DIVISION 1 – 16.09.18 – DAY 1
FULL HOUSE FOR DARENTH A
The withdrawal of one team from last season meant that an expected relegated team could remain so the line up is now Crownwoods, Darenth A, Leigh A, B and C plus Tonbridge Teen & 20.
There were some frantic phone calls being made prior to Day 1 of Division 1. Players from Crownwoods seemed unaware that a meeting was scheduled and Richard Farthing brought along son Ryan so they had a full team. The champions' first match was against last year’s runners up Darenth A (Alan Longhurst/Terry McKee). Playing Longhurst was a big challenge for the young Ryan and he found all his best shots being returned in awkward places, good placement is one of Longhurst’s biggest assets. Richard was not expecting to play and was a bit ring rusty and took a while to get going against McKee. He took the second, dropped the third 2-11, got to 10-9 in the fourth but then served off, McKee taking the next two points for the win. The doubles went in four to Darenth for a winning lead. Crownwoods lost both the reverse singles but Ryan gave a reasonable account of himself against McKee and Richard forced Longhurst to a fourth game.
With three Leigh teams in the same Division, there will be a number of domestic derbies. There was something of a surprise with the first one where Leigh B (John Dyson/Miro Danadzhiev) kept a clean sheet against Leigh A (Sylvia Trenti/Michelle McGovern) though they were given a run for their money, three games needing a decider and one going to four games. Dyson took command against Trenti who found him an awkward customer to deal with and it was difficult for her to put the ball out of his considerable reach. There was a fine set between McGovern and Danadzhiev who was making his debut in the Sevenoaks League subbing up from Division 2. She snatched the first but then trailed 1-2 before levelling. Danadzhiev got the lead in the fifth and stayed there. The B made it a winning lead by taking the doubles. It was, however, far from easy with the A, a right-left handed pairing recouping a 0-2 deficit before having to give best 9-11 in the fifth. The third set to go to five was between Trenti and Danadzhiev where she held a 2-1 lead. Danadzhiev got back on terms and once again built a solid lead to take the fifth. The B made it a clean sweep with Dyson defeating McGovern albeit 16-14 in the last game.
Leigh C (Dean Chipperfield/Sue Pingram) began their campaign against the newly promoted Teen & 20 of Graham Barnes and Nick Smith. Barnes was quick out of the blocks against Chipperfield, winning in straight games. Smith had a battle with Pingram as 7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 would indicate. Teen & 20 took the doubles to make it a decisive lead. However, Chipperfield got going against Smith, finally holding him off in five after being 2-1 up. Barnes wrapped it up 4-1 for Teen & 20 defeating Pingram in straight games.
Darenth A and Leigh B shared the lead after Round 1 with clean sheets on five with Teen & 20 a point behind. Leigh C had one point but both Leigh A and Crownwoods had yet to open their accounts.
There was another domestic derby between Leigh B (Danadzhiev/Dyson) and Leigh C (Chipperfield/Pingram). It was quite a battle. It began with a tussle between Danadzhiev and Chipperfield which went to four games with Chipperfield grabbing it 12-10 in the fourth. It was a good start for the C. Dyson won an epic struggle with fellow pips user Pingram who had added to her armoury a much improved backhand enabling her to take the first two games 13-11, 11-7. Dyson won the third 11-4 and was within an ace of losing in four, taking it by the skin of his teeth 18-16 to draw level and then squeezing home 11-9 in the fifth. The B trailed 1-2 in the doubles but they eventually took the fifth 12-10 for a 2-1 lead. Pingram made it all square with a straight games win over Danadzhiev which left the outcome in the hands of Dyson and Chipperfield. It resulted in a comfortable win for Dyson making the final score 3-2 in favour of the B.
Darenth A (Longhurst/McKee) likewise had their problems with Teen & 20 (Barnes/Smith). Barnes might well have beaten Longhurst in the opening set as he won the first then narrowly lost the second and third games before the fourth. Longhurst, however, took the fifth to capture the set. McKee won a fast paced set with Smith 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 which could have been much tighter, to make it 2-0 and Darenth then took the doubles for a winning 3-0 lead. Smith had no answers to Longhurst while McKee beat Barnes in four to make it another clean sweep for Darenth.
The Crownwoods (Farthing/Farthing) and Leigh A (McGovern/Trenti) match was a battle royale with five game sets being the order of the day – four sets needing a decider while the other went to four games. Ryan found McGovern a tricky customer and lost the opening set to her though he did manage to take a game. Richard went 2-1 up but got pegged back by Trenti before running out a comfortable winner in the fifth. Crownwoods won the doubles in five after a tricky start where they trailed 0-2 before getting things together and pulling through in five. Both the reverse singles went to five. Ryan did well to turn an 0-2 deficit into victory against Trenti and Richard pulled out all the stops against McGovern to make it a 4-1 victory for his team.
Darenth A lead the table with a full house, Leigh B are in second place on eight. There is a four point gap to the equal third placed Teen & 20 and Crownwoods with Leigh C on three and Leigh A on one but it is early days yet and there’s plenty of opportunity for creating surprises and causing upsets.