We are only in Week 4 of the FCPTL and already we are starting to see some amazing races shape up in the different divisions. Some of the races are more crowded than the turn at the Dayona 500, while others appear to be headed for two or three team battles. With many matches still to be played, there is still time for teams to make their moves, but they better get started fast. Below is a quick recap of some of the big matches that were played this past weekend and a preview of some of the key matches for Week 4. Note: Divisions 1-3 are on bye this week as many players are signed up for the Soundshore Invitational.
As always, current standings can be found here.
The featured match of Week 4 was Lake Club vs Wilton Y 1.2, and more than lived up to its promise. While Wilton Y 1.2 took a 3-1 victory, each of the 4 points were tightly contested. At the 1 spot, Wilton’s Justin Smith and Jared King defeated the seasoned duo of Gary Squires and Rob Hutchinson in 3 sets. Wilton took the 2 spot 6-4, 6-4 and the 3 spot in 3 sets. Lake Club’s only point came at the 4 spot in another tight match 6-4, 7-6. With the win, Wilton Y 1.2 vaults into 3rd place, and announces itself as a definite title contender. Wee Burn remains atop the division after a 3-1 win over Rowayton 1.2, while New Canaan FC is a point out in 2nd after a sweep of Darien CC. Darien Town saw the return of Mike McCann and Scott McKessy which resulted in a 4-0 sweep of New Canaan CC and puts them tied with Wilton Y 1.2, 2 points out of first. The tightest match of the week was Greenwich FC’s 3-1 victory over Milbrook, where the first 3 matches all went to 3 sets. Right now, it looks like a 4-team race for the D1 title. However, there are reports out of Rowayton 1.1 that they are returning to health and if so, could be poised to make a run the league leaders. Stay tuned.
The most amazing race continues to be Division 2. It was home, sweet home for Patterson Club, who looked to be the prohibitive favorite 2 weeks ago until a loss last week to Woodway. Patterson returned to its winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Roxbury but it was hardly easy. Patterson needed to pull out two 3 setters at the 1 and 3 spot plus a 2nd set tiebreaker at the 2 spot to get the victory which easily could have gone the other way. Meanwhile, Woodway was unable to keep its momentum going and went down 3-1 to Round Hill. The 1 match was especially tight with Round Hill’s David Dickson and Tim Evnin winning the 3rd set tiebreaker over Woodway’s Pat Mullin and Tom Richardson. Middlesex, Stamford Yacht and Tokeneke also won decisively over Stamford Italian Center, Lake Club and Wee Burn, respectively, to create a massive log jam in the standings. While Patterson regains first place with a 12-4 record, 5 teams are tied for 2nd at 10-6 and 2 more teams are at 9-7. Unfortunately the tight race at the top also means that it’s a 4-way tussle at the bottom for avoiding the 2 relegation spots. It’s looking like team participation and depth will ultimately decide this division.
On the other hand, while Division3 started off looking like it would rival Division 2 for the title of most competitive division, this past week’s results have put D3 into a little more focus regarding the front-runners. Rolling out some of their big guns, New Canaan FC decisively took down Burning Tree 4-0, keeping them atop the division while dampening Burning Tree’s hopes for promotion. Darien Town also crushed their opponent, Lake Club, 4-0 to stay a point behind New Canaan FC. New Canaan CC kept pace and remained in 3rd place 2 points behind with a 4-0 win over Darien CC. However, New Canaan CC needed to gut out 2 3-set wins at the 1 spot (Peter Krieger and Tom Towers) and 4 spot (Rab Ker and George Laub) to get the job done. Unfortunately Greenwich CC was unable to keep pace after tying 2-2 with Woodway. For now, it looks like a 3-team race between the 2 New Canaan teams and Darien.
Wilton Y 4.1 continued to crush the D4 competition, taking a 4-0 victory over an up-and-coming Patterson team, and running their 1st-place record to 15-1. Despite beating Round Hill Club 3-1, Wilton Riding Club falls a point behind Wilton Y 4.1 atop the standings. Stamford Yacht was also unable to keep pace with the division leaders. Stamford Yacht tied Tokeneke 2-2 and might have been fortunate to even get the tie as their 2 wins were both 3-setters.
