JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT DIVISION 2 – 03.03.18 – DAY 4
STATUS QUO AT THE TOP
Darenth B and Cleeve Park B were equal top on 26 points apiece after three meetings. Amherst B were on 17, Cleeve Park C on 10, Amherst C on seven and South Croydon B on four.
The closest match of this Round was between South Croydon B (Caron Charles/Anishka Vijay) and Amherst C (Xavier Chau/Harry Lewis). The opening sets were shared – Charles being a bit too sharp for Chau but a determined effort from Lewis after he dropped the third game to Vijay saw him safely home in four. The girls combined well in the doubles to take the lead and Charles made it a winning one by defeating Lewis. So, it was down to Chau to try to keep the score to 2-3 or Vijay to make it a bigger winning margin, both teams needing every point they could lay hands on. Vijay was looking good when she led 2-1. However some thoughtful serving from Chau and keeping the ball in play paid dividends and brought him the fourth. Wisely he didn’t change a winning game and trotted off with the fifth.
Darenth B and Cleeve Park B both recorded 5-0 wins. Cleeve Park B (Alex Patterson/Nathan Lee) made slightly heavier weather against Amherst B (Daniel Henderson/Oliver Ames). The doubles went to four and Ames put up a spirited performance against Patterson coming back from 1-2 behind before having to give best 7-11 in the fifth. Lee didn’t find Henderson that easy, losing the second 3-11. He scrambled the second 11-9 and hung on to take the fourth 16-14.
Darenth B (Matthew James/Alexander Papadopoulos) looked more comfortable against Cleeve Park C (Asa Watkins/Mark Russell) and dropped only a single game and that was in the doubles. It was not for lack of effort from the Cleeve Park boys, they were just up against two players who already have a year’s League experience under their belts.
After Round 7, Darenth B and Cleeve Park B were therefore still level at the top. The others remained in the same order, only Amherst C and South Croydon B had increased their tallies to nine and seven respectively.
All the match results were 5-0 in this Round. Cleeve Park B (Patterson/Lee) were certainly given a run for their money by the South Croydon girls, Charles and Vijay. The opening set between Charles and Patterson typified this. Charles was 0-2 down but recouped the deficit to level, 11-8, 11-8. Patterson got the better start in the fifth and kept his nose in front to cross the line 11-6. Vijay took a game from Lee and the boys had to mind their Ps and Qs in the doubles after dropping the first game. Lee looked unsettled against Charles going 1-2 down but then turned the set round to win 11-5 in the fifth. Vijay did her best against Patterson. He does, however, have a considerable wingspan and she found it hard to put the ball where he couldn’t reach it.
Darenth B (James/Papadopoulos) weren’t taking any prisoners against Amherst C (Chau/Lewis). Papadopoulos gets a lot of stuff back and the Amherst boys had particular trouble dealing with the left-handed James.
The match result which really surprised was that between Cleeve Park C (Watkins/Russell) and Amherst B (Henderson/Ames). Given that these two teams are in mid table, a much closer score was expected. However, Henderson and Ames do keep the ball going and sometimes get what opponents fondly think of as “winners” back on the table which often brings rewards. The reverse singles were the closest – Watkins only just losing to Ames 8-11, 13-15, 13-15 while Henderson was pushed to a fourth game by Russell - 11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9 gives a clue. It was a disappointing result for the Cleeve Park boys but a hard worked for maximum for Amherst B.
At the close of play it was status quo at the top with Darenth B and Cleeve Park B having 36 points each. Amherst B have accumulated a few more to reach 22, Cleeve Park C have 10, Amherst C nine and South Croydon B seven. The last meeting looks like being the classic Sevenoaks League grand finale with Darenth B and Cleeve Park B scheduled to meet in the last round. If they are equal, then the results between the two teams will be taken into account. If they are still tied, then a doubles will be played to decide the championship.