The FCPTL is in the final quarter of the season and teams fighting for a title or to avoid demotion are giving no quarter to their opponents. With only 3 weeks left in the season, only 1 team has secured a divisional title and promotion spot. Consequently, the pressure has been building on most of the teams. Several teams have recently ridden a wave of momentum while others are struggling to stay afloat as seen in this past week’s results. It should be an exciting conclusion to the FCPTL season.

Division 1
The race for the Division 1 title tighten considerably over the weekend. Wee Burn’s three point lead has now shrunk to one point as, in a bit of surprise, Wee Burn could only manage a tie against Middlesex Club. While Wee Burn easily took the first 2 spots, Middlesex rallied from 1 set down in both the 3 and 4 spot to take 3-set victories. Meanwhile, Wilton Y, led by 1 team JP Johnson and Jared King, swept Patterson Club 4-0. The division title looks like it will come down to the wire when Wee Burn and Wilton Y square off the last week of the season. At the other end of the standings, Patterson’s 4-0 loss puts them one behind Greenwich Field Club, who tied Darien Town, for the two relegation spots. With only 4 points separating 7 teams for those two dreaded demotion spots, this race will also likely come down to the final weekend.

Featured Match of the Week
Wilton Y vs Rowayton 1.1: Having made up ground to Wee Burn last week, Wilton Y faces a tough match up with third-place Rowayton 1.1. Rowayton 1.1 has been limited this season by injuries and player depth this season, but can roll out a tough lineup at any time. With Wee Burn facing fourth-place New Canaan FC where points could be tough for Wee Burn to earn, a win by Wilton Y could catapult them into first place.

Division 2
The big news in Division 2 is the Round Hill Club, who is currently the hottest team in the Division. Round Hill recorded their third straight sweep with a 4-0 win over a strong Darien Town team that included 2 three-set wins at the 3 and 4 spot. Round Hill has now crept within 2 points of second-place Wilton Y 2.1 who defeated Stamford Italian Center 3-1. In a somewhat expected outcome, division leader Woodway CC defeated last place Stanwich Club 4-0 to increase their lead to 4 points. Roxbury and New Canaan CC posted sweeps over Wilton Y 2.2 and New Canaan FC respectively to tighten the race to avoid demotion to D3 as only 5 points separate 7 teams from the last relegation spot.

Featured Match of the Week
New Canaan Field Club vs Round Hill Club: Two teams focused on opposite ends of the standings with big implications for the 2013-2014 season. Round Hill is riding a huge wave of momentum and has vaulted themselves into contention for the 2nd promotion spot to Division 1. New Canaan FC is trying to avoid the one and done visit to Division 2 but currently is two points out of the safety zone for relegation. One would expect Round Hill to come out strong which could spell trouble for New Canaan FC’s chances of staying in Division 2.

Division 3
Rowayton and Greenwich CC are currently battling it out for first place and the two teams kept pace with each other last week. Rowayton swept past Wee Burn 3.2 while Greenwich CC did the same with Darien CC. Burning Tree CC had been right behind Rowayton and Greenwich CC but could only muster a 2-2 tie with Lake Club and now sits in a three-way tie for third with New Canaan Town and Wilton Y 3.2, 3 points out of 2nd and 5 points out of first. The contest for the bottom two relegation spots appears to be a three team race between Woodway CC, Wilton Y 3.1 and Wee Burn 3.2, all of whom went down in defeat this past week.

Featured Match of the Week
Burning Tree CC vs New Canaan Town: Tied for third-place and two points out of the 2nd promotion spot, Burning Tree and New Canaan Town face a must-win battle for both sides. The winner of the match should still have a shot at moving up while the loser will most likely be waiting for next year. New Canaan Town enters with the better form, having won its last four matches. However, Burning Tree can field two strong teams at the top of their lineup. This match has the potential for a 2-2 split which unfortunately helps neither team.

Division 4
It was first place Middlesex Club versus second place Patterson Club last week and the standings held true to form. While Patterson took the 1 spot, Middlesex claimed the last 3, including a come-from-behind three-set win by Joe Dixon and Greg Henry at the 4 spot. With the win, Middlesex increases their divisional lead to 3 points over Patterson. Patterson now only holds slim leads over Tokeneke Club/Wilton Riding (1 point) and Stamford Yacht (2 points) for the other promotion spot. At the other end of the standings, New Canaan FC was able to grab a 3-1 win over Milbrook, allowing them to close the gap to avoid demotion. New Canaan FC now trails Lake Club by 1 point and Wilton Y 4.2 by 2 points, both of whom managed to squeak out ties in their matches.

