DIVISION 5 – 12.11.17 – DAY 2

OTFORD C MOVE UP TO SHARE LEAD WITH THEIR D TEAM

At the close of the first meeting, Otford D had a lead of three points but there were three other teams, Otford C, Sparta A and Sparta B, all on five points close behind with South Croydon C on four and Bromley Common D on two so just five points covered the entire Division.

Round 3

The schedule threw up some vital clashes – Otford D taking on Sparta B, Otford C playing Sparta A and a bottom of the table clash between South Croydon C and Bromley Common D.

There was a minor panic for Sparta A where Mark Walker was waiting anxiously for Rob Foster to appear for their match against Otford C (Tony York/Peter Clarke).   Eventually it got under way with York taking on the long-reached Foster.   Foster settled quickly, taking the first 12-10 but York then found his rhythm and turned it around in four games.   Much the same happened with Clarke who likewise lost the first to Walker before getting home in four.   The doubles was close but again Otford managed to win it in four.   The reverse singles were no less keenly contested and both sets went to five games.   York was 1-2 down to Walker and it was on a knife edge in the fourth, York squeaking home 13-11 before running away with the fifth.   Clarke had a hard game with Foster, the games being shared to two all.   The fifth was anybody’s to win or lose and it went to Clarke 12-10.   Whilst it meant a clean sheet for Otford C, it was a disappointment for Sparta.

Otford D (Ben Edmed/Richard Cowling) were put under pressure by Sparta B (Saskia Key/Ed Galkontas).   Most of the sets were very tight and little was given away.   Otford, however, managed to take both the opening singles, Edmed had his problems with Key and was relieved to get home 13-11 in the fourth while Cowling had his work cut out by Galkontas but again won in four games.   Sparta won the doubles in straight games and Galkontas won an interesting set with Edmed to make the match all square.   It was therefore down to Cowling and Key to decide the outcome.   The first game was close 11-9 to Cowling but he upped the ante in the second and third games to make it 3-2 to Otford.

There was another close match between Bromley Common D (Joy Grohmann/Terry Edwards) and South Croydon C (Massimo De Santis/Yuvathi Vijay).   The opening sets were shared with Grohmann winning a high scoring set 10-12, 11-9, 17-15, 11-8 with De Santies while Vijay found Edwards very steady – 11-6, 12-10, 13-11 gives a clue.   Bromley Common won the doubles but Vijay levelled the match beating Grohmann in four to do so.   It was thus down to the two big men, Edwards and De Santis, to decide the outcome.   It swung this way and that with Edwards pulling out a 2-1 lead only to be pegged back to two games all.   The deciding game just couldn’t have been any closer with Edwards just managing to hold on to win it 13-11 for a 3-2 to Bromley Common.

The situation had clarified somewhat – Otford D were still in the lead on 11 but Otford C had closed to within a point on 10.   Sparta B had moved into third place on seven, South Croydon and Bromley Common had six apiece whilst Sparta A and had slipped down to sixth.

Round 4

Otford D had a change in line up for their domestic derby with Otford C (York/Clarke) with Charlie Massey replacing Cowling.   It was a long and very hard fought match, very competitive with three sets going to five games.   York and Massey had a ding dong battle in the opening set 12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5 gives some idea.   The second was just as keenly fought but went to the D team, Edmed defeating Clarke, never an easy man to beat, 11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 11-8.   The C took the doubles in four and then it was down to the nitty gritty in the reverse singles, both going the distance.   Edmed was within an ace of beating York in straight games but then had to go to five to nail the job.   It was therefore two sets all and down to Clarke and Massey to sort it out.   Massey built a 2-1 lead but Clarke hit a hot spell and took the fourth 11-9 before storming on to win the fifth for a 3-2 victory for the C.

The match card says Sparta A (Walker/Foster) beat Bromley Common D (Edwards/Grohmann) 4-1 but it simply was not that straight forward.   Edwards got a lot of good stuff back against Walker and, as is so often the case, it’s not the defender who gets the edge balls in his favour.   Walker worked hard though for his success.   Foster has very long arms as Grohmann found out in the second set – there were many rallies where she had manoeuvred him out of position but still he managed to land a safe return.   That made it 2-0 for Sparta.   The doubles went to Bromley Common 11-9 in the fifth to get one on the board.   Sparta took both the reverse singles but there was no lack of effort from Bromley Common.   It did, however, end up as a 4-1 to Sparta A.

It is very rare to see two junior girls in competition in a League match, but this is what happened when South Croydon C (Vijay/De Santis) took on Sparta B (Galkontas/Key).   It was a very lively match – South Croydon won both the opening singles and followed up by taking the doubles in four games.   There was plenty of counter attacking from the two girls and it went to Vijay to make it four for South Croydon.   Galkontas got it all together against De Santis and got one on the board for Sparta B.

The situation at the end of play was therefore Otford D and C tying at the top on 13 apiece, South Croydon C have moved up to second spot on 10 with Sparta A on nine, Sparta B on eight and Bromley Common D hard on their heels just one point behind.   So, it just six points covers everybody.   What happens next time?   No doubt more very keenly fought matches and it would be an unwise person to predict promotion and relegation candidates at this early stage.

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