Happy New Year! For many of the teams in the Fairfield County Platform Tennis League (FCPTL), the hope is that the start of 2013 is a happy one and rings in a division title, division promotion or even just avoidance of divisional demotion. Only 4 weeks remain in the FCPTL season and most of the divisions remain tightly contested. Here’s a quick look back at some of the final matches from 2012 and the Featured Match of the Week for this upcoming weekend.

Division 1
Wee Burn ended 2012 on a strong note with a 4-0 sweep of Greenwich Field Club, highlighted by Wee Burn’s Sebastian Bredberg and Boie Bogardus come-from-behind win at the 1 spot over Lennart Jonason and Ted Danforth. Trailing 5-2 in the third and fighting off several match points, Wee Burn’s Swedish pro and partner rallied to beat Greenwich’s Swedish pro and partner 7-5 in the third. Wilton Y was unable to keep pace with Wee Burn after its 2-2 tie with New Canaan FC and now trails Wee Burn by 3 points in the standings. At the other end of the standings, the fight to avoid demotion got much tighter. Greenwich FC’s loss moved them to the bottom of the standings, while Milbrook, Rowayton 1.2 and Darien Town all got wins to tighten things up. Seven teams are separated by only 3 points at the bottom of the standings.

Featured Match of the Week
Greenwich Field Club vs Darien Town: two teams battling to avoid demotion to Division 2. With only 4 matches left in the season, there is little margin for error for any team these days. Greenwich Field Club has the potential to field a strong team but does not always get their players out. They will need to do so in January to avoid demotion and it’s likely they will come out fighting this week. With a ton of snow in Vermont, there’s good chance that Darien Town will be missing their top player, Mike McCann, this week. If so, it could be tough for Darien to match up versus Greenwich FC especially with the league limiting them to only two out-of-towners.

Division 2
Woodway CC swept Stamford Yacht 4-0 to move 3 points ahead of Wilton Y 2.1 who was surprisingly swept by Round Hill Club. Woodway CC now firmly controls their own destiny especially as they still have a match with second-place Wilton Y 2.1 coming in 3 weeks. However, with Darien Town, Wilton Y 2.2 and Stamford Italian Center all registering wins at the end of the year, Divison 2 has gotten to be a most interesting race. Only 6 points separate the 2nd place team from the 11th place team meaning that every week could see a team move from the promotion spot to the demotion spot.

Featured Match of the Week
New Canaan Field Club vs New Canaan Country Club: Another match with significant impact on which team could get demoted to Division 3. Add in the in-town rivalry and familiarity with the players and you get a potential barn-burner. New Canaan FC currently sits in the 2nd demotion spot but is only 1 point from the safety zone and only 2 points behind New Canaan CC. Field Club needs no worse than a split to keep their hopes alive for staying in Division 2. However, if New Canaan CC pro, George Wilkinson, is in the lineup that probably means Field Club will need to take 2 of the last 3 matches. Good news for Field Club is that Wilkinson is scheduled to play in the CT States Mixed Tournament this Saturday and given his perpetual health issues, he may chose to skip the league match.

Division 3
The title race in Division 3 tightened considerably at the end of the year. Rowayton kept its lead atop the division with a 3-1 win over Woodway CC. In a pivotal match, Greenwich CC took a 3-1 win over Wilton Y 3.2. Only a 3-set win at the 3 spot by Greg Fennessey and Mac McCullough prevented the Greenwich CC swept but the end result was Greenwich CC leapfrogging Wilton Y 3.2 into the coveted second place spot. Wins by Burning Tree, New Canaan Town and Lake Club kept them within close range of the second spot as well and currently only 4 points separate 6 teams from promotion to Division 2.

Featured Match of the Week
Burning Tree CC vs Lake Club: This match could be make or break for both team’s chances of moving up to Division 2. Burning Tree CC sits 1 point behind Greenwich CC for the second promotion spot while Lake Club, at 4 points behind Greenwich CC, still has a shot at moving up. Realistically, Lake will need at least a 3-1 win to maintain any hopes for promotion with only 4 weeks remaining. That could be a tall order against at Burning Tree team with pro Jack Waite and the motivation of needing a win to stay in the hunt for a chance to move up to Division 2.

