The FCPTL kicked off its season last weekend with 42 matches that featured highly competitive play and some surprising results. Fortunately for those who started slow, there are 10 more weeks of play to make up ground and either gain promotion or avoid relegation. Below are some highlights from the past week and of course a Featured Match of the Week.

Division 1
Without the services of Sebastian Bredberg, defending champion Wee Burn could only manage 2-2 draw against the Town of Darien, who rolled out two strong newcomers in Steve Schelz and Thomas De Liefde. If Darien is able to field this strong a lineup week-in and week-out, they may vie for the division title. Perennial contender Rowayton 1.1 also got out of the gates slowly with a 3-1 loss to Lake Club who were led by Scott McKessy/Rob Caldwell’s 3-set win over Gregg Brents/Craig Marchesi. Not surprisingly the two newly promoted teams, Middlesex and Patterson, played to a 2-2 tie which saw 3 of the 4 matches go 3 sets.

Featured Match of the Week
Lake Club vs Wee Burn: Lake Club comes off a strong 3-1 win over Rowayton while Wee Burn could only manage a 2-2 draw versus Darien Town. Lake Club has been buoyed by the return of Scott McKessy to the top of their lineup. Wee Burn, unfortunately, is unlikely to have Sebastian Bredberg again who scheduled to play the Rochester Open but still have formidable players and depth. If Wee Burn expects to retain their league title, they will definitely need a win this week.

Division 2
Division 2 is normally one of the most competitive divisions in the FCPTL but opening day did not see that play out with most of the matches easily going to one side. One exception was the cross-town match between Stamford Yacht and Stamford Italian Center. Although Italian Center won 3-1, three of the matches went the distance and the results could have easily gone the other way. Wilton Y rolled over New Canaan Field Club 4-0 and looks to be the early front-runner for the division. However, former D1 teams Woodway, New Canaan CC and Tokeneke all secured victories and appear to be ready to challenge for a D1 spot again.

Featured Match of the Week
Woodway CC vs New Canaan CC: Will this week mark the debut of George Wilkinson in the New Canaan CC lineup? If so, it will be a big boost to New Canaan’s chances of regaining a spot in D1. However, Woodway is always strong at the top of their lineup with Tom Richardson, Pat Mullin and Amy Shay. Since the top 2 lines could go either way, the winner will most likely be the team that is able to bring out the depth at the 3 and 4 lines.

Division 3
The most misleading score of the week was Rowayon 4, New Canaan Town 0. While it might look like a cakewalk, in reality, all 4 lines went 3 sets with 2 matches finishing in a tiebreaker. At the 2 spot, Rowayton’s Mark Heffern/Jeff Dawkins squeaked out a 3rd set tiebreaker, while Chris John and George Rzepecki did the same at the 4 spot. Tough luck for New Canaan as they could have easily been a 4-0 victor with the right bounces. Meanwhile, recently demoted Wee Burn seemed anxious to make their stay in D3 short as they swept New Canaan CC 4-0 in another match that was closer than its final score might indicate. Finally, Burning Tree CC and Greenwich CC took advantage of the new rule this season that allows paddle professionals play in D3. Needless to say, both Jack Waite of Burning Tree and Patricio Misitrano of Greenwich CC took their respective matches at the 1 spot by identical 6-1, 6-0 scores.

Featured Match of the Week
Wee Burn vs Rowayton: It was tempting to choose Burning Tree vs Greenwich CC; however, with Patricio Misitrano scheduled to be at the Rochester Open, the potential 1 match between pros Misitrano and Jack Waite will have to wait (pun not intended). Consequently, it’s Wee Burn vs Rowatyon. The only two teams to take 4-0 victories last week, this match looks like it could be an early determinant of who will take the league title. Wee Burn is eager to return to D2 and always has depth, however, Rowayton has managed to recruit a few new tennis players to their paddle team and should give Wee Burn a good run for the money.

