The FCPTL finished off the 2011 calendar year with a round of matches last week that marks the beginning of the end. The matches were the last for calendar year 2011 and the teams will now take a two week break for the holidays. After the new year, teams enter the homestretch and will only have three or four matches remaining in the schedule to make a move or secure their place in the division. This past week saw multiple matches once again change the complexion of the various divisional races. Below are some of the highlights.
As always, current standings can be found here.
With each passing week, it looks more and more inevitable that the Division 1 championship banner will be hanging in Wee Burn’s paddle hut. This past week, Wee Burn swept Lake Club 4-0 and increased their first place lead by an additional two points as second-place Wilton Y 1.2 could only split with New Canaan FC. Trailing by 4 points with only 4 matches left, Wilton Y 1.2 will most likely need to sweep Wee Burn when they meet in mid-January to have any shot at the title. That will be a tall task, given that Wee Burn has yet to lose a match this season. The best match of the week was the split between Rowayton 1.1. and New Canaan CC. At the 1 spot, Patricio Misitrano and Pete Doehla of New Canaan CC won a tough 3-setter over the Rowayton’s duo of Gregg Brents and Jared Palmer. Similarly at the 4 spot, Jason Pinkernell and Bruce Wilson took a another 3-setter for New Canaan. With New Canaan CC currently sitting at the 2nd relegation spot, they really needed the two points to stay close to Darien CC and Rowayton 1.2, who now are only 2 and 1 point ahead of them respectively. While the race for first in Division 1 may be turning out to be anti-climatic, the race to avoid relegation appears to be anything but.
Just when you think Patterson Club can firmly take control of the division, something comes up. This past week, in a mild surprise, first-place Patterson split their match with 10th-place Wilton Y. Meanwhile, Middlesex Club, behind the 3-set come-from-behind victory by the 3 team of Michael Bennett-Joe Holmes, took a 3-1 victory over Lake Club and moved into a tie with Patterson for first place. This sets up an exciting first match when the two teams return from the holiday break, as Patterson and Middlesex will face-off on January 7th with first place on the line. In the meantime, Round Hill has slowly come out of nowhere to take sole position of third place on the heels of their 4-0 sweep of Wee Burn. Trailing Patterson and Middlesex by only two points, Round Hill could take one of the two promotion spots if their good form continues. At the other end of the division, Wee Burn continues to struggle and looks as though they will be one of the relegation teams especially as they have a tough final 4 matches. Wilton Y, Stanwich and Lake Club also look to be fighting it out amongst themselves for the other relegation spot.
It’s not over till it’s over. Just when you thought the Division 3 banner was ready to be hung in the Paul Fowler Paddle Hut at New Canaan FC, along comes the upset. In a shocking result, New Canaan Field Club, which had not lost a point since Week 1, lost not just a point but an entire match. Woodway CC, behind a strong 1 team and two 3-set victories at the 2 and 3 spot, pulled off a 3-1 upset over previously undefeated New Canaan FC. With Darien Town taking a 4-0 victory over Wilton Y, Darien now finds themselves only 2 points out of first place with 4 matches to go. Greenwich CC also swept their match versus Burning Tree and lurks just behind Darien and New Canaan FC, trailing by 2 and 4 points respectively. At the bottom of the table, Lake Club may be looking at relegation as they are staring at a 6 point deficit to avoid demotion. Meanwhile, Burning Tree, Wee Burn and Rowayton 3.1 are all tied at 10-18 for the other relegation spot. With Rowayton 3.1 still scheduled to play Wee Burn and Burning Tree, the race to avoid demotion should be a tight one in January.
Wilton Y 4.1 continued their impressive form, posting a 4-0 victory over New Canaan Town 4.2. Wilton Y 4.1 has run their record to 30-2, which puts them at the top of all FCPTL teams, and puts them in control of their own destiny with only 3 matches left. New Canaan Town 4.1 continued their recent fine play and swept a solid Middlesex team. With Wilton Riding Club taking only 3 points against Patterson Club, New Canaan Town 4.1 has now closed to within 1 point of 2nd place Wilton Riding Club for the second promotion spot. Making a late charge, Tokeneke posted their third straight 4-0 sweep, this time over Round Hill Club, and has moved within 4 points of Wilton Riding Club. At the bottom of the standings, Round Hill and New Canaan FC, after losses to Tokeneke and Milbrook respectively, now need to make up deficits of 3 and 4 points in the next three matches if they are to avoid demotion.
Coming off a loss to Rowayton, Wilton Y needed a win over first-place Roxbury if they were to have any chance at taking the league title. However, while the match featured tight matches including two 3-setters, Wilton Y came out on the losing end for the second week in a row as Roxbury won 3-1. Fortunately for Wilton Y, Rowayton only managed a 2-2 split with Stamford Italian Center. While Rowayton now pulls ahead of Wilton for 2nd place and the other promotion spot, Rowayton only holds a 1 point lead with 3 matches to go. At the other end of the standings, 11th and 12th place New Canaan FC and Stanwich faced off with each other and battled to a 2-2 tie. While normally a 2-2 tie is an acceptable result, it unfortunately did little progress for either team in closing the gap with the teams above them for avoiding relegation. All is not lost as New Canaan FC and Stanwich are only 2 and 3 points away from keeping their Division 5 position; but a victory by either team would have been helpful.
The Division 6 matchup everyone had been anticipating came to a head last week: Aspetuck Valley vs Darien Town. Two teams tied for first place and both sporting the best overall records in the FCPTL. The match lived up to expectations even though the final score of Aspetuck Valley 4, Darien 0 would suggest otherwise. While Aspetuck took the 1 spot easily, the next 3 spots all went three sets! At the 2 spot, Aspetuck’s team of Tom Goldberg-Don Cooke pulled out a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Jon Perkins-Brad Mahoney. Likewise at the 3 spot, Colin Hagen-Nasri Toutoundi defeated Rory Callagy-Bill Stowell 7-6, 4-6, 6-2. The 4 match was equally tight as Dave Semple-Bob Kempenich beat John Crouse-Jon Rockman 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. So far it might be the FCPTL match of the year. Hopefully the two teams will gain promotion into Division 5 so that they continue the rivalry. However, Wee Burn swept its match against Rowayton and has moved into a tie with Darien for second place. Wee Burn and Darien are scheduled to meet the last week of the season for what is shaping up to be the deciding match for promotion to Division 5. Based on the Aspetuck-Darien match, this one should also be a barn-burner.
Lake Club 7.1 maintained its hold on first place with a 4-0 sweep of New Canaan CC, although the 2 team of Jon Brown and Dean Armstrong did have to pull out a 6-4 win in the third set. The other teams contending for the league title had tougher times. Weston FC and Wilton Y only managed 2-2 ties with Patterson and New Canaan FC respectively, while Roxbury and Stamford Italian Center both lost 1-3 to Wee Burn and Aspetuck Valley. Consequently, Lake 7.1 now holds a solid 4 point first place lead. However, the race for 2nd place and promotion to Division 6 is as close as ever with Weston FC, Wilton Y, Roxbury, Stamford Italian Center and Wee Burn all firmly in the mix, separated by a total of 4 points between the 5 teams.