Division 4
The race for the Division 4 title has been a tight see-saw battle all season and the last week of 2012 was no difference. Division leader Middlesex Club lost 2 tough 3-setters at the first 2 spot and could only manage a 2-2 tie versus Milbrook. Patterson Club had been tied with Middlesex but now trails by 1 point after a 3-1 loss to Wilton Riding Club. The other contenders for the top 2 spots, Tokeneke Club and Stamford Yacht, were also only able to muster ties. Consequently, the top 6 teams are only separated by 5 points. Likewise at the bottom of the division, only 4 points separate 5 teams from the last demotion. All in all, it should make for an exciting January in Division 4.

Featured Match of the Week
Middlesex Club vs Patterson Club: first place versus second place – it doesn’t get better than this scenario. Middlesex has the home court advantage but ultimately the match should come down to which team can field their best lineup. Neither team should have an excuse for missing anyone significant as, coming off a three-week break, both teams should be well-rested and prepared for the match.

Division 5
This may be the last time Aspetuck Valley CC gets mentioned in the Division 5 write-ups. With another 4-0 victory (this time over Middlesex Club), Aspetuck has clinched the Division 5 title as they stand 12 points ahead of the pack with only 3 matches left. Congratulations to the juggernaut that is Aspetuck. FCPTL historians are searching to see if this is the earliest a team has clinched a division – Milbrook and Round Hill Club had similar paths up the FCPTL ranks during the naught years. Unless Aspetuck loses a match or a point, the focus will be on the other promotion and demotion spots in Division 5. Darien Town appeared to have the second promotion spot well in hand but suffered a 3-1 loss to Greenwich CC when they couldn’t pull out 2 tough-setters. Third-place Stamford Italian Center failed to take advantage of Darien’s result as they lost 3-1 to Wee Burn CC, who moved into 4th place just behind Stamford Italian Center and 2 points from Darien Town. At the bottom of the standings, Middlesex fell into a tie with Wilton Riding Club for the 2nd demotion spot after Wilton Riding managed to pick up one point against New Canaan CC.

Featured Match of the Week
Middlesex Club vs Greenwich CC: Another match with demotion consequences. Middlesex currently sits in the 2nd demotion spot for Division 5. Greenwich CC is only 3 points ahead of Middlesex. Middlesex desperately needs a win if they are to avoid the drop to Division 6. However, with Middlesex’s Division 4 team potentially playing for a title, it is unlikely Middlesex’s Division 5 team will get any reinforcements from above. It could be an up-and-down weekend for the Darien-based club.

Division 6
The three team race in Division 6 saw no change in the standings as Darien CC, Lake Club 6.1 and Weston Field Club all posted 3-1 victories. The 3 teams remain tied atop the division with identical 21-11 records. Meanwhile the bottom of the division is equally tight. 8 teams are only separated by 4 points for the 2nd relegation spot while Lake Club 6.2 looks likely to finish in the basement unless things turn dramatically in the last 3 matches for them.

Featured Match of the Week
Middlesex Club vs Lake Club 6.2: There seems to be a common theme this week to Featured Match of the Week – Middlesex Club and matches with demotion consequences. Division 6 has both elements. Middlesex and Lake Club 6.2 are dead in the mix for the 2 demotion spots to Division 7. While Middlesex is unlikely to get reinforcements from above (see Division 4 and 5 FMOW), Lake Club 6.2 is also unlikely to get help as their sister team, Lake Club 6.1 is wrapped up in the title hunt for Division 6. This match looks like a total toss-up.

Division 7
Aspetuck Valley continued its quest to match the division title won by their compatriots in Division 5 as they took an easy 4-0 sweep over Burning Tree CC. Darien Town kept paced with Aspetuck with a 4-0 sweep over Wee Burn CC and remains just 2 points behind in the standings. Right now it looks like Aspetuck and Darien have the top two spots well in hand, however, Patterson Club is lurking in third place and could sneak ahead of Darien if they win their match up later this season.

Featured Match of the Week
Silver Spring CC vs Patterson Club: While Aspetuck Valley CC and Darien Town appear to have a solid hold on the two promotion spots for Division 7, Silver Spring CC and Patterson Club still have an outside shot at sneaking into Division 6. After a slow start, Silver Spring CC has been rounding into form. Meanwhile Patterson Club has been steady all season. If either team could get a 4-0 sweep, they could keep Aspetuck and Darien in their sights. The worse scenario for both is probably a 2-2 tie.

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