DIVISION 5 – 10.02.19 – DAY 4
SPARTA SECURE TITLE WITH A MEETING TO SPARE
At the start of the penultimate meeting of Division 5, Sparta at the top of the table were nine points clear of Darenth G on 19. South Croydon C were a solitary point behind but eight clear of Darenth G. South Croydon D were on eight and Otford D on seven. It is interesting to note that there is a 50/50 split between Senior and Junior players in this Division.
The closest match came in the domestic derby between South Croydon D (Robin Faulkner/Roy Easto) and South Croydon C (Rocco Martinez-Paoli/Leone Saccoh). The opening singles were shared, Martinez-Paoli narrowly defeating Faulkner 11-9, 12-10, 12-10 while Easto, who was helping the team out, got the better of Saccoh in four. South Croydon C won the doubles in four to go 2-1 up. The reverse singles were shared – Saccoh beating Faulkner while Easto had to go to five to beat Martinez-Paoli – 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8 which kept the score to 2-3.
Sparta (Robert Foster/David Smith) were given a run for their money by Darenth H (Sophia Lipscombe/Henry Morrell). There were a lot of close games and three sets needed a fourth game. The doubles was particularly close in the third and fourth games but to no avail as Sparta kept a clean sheet.
Darenth G (Eddie Gillhouley/Joe Tickner) were looking to get clear of South Croydon C and were eyeing up points against Otford D (Mike Gold/John Broyden). Gold won a tight opening set with Gillhouley 11-9, 11-9, 15-13 but Darenth pulled out a 2-1 lead. This became 3-1 when Tickner managed to get past Gold in four. Gillhouley wrapped it up for Darenth by beating Broyden.
After seven Rounds, Sparta were on 33 and 10 points clear of Darenth G, themselves now two ahead of South Croydon C. Darenth H and South Croydon D were level on 10 points, just two in front of Otford D.
The all junior clash between South Croydon C (Saccoh/Martinez-Paoli) and Darenth G (Gillhouley/Tickner) brought the closest match of the Round. The pace was fast and furious to say the least. Gillhouley hit top gear against Saccoh winning comfortably in straight games. Martinez-Paoli replied in kind against Tickner so it was one all. The doubles went to South Croydon in five games but the match score went back to parity with a win for Tickner over Saccoh leaving Martinez-Paoli and Gillhouley to settle the issue. It went to Martinez-Paoli in straight games for a 3-2 victory for South Croydon C.
Sparta (Smith/Foster) were cruising along nicely against Otford D (Broyden/Gold) and were 3-0 up. Gold had the patience to outstay Smith and went 2-0 up. Smith took the third 12-10 but gold got a flying start in the fourt game and never looked back. Foster made it 4-1 to Sparta with a win over Broydon.
South Croydon D (Easto/Faulkner) were looking to overtake Darenth H (Lipscombe/Morrell). The opening singles were shared – Easto defeating Lipscombe and Morrell replying by beating Faulkner. The doubles went to South Croydon so it was a 2-1 lead for them. Easto made it a win by defeating Morrell but there was a terrific scrap in the last set between Faulkner and Lipscombe. It stood at two games all but Faulkner built a big lead early on which Lipscombe couldn’t pull back.
Sparta are now in an unassailable position on 37 points. Darenth G remain the next closest to them on 25 with South Croydon C knocking on the door with 24. South Croydon D have moved into fourth place, three ahead of Darenth H on 11. Otford D have nine so nothing is cut and dried with regard to relegation.