Division 4
As the highest division to play on Sunday, Division 4 can often challenge the level of play in Division 3 as many non-frozen players sign up for double-duty and play both Saturday and Sunday. This past weekend was no exception and as a result many of the matches were fiercely fought and went the distance. In the featured match of the week, the two D4 Rowayton teams faced off and as expected, it was a barnburner. Although Rowayton 4.1 prevailed 3-1 over Rowayton 4.2, three of the 4 lines went the full 3 sets while the 3rd line was a tight 6-4, 6-4 contest. Rowayton 4.1 got a well-deserved victory as they hope to regain D3 status. Patterson Club took a 3-1 win over Roxbury but required 3 sets in all their 3 points. Meanwhile, Stamford Yacht has taken the early division lead thanks to a 4-0 victory over New Canaan Field Club that was originally 3-1 until New Canaan forfeited their lone victory due to an ineligible player.

Featured Match of the Week
Rowayton 4.1 vs Stamford Yacht: Another early season match featuring two teams that can be expected to challenge for the division title. Rowayton 4.1 might be spent from last week’s intra-club rumble versus Rowayton 4.2 and has to be wary of being flat this week. Stamford Yacht will have to hope that stalwarts Eddie Stone, James Calcagnini and Steve Schott are able to pull double duty if they are called to also play for Stamford’s D2 team Saturday. This match is definitely too close to call.

Division 5
The question was whether Aspetuck Valley CC could continue to dominate its division again as it moves its way up the FCPTL ranks. Based on early results, the answer appears to be yes and Aspetuck Valley took a 4-0 sweep over Wilton Y. Darien Town which has been kept pace with Aspetuck Valley in terms of division promotion continued to do so with a 4-0 victory over Wilton Riding Club, although it did require winning 2 of their points in 3 sets. Wee Burn also won 4-0 over New Canaan Field Club to create a 3-way tie at the top for now. For the two recently demoted teams, Round Hill and New Canaan Town, the results were mixed as Round Hill took a 3-1 win but New Canaan Town could only muster a 2-2 tie.

Featured Match of the Week
Wee Burn vs Round Hill: This match features a team that was just promoted (Wee Burn) versus a team just demoted (Round Hill) who both started their seasons with victories. Both teams will probably be needing a win if they are to keep pace with Aspetuck and Darien Town. If Round Hill can get its players out, they should have a slight advantage. If not, the advantage clearly swings to Wee Burn.

Division 6
Stamford Yacht, which has taken the early D6 lead with a 4-0 win over Milbrook that like many other 4-0 wins this week was closer than it looked as they squeaked out 3-set wins at the 3 and 4 spot. Wilton Y and Lake Club 6.1 played to a 2-2 tie that was a tight as the final score with the top 3 lines all going the full three sets. Weston Field Club started their inaugural season in D6 with a 3-1 win over Lake Club 6.2.

Featured Match of the Week
Stamford Yacht versus Roxbury: A new day, a new dawn. Neither club finished in the top half of D6 last season, but both started the season on the right foot this year with victories. Based on their wins last week, both sides look to be stronger this year and could possibly contend for a division title. This match could separate the contender from the pretender.

Division 7
Division 7 can be like Tom Hank’s box of chocolate: you never know what you are going to get. 3 teams, Middlesex, Stamford Italian Center and Wee Burn, swept their opponents 4-0 but all in different ways. While Wee Burn had a relatively easy time across all 4 lines, all four lines in the Middlesex/Silver Spring match were tight. Three matches went 3 sets, but unfortunately none to Silver Spring. It’s still early in Division 7, so one shouldn’t read too much into the week 1 results.

Featured Match of the Week
Aspetuck Valley vs Darien Town: If you’ve been following FCPTL, you know that Aspetuck Valley and Darien Town have been running neck and neck the last couple of years in the higher divisions. Will the sister teams in Division 7 develop a similar rivalry? We should know after this week’s match.

Introduction to Pittsburgh League
News Flash: Bredberg-LeFevre win the Rochester Open

David Lee