The FCPTL has hit the halfway mark of the season and is now headed into the homestretch. While some of the division races have tightened, others seem to be crystallizing, at least at the top of the standings. There are two more week of matches before the holiday break and while the weather is turning colder, the paddle matches are getting hotter.

Division 1

Wee Burn continues to stay atop the division with a 3-1 victory over Wilton Y 1.1. In a bit of a surprise, New Canaan FC fell 3-1 to Greenwich FC, who can always be a challenge when they roll out their best players and have a former national champion playing the 2 spot. The match also featured tournament partners playing against each other, Lennart Jonason and Ted Danforth (GFC) took down Brad Easterbrook and Hardy Manges 6-4 in the third. Wilton Y 1.2 valuted into second place with a 3-1 win over Milbrook when Darien Town could only manage a split with Rowayton 1.1.

Featured Match of Week 6: Darien Town vs Wee Burn. It’s becoming do-or-die time for the teams that trail Wee Burn. After their tie with Rowayton, Darien Town will need a win over Wee Burn to have any hopes of making up the 3-point deficit with Wee Burn. Wee Burn, however, has yet to lose a match this season and their well-known depth may be the difference in this match. Darien will need a strong performance from their 1 team of McCann-McKessy and hope to take 2 of the bottom 3 spots if they are to pull off the upset.

Division 2

Division 2 remains a free-for-all with the standings changing every week. There has been one constant: Patterson Club in first place. However, this past week’s 3-1 victory of Stamford Yacht was a doozy with 3 of the 4 matches going 3 sets. Stamford Yacht took its only point at the 1 spot, when Nick Bergman and Rick Swift overcame a slow start to defeat Scott Slobin and David Rosenfeld 0-6, 6-4, 6-3. However, Patterson was able to reverse the trend and win the 2 and 3 spots in 3 sets. Every week it seems there is a new second and third place team. This week, Tokeneke, with a 4-0 victory over Lake Club, is the current second place team, while Middlesex, with a 3-1 win over Stanwich, now occupies third place. With only 4 points separating 2nd and 7th place, it will be interesting to see if Tokeneke and Middlesex can maintain their position for another week.

Featured Match of Week 6: Patterson vs Tokeneke. If It’s first place versus second place, you can pretty much guarantee that it will be the Featured Match of the Week. After their stumble against Woodway, Patterson has resumed their winning ways but their lead in the division is slim. Tokeneke has quietly crept up on their Division 2 foes and now has a chance to take the division lead. Fortunately for Patterson, the match is home where they have played exceptionally well. Tokeneke will need to make sure they are strong at the top with JJ Cramer and Harlan Stone if they are to overcome the likes of Scott Slobin and David Rosenfeld.

Division 3

New Canaan Field Club put a stranglehold on first place with a convincing 4-0 sweep of second place Darien Town. New Canaan FC did not drop a set in its win and now stands 5 points clear of the field. While you should never count your chickens too soon, New Canaan FC appears to have a clear path to the league title. With their loss, Darien Town has fallen into a 4-way tie for second place. Darien Town, Greenwich CC, Rowayton 3.2 and New Canaan CC all sport 13-7 records and it should be a tight battle over the last 6 matches to see who might take the 2nd promotion spot to Division 2.

Featured Match of Week 6: Rowayton 3.2 vs Darien Town. After their defeat to New Canaan Field Club last week, Darien Town is now facing a huge uphill climb to take the league title. However, they remain firmly in the mix for the 2nd promotion spot for Division 3. As one of the 4 teams tied for 2nd at 13-7, Darien faces another 13-7 team in Rowayton 3.2 in a critical match for promotion status. A victory by either team is essential if they hope to advance to Division 2. It will be interesting to see if Darien can put last week’s result behind them and gain the win.

Division 4

Division 4 continues to be a two-horse race. Wilton Y 4.1 sweep again, this time over Middlesex Club, to run their record to an FCPTL-overall best of 23-1. Wilton Riding Club kept place with a 4-0 sweep of Milbrook to remain 2 points within Wilton Y 4.1. The two teams now have over a month to prepare for their head-to-head match, which should ultimately decide the league victor. The tighter race in Division 4 is over relegation. With Milbrook, Patterson, New Canaan FC and Round Hill all getting swept last week, 5 teams are within 4 points of each other at the bottom of the division.

Featured Match of Week 7: Wilton Riding Club vs New Canaan Town 4.1. After tying Stamford Yacht, this is a season-defining match for New Canaan Town 4.1. If they have any shot at earning promotion to Division 3, they will need a win and most probably a sweep over Wilton Riding Club. Wilton Riding, however, seems to be on a mission to regain Division 3 status and will be looking for a decisive win in order to stay within shouting distance of Wilton Y 4.1.

Division 5

Like the division above them, Division 5 is shaping up to be a two-team race as well. With their 4-0 sweep over New Canaan CC 5.1, Roxbury has made up the one-point deficit with Wilton 5.1, who only beat New Canaan FC 3-1. Meanwhile, with 2 crucial 3-set victories, Stanwich Club got a much needed 3-1 win over Lake Club to help them close the gap at the bottom of the division. While still at the bottom of the division, Stanwich is now only 2 points away from avoiding relegation. With 7 teams within 6 points of each other at the bottom of the division, there will be a lot of pressure matches in January for these teams if they are to avoid demotion.

Featured Match of Week 7: Wilton Y vs Rowayton. A key match for both teams. Wilton Y is tied for first with Roxbury at 22-2, yet Roxbury appears to have the easier match this week versus New Canaan FC. Meanwhile Wilton Y faces third-place Rowatyon. Rowayton needs a win here if they aspire to gain the 2nd promotion spot, while Roxbury will need a win to keep pace with Wilton Y. Rowayton has home court advantage but will that prove to be enough to get the victory?

Division 6

Division 6 is the third division that has turned into a two-team race. Aspetuck Valley easily swept Tokeneke and is once again tied for the league lead with Darien Town. Darien Town only managed a 3-1 win over Rowayton, when Rowayton’s team of Kurt Geisler and George Rzepecki managed a 3-set win at the 4 spot, and thus, sits with the same 22-2 record as Aspetuck Valley. The point that Rowayton earned may ultimately prove decisive not just for the top of the division but also in determining the two relegation spots. With the win,Rowayton, who sits one above the relegation spot, picks up a point in the standings over Burning Tree and Tokeneke who were both swept this past weekend.

Featured Match of Week 7: Woodway vs Wee Burn. While Wee Burn sits in third-place, realistically the dominant pace set by Aspetuck Valley and Darien Town appears to make it difficult for Wee Burn to gain one of the top two spots needed for promotion. This week, Wee Burn faces in-town rival, Woodway, so league considerations may prove to be secondary to gaining bragging rights for Darien. A victory by Wee Burn, though, would keep them in the hunt for the 2nd promotion spot.

Division 7

The race for the Division 7 title got a lot tighter this past weekend as the top three teams all failed to register victories. Lake 7.1 and Roxbury could only post ties versus Wilton Y and New Canaan FC. Meanwhile Weston FC was “upset” 3-1 by Lake Club, who had been the sole last-place team in the division. Consequently, with 6 teams within 4 points of each other at the top of the division, Division 7 looks to rival Division 2 for title of most competitive.

Featured Match of Week 7: Patterson Club vs Stamford Italian Center. It’s fish or cut bait time for teams in Division 7. More than half the teams have a realistic shot of gaining the top 2 promotion spots. Both Patterson and Stamford Italian Center stand above .500 and need a victory to close the gap with the division leaders. Anything can happen in D7, so the outcome could easily vary from a tie to a sweep for either team.

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David Lee