DIVISION 1 – 16.12.18 – DAY 3
DARENTH A & LEIGH B BREAK AWAY AT THE TOP OF THE TABLE
Leigh B on 17 held the lead by a single point from Darenth A at the start of Day 3 in Division 1. These two teams were six points clear of Leigh C on 10 and Teen & 20 on eight. Leigh A were one ahead of Crownwoods on four. Leigh were struggling to get out two full teams and reserves were called up from Division 2 to help the club honour their commitments.
This Round brought a top of the table clash between Darenth A (Alan Longhurst/Terry McKee) and Leigh B. With John Dyson on his own, Dan Powley volunteered to double up on matches but as this is against the League’s rules, an emergency call went out to Dave Cowlen who downed tools and made his way to the venue. Dyson therefore had to play his singles on his own. He lost to Longhurst but then started off well enough against McKee, taking the first game. McKee changed tack got the second and nipped home 12-10 in the third. Quite what went wrong in the fourth game for Dyson isn’t known but suffice to say he faded away so Leigh were 0-2 down before Cowlen arrived. He wasn’t able to pick up either of his singles and Darenth also won the doubles though the middle game was a bit sticky. It was therefore a clean sheet for Darenth.
Crownwoods continue to struggle to get out teams but thanks to Richard Farthing and son Ryan, the club was represented. They took on Teen & 20 (Ming Majoe/Nick Smith) and it developed into a real tussle with two sets needing a deciding game. Richard battled his way past Majoe in four while Ryan kept his nerve to defeat Smith 13-11, 6-11, 13-11, 13-11. Both the next two sets went to five – the doubles was taken by Crownwoods 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 for a winning lead and this became four points in the bank when Richard beat Smith in five after being 2-1 up. He could have had the fourth game but Smith shut him out 13-11. Richard changed tack and cruised away with the fifth. Majoe is never an easy man to beat and although Ryan secured the first game, Majoe wasn’t going to let him past. This was a good result for Crownwoods though not so for Teen & 20 who were now only one point ahead of them in the table.
The longest match by far was that in the Leigh A (Silvia Trenti/Michelle McGovern) and Leigh C (Dean Chipperfield/Dan Powley) domestic derby. Three sets required a deciding game and one other went to a fourth. There was a suspicion that expedite should have been brought in during one game in the opening set between Trenti and Chipperfield. This might seem odd as both players are counter hitters and expedite is more often associated with players adopting defensive strategies. Chipperfield won this battle of the lefties 10-12, 16-14, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9. McGovern replied for the A with a win over Powley who was playing up from Division 2, and then came an excellent doubles which the men eventually nailed 11-8 in the fifth to go 2-1 up. Trenti got past Powley in four to level the match and the final result therefore depended upon McGovern and Chipperfield. Chipperfield took a 2-1 lead but McGovern is not one to move off the table and blocks topspin extremely well. She got back on terms, taking the fourth 11-3 and held Chipperfield off 11-9 in the fifth for a hard worked for 3-2 victory.
Darenth A on 21 points had therefore leapfrogged over Leigh B into a four point lead. Leigh C were on 12, Teen & 20 on nine with Leigh A and Crownwoods level just a point behind.
This signals the start of the second half of the season and brought with it another domestic derby for Leigh A (McGovern/Trenti) against Leigh B (Dyson/Cowlen). Again, it was quite a lengthy match. The opening singles were shared, Dyson having to work hard to get past McGovern 11-8 in the fifth while Trenti needed a fourth game to beat Cowlen. The ladies won the doubles in straight games to take a 2-1 lead. The reverse singles were shared. Dyson defeating Trenti in four while McGovern had to pull out all the stops against Cowlen, being 1-2 down before recovering to take the next two games and make it a 3-2 victory for the A.
Darenth A (Longhurst/McKee) had their work cut out against Crownwoods Richard and Ryan Farthing. There was a lot of good stuff here and both the opening singles went to five games. Longhurst had to come from 1-2 to beat Richard and McKee came within a whisker of beating Ryan. He was 2-1 up but lost the fourth narrowly 12-14 and then got pipped on the post 11-9 by the youngster in the deciding game. Darenth won the doubles in four to take a commanding lead. Both the reverse singles were taken by Darenth so it finished as a 4-1 to Darenth.
Teen & 20 (Majoe/Smith) were only three points behind Leigh C (Powley/Chipperfield) so a clear result either way was going to boost the chance of that team avoiding relegation. It was a fiercely contested match. Teen & 20 won both the opening singles but then surprisingly, seeing as they are a well-established pair and former Open Doubles champions, lost the doubles in four. Leigh C put up stout resistance in both the reverse singles but weren’t able to add to their tally. It’s worth a look at the scores. Majoe defeated Chipperfield 10-12, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11 and Smith beat Powley 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 – quite a tussle in anybody’s book. It was, however, four very valuable points in the bank for Teen & 20.
Darenth A now sit atop the table on 25 with Leigh B on 19. Leigh C and Teen & 20 are in equal third on 13 with Leigh A on 11 and Crownwoods on nine. There’s still some way to go and while the top two won’t be counting their chickens just yet, there’s all to play for with the other four. Hopefully those matches will rival the quality of play seen on Day 3.