FCPTL league play is like playing the popular kids’ board game – Chutes and Ladders. Every year, teams start the season aspiring to climb the ladder to the higher division. Each year, twelve teams successfully navigate the landmines in their FCPTL division and can look forward to playing tougher competition the following season. Unfortunately for 12 other teams, bad luck, roster depletion or injuries combine to send them down the chute to the lower division. In all, it makes for some tense moments, thrilling wins and agonizing defeats, just like the Chutes and Ladders game. This past week marked the end of the FCPTL season and all the divisions had something at stake in terms of promotions and/or demotions. Below is the recap of the final week of play. Congratulations to the 7 Division winners for the 2011-2012 season.

Final standings can be found here.

In addition, the year-end FCPTL Paul Fowler Invitational Tournament will be held this Saturday, February 4. It is the largest one-day tournament in the nation. Finals will be held at New Canaan CC at 2:30 pm. If you are not playing, come and watch the action!

Division 1
Wee Burn CC had already clinched the division title, so eyes were turned to the bottom of the division to see who might be the second team to drop to Division 2. New Canaan CC was in the hot seat and needed to sweep New Canaan FC to have any shot at catching Darien CC and staying in Division 1. Task accomplished as New Canaan CC beat its in-town rival 4-0. Making up last week’s cancellation, Darien CC had two tough matches this past week against Wilton Y 1.2 and Rowayton 1.1. Darien CC could only manage to go 2-6 in their matches and the two teams finished the season tied with 17-27 records! The relegation spot would come down to the head-to-head tiebreaker. While the two teams split that match 2-2, Darien CC took the 2nd tiebreaker (sets won) 5-4 and thus survives the relegation battle.

Division Champion: Wee Burn CC
Moving Down to D2: Wilton Y 1.1, New Canaan CC

Division 2
Middlesex Club entered the final weekend in first place 3 points in front of Patterson Club. With Patterson Club, as expected, sweeping last-place Wee Burn, Middlesex needed 2 points against Wilton Y to clinch the league title, a task made a bit tougher with the absence of #1 player, Faycal Rhalzi. With Wilton Y taking the 3 and 4 matches and Middlesex grabbing the 2 spot, the title hopes were squarely in Court 1’s hands and Middlesex’s captain Steve Larson and his partner, Jud Staniar. Larson and Staniar dropped the first set 6-2, but, in a classic display of leadership, the captain and his partner came back to easily take the last 2 sets and bring home the title banner for his team. Rumor has it that Captain Larson could be heard singing Queen’s “We are the Champions” for days on end. At the other end of the spectrum, Lake Club, who had only just moved into Division 2 this year, was trying to avoid demotion back to Division 3. It got some help when Roxbury swept the team above it, Stanwich, 4-0. However, Lake was unable to take advantage of the situation, losing 3-1 to Woodway CC. Thus, Lake finished a point behind Stanwich and will return to D3.

Division Champion: Middlesex Club
Moving up to D1: Patterson Club
Moving Down to D3: Lake Club, Wee Burn CC

Division 3
At the beginning of the season, New Canaan FC had set out on a mission to take the Division 3 title and bring another banner to the Paul Fowler Hut. Having led Division 3 from week 1, New Canaan FC took care of business and brought home the title with a 3-1 victory over New Canaan CC. The race for the second promotion spot was neck and neck between Darien Town and Greenwich CC, the two teams that had previously been in Division 2 last year and were eager to return to the higher perch. Darien Town took a 3-1 victory over Wee Burn and Greenwich CC now needed to a double sweep over Rowayton 3.2 and Lake Club if they were to snatch the other promotion spot. Unfortunately, while they got the sweep over Lake, Greenwich CC could only split with Rowayton 3.2. With Lake Club already ensured of moving back down to Division 4 after a one-year cup of coffee, the final relegation spot was down to Rowayton Paddle 3.1 and Burning Tree. Rowayton 3.1 did what it could with a 3-1 win over Lake Club, however, Burning Tree matched that score in their win against Woodway, sending Rowayton 3.1 to Division 4 and Sunday play.

Division Champion: New Canaan FC
Moving up to D2: Darien Town
Moving Down to D4: Rowayton Paddle 3.1, Lake Club

Division 4
Although there is no prize for having the best overall record in the FCPTL, Wilton Y 4.1 must have wanted it for posterity and pride. With a 4-0 win over Stamford Yacht, Wilton Y 4.1 finished with a stellar 42-2 record, tops in the FCPTL. New Canaan Town needed 2 points to secure the 2nd promotion spot and made it plus 1 with a 3-1 win over Wilton Y 4.2. While taking a 3-1 win over Middlesex, Round Hill still needed a lot of help from either Milbrook or New Canaan Town 4.2 against Patterson and New Canaan FC, respectively, if they were to avoid demotion. Unfortunately, Patterson and New Canaan FC knew what was at stake and, with 4-0 and 3-1 wins, the two clubs avoid the slide to Division 5.

Division Champion: Wilton Y 4.1
Moving up to D3: New Canaan Town 4.1
Moving Down to D5: Round Hill Club, New Canaan Town 4.2

Division 5
The top of Division 5 had pretty much been decided last week. Having dropped from Division 4 last year, Roxbury Club decided to make their stay in Division 5 short and sweet and handily took the Division 5 title this season. Likewise, Rowayton Paddle also only spent one year in Division 5, but in their case, this was after being promoted from Division 6. It will interesting to see if Rowayton can continue their ascent next year. With Stanwich already assured of relegation, the final demotion spot was down to Middlesex, New Canaan FC or Lake Club. Lake Club was sitting on the demotion spot and had a chance to avoid the drop with a win over New Canaan FC but could only manage a 2-2 split. Middlesex took a 3-1 victory over New Canaan CC 5.2, thus sealing Lake Club’s fate.

Division Champion: Roxbury Club
Moving up to D4: Rowayton Paddle
Moving Down to D6: Lake Club, Stanwich Club

Division 6
Aspetuck Valley CC was looking for their second consecutive division title last week. Needing only 1 point, Aspetuck took all 4 against Woodway. Meanwhile the Featured Match of the Week pitted Darien Town, who was looking to join Aspetuck in moving up divisions in consecutive years, versus Wee Burn CC. Darien Town held a 1-point lead on Wee Burn so Wee Burn needed a win to claim the 2nd promotion spot. Wee Burn took the 3 & 4 matches and held an early 1-set lead at the 2 spot. Darien, however, managed to turn the tide and take the 2 match, which combined with their win at the 1 spot, gave them the 2-2 tie and allows them to advance to Division 5 by a scant 1 point over Wee Burn. At the bottom of the standings, Stamford Yacht needed a win to avoid relegation and took a 4-0 victory to send Tokeneke to Division 7 along with Burning Tree CC.

Division Champion: Aspetuck Valley CC
Moving up to D5: Darien Town
Moving Down to D7: Tokeneke Club, Burning Tree CC

Division 7
Like Roxbury in Division 5, Lake Club 7.1 made only a short appearance in a lower division. Having been relegated from Division 6 last year, Lake 7.1 took the Division 7 title to regain Division 6 status. The second promotion spot came down to a tiebreaker after Weston Field Club, with its 3-1 win over Wee Burn, managed to make up the 1 point deficit with Wilton Y, who could only manage a 2-2 split with Stamford Yacht Club. Fortunately for Wilton Y, they had previously beat Weston FC 3-1 in their head-to-head match to gain the second promotion spot.

Division Champion: Lake Club 7.1
Moving up to D2: Wilton Y

The Spring Brook CC is looking for a Head Racquets Professional
Have you ever played in a Men's C Tourney?

David Lee