Paddle_Times_Web_LogoWith 3 weeks in the book, the FCPTL divisional races are starting to come into focus as we reach the quarter-mark in the season. While some divisions are wide-open, other divisions are seeing some front-runners take an early and commanding lead. In addition, teams off to slow starts must now start to worry about improving their play or face the dreaded relegation march to the lower division. While the season may still be young, teams cannot really afford to let their guards down.

Division 1
Co-division leaders, Wilton Y and Milbrook faced off last Saturday and it was Wilton Y taking the 3-1 win. At the featured 1 match, Wilton Y’s JP Johnson and Evan Paushter defeated Guga Goncalves and Tom Kratky in straight sets. Wilton Y also took the 3 and 4 matches in straight sets while Milbrook took the 2 match in 3 sets to avoid the sweep. Darien Town took a 3-1 win over Lake Club that was anything but easy. While Darien took the bottom 3 matches, it needed 3 sets at the 2 and 4 spot to get those wins. The match of the day was at the 1 spot where Lake’s Scott McKessy and Rob Caldwell defeated Mike McCann and Thommas de Liefde 7-6 in the third to salvage a point. With the win, Darien Town has climbed into 2nd place, a single point behind Wilton Y. Rowayton 1.A went on the road and took down Patterson Club 3-1 to move into a tie for 3rd with Milbrook. Meanwhile, Woodway CC and Middlesex lost a pair of 3-1 matches to Greenwich Field Club and Darien CC, respectively, and currently occupy the dreaded 2 demotion spots in the standings.

Featured Match of the Week:
Rowayton 1.A vs Rowayton 1.B: Intra-club matches are also interesting as the players all know each other and compete not just for the league standings but club pride. The Rowayton matches are always known for their fierce competitiveness and this week’s match also has strong divisional implications. Rowayton 1.A is only 2 points out of first, while Rowayton 1.B has gotten off to a slow start with a 5-7 record that puts them only 2 points from relegation danger. Both teams will be looking for wins to boost their chances of winning a division title or avoiding demotion, so the expectation is for a tight, tight match.

Division 2
The three Wilton Y teams in Division 2 continued their strong play as each recorded 3-1 wins this past weekend. Wilton Y 2.B defeated Rowayton 2.C, Wilton Y 2.C beat Round Hill Club while Wilton Y 2.D took down Greenwich CC. With these wins, Wilton Y 2.B and 2.C sit in first place with 9-3 records, while Wilton Y 2.D only trails by 1 point with a 8-4 mark. Meanwhile Stamford Yacht is trying to break up Wilton Y party as they are also in first with a 9-3 record after defeating Stamford Italian Center 3-1. On the other end, Burning Tree CC and New Canaan FC need to put some wins on the board if they are to avoid the trip down to Division 3. While it is still early in the season, both sport 2-10 records which is 2 worse than the team above them.

Featured Match of the Week:
Wilton Y 2.D vs New Canaan FC 2.B: While there is still plenty of season remaining, the early season matches often wound up critical at year-end for the divisional promotions and demotions. This matchup between Wilton Y 2.D and New Canaan FC could be one of those critical matches. Wilton Y 2.D is currently in 2nd place but trading 3 teams by 1 point. New Canaan FC is tied for last and looking at a possible relegation. At a minimum, New Canaan FC needs to get a split to avoid falling further behind in the standings; however, Wilton Y will be looking for a victory to keep their title hopes alive.

Division 3
Wilton Riding Club continued their fine form taking a 4-0 sweep from Roxbury in decisive fashion and putting WRC squarely in first place with an 11-1 record. Wee Burn CC 3.C could not keep pace with WRC despite a 3-1 victory over Stamford Yacht, and now trails Wilton Riding by 1 point with a 10-2 record. Tokeneke Club took down the other Wee Burn team and currently occupies the 3rd spot with a 9-3 record. Like the situation at Division 2, a couple of teams need to get it into gear at the bottom of the standings if they want to avoid a demotion. Rowayton 3.D and Stamford Yacht have only managed 1 point out of 12 and trail the 12th place team, Woodway, by 2 points.

Featured Match of the Week:
Wilton Riding Club 3.A vs Tokeneke 3.B: First place takes on 3rd place in this Division 3 match-up. While Wilton Riding should have the clear advantage at the 1 spot with pro, Rory Capener, Tokeneke has a nice balanced lineup that could effectively counter Wilton Riding Club’s strength at the top. Wilton Riding Club has the additional advantage of playing at home, so that should provide the needed edge for a win.

