With the schedule past the halfway mark, the teams in the FCPTL have clearly started to focus on what they need to do. This past week saw a few surprising results that have put several of the division races into upheaval. With only four or five matches remaining on the schedule, every team will have to bring it if they plan to gain promotion or avoid relegation. As hockey players would say, “Game on!”

As always, current standings can be found here.

Division 1
Another week of matches and another win for Wee Burn, this time over then-second place Darien Town. Darien was unfortunately short a few of their top players and the net result was a fairly ho-hum 3-1 victory for Wee Burn. At this point, Wilton Y 1.2 appears to be the only remaining team left with a chance to overtake Wee Burn. Wilton Y 1.2 kept pace with Wee Burn with a 3-1 victory over New Canaan CC, and continues to trail Wee Burn by 2 points. The other Wilton Y team, Wilton Y 1.1, managed to gain a split with Darien CC. Paced by an upset win at the 1 spot by Brian Quinn and Matt Edwards, Wilton Y boosted their efforts to climb out of the Division 1 basement. Consequently, while the league title race seems to be well-in-hand, the race to avoid relegation tightens with 4 teams (Rowayton 1.2, Darien CC, New Canaan CC and Wilton Y 1.2) all within 5 points of each other at the bottom of the standings. Based on matches play, it’s highly likely that the 3rd tiebreaker (total games won head to head) might be the demotion decider.

Featured Match of Week 7: Wilton Y 1.2 vs New Canaan FC. Bolstered by new additions, Justin King and Justin Smith, Wilton Y 1.2 has risen to the second spot in Division 1 and remains Wee Burn’s biggest challenge to taking the division title. This week, Wilton Y 1.2 takes on last year’s second place team, New Canaan FC. Both teams feature great depth, while New Canaan has the benefit of having Brad Easterbrook head their lineup. Wilton Y 1.2 will need to grab a victory here if they hope to keep pace with Wee Burn.

Division 2
It was first vs second when Patterson played Tokeneke and as expected it was a tight match up and down the lineup. The point of the match was at the 1 spot where JJ Cramer and Harlan Stone of Tokeneke defeated Scott Slobin and David Rosenfeld 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Patterson managed to take the other points including a 3-set win at the 3 spot for the 3-1 victory. Middlesex has been quietly moving up the standings and with a 4-0 victory over Wee Burn, they now occupy the 2nd place spot. In a critical match at the bottom of the table, 11th place Lake Club was able to take a 3-1 victory over 10th place Wilton Y and thus close the gap with Wilton Y and Stanwich for avoiding the 2nd relegation spot.

Featured Match of Week 7: Stamford Yacht vs Woodway CC. With identical 14-10 records and just three points out of the second place, Stamford Yacht and Woodway face off in a critical match if either hopes to gain promotion to Division 1. Most likely the match will be decided by the strength at the top of their lineups. If Stamford has Rick Swift, Gaynor Brennan, Mark McEnroe playing, Woodway will need to counter with Tom Richardson, Pat Mullin and Amy Shay (the current #2 women’s player in the country). Should either side be missing their top players, the other team will have the advantage.

Division 3
New Canaan Field Club continued to dominate Division 3, posting its fifth consecutive shut-out in a row. With a 22-2 record and having already swept second-place Darien Town, the bigger race appears to be for second place and that accompanying promotion spot. Coming off its loss to New Canaan FC, Darien Town looked to rebound against Rowayton 3.2 in a key match for second place. While the final score was Darien 4-0, it was a tight match the entire way. Darien’s 1 and 4 team pulled out 3 set victories, with the other 2 matches decided by 1 break in each set. With the win, Darien jumps into sole second place, 2 points ahead of Greenwich CC and New Canaan CC, both of whom could only manage disappointing ties against Rowayton 3.1 and Woodway CC, respectively. At the bottom of the divsion, Darien CC managed a mild 3-1 upset over Wee Burn to improve their chances of avoiding relegation, pulling into a tie for the last relegation spot with Rowayton 3.1.

Featured Match of Week 7: Greenwich CC vs Wee Burn. Greenwich CC remains only 2 points behind Darien Town for the second promotion spot. After a disappointing tie to Rowayton 3.1, Greenwich CC will need a victory this week if they want to keep pace with Darien Town. They host a Wee Burn team, that after last week’s loss to Darien CC, will need to pick things up if they don’t want to have to worry about relegation. With Greenwich CC, it’s always a matter of getting their players to play. If they can do so this week, they have a great shot at victory. If not, their chances for moving up will definitely be hindered.

