DIVISION 1 – 05.11.17 – DAY 2
FEW FIREWORKS ON THE FIFTH AS CROWNWOODS TAKE CONTROL
Crownwoods on 10 and Leigh A on eight led the table after Day 1 with Darenth A on five, Otford A on four, Leigh B on two and Darenth B on one. There was a last-minute panic for Leigh A whose second player didn’t appear and they were already stretched to turn out a full B team. Dan Powley answered the call and came in to complete the A team. Only Crownwoods were able to field the same two players as they had at the first meeting, there were changes for everybody else.
It isn’t often that five of the six matches record 5-0 victories although in three of these matches a set went to a fifth game.
There was a top of the table clash between Crownwoods (Richard Beckham/Richard Farthing) and Leigh A (Farhang Fazeli/Dan Powley). Only one set went the distance where Powley did remarkably well to recoup an 0-2 deficit against Farthing, forcing him to a deciding game. Farthing was able to go up a gear and that saw him safely home. He was also taken to a fourth game by Fazeli but once again raised his game so Crownwoods kept a clean sheet.
Sue Pingram was on sub duty for Leigh B alongside husband Roger against Darenth A for whom Terry McKee was making his League debut in partnership with Peter Davis. McKee set the ball rolling for Darenth A with a straight games win over Roger but Davis, struggling with a back injury, was very much in Sue’s sights. It was incredibly close for the first four games as 9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 12-10 would suggest and even the fifth was closer than 11-7 to Davis might indicate. Darenth took all the remaining sets with Davis having to work hard to hold Roger off.
Will Chan was likewise on debut in tandem with John Dyson for Darenth B against Otford A where Graham Windram was having his first Sevenoaks League outing of the season alongside Martin Tate. Otford recorded a 5-0 but there were some close games here. Otford, however, were remorseless in pursuit of a wipe out.
The League table after three rounds was thus Crownwoods on 15, Darenth A had moved into second place on 10, Otford A had nine and Leigh A had slipped to fourth place. Neither Leigh B nor Darenth B were able to add to their individual tallies.
Crownwoods (Beckham/Farthing) continued on their merry way with a 5-0 over Leigh B (Pingram/Pingram). Only Roger was able to pinch a game from Farthing.
The Leigh A (Fazeli/Powley) and Otford A (Tate/Windram) match was also a 5-0 but it was a far closer match than that score line indicates. Fazeli and Tate fought out a very fine battle in the opening set 10-12, 18-16, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 to Tate gives an indication of the quality of play but not the intensity of it. In one exchange, having rallied for 20 shots or more with Tate scooting about all over the court, he responded to a short return and put his free hand on the table to keep his balance thereby losing the point. It was a sad ending to what had been an excellent rally, typical of the entire encounter. Leigh took the doubles to four games and there was another spirited effort from Fazeli where he took the first game from Windram but didn’t quite nail the second, losing it 9-11 and the third 10-12 before fading in the fourth.
The only really close match of the day came in the domestic derby between Darenth A (McKee/Davis) and Darenth B (Dyson/Chan). McKee certainly appeared to have the upper hand against Dyson who then came back to take it 12-10 in the fifth. Davis was clearly in considerable discomfort and not moving around as he normally does. Chan took full advantage stretching him this way and that to win in four games. The A took the doubles and the first of the reverse singles to level at two sets apiece so it was down to Dyson and Davis to settle the issue. Davis took the first comfortably enough but couldn’t keep Dyson out 12-14 and 11-13 to trail 1-2. Dyson wasn’t going to let him back in, maybe feeling he had a point to prove to the A, and made it a 3-2 victory for the B.
The situation after four rounds is now Crownwoods are clear leaders on 20, Otford A have clawed their way up to second on 14 and Darenth A are not far behind on 12. Darenth B now on four have moved ahead of Leigh B on two.