DIVISION 4 – 30.09.18 – DAY 1
THREE POINTS COVER ALL TEAMS AT THE END OF DAY 1
Division 4 got under way on 30th September. It was a disappointing start for one team who were let down at the very last minute and only had one player while Otford were frantically trying to get out two full teams and succeeded. Given team withdrawals at a higher level, the Division has had a complete shake up and now comprises two teams each from Darenth and Otford and one each from Bromley Common and Plumstead Radical. There were to be a lot of close results recorded and there will be lots of derbies, both local and domestic.
Piers De Caestecker was the unfortunate player on his own and steamed into the venue having waited in vain at the station for his team mate to arrive. Bromley Common C were scheduled to play Darenth E (Joe Gillhouley/Karol Wolosiewicz) and the match began with a splendid five game set between De Caestecker and Gillhouley. Although somewhat out of practice, Gillhouley settled down to his task, quite prepared to push around and pick the loose ones while De Caestecker was looking to counter attack even from long range. It stood at two games all and the fifth anyone’s to win. Unusually Gillhouley missed a smash at a crucial point and De Caestecker grabbed his opportunity. The gave Wolosiewicz ideas but De Caestecker had the greater patience. Darenth E therefore had three bonus point with De Caestecker notching up two point for Bromley Common.
There was a local derby for Darenth F (Steve Fuller/Dave Field) and Otford B (Ben Edmed/Charlie Massey). Edmed got Otford off on the right track defeating Fuller in four after dropping the second. The second singles saw the tightest set of the day which came between Field and Massey. Playing with and dealing with pips requires a lot of skill, patience and an ability to control the pace of the game. It was therefore a set of cat and mouse which Field won 12-10, 14-12, 15-13. Darenth took the doubles relatively comfortably after dropping the first 11-13 when they had the lead. Fuller took a game from Massey but Massey got away from him in the fourth which made it two sets apiece and it was thus down to Field and Edmed to decide the outcome. Field took the first while Edmed had game point several times in the second but losing 13-15 and finally fading in the third. This made it 3-2 in Darenth’s favour.
There was a fairly lengthy match between Otford C (Tony York/Mike Gold) and Plumstead Radical (Keith Young/Peter Duke). York won the battle of the lefties with Young in the opening set, taking it in straight games. Duke responded by defeating Gold, a late minute substitute for Peter Clarke who was taken ill. Gold pinched the third game but Duke made sure of the fourth. Otford won the doubles in straight games but then came another long duel between York and Duke. Duke took a 2-0 lead. However, York upped his game to grab the next two and hung on to win the fifth 12-10. This gave Otford a 3-1 lead to which Gold then added a fourth by beating Young.
After Round 1 Otford held the lead on four with Darenth E and Darenth F in equal second on three, one ahead of Bromley Common C and Otford B on two while Plumstead Radical had made their first deposit in the bank on one.
There was a domestic derby between Otford B (Edmed/Massey) and Otford C (Gold/York) which was a very keenly contested match where three sets required a deciding game. The opening sets were two of them and were shared. Edmed recouped a 1-2 deficit to level but Gold wasn’t giving much away and held him off 11-8 in the decider. The Massey versus York set was a very up and down affair as 11-4, 3-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-6 to Massey shows. The doubles was, however, a fairly straight forward win for the B in three games. Edmed had another long battle on his hands in the reverse singles where he took on York. The first two games were shared and Edmed sneaked the third 12-10 to lead. York, however, never backs off and went for his shots to secure the next two games which made the match score level. So, it was up to Massey and Gold to settle the issue. It was hard for Gold to break down Massey’s defence and he took the set in straight games for a 3-2 win for the B.
The Darenth E (Wolosiewicz/Gillhouley) and Plumstead Radical (Young/Duke) match turned into a marathon and included one quite extraordinary escape act. Both the opening singles went to five games. Wolosiewicz might well have beaten Young as he was in the lead in the third but interruptions on key points cost him that game and he ran away with the fourth. Young got the lead in the fifth and stayed there. Duke got a 2-0 lead over Gillhouley 12-10, 11-9 but the youngster did a rethink and rattled off the next three games in very short order to level the match. Plumstead Radical won a four game doubles and Duke made it a 3-1 lead by defeating Wolosiewicz in four. Gillhouley, however, was still firing on all cylinders and there was little Young could do to stop him taking the set in straight games which kept the score to 2-3.
Bromley Common C were still a man down for Round 2 so Darenth lent him one of their juniors to keep him company. It still meant a three point bonus for Darenth F though. De Caestecker won both his singles, taking them both in straight games.
Just three points cover all six teams at the end of Day 1. Darenth F and Otford C have joint leadership on six points each, following by Darenth E and Otford B on five apiece. Bromley Common C and Plumstead Radical are just a point away on four. This bodes well for the rest of the season and looks like being a very competitive division.