DIVISION 6 – 15.10.17 – DAY 1
YOUNGSTERS RULE THE ROOST AS SOUTH CROYDON D AND DARENTH H SOAR TO THE TOP
Division 6 was the last one to take to the floor for Rounds 1 and 2 of the new season. Darenth H who struggled in a very strong Division 5 last season, joined Darenth I, Bromley Common E and Halstead C with Tandridge replacing Limpsfield and South Croydon D taking the vacancy created by the departure of Coney Hill. It was good to see four boys being given the opportunity to move up from the Junior Development Division. In fact of the 12 players taking part, eight were juniors.
The closest match was between Darenth I where Henry Morrell was making his maiden appearance in competitive play alongside Kevin Liu against Halstead C who had regulars Wendy Ansell and Peter Sinclair on duty. It was by far the longest match of the round with two singles still to play when the others had finished. All the sets were keenly contested beginning with the lefthander Morrell doing battle with Ansell and taking a 2-0 lead. Ansell opted to attack more and took the third but Morrell played some good counterhits and built a strong lead to secure the fourth. One of the best sets of the day was that between Liu and Sinclair – 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 14-12 gives an indication and took a long time to complete. Sinclair gets a lot of stuff back and did well to stave off several set points. Halstead are always good with their doubles and it is not often one sees two right-left pairs competing. However, good placement earnt Halstead the fourth game and they ran away with the fifth to go 2-1 ahead. Sinclair won the duel of the lefties for a winning 3-1 lead. Liu dropped the first game to Ansell but worked out what to do to get home in four and peg the score to 2-3.
The four ex Junior Development boys, Leone Saccoh and Omari Levers (South Croydon D) and Evan Moynihan and Sam Cowlard for Tandridge renewed their rivalry. South Croydon D recorded a 5-0 but this was not the cakewalk it might appear and once Tandridge settled their nerves, they took games in three sets.
Bromley Common E’s George Rogai appeared to be on his own at first but relieved to find Philip Kiernander had arrived to partner him against Darenth H’s youngsters, George Lipscombe and Kieran Fry. Rogai’s serves normally trouble opponents but caused Lipscombe few problems giving Darenth a good start. Kiernander got a flyer going 2-0 up against Fry who then fought back, taking the third 11-9 and fourth 13-11. The decider was well fought with Kiernander holding Fry off 13-11. The doubles was no less keenly contested and Bromley Common E led 2-1. Darenth regrouped running off with the fourth and holding on to a good lead to take the fifth 11-8 putting them 2-1 up. They then added both the reverse singles to record a 4-1 victory.
Darenth I (Morrell/Liu) were again embroiled in a long tussle, this time with Bromley Common E (Rogai/Kiernander). The opening singles were shared with Rogai defeating Morrell while Liu won a hard-fought contest with Kiernander. Bromley Common E won the doubles for a 2-1 lead. Liu had a spot of bother with Rogai and had to come from behind to win in five and level the score. Kiernander gave Morrell no chance to settle which made it a 3-2 victory for his team.
Halstead C had a change in line up bringing in debutante Jo Fooks to partner Ansell against South Croydon C (Levers/Saccoh). The ladies did their best but found it difficult to stop the lads attacking and it was not until the last set that Ansell managed to take a game from Levers.
Tandridge (Moyihan/Cowlard) likewise found it hard going against Darenth H (Lipscombe/Fry) who are seasoned National Cadet League campaigners. Lipscombe laid the foundation for victory with a straight-games win over Moynihan. Cowlard gave Fry a fair bit of trouble, stretching him to five games. Darenth wobbled a bit in the doubles but managed to hold on. They took both the reverse singles though Cowlard did well to pinch a game from Lipscombe.
South Croydon D thus hold a single point lead over Darenth H on nine. Darenth I and Bromley Common E are in equal third on four with Halstead C one point adrift on three. Tandridge have yet to open their account but to be fair, they did have to play the two leading teams and produced some very good play without anything to show for their efforts. Congrats to Omari Levers, Leone Saccoh and George Lipscombe who played both matches and were undefeated, chapeau to them all.
This Division promises to provide some interesting matches and the next meeting is eagerly anticipated.