DIVISION 3 –10.12.17 – DAY 3
FRONT RUNNERS INCREASE THEIR LEAD OVER THE PACK
With Rounds 3 and 4 done and dusted, South Croydon A led Bromley Common B by one point with Bromley Common C their nearest rivals on 12. Darenth E had eight and Darenth D six with Plumstead Radical somewhat adrift on one.
Only one team, South Croydon A, were unchanged for this Round. Everyone else had different line ups and one, Bromley Common C were struggling with one player stuck at Gatwick Airport.
There was a top of the table clash between Bromley Common B where Jenny Hunter stepped into the breach to partner Sylwester Czapinski against South Croydon A (Ian Brown/Alex Ito-Aramendia). The opening singles were shared with Brown getting South Croydon on the board first with a win over Hunter whilst Czapinski was in trouble with Ito-Aramendia and trailed 1-2 when Ito-Aramendia pinched the third game 14-12. A great deal of hard work ensued as Czapinski clawed his way back to level terms. The fifth was no less tense and eventually Czapinski held on to take it 11-9. The doubles was another lengthy five game affair which was very much up and down, finally going to Bromley Common – 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-6 is a fair indication of how the set swung to and fro. It put Bromley Common B’s nose in front on 2-1. Ito-Aramendia had his problems with Hunter who loves to counter hit and he only just held her off 12-10 in the fourth to level the match. Thus it was that the two so far undefeated players, Czapinski and Brown were left to settle the issue – somebody’s 100% record had got to go. At first it appeared to be Czapinski’s as Brown dominated the first two games. Czapinski was not going to lose his 100% without a fight and came back to level at two games all. He got a flyer in the fifth which saw him home 11-7 and a 3-2 victory for Bromley Common B.
Plumstead Radical have been struggling to get teams out all season but they had a full complement in Jason Davis and Keith Young against Darenth D (Scott Gabriel/Vander Caceres). Davis looked a bit ring rusty and Plumstead Radical were soon 0-4 down. Davis got it together a bit more in the final set against Caceres which went to five games. Davis was within a whisker of taking it in four games but Caceres managed to hold sway and ran away with the fifth though to be fair to Davis, he didn’t have the run of the table.
Bromley Common C’s Piers de Caestecker was anxiously waiting for Terry Edwards at the start of play. Unfortunately he was stuck at Gatwick waiting to collect someone. Steve Fuller, who had intended to watch, had his kit in the car and stood in for him. His sets wouldn’t count but at least Darenth E (Mike Tyler/Chris Mitchell) had a full complement of matches. There were some very good sets here and that between de Caestecker and Mitchell was particularly interesting. Mitchell took the first but a change in tactics from de Caestecker brought him the next two. Mitchell regrouped and turned it around 11-7, 11-7 to give Darenth E a 5-0 victory.
There was a shuffling of the pack at the end of this Round. South Croydon A and Bromley Common B were level on 19 points apiece. Darenth E had moved up into third on 13 overtaking Bromley Common C who were still on 12. Darenth D had garnered a maximum five so, on 11, they were hard on the heels of Bromley Common C. Plumstead Radical still had just the one point.
This round brings the first of the return fixtures and with it domestic derbies. The closest match of the Round was that between Bromley Common C where Terry Edwards, who was himself on sub duty, finally arrived in time to play against Bromley Common B (Hunter/Czapinski). The opening singles were shared with a win for Edwards over Hunter and Czapinski over de Caestecker. The B won a very close doubles 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10, much their delight and Czapinski made it a victory with a win over Edwards. De Caestecker pegged one back for the C by defeating Hunter in four.
The Darenth E (Tyler/Mitchell) and D (Caceres/Gabriel) produced some very interesting rallies in a fiercely competitive match. None more so than in the opening set where Caceres almost won it in four, losing the fourth 10-12, but once Tyler gets his teeth into a game he can be very difficult to dislodge and this was the case here. The next three all went to the D team. Mitchell put up a tremendous fight against Caceres and led 2-1. Caceres did a rethink and turned it around in five to make it 4-1 to the D.
South Croydon A (Brown/Ito-Aramendia) recorded the expected 5-0 over Plumstead Radical (Young/Davis) but didn’t have things all their own way. Ito-Aramendia was taken the distance by Davis and both the reverse singles required a fourth game. Young fought back well against Ito-Aramendia taking the third 11-9 and came within an ace of grabbing the fourth which he unfortunately lost 10-12.
At the close of play South Croydon A had thus re-established themselves at the top on 24 with Bromley Common B just two points behind. Darenth D had jumped up another place to third on 15 with Bromley Common C and Darenth E equal on 14. Plumstead Radical were now tailed off on one.