The FCPTL enters its final weekend and like past years, it will come down to the final day of play to decide most of the division winners, promotions and demotions. Very few teams come into the weekend with little on the line. For most teams, it’s like their Super Bowl and they need to “Just Win Baby.” Below is a quick recap of where the different divisional races stand and what are the potential outcomes from this weekend.
Normally we review the divisions from top to bottom. However, this week Division 4 requires extra attention. Aspetuck Valley CC 4.A and Darien Town 4.C have battled it out head-to-head since they joined the FCPTL four years ago. The two clubs have climbed the league ladder together each year as the top two teams in Division 7, 6 and 5; however, Aspetuck Valley has held the upper hand against Darien Town by taking the divisional title and banner the past 3 season. This season has been no different. Aspetuck and Darien have dominated Division 4 and enter the final weekend having both secured their promotion to Division 3 next year. The division title is a whole different matter. The two teams enter the final weekend tied at 35 points. When the two teams met in December, they split the match 2-2. The first league tiebreaker is sets won. Well that was 5-5. Next tiebreaker is games won. Yep, tied 54-54. Final tiebreaker is a coin flip! So the exciting scenario exists this week that if Aspetuck and Darien finish the season in a tie, the divisional banner will be decided by a toss of the coin. Darien appears to have the slightly easier match against 13th-place Greenwich CC 4.B, who have already secured their demotion to Division 5. Aspetuck draws 11th-place Lake Club 4.C, who are at least secure in Division 4 for next year. Thus, Darien and Aspetuck face teams that are not playing for much. So unless the rumors that Greenwich CC and Lake have been offered rewards by Aspetuck and Darien respectively for pulling off upsets are true, it looks like this divisional race could be coming down to a coin flip that hopefully will be live-streamed by the APTA.
On the flip side, Greenwich CC and Wilton Y 4.G have already guaranteed themselves a trip down to Division 5, even with 1 match to play.
Wilton Y 1.A thoroughly dominated Division 1 play and clinched their second consecutive league title with room to spare. The real race has been the one to avoid the trip back to Division 2. Hurt by the absence of a pro in their lineup this year, Middlesex Club 1.A has already clinched one of the dreaded relegation spot. Woodway CC 1.A currently occupies the 2nd demotion seat with 18 points but it could be a tall order for them to pass any of the 3 teams ahead of them: New Canaan CC 1.A (20 points), Darien CC 1.A (21 points) and Patterson Club 1.A (21 points). Woodway needs a minimum of 3 points against Rowayton 1.A and hope that either New Canaan CC loses at least 3-1 to Wilton Y 1.A or Darien CC gets swept by Milbrook 1.A or Patterson gets swept by Rowayaton 1.B. Possibly a tall order, but crazier things have happened in the FCPTL.
Play in Division 2 has been hotly contested all season and not much has been settled as we head into the final week of play. Wilton Y 2.B has secured promotion to Division 1 with 34 points; however, they will need at least 2 points against Roxbury 2.A to clinch the divisional title ahead of Stamford Yacht 2.A who currently has 31 points and the tiebreaker over Wilton Y 2.B. While Stamford Yacht is aiming for the division title, they are also hoping to grab the second promotion spot. Fortunately they hold the tiebreaker over the 4 teams behind them (Round Hill Club 2.A, New Canaan Town 2.A and Wilton Y 2.C) and control their own destiny. Three points against Wilton Y 2.D will guarantee Stamford Yacht’s ascent to Division 1. Meanwhile Round Hill Club 2.A, New Canaan Town 2.A and Wilton Y 2.C will have to hope for wins this weekend and get help from Wilton Y 2.D.
New Canaan FC 2.B never got it going this year and they are assured of moving to Division 3 after averaging less than 1 point per week. Three teams are still mathematically in the running for the other relegation spot; however, Greenwich CC 2.A faces a challenge if they are to move out of the 2nd demotion spot. Greenwich has 14 points and trail Burning Tree CC 2.A by 3 points and Rowayton 2.C by 4 points. While Greenwich holds the tiebreakers over both clubs, they will still need to basically sweep New Canaan FC and hope that either Burning Tree or Rowayton get swept by Round Hill or Wilton Y 2.C, respectively. Given that New Canaan FC is the last place team and Round Hill and Wilton Y 2.C both might need sweeps to have a chance to move to Division 1, it is entirely possible that this scenario could play out.
