DIVISION 2 – DAY 3 – 09.12.18
LEIGH D MAINTAIN LEAD AT THE TOP OF THE TABLE WHILE THE BATTLE FOR SECOND SPOT HOTS UP
Before play began at the third meeting of Division 2, Leigh D on 15 stood three points clear of Darenth B on 12. South Croydon were just one point behind on 11, Bromley Common A had nine, one ahead of their B team on eight with Darenth C on five. A surprise result or two could change the entire line up.
The only close match in this Round was that between Bromley Common A (Jenny Hunter/Sylvester Czapinski) and South Croydon A (Alex Ito-Aramendia/Ian Brown). The opening singles were shared with wins for Ito-Aramendia over Hunter and Czapinski being given a run for his money by Brown as 11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9 would suggest. South Croydon took the doubles in four games though the fourth was very tight at 14-12 but it gave them the lead. Brown made it 3-1 by beating Hunter but again Czapinski had to step up his game to beat Ito-Aramendia in four and keep the scoreline to 2-3.
David Walkley bravely turned out for Bromley Common B against Darenth C (Scott Gabriel/Vander Caceres) alongside Stuart Inglis despite being in some pain with a back problem. It didn’t stop Walkley giving of his best and it took Gabriel five tough games to get past him. Caceres was taken to four games by Inglis and the doubles just couldn’t have been tighter – 12-10, 12-10, 12-10 says it all. The Darenth men weren’t fool enough to think the remaining sets were going to be any easier and they weren’t, both went to four games, but were secured so it was a clean sweep for Darenth C. Five much needed points were safely in the bag.
There was a top of the table clash between Darenth B (Dave Bonner/Thomas Arnott) and Leigh D (Roger Harris/Dan Powley). It was a cracking match. Bonner looked at one stage to have found the answers to Harris’s rock-solid defence but couldn’t quite nail the fourth. The Arnott/Powley set was a fine battle. Arnott looked short on practice and Powley took advantage, taking the first two games, but was then pegged back. It was anybody’s in the decider and it went to Powley. The doubles was another close one with Leigh taking it 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 for a winning lead. Powley made it four by beating Bonner but Harris really had his work cut out against Arnott and it went to five games. Harris sneaked the third 12-10, had he not done so he would probably have lost as Arnott ran off with the fourth game before finally giving best at 9-11 in the fifth. It was a disappointing result for Darenth B but great news for Leigh D.
After five rounds Leigh D had opened up a bigger gap and were on 20. South Croydon A had overtaken Darenth B and were on 14. Darenth B still had 12 but Bromley Common A had closed up to them on 11 with Darenth C hard on their heels on 10. Bromley Common B remained on eight.
This round brings the first of the return matches and all were decided 3-2.
South Croydon A (Brown/Ito-Aramendia) threw down the gauntlet to Leigh D (Harris/Powley) and an excellent match ensued with only one set not going the distance. Leigh took both the opening singles with Harris fending off Brown 12-10 in the fifth and Powley holding on to keep Ito-Aramendia at bay 11-9 in the fifth. Even the doubles could have gone to five being decided as it was at 15-13 in the fourth to Leigh. South Croydon needed to move up a gear and they did. Brown won a very strangely scored set with Powley 9-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-1, 11-6 while Ito-Aramendia worked extremely hard to come back from 0-2 down against Harris turning it around in five games 11-8 in the fifth. All in all, 3-2 seemed to be a fair result, given the high standard of play.
The Bromley Common B (Walkley/Inglis) and Bromley Common A (Czapinski/Hunter) derby was decided 3-2 in the A’s favour. Czapinski continued his unbroken record for the A team and Hunter did her bit in the doubles helping to win it 11-8 in the fifth.
The Darenth C (Gabriel/Caceres) and Darenth B (Bonner/Arnott) derby produced a good match. The opening singles were shared with Gabriel getting the better of Bonner and Arnott pulling through in four after dropping the first game to Caceres. An up and down doubles went to the C team in five games for a 2-1 lead. The reverse singles were shared. Gabriel, steady as ever, gave Arnott a run for his money but lost out 8-11 in the fifth while Caceres had to go to five to beat Bonner who, although still very competitive, was just a bit below par this day.
Whilst Leigh D are now comfortably established at the top of the table on 23, there has been a reshuffling of the pack. South Croydon A are making their presence felt on 16 in second place. Darenth B have slipped to third on 14 points, equal with Bromley Common A. Darenth C have moved up to 13 points and ahead of Bromley Common B on 10.