleeve Park A on 10 were two points clear of Darenth A on eight.   Only two points covered the remaining four teams – Tandridge A had four, Amherst A and South Croydon A were tied on three and Cleeve Park B had two.

Round 3

There were some very close sets in this Round, despite all three matches being 5-0 scorelines.   Leaders Cleeve Park A (Chris Chin/Ben Turgoose) were given a run for their money by South Croydon A (Gosinachid Egbeama/Dominic Faulkner), four sets requiring a fourth game.   It was a tremendous effort from South Croydon – they played and fought hard but had nothing to show for their efforts.

Cleeve Park B (Nathan Lee/Alex Patterson) gave a good account of themselves against a more experienced Tandridge A team of Matthew Woodgate and Izaac Duncan-King.   Lee worked hard in both his singles but in the end had to give best in five games.   Patterson got close in his first set against Duncan-King and almost pushed Woodgate to a fourth game.

The Amherst A (Sam Arnott/Felipe Fujimori) and Darenth A (Ben McKay/Matthew James) match was without doubt the closest, not just of this Round but of the whole day.   There was some cracking play here with some truly amazing rallies and had more than one spectator wondering what Division he was watching.   This was hardly surprising given that all four compete at National Cadet level and they are accustomed to playing at pace.   Arnott came back from 1-2 down to pinch the fifth from McKay 12-10 while Fujimori got pegged back by James though he ran away with the fifth.   The doubles went to four too.   Arnott overpowered James in the first of the reverse singles but McKay once again fought hard to get the lead against Fujimori only to lose that one 10-12 in the fifth as well.   There was some sympathy for him, it’s tough losing both sets so narrowly.   A 5-0 for Amherst was welcome but they could well have lost it 2-3.

Cleeve Park A are forging ahead here but there’s little to choose between the next three teams, Tandridge A have nine, while Darenth A and Amherst A are tied on eight.   South Croydon A have three and Cleeve Park B two.

Round 4

The Cleeve Park derby between the A (Turgoose/Chin) and B (Lee/Patterson) brought a 5-0 for the A though all credit should go to Lee and Patterson who didn’t give up and kept trying.

There was an exceptional opening set in the Amherst A (Fujimori/Arnott) and South Croydon A (Egbeama/Faulkner match) between Fujimori and Egbeama.   Egbeama roared out of the blocks in the first game but Fujimori adjusted and took a 2-1 lead.   Egbeama came back at him to take the fourth but Fujimori got his nose in front in the fifth and got over the line with four points to spare.   The next three sets were all decided in straight games and it was not until the last set between Arnott and Egbeama that South Croydon got on the board.   It was played at a furious pace and almost went to a fourth game but it was one in the bank for South Croydon.

Konrad Johnson joined McKay for Darenth A’s match with Tandridge A.   Johnson seemed to have the measure of Duncan-King but it didn’t go his way as he dropped the fourth.   He had the lead the in the fifth game but it slipped through his fingers.   McKay levelled it up with a win over Woodgate, determined to get one in the bank on the day.   Tandridge claimed the doubles and the first of the return singles for a 3-1 lead.   McKay was unfortunately not able to compete in his last singles as he was very poorly.   It was a shame as a good set was in prospect there.

Cleeve Park A have thus kept an unblemished record so far on 20.   Their nearest rivals are Tandridge A on 13 and Amherst A on 12.   South Croydon A have four and Cleeve Park B two.   There’s a long way to go with three meetings still to be played and no doubt the challenges to Cleeve Park A will keep coming.   There are a number of youngsters in this Division competing at National Cadet League level so it is hardly surprising the standard is so high.   If last season is anything to go by, it will just keep getting higher.


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