Division 4
Whoa – for the first time in nearly 2 years, Aspetuck Valley did not sweep its opponents. Kudos to the #3 Middlesex team of Jeff Barnard and John Murray for getting the victory over their Aspetuck opponents and breaking a streak that had extended over 50 matches. Nonetheless Aspetuck still took the overall match 3-1. However, that now only puts Aspetuck in 2nd place, as Darien Town easily swept Lake Club to run their record to a perfect 12-0 and first place. Darien and Aspetuck still appear to be the class of Division 4 as third place New Canaan Field Club trails both by 4 and 3 points with an 8-4 record after their 3-1 win over Wee Burn. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the standings is a repeating theme in the FCPTL. Lake Club and Wilton Y 4.G are mired in last place with 1-11 records which puts them 3 points from their nearest competitor. Lake and Wilton Y 4.G will need to get some points soon if they want to avoid the relegation sweat.

Featured Match of the Week:
Lake Club 4.C vs New Wilton Y 4.G: It’s never easy to feature a last-place versus last-place match as the Featured Match of the Week. However, for Lake Club and Wilton Y 4.G, they both desperately need points as mentioned above. If either team can get a decisive victory, they may gain enough momentum to carry them from the basement.

Division 5
Division 5 continues to be the most competitive division with ridiculously close matches across the board. This week’s closest and craziest match goes to New Canaan CC versus Wilton Riding Club, which was the Featured Match of the Week last week 🙂 New Canaan CC entered the match atop the league standings but faced a tough Wilton Riding Club team. The result was a 2-2 tie where all four matches were decided in 3 sets! While this match was the only split of the 7 matches played, 5 of the other 6 matches all had at least 2 or 3 of the matches go to 3 sets. While Weston Field Club stands atop the division with a 10-2 record after their 3-1 win over New Canaan Field Club (2 of those matches went 3 sets), it’s not clear that standings mean much at this point in time. The other division leader from last week, Rowayton Club 5.F got swept 4-0 by Stanwich who entered that match 2-6. Clearly, this is a division where any team can beat any team on any given Sunday.

Featured Match of the Week:
New Canaan CC 5.C vs Darien CC 5.C: You could probably pick any match in Division 5 to be the Featured Match. This week, it’s second place New Canaan CC versus third-place Darien CC. The division looks to be extremely close all year, so getting a victory over a close rival may ultimately be the key to moving up to Division 4. Based on the results against their one common opponent (Wilton Riding Club), New Canaan CC appears to have a slight edge. But this is Division 5, so anything can happen.

Division 6
Darien Town’s Division 6 is doing its best to keep up with its Division 4 counterpart. Darien Town beat New Canaan Field Club 4-0 for its 3rd consecutive sweep, giving them a perfect 12-0 record like its Division 4 brethren. Patterson Club swept Burning Tree to remain in 2nd place, 1 point behind Darien. Patterson is tied with Silver Spring CC who defeated Tokeneke 3-1. The other apparent contender in Division 6 is Aspetuck Valley CC who defeated Roxbury 3-1 and is only 2 points from first place. Meanwhile, Burning Tree has yet to win a point in Division 6 and brings up the rear at 0-12. Fortunately, the bottom of Division 6 is pretty bunched with 2 teams at 2-10 and 3 teams at 3-9, so Burning Tree still has time to get out of the danger zone.

Featured Matches of the Week:
Stamford Italian Center 6.C vs Roxbury 6.D: These two teams have struggled in the early going with Stamford Italian Center at 3-9 and Roxbury at 2-10. Given how close teams are at the bottom of Division 6, both teams will be looking for a win to give them some margin of error for the rest of the season.

Division 7
While not located in Darien, Belle Haven Club is also a perfect 12-0 after sweeping, of all team, Darien Town. Trailing right behind Belle Haven at 11-1 are Brooklawn and New Canaan Town, which swept Silver Spring CC and Woodway CC respectively. After a disappointing debut, Innis Arden swept Wilton Riding Club to become only the 4th team in Division 7 with a record above .500. While it’s still early, it looks like these four teams are the class of the division.

Featured Match of the Week:
New Canaan Town 7.C vs Brooklawn 7.A: Both teams are tied for second with identical 11-1 records. With Belle Haven showing no signs of slowing down, New Canaan and Brooklawn will need a victory if they hope to keep pace. The two teams have played no common opponents to date, so this should be an interesting match to see who might be able to challenge for the division title and promotion.

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David Lee