Featured Match of the Week
Wilton Riding Club vs Stamford Yacht Club: Division 4 remains one of the tightest races with 4 teams separated by only 2 points for the 2nd promotion spot. Two of those teams, Wilton Riding and Stamford Yacht, face off this week in a critical match that could elevate the chances of one team while dashing the hopes of the other. Wilton Riding has won its last four matches while Stamford is 1-1-2. Based on momentum, Wilton Riding has the clear edge, however, Stamford Yacht gets to host the match which provide the necessary counter-balance.

Division 5
In the race for the second promotion spot, Darien Town maintained its one-point lead over Stamford Italian Center with a 3-1 win against New Canaan CC. Darien’s #1 team of James Hansford and Simon Little took a crucial 3-set win over New Canaan’s duo of Rab Kerr and Bob Hamill to secure the win. Stamford Italian Center kept pace with a 3-1 victory over New Canaan Town. SIC’s #2 team of Dave Katze and Marc Nicolet got the key 3-set win to allow SIC to keep pace with Darien Town. Darien will need to maintain its lead over SIC as they lost their head-to-head match with SIC and that is the first tie-breaker.

Fortunately for Darien, Stamford Italian Center has yet to play the team which is no longer getting mentioned in this column. If form holds in that match SIC will most likely be swept. Round Hill kept their hopes for Division 4 promotion alive with a 3-1 over Wilton Y but they remain 3 points behind with only 2 matches left. Unfortunately for New Canaan FC, their 4-0 loss to Wilton Riding Club ensures that they will finish in last place and be moving to Division 6 next year. Meanwhile, 4 clubs are only separated by 2 points for the 2nd demotion spot. Oh and by the way, the team that is not being mentioned swept their match again to run their record to 36-0.

Featured Match of the Week
Middlesex Club vs New Canaan CC: A match with major implications for the 2nd demotion spot in Division 5. Middlesex currently occupies that spot but is only 1 point from the safety zone. New Canaan CC is 2 points ahead of Middlesex, so a loss to Middlesex would reverse their positions. Fortunately for New Canaan CC, they get to host the match which often can be the difference.

Division 6
With the Division 6 title close in their sight, Weston Field Club literally brought out their big guy, Maurice Sanchez, for last week’s match versus Stamford Yacht. Playing the 1 spot with Steve Minkowitz, Sanchez led Weston FC’s 4-0 sweep over Stamford Yacht. with Darien CC and Lake 6.1 only managing 2-2 ties versus Rowayton and Milbrook respectively, Weston FC has now opened a 2 point lead on Darien CC and Lake 6.1 with 2 matches to go. At the bottom of the division, Roxbury and Lake 6.2 each lost 3-1 matches and currently are in danger of moving to Division 7.

Featured Match of the Week
Middlesex Club vs Milbrook Club: Another match among teams fighting to avoid relegation. While neither club is in the danger zone currently, neither club can breathe easy with Middlesex and Milbrook only 3 and 2 points safe from demotion, respectively. Both teams would probably gladly take a 2-2 tie and move on.

Division 7
Darien Town and Aspetuck Valley continue to battle it out for the Division 7 title. Darien Town had an easy 4-0 sweep over Burning Tree losing a total of only 6 games in 4 matches. Aspetuck kept pace with a 4-0 victory over Lake Club, but it was anything but easy as Aspetuck had to pull out 2 3-set matches at the 3 and 4 spot to secure the sweep. Silver Spring CC also swept Patterson Club to keep alive their chances for divisional promotion. However, with only 3 matches left and trailing Darien by 7 points, the gap might be too much for Silver Spring to close.

Featured Match of the Week
Darien Town vs Lake Club: With no demotions in Division 7 and two teams having a good lead on the rest of the field, the only race left appears to be that for the Division 7 title and the winning banner that goes with the title. Darien Town currently trails Aspetuck Valley by 2 points and will be looking to sweep Lake Club which has had a very up and down season.

Cochrane-Parsons dominate the Kansas City Open
The Wild, Wild Westchester League 2013 Winter Week 1

David Lee