Featured Match of Week 5: New Canaan Town 4.1 vs New Canaan Town 4.2. With New Canaan Town 4.2 languishing at the bottom of Division 4, you might think that their brethren team, New Canaan Town 4.1, would enter the match with some empathy for Town 4.2’s plight. Unfortunately for Town 4.2, Town 4.1 is only 3 points out of the 2nd promotion spot and really should let any points slip away. Two weeks ago, Wilton Y 4.1 and 4.2 were in the same position and Wilton Y 4.1 showed no mercy in taking a 4-0 sweep. Should be interesting to see what the outcome will be for this match.
A team paddle match in Division 5 can often be a struggle, even if the match score doesn’t reflect it. In a match with serious implications at the bottom of the standings regarding relegation, Wilton Riding Club took a hard-fought 3-1 victory over New Canaan FC. Both teams must have known that they were PaddleTimes Featured Match of the Wee as the bout featured two 3 setters and a 7-5, 7-6 (10-8) match. With the win, Wilton Riding gains a bit of breathing room, while New Canaan FC must fight to avoid demotion. First place Wilton Y recorded a 4-0 win over Middlesex, but it was hardly easy. The 1 match between Wilton’s Steve Bonafide and Robert Perez and Middlesex’s Rick Dolcetti and Tom Dickson went 3 sets while the other 3 matches were pretty much decided by one serve break per set. On the other hand, Roxbury had a relatively easy sweep over Stamford Italian Center to remain tied with Wilton Y in first place with a 15-1 record. Unless Rowayton or the two New Canaan CC teams can make a charge soon, it looks like a two-team race at this point.
Featured Match of Week 5: New Canaan CC 5.1 vs New Canaan CC 5.2. Last year when these two teams met, it was a battle. While New Canaan CC 5.1. took an apparent easy 4-0 victory, in reality, the match could have gone either way with two of the matches going 3 sets and the other two hard-fought as well. Clearly no easy wins will be granted here as intra-club matches can often be the fiercest. As mentioned above, both these teams need to make a charge if either team is to have a shot at overtaking Wilton Y or Roxbury for promotion but a tie is looking highly probable here.
It’s deja vu all over again in Division 6 as Aspetuck Valley and Darien Town both swept to stay tied atop the division with identical 15-1 records. Both teams look to be honing their game in preparation for their highly-anticipated face-off on December 18. Wee Burn also won 4-0 over Darien CC to stay within shouting distance of the two leaders. However, having already lost to Aspetuck Valley 4-0, Wee Burn has little margin for error and will need to bring it against Darien when they eventually face off. The more compelling race in D6 for now is the race to avoid relegation as 7 teams currently sport sub-500 records and will need to improve if they don’t want to be demoted.
Featured Match of Week 5: Woodway vs Burning Tree. While the top of Division 6 appears to be a two-team race, the bottom is looking pretty log-jammed. Woodway and Burning Tree are two of the seven teams with sub-500 records. Both will be looking to take some points in this match to improve their standing and gain some breathing room in the race to avoid demotion.
While Lake 7.1 remains in first place with a 12-4 record, the club seems to be losing a bit of momentum. After starting the season undefeated, Lake recorded its tie in a row, 2-2 versus New Canaan FC. Weston Field Club took advantage of home courts to take a 3-1 win over previously second-place Roxbury and move closer to the top of the division. Patterson also took a 3-1 win over Wilton Y to keep their chances strong for possible promotion. Each week, Division 7 seems provide different storylines and it probably won’t be until the end of the season that we see how it ends.
Featured Match of Week 5: Lake 7.1 vs Stamford Italian Center. Lake Club will be looking to reverse its recent form and get back to its winning ways. However, Stamford Italian Center could prove to be a tough challenge as they will be looking to play spoiler. Fortunately for Lake Club the match will be played in the familiar confines of their home courts which could be the advantage they need.