Wee Burn CC 3.C clinched their move to Division 2 last week and now only need to get a single point against Tokeneke 3.B this week to secure the division title, which based on their play this season should not be too hard to manage. While still having some hope of a division title, Wilton Riding Club 3.A will more likely be looking to secure 2 points against Stamford Yacht Club 3.B to join Wee Burn 3.C for promotion. Patterson Club 3.B and Darien CC 3.B are mathematically still in the hunt for promotion but will need a Wilton Riding Club loss and a win or sweep to have any chance.
Things are much tighter at the bottom of the spectrum where both relegation spots remain up in the air as 6 teams are all within 4 points of each other. New Canaan CC 3.B (20 points), Wilton Y 3.E (19 points), Stamford Yacht 3.B (19 points) and Rowayton 3.D ( 18 points) all control their own destiny and can safeguard their D3 status with wins this Saturday against Middlesex 3.B, Roxbury 3.B, Wilton Riding Club 3.A and Darien CC 3.B. Stamford Yacht and Rowayton appear to have the toughest matches to get a win as they play 2 of the 3 team still vying for the 2nd promotion spot. Roxbury is in the 2nd demotion spot with 17 points but play Wilton Y 3.E and thus could swap places with them with a victory. In last place with 16 points, Wee Burn 3.B, sister team to the division leaders, will need a victory and some help if they are to climb out of the danger zone.
Division 5 has been the craziest, wildest division in the FCPTL this year. Week-in and week-out, anything can happen with matches often going 3 sets across multiple lines and any team capable of beating any other team. Not surprisingly, Division 5 enters its final week of play with only 2 of the 14 teams playing for nothing. At the top of the division, Weston Field Club 5.A won its last five matches, dropping only 2 points along the way, to separate themselves from the field and clinch the division title with 38 points and can rest easy this weekend. In a different manner so can Woodway CC 5.C. With 22 points and the tiebreaker over Stamford Yacht 5.C, Woodway mathematically cannot finish in the bottom two spots and thus will be back in Division 5 next year. The other 12 teams are not so lucky.
In the race for the second promotion spot, 5 teams are separated by just 3 points. New Canaan CC 5.C currently sits in the coveted 2nd spot with 29 points and can control their own fate with a 4-0 win. However, they play first-place Weston FC. Will Weston come out with their regular lineup or will they take it easy? Rowayton 5.F (28 points), Stanwich 5.A (28 points), Wilton Y 5.H (26 points) and Darien CC 5.C (26 points) will all anxious await that answer as it will obviously have a big impact on that second promotion spot.
Things are even closer at the bottom of the division where 7 teams are separated by only 4 points. Milbrook 5.C currently sits in last place with 17 points, but they face one of the other 6 teams above team, Wilton Riding Club 5.B (21 points) and could reverse their positions with a 4-0 sweep. The two teams right above Milbrook, Stamford Yacht 5.C (18 points) and New Canaan FC 5.D (20 points) have a tough challenge as they will play two of the top teams fighting for promotion in Rowayton 5.F and Stanwich 5.A, respectively. The other 3 teams with 21 points (Middlesex 5.D, Lake Club 5.D and Roxbury 5.C) also face teams with stronger records than them and will go into each match as an underdog. All in all, there is a high probability that multiple teams could be tied for the 2 demotion spots and that the multi-team tiebreaker of looking at records between the tied teams will come into play.
Compared to the other divisions, Division 6 is relatively calm headed into this weekend. At the top of the standings, Darien Town 6.D has clinched the division title with a dominant 45-3 record. Silver Spring CC 6.A holds the 2nd promotion spot with 39 points. Aspetuck Valley CC 6.B is still mathematically alive for the promotion over Silver Spring, however, they would need to sweep division leader, Darien Town, and have Silver Spring get swept by Middlesex 6.E. At the other end of the standings, Burning Tree CC 6.B has already punched their ticket to Division 7, sitting in last place with only 9 points. The second relegation race is the only one that has intrigue with 6 teams within 4 points of each other. Lake Club 6.E currently holds the 2nd demotion spot with 15 points and have a tough match versus 31-17 Tokeneke 6.C this Sunday. However, if they can secure some points, they still have a chance to pass Lake Club 6.F (16 points), Wee Burn CC 6.E (16 points), New Canaan CC 6.D (17 points), Middlesex 6.E (18 points) and Roxbury 6.D (19 points).
The big showdown this week is between the top 2 teams in the division, Belle Haven 7.A and Innis Arden 7.A. Points will be at a premium for two reasons. First, the winner of the match will most likely take the Division 7 title. Second, the loser will still need to secure a point or risk losing the 2nd promotion spot to New Canaan Town 7.C. All should get decided on the Innis Arden courts this Sunday.