DIVISION 3 – 17.09.17 – DAY 1
SOUTH CROYDON A MAKE A GOOD START AFTER PROMOTION
The make up of this Division is different to what anyone would have expected. Otford B who were due to be relegated from Division 2 with Darenth C have withdrawn and from last year’s line up only Plumstead Radical and Darenth E remain. Bromley Common B and South Croydon A earned promotion from Division 4 and the vacancy was allotted to Bromley Common who have raised an additional team. The Division is therefore an interesting mix of teams and there were three new faces on duty.
There were two domestic derbies in this round, all Bromley Common and Darenth clashes.
Two of the new faces found themselves in opposition in the first round. Alex Luzhnov, appearing in partnership with Sylwester Czapinski for Bromley Common B and Stephen Harmsworth, making a welcome return to the League after many years’ absence, working alongside Piers de Caestecker for Bromley Common C. These two met in the opening singles with Harmsworth squeezing past Luzhnov in four. Czapinski, who was undefeated least season had his work cut out to beat De Caestecker, having to go to five to do so and level the score. The B won the doubles and the two reverse singles were shared giving a 3-2 victory to the B.
The Darenth D (Ben Jakes/Scott Gabriel) and Darenth E (Mark Cooper/Mike Tyler) derby was just as close. Jakes looked ring rusty against Cooper who was in fine fettle and kept the youngster under pressure. Gabriel settled quickly into his stride and didn’t allow Tyler to grind him down. The E won the doubles for a 2-1 lead and the reverse singles were shared – Tyler being a bit too wily for Jakes and Gabriel refusing to give in when game point down on two occasions to Cooper so it was 3-2 to the E and bragging rights to boot.
Plumstead Radical had a completely different look to their line-up, Keith Young making his debut alongside Peter Duke who was returning to the League after several years’ absence. They had a tough assignment in tackling the newly promoted South Croydon A team of Alex Ito-Aramendia and Graham Hansen. Duke took games from both but it was hard going for Plumstead and they weren’t able to open their account.
All the matches in Round 2 finished as 4-1. Plumstead continued to struggle, this time against Darenth E (Cooper/Tyler) who were far too steady. Duke got his team on the board by winning a very good battle with Cooper in five games after being 1-2 behind.
South Croydon A (Ito-Aramendia/Hansen) didn’t have things all their own way against Bromley Common C (de Caestecker /Harmsworth). They won the first three sets with the odd wobble here and there but were stretched to capacity in both the reverse singles. Hansen went 0-2 behind to De Caestecker but then upped the ante to take the next three games. Harmsworth with his long reach gave Ito-Aramendia a hard time but got there in the end 11-8, 13-15, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7 gives an indication of what was a very fine battle.
Gabriel continued his good form for Darenth D, defeating the leftie Luzhnov in five from 0-2 down and did well to pinch a game from Czapinski but Jakes wasn’t able to find his best so it was a solitary point for Darenth D.
South Croydon A therefore lead the table on nine with Bromley Common B and Darenth E both on seven. Bromley Common C and Darenth D have three points each and Plumstead Radical are off the mark on one so there is a potential polarisation of the Division here.