DIVISION 3 –29.10.17 – DAY 2
GAP BEGINS TO OPEN AT THE TOP
After Rounds 1 and 2 of Division 3, South Croydon A were two points ahead of Darenth E and Bromley Common B. Bromley Common C and Darenth D were both on three and Plumstead Radical had one point.
There was some very fine play in this round and none more so than when leaders South Croydon A for whom Ian Brown was making a welcome return to the League after many years’ absence, faced Darenth D (Ben Jakes/Vander Caceres). Brown got South Croydon A off to a solid start defeating Jakes in three but there were plenty of good rallies here and Brown had to go up a gear or two for his win. Caceres and Hansen produced some good stuff too with Caceres logging the win in three games. Quite how Darenth managed to lose the doubles when they had the lead in the second with the first under their belts, go 3-1 ahead and 8-2 up in the fourth and 9-3 up in the fifth defies belief. One of the best sets of the day followed between Jakes and the leftie Hansen. This went to a fifth game which was very close with Jakes making some excellent defensive returns to take it 11-9 which broke Hansen’s 100% record. That left Caceres to try to make it a win for Darenth but despite some good rallies, Brown wasn’t going to let him get into the game.
Darenth E already had a player on sub duty but were still one short at the start of play. Steve Fuller raced home to change and get back to the Hall to partner Dave Field against Bromley Common B (Dave Gabriel/Sylwester Czapinski). In fact, the E began quite nicely with Field defeating Gabriel over four close games. Czapinski got into his stride quickly against Fuller and levelled the match. The doubles could have gone Darenth’s way as they had the first game but lost the next two 10-12, 10-12 before succumbing in four games. Gabriel made it a winning lead by defeating Fuller and Czapinski wrapped it up for Bromley Common with a straight games win over Field.
Plumstead Radical were at full stretch to get out a team. Keith Young and Peter Duke came in to play against Bromley Common C (Piers De Caestecker/Stephen Harmsworth). Plumstead Radical did their best, taking two sets to four games but Bromley Common C weren’t taking any prisoners on this day and recorded a 5-0 victory.
The situation after three rounds was therefore South Croydon A 12 with Bromley Common B moving into second spot on 11. Darenth E and Bromley Common C were in equal third, Darenth D fifth on five and Plumstead Radical still on one.
Bromley Common C (Harmsworth/De Caestecker) were given a run for their money by Darenth D (Caceres/Jakes) and in amongst the individual game scores was the highest of the season so far. It was an interesting battle between Harmsworth and Caceres. Harmsworth got a flyer taking the first game comfortably but Caceres battled back to take the second 15-13 followed by the third 11-5. Caceres was down in the fourth but refused to give in and pulled back the deficit. Then it was a question of who could string three points together as first one and then the other made unforced errors on game or match point. Caceres finally nailed it 22-20 – it was shades of the long abandoned 21 up system! There was some ferocious attacking from Jakes against de Caestecker who was clearly having fun defending from long distance. This got him home over three hard games. The doubles was interesting and went to four games. Darenth were close to stretching it to a fifth but didn’t quite make it. Some of the returns made by both teams were quite extraordinary. One made by Jakes who was way out of position but suddenly popped up to play a clever placement up the forehand line had the other three applauding generously. The reverse singles were very hard fought and although Bromley Common C took both, they had to work extremely hard for them.
Bromley Common B (Czapinski/Gabriel) recorded a 5-0 over Plumstead Radical (Duke/Young) but it wasn’t quite that straight forward a victory. Duke who plays close to the table and has excellent blocking skills gave Czapinski a run for his money over five hard games. Gabriel had his work cut out in the second and third games against Young as 11-4, 11-9, 12-10 suggests. The doubles went in straight games to Bromley Common B though the second, only taken at 15-13 and the third 11-9 indicates they had a problem or two. Both the reverse singles went to Bromley Common B though Duke took Gabriel to a fourth game.
Darenth E (Field/Fuller) had their chances to take South Croydon A (Brown/Hansen) to a fifth game in three of the sets but were denied that opportunity so it finished as a 5-0 to South Croydon A.
South Croydon A still lead on 17, one in front of Bromley Common B on 16 but these two have pulled clear of Bromley Common C on 12. Darenth E have 8 and Darenth D six with Plumstead Radical stuck on a single point. There’s a long way to go in this Division and but who knows, there may well be a few surprises in store for the leaders. Chapeau to Sylwester Czapinski who remains undefeated so far.