JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT DIVISION 2 – 27.01.18 – DAY 3
DARENTH B AND CLEEVE PARK B STILL NECK AND NECK AT THE TOP
After two meetings, Darenth B and Cleeve Park B were joint leaders on 19 points apiece and miles ahead of the rest of the pack. There was not much to choose between the others, just four points, Cleeve Park C and Amherst B were on seven, Amherst C had five and South Croydon B three.
There were two very tight matches in this Round. The first between Amherst C (Leo Hickey/Charlie Helmer) and Cleeve Park C (Asa Watkins/Jake Murrison-Waller) saw Amherst getting off on the right foot with Hickey beating Watkins in four after losing the first. Helmer found the left hander Murrison-Waller difficult so it was one set all. Cleeve Park took the doubles in four and the lead when Murrison-Waller won a tight set with Hickey 11-9, 12-10, 11-8. There was a ding dong battle between Helmer and Watkins which Helmer won from 1-2 behind making some remarkable blocked returns from strong attacking strokes by Watkins. This kept it to a 3-2 win for Cleeve Park C.
The top of the table clash between Cleeve Park B (Mark Yin/Jed Baulch) and Darenth B (Ben Forrester/Tommy Cowling) brought a splendidly fought match with two sets going the distance and all the others requiring a fourth game. The opening set between and Forrester typified the competitive spirit in which the match was played throughout. Giving the bare bones of the scores hardly does justice to the players. Yin was 2-1 up 7-11, 12-10, 13-11 but Forrester changed tack, fighting back, to take the next two. Something similar happened with Baulch and Cowling where Baulch stood 2-1 ahead after dropping the first 11-13. Cowling got busy with his backhand and turned it around. That meant Darenth were 2-0 up. The doubles went to Cleeve Park. Cowling, however, made it a winning lead by defeating Yin 11-6 in the fourth having lost the first game very easily. There was another terrific scrap in the final set between Baulch and Forrester where Baulch came under heavy pressure before pulling through 11-9 in the fourth for a 2-3 score line.
Amherst B (Felipe Fujimori/Ben McKay) recorded a 5-0 against South Croydon B (Calina Dawson/Caron Charles). It was, however, no stroll in the park. Fujimori had to come back from 1-2 down to Dawson and dropped the second to Charles before securing it 12-10. McKay took both his singles in straight games but was made to work hard for his successes. All credit to the girls, they tried very hard and never gave up.
After Round five Darenth B had moved on point ahead of Cleeve Park B. Amherst B were in third place on 12. Cleeve Park C had 10 points, Amherst C seven and South Croydon B 3.
The return fixtures begin here and there were two domestic derbies scheduled, one for Amherst and the other for Cleeve Park. Watkins and Murrison-Waller for Cleeve Park C were raring to take on their B team of Yin and Baulch, but they soon discovered the B were just as keen and reeled off the first four sets. It was not until the last set of the day that Murrison-Waller began to find some answering moves to Yin. In truth Murrison-Waller did very well to recover from 0-2 to level but Yin got the better start in the fifth and kept his lead to take it 11-6 and keep a clean sheet for the B.
The Amherst derby produced some good play too and there were many close games decided by just two points. An 0-5 loss for the C (Helmer/Hickey) did not reflect the effort put in by the boys and the B (Fujimori/McKay) were quick to acknowledge the C’s fighting spirit.
South Croydon B had a change in line up for their match with Darenth B (Cowling/Forrester) with Anishka Vijay replacing Charles. There were spirited performances from all and especially Dawson who battled her way past Forrester 12-10 in the fifth after being pegged back to two all. The loss of this point meant that Darenth B and Cleeve Park B ended up level again but goes to show that there is much progress being made by the other teams.
Darenth B and Cleeve Park B are thus level on 26 points each. Amherst B have moved into third place on 17, Cleeve Park C are on 10, three ahead of Amherst C on seven with South Croydon B beginning to catch up a little on four.