DIVISION 2 – 25.03.18 – DAY 5
TEEN & TWENTY PIP LEIGH C ON THE POST TO TAKE TITLE
This Division had become a two horse race with Leigh C leading the table on 33 points, one ahead of Teen & 20 on 32. Their nearest rivals were Darenth C on 22 points who, at best, could only draw with Teen & 20 assuming the latter had a disaster day. Leigh D were on 17 and, arithmetically, could be caught by Bromley Common A on nine with Halstead A on seven. Much was going to depend upon the result between Teen & 20 and Leigh C in Round 9.
It isn’t often one sees a two generation team, father and son most likely, but mother and daughter? That’s very rare but it is what happened here when Teen & 20 (Ming Majoe/Nick Smith) met Leigh C’s Lorraine Perryman and her daughter, Lois, in the top of the table clash. The opening singles were shared – Majoe not being allowed into his stride by Lorraine’s quick-fire style while Smith needed to go to five to beat Lois who held a 2-1 advantage. Smith and Majoe are a well-established pair and former Open Doubles champions but they still lost the opening game in this doubles before regrouping to win in four. In the reverse singles Lois got in first against Majoe over four games to make it two all so it was down to Smith and Lorraine to settle the issue. Smith had a bit of a wobble in the second game which he only just won 13-11 but made certain of the third for a 3-2 victory.
A revitalised Ted Tydeman led Halstead A in partnership with Andy Larner against Darenth C (Steve New/Thomas Arnott). Darenth took both the opening singles New pulling through comfortably against Tydeman while Arnott had to go to five to beat Larner after being pipped on the post in the fourth 14-12. The reverse singles were shared – Tydeman beating Arnott while New wrapped it up for 4-1 with a straight games win over Larner.
There was another important clash in the third match where Leigh D (Dan Powley/Dave Cowlen) were scheduled to play Bromley Common A who were without Stuart Inglis, so Jenny Hunter stood in for him alongside regular David Walkley. Leigh D were out of the blocks fast taking both the opening singles in straight games. They had a bit of a problem in the doubles as Walkley’s retrieval skills led to them dropping the third game and only just scraped home 15-13 in the fourth, but it put them 3-0 ahead. Both the reverse singles went to Leigh, so it was a clean sheet for them and any hopes Bromley Common had of avoiding relegation faded. A full house the other way would have put Leigh D under intense pressure in their last match.
Before the final round commenced Leigh C and Teen & 20 were thus level on 35 points apiece. Should they both get maximum hauls in their last matches, the title would go to Teen & 20 who had won both matches against Leigh C. Darenth C were comfortably parked in the middle of the table and four points clear of Leigh D. Bromley Common A were still on nine with Halstead A now on eight.
Teen & 20 (Majoe/Smith) needed all five against Bromley Common A (Hunter/Walkley) and it looked promising as they won both the opening singles although Smith was severely tested by Walkley winning only 12-10, 11-7, 15-13. They added the doubles in straight games although the third was tight at 13-11. Then came a hiccough with Majoe losing in four to Walkley after roaring away with the first 11-3. Smith didn’t make too many mistakes against Hunter to make it 4-1 but the dropped point could prove catastrophic and it was down to whatever mischief Darenth C (New/Arnott) could get up to against Leigh C (Perryman/Perryman). The title was hanging in the balance.
Leigh C began well taking both the opening singles. However, Darenth threw a spanner in the works taking a close doubles 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11. This meant Leigh C and Teen & 20 were still level. Arnott lost in four to Lois but New put the kybosh on things for Leigh by beating Lorraine in straight games, restricting them to three points. It could be enough to allow Teen & 20 to pip Leigh on the post.
Leigh D (Powley/Cowlen) had a tussle with Halstead A (Larner/Tydeman). The opening singles were shared, Powley won the first set, beating Larner over four very good games while Cowlen couldn’t find the answers to Tydeman’s use of short pips. The doubles was something of an epic five game set – Leigh won it but it was very up and down as 10-12, 14-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7 indicates. Powley had his problems with Tydeman too but eventually got there although it almost went to five – 17-15 was a bit too close for comfort for Powley. Leigh D were thus 3-1 up and Cowlen was able to make it four by defeating Larner in straight games.
Teen & 20 who had led the table throughout the early and middle parts of the season, only losing it on Day 4, thus sneaked past Leigh right at the end in the best Sevenoaks tradition, finishing on 39 points with Leigh C agonisingly close, one behind on 38. Although these two were way ahead of the pack, there were a lot of excellent matches played throughout the season and many a fine set contested. Chapeau to Teen & 20, they will relish their prompt return to the premier division and no doubt Leigh C’s ladies will make their mark as well.