DIVISION 4 – 22.10.17 – DAY 2
LEAD CHANGES HANDS WITH NEW LINE UPS
With every team bringing a different player for Rounds 3 and 4, it was difficult to predict the outcome of most matches. It certainly made them interesting. There were also two debutants as well. South Croydon B led the table on nine with just four points covering everyone else. Cleeve Park had six, Darenth F five, Halstead B five, Otford B three and Darenth G two.
The closest match was that between Darenth F where Charun Tatom was making his League debut alongside Karol Wolosiewicz against League regulars Sarah Maris and Jon Corser who was back for Otford B. The opening set was a cracker with Corser taking a 2-1 lead over Tatom. However, Tatom bounced back to take the fourth. He is a fierce competitor and although Corser held a slight lead and set points Tatom refused to give in and finally nailed it 17-15. Maris put her experience to good use against Wolosiewicz, not allowing him to settle and levelled the score. Otford took the doubles in four and the lead. Then it was backs to the wall for the reverse singles. Tatom and Maris had an excellent five game battle with Maris coming back to level at two games each, all the game being won from the same side of the Hall. Tatom found something extra in the decider and built a substantial lead which he held on to. It was thus down to Corser and Wolosiewicz to settle the issue. Corser’s not averse to having a go and punishes anything off a length. Wolosiewicz didn’t mind this as it allowed him to get his power backhand going and he secured victory for his team in four games.
Darenth G had Dave Field back on duty in tandem with Steve Fuller and Massimo Di Santis made his debut supporting Sam Porter for South Croydon B. Field got Darenth off to a sound start beating Porter in straight games by employing the off backhand to good effect. Fuller though struggled initially with Di Santis’ slightly unorthodox style but found a way forward to recover from 1-2 down and run away with the fifth. Darenth got the doubles for a winning lead which Field cemented by getting to grips with Di Santis’ style in four. Porter made a flying start against Fuller but then had to pull out all the stops to take the second 13-11 and third 16-14.
Bryan Taylor came into the Cleeve Park team alongside Tony Annand against Halstead B where Damian Milton was making first appearance of the season in partnership with Andy Larner. There was some exceptional play throughout this match and none more so than in the first set between Taylor and Milton. Taylor was plainly very tense but still managed to lob his way past Milton who made him work very hard for his success and Taylor had to cover an enormous amount of ground. Larner was quick out of the traps against Annan though he only just held him off 13-11 in the third. Cleeve Park won the doubles which became a winning lead when Taylor beat Larner in four after dropping the first. Annand wrapped it up for Cleeve Park with a straight games win over Milton.
After the third round, Cleeve Park had therefore moved up to share the lead with South Croydon B on 10 points. Darenth F had eight, Darenth G had six, overtaking Otford B on five, to share fourth place with Halstead B.
There was another very close match in this Round and it came from Halstead B (Damian Milton/Andy Larner) and South Croydon B (Porter/Di Santis). Although only one set went the distance there were a lot of high scoring games. The opening set between Milton and Porter was a ding dong battle which went to Porter 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8. Di Santis struggled with Larner’s style but gradually adapted in the third. However, Larner pinched it 12-10. It was quite a long match and both the reverse singles took a while to play. Di Santis began to find his feet against Milton and levelled at two games all. It was very close in the fifth but Milton managed to hold Di Santis off 11-8. Porter did battle with Larner and won over four hard games 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10 to keep the score to 2-3.
The domestic derby tween Darenth F (Wolosiewicz/Tatom) and Darenth F (Field/Fuller) produced a 4-1 in the favour of the F team after Field had beaten Wolosiewicz in the opening set. The F took the next two sets in straight games with a win for Tatom over Fuller plus the doubles. The longest set was a five game affair between Wolosiewicz and Fuller. Fuller was 1-2 down but pulled back to two games all. He stood at two set points in the fifth and completely missed two serves which let Wolosiewicz off the hook and he took full advantage getting home 12-10. It was disappointing for Fuller who had worked hard to get that lead. Tatom wrapped it up with a win over Field in four for a 4-1 victory.
Cleeve Park (Taylor/Annand) likewise recorded a 4-1 victory over Otford B (Maris/Corser). This was a long hard struggle including two five game sets. The first came at the beginning between Taylor and Maris. Taylor scrambled the first game and the third, Maris taking the second and fourth. It is extremely tiring to make a sustained attack when an opponent is using lob defence and has both a long reach and mobility. Playing long and short is an option but it is all too easy to make a mistake allowing the defender to charge in. The next two sets were shared, Annand defeating Corser and Otford narrowly taking the first two games of the doubles 15-13, 14-12 before galloping away in the third. There was more hard work for Taylor when he took on Corser who has a strong hit which he used well to take the first two games. Taylor eventually ground him down in five. Annand took the last set though Maris pushed him hard.
At the end of Day 2 Cleeve Park had taken the lead on 14. South Croydon B and Darenth F were in joint second place on 12. Only three points cover the remaining three teams - Halstead B on nine, Darenth G on seven and Otford B on six.
There is always one noisy division and it appears Division 4 is this year’s candidate. It is very distracting for those involved in a lengthy match when other players who have completed their schedule start chattering and dismantling tables. Some consideration for those still playing would be welcomed.