Division 4
Surprise, surprise. Division 4 had looked all season to be a two-team race between Wilton Y 4.1 and Wilton Riding Club. However, New Canaan Town 4.1 decided to take matters into their own hand and took a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Wilton Riding Club. Wilton Riding’s 1 team (Bill Shaughnessy/Peter Gambee) got their team’s sole point with a 3-set win over Bob Sheehy/Wil Warren 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. New Canaan Town 3.1’s George Buck/Kevin Dinnie returned the favor at the 4 spot with their own 3-set victory, while the 2 and 3 teams took straight set victories. With the win, New Canaan Town 3.1 has put itself back in the race for promotion, pulling two points within Wilton Riding Club with the tiebreaker. Wilton Y 4.1 took a 3-1 victory over New Canaan FC to open a 4-point lead on the division. At the other end of the division, Round Hill came up with a big 3-1 win over Wilton Y 4.2 (two of the wins were in 3-sets) and closed the gap at the bottom of the division. The race to avoid relegation looks to be the one to watch in Division 4 as 6 teams are within 5 points of each other at the bottom of the standings.

Featured Match of Week 8: Middlesex vs New Canaan Town 4.1.  After last week’s key victory over Wilton Riding Club, New Canaan Town 4.1 will be looking to carry forward their momentum.  They face a tricky Middlesex team, whose only two losses have come at the hands of Wilton Riding Club and Wilton Y 4.1.  New Canaan will need to avoid a letdown if they are to take a victory and keep their hopes alive for promotion to Division 3.

Division 5
Division 5 was likewise thrown for a bit of a loop when Rowayton came out firing and swept Wilton Y, who had previously been running through the division handily. While the match was expected to be a good one (it was last week’s Featured Match of the Week), very few would have predicted a sweep. With the win, Rowayton is now tied for second with Wilton Y. Meanwhile, Roxbury romped over New Canaan FC and now holds a 4-point first place lead. Lake Club managed a tie with Greenwich CC, which may ultimately prove decisive in avoiding relegation, as the tie vaulted them above New Canaan FC and Stanwich at the bottom of the league.

Featured Match of Week 8: Wilton Y vs Roxbury. Eyes had been focused on this match for a while, as it appeared it would ultimately decide the league victor. While Wilton Y still has a shot at the league title, their road got much harder with their 4-0 loss to Rowayton. Wilton Y will now most likely need a sweep in order to have a shot at the title, which might be a tall order. In addition, Wilton Y must avoid a loss if it wants to stay in second place and keep their chances alive for promotion. Fortunately, Wilton Y is the host club and that has often been the advantage for clubs this year.

Division 6
Division 6 held truer to form as both Aspetuck Valley and Darien Town swept their opponents to stay atop the division. Aspetuck Valley only dropped 11 total games in their win over Burning Tree, while Darien Town had only a slightly harder time defeating Stamford Yacht. Aspetuck Valley and Darien both sport 26-2 records and are in the hunt with D3’s New Canaan FC and D4’s Wilton Y 4.1 and D5’s Roxbury for best overall record in the FCPTL. Unless things pick up for Burning Tree and Tokeneke, these two teams could be facing demotion to Division 7. Both were swept this past weekend and are 5 and 7 points behind the pace to avoid relegation.

Featured Match of Week 8: Aspetuck Valley vs Darien Town. It doesn’t get any better than this: first versus second in a highly anticipated match. The two teams have cut through Division 6 like butter so far and the victor here will take a commanding hold on first place. Aspetuck Valley looks to have the stronger players at the top of the lineup but you never know what can happen in a paddle match. Fortunately for Aspetuck Valley, they are the host team, forcing Darien to make the longer drive.

Division 7
Division 7 looks to be the most competitive and hard-to-call in terms of the eventual winner. 4 points separates 5 teams at the top of the division and this past week did little to clarify things. Lake Club 7.1 showed no mercy against their sister team, Lake Club 7.2, and took all 4 points in their match. Weston Field Club kept pace with a 4-0 win over New Canaan CC. Roxbury won 3-1 over Aspetuck Valley but managed to lose ground, while Wilton Y and Stamford Italian Center swept Middlesex and Stamford Italian Center, to stay within range of the top two spots. It will be interesting to see how the last 4 matches go, especially as the teams at the bottom have nothing to really play for as there is no relegation concerns here.

Featured Match of Week 8: Roxbury vs Wee Burn. Roxbury sits in third place, 1 point out of the second promotion spot and 3 points out of first place. Roxbury will be looking for a sweep here to hopefully gain ground on the two teams ahead of them. Wee Burn, at 14-14, will be looking to make one last stand if they are to have any chance at gaining promotion to Division 6.

The game is doing well!
Philly Week 9 - Holiday Edition

David Lee