DIVISION 4 –13.01.19 – DAY 3
DIVISION REMAINS CLOSE AS JUST EIGHT POINTS SEPARATE TOP OT BOTTOM
It was definitely a case of who cries wolf in this Division with just five points covering all six teams - Darenth E and Otford B were level at the top of the table on 12 points each with Darenth F just one point behind and Bromley Common C another single point behind. Otford C weren’t too far away on eight and Plumstead Radical were still in the hunt on seven. There were local derbies aplenty scheduled and many close results would be recorded.
Darenth E were struggling to find a partner for Karol Wolosiewicz with Joe Gillhouley ruled out for the rest of the season after a serious accident and Richard Holmes not available so Suzy Kalman stepped in to make her League debut against Otford B (Ben Edmed/Richard Cowling). The opening singles were shared with Wolosiewicz winning a titanic struggle with Edmed 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 while Cowling, not 100% himself with a shoulder problem, just managed to stave off Kalman 12-10 in the third. Darenth took the doubles in four though it was a bit tight 14-12 in the fourth after comfortably taking the second and third games. The reverse singles were shared – Cowling scraping home 14-12 in the fourth against Wolosiewicz while Kalman came back from 1-2 down to beat Edmed 11-7 in the fifth and secure a 3-2 victory for her team.
Bromley Common C were likewise in trouble with both their regulars ruled out. Joy Grohmann and Terry Edwards stepped up to the oche from Division 6 and gave a good account of themselves against Plumstead Radical (Peter Duke/Keith Young). The opening singles were shared, Duke having an enormous battle with Grohmann which he won in five, just, – 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 gives a clue - this lady is not easy to beat! Edwards’ all-round game was too much for Young and the Bromley Common pair won the doubles 12-10 in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Grohmann got involved with another battle with Young which she won – it’s worth having a look at the scores – 12-10, 11-13, 14-12, 11-5 – which made it a 3-1 lead for Bromley Common. Duke, who has a stronger topspin attack, found it easier to cope with Edwards’ defence and kept the score to 3-2.
The local derby between Darenth F (Steve Fuller/Paul Lipscombe) and Otford C (Mike Palmer/Peter Clarke) produced some intensely fought out points. The opening singles were shared, Fuller beating Palmer and Clarke, never an easy man to play for a defender, replying for Otford with a win over Lipscombe. Darenth took the doubles to go 2-1 ahead which became a winning lead with a win for Fuller over Clarke. The closing set was a classic, going game for game to two all with Lipscombe pulling away steadily in the fifth to make it a 4-1 victory for Darenth.
At the end of the first half of the season, Darenth E and F were sharing the lead on 15 points apiece. Otford B were a point behind on 14 and Bromley Common C on 13. Otford C and Plumstead Radical were both on nine points and far from out of the reckoning.
Joint leaders Darenth E (Wolosiewicz/Kalman) took on Bromley Common C (Edwards/Grohmann) knowing that although these two players operate in Division 6 they are not to be trifled with. It was a tremendously hard-fought match with four sets going to five games. Both the opening singles were full length affairs – Edwards stretching Wolosiewicz to the limit, losing only 11-13 in the fifth while Kalman was pegged back to two games all by Grohmann before finally pulling through 11-9 in the fifth. The doubles, too, went the distance with Bromley Common taking it 11-9 in the fifth and keep the score to 1-2. Darenth won both the reverse singles though not without difficulty. Wolosiewicz had to fight tooth and nail to get past Grohmann and Kalman, having taken a 2-0 lead, had to get her head round dropping the next two before she found a way past Edwards’ defence to get home 11-7 and make it a 4-1 success for her team.
Otford B (Edmed/Cowling) got involved in a titanic battle in their local derby with Darenth F (Lipscombe/Fuller), no less than three sets requiring a deciding game. The opening singles were shared. The first was probably the closest of the day going to Edmed against Lipscombe 11-9, 12-14, 13-11, 10-12, 11-7 while Fuller replied by beating Cowling to level up the score. The doubles went to Otford for a 2-1 lead which they converted into a 4-1 victory by taking both the reverse singles. The last, that between Cowling and Lipscombe, went to five and was certainly very tight, it could so easily have gone the other way.
The bottom of the table clash between Plumstead Radical (Duke/Young) and Otford C (Palmer/Clarke) was a real tussle. The opening sets were shared with a win for Duke over Palmer and Clarke replying for Otford by beating Young. Plumstead Radical won the doubles in four and then it was back to work for the reverse singles which were again shared. A win for Duke over Clarke meant Plumstead Radical had three in the bag but Palmer got the better of Young in four to keep the score to 2-3.
Darenth E thus lead the table on 19, one point ahead of Otford B on 18 with Darenth F third on 16. A special mention should go to Bromley Common C who didn’t have their “regular” team out and put in a tremendous effort to keep their team in fourth place on 14 points. Plumstead Radical are on 12 and Otford C on 11. This is going to make for a very interesting fourth meeting and it would be a brave person to predict who goes up and down here.