With the season now reaching the midpoint mark, FCPTL teams now have half the season to get things done. Many of the divisional races remain tightly contested for titles, promotions and demotions and with each passing week, things will only get tougher. Below is a recap of action from last week’s play and of course, a Featured Match of the Week.

Division 1
The race at the top got a bit tighter last week as first place, Wee Burn CC, could only manage a split with Rowayton 1.2. Missing their pro, Sebastian Bredberg, who was cruising his way to the finals at the national ranking APTA LI Invitational tournament, Wee Burn took the top 2 lines but fell short in the bottom 2 lines. Meanwhile, Wilton Y took a 3-1 victory over Middlesex Club to pull within 2 points of Wee Burn. The closest match of the week was Milbrook versus Lake. Three of the 4 matches went the distance to 3 sets, including the 1 spot where Milbrook’s Guga Goncalves and Tim Muldoon battled for 2 hours to defeat Scott McKessy and Jamie Perna. Not surprisingly the match ended in a 2-2 tie. While Wee Burn and Wilton Y have separated themselves at the top of the division, the remaining 10 teams are bunched within 4 points of each other, meaning no one is safe from demotion at this point in the season.

Featured Match of the Week
Greenwich Field Club vs Rowayton 1.1. Rowayton 1.1 is a perennial title contender but has started off slowly this season and needs to make a move if they are to get back into the divisional race. Greenwich Field Club can be a tough opponent if their top players show, which isn’t always the case. So this match could easily go either way especially if the 1 court features GFC’s Lennart Jonason and Rowayton’s Jared Palmer.

Division 2
Wilton Y 2.1 showed little brotherly love this past weekend against Wilton Y 2.2, taking a 3-1 victory that keeps Wilton Y 2.1 in first place but also pushed Wilton Y 2.2 a little closer to the relegation zone. Meanwhile, second place Woodway lost a little ground to Wilton Y 2.1 as they could only manage a 2-2 tie versus Roxbury. Tokeneke, which had been tied with Woodway for second, lost a tough, tough match to Darien Town. Darien’s Juni Clark and Hal Schaefer took down Tokeneke’s JJ Cramer and Harlan Stone is tight 3-setter. Tokeneke could only win 1 of the other 2 matches that went 3 sets and unfortunately had to default the 2nd line due to injury. With the loss, Tokeneke moves into a 4-way tie for 3rd with New Canaan CC, Roxbury and Stamford Yacht, who all trail Woodway by 2 points now. The closest match of the week was Round Hill versus Stamford Italian Center. All 4 lines went to 3 sets, and fittingly, the match ended in a tie.

Featured Match of the Week
Wilton Y 2.1 vs New Canaan CC. With a 4-0 sweep over Stanwich last week, New Canaan CC has put themselves back into the mix for the division title. A victory over first-place Wilton Y 2.1 is a must if they want to get back to Division 1. The question will be whether the knees of George Wilkinson, the New Canaan pro, will be fit enough to allow him to play. If so, New Canaan CC has a strong chance to shake up the Division 2 standings.

Division 3
The shocking result of the week was first-place Rowayton getting swept by Greenwich CC, who didn’t even need the services of Patricio Misitrano, their paddle pro. While it was a outcome that could have gone either way, Greenwich CC took both 3-setters to pace their 4-0 victory. Now the race for Division 3 is once again a toss-up. Wilton Y 3.2 took no mercy on sister team, Wilton Y 3.1, with a 4-0 stomping that catapulted them to a first place tie with Rowayton. Burning Tree and Darien CC also took decisive victories over the 2 Wee Burn D3 teams to put themselves along with Greenwich CC into the mix for the division title and promotion. Only 3 points separate the 5 teams at the top of D3, when only a few weeks ago it looked like Rowayton had this division well in hand.

Featured Match of the Week
Burning Tree CC vs Wilton 3.2. Second-place Burning Tree faces co-division leader, Wilton Y 3.2. Given the competitiveness of Division 3, this is a must-win for both teams as a loss might be tough to overcome with the season entering its back-half. This match is too close to call and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a 2-2 draw at the end of the day.

Division 4
Patterson Club swept Rowayton 4.2 to maintain their divisional lead. While defeating Tokeneke Club, Middlesex nonetheless lost some ground to Patterson as they only took 3 of the 4 matches. Meanwhile, Milbrook Club swept previously third-place Stamford Yacht to vault over 2 teams and now sits in third place. While a full 4 points behind Patterson, Milbrook sits just 2 points behind Middlesex in the race for the 2nd promotion spot and a scheduled face-off for December 16. At the other end of the division, 0-4 losses by Lake Club and Rowayton 4.2 have tightened things up as New Canaan FC and Wilton Y managed to gain 2 points in each other matches.

Featured Match of the Week
Wilton Y 4.2 vs Rowayton 4.2. Now that we are in the second half of the season, teams have to start worrying about finishing in the bottom two of the division and being demoted to the next lower division. This week, the bottom two D4 teams square off. Both Wilton Y 4.2 and Rowayton 4.2 will be looking for a victory if not a sweep to lift them from the cellar and provide some momentum for rest of season to avoid relegation.

Division 5
The big news in D5 this week has nothing to do with Aspetuck Valley CC. Rather, it was Stamford Italian Center surprising second place Darien Town with a relatively easy 3-1 victory. Stamford Italian Center won the first 3 lines in straight sets and only a 3-set victory at the 4 spot prevented Darien from being swept. Stamford Italian Center now closes within two points of second-place Darien and the opportunity for promotion to Division 4. In other news, Aspetuck Valley swept again to keep intact their perfect record (yawn).

Featured Match of the Week
Darien Town vs Aspetuck Valley CC. This match is probably the last chance for anyone to derail the Aspetuck Valley train or even just put the first losing point on Aspetuck’s unblemished record. These two teams have risen through the FCPTL ranks lock-step the past 3 years and so are quite familiar with each other. However, Aspetuck seems to have taken their play to a higher level this year (still wondering if it’s the coffee, danishes or coaching up in Weston) and after Darien’s recent defeat to Stamford Italian Center, it is hard to imagine a Darien upset here.

Division 6
This past week’s results really tightened the Division 6 standings. Darien CC and Lake Club 6.1 had been tied for the lead going into the weekend and both went down in defeat. In last week’s Featured Match of the Week, Weston Field Club took a straightforward 3-1 victory over Lake Club. In what probably should have been the Featured Match of the Week, Darien CC and Wilton Y had an epic battle. Wilton Y managed to take 2 of the 3 matches that went to the 3rd set and also took a tight two-set win at the 1 spot to gain the 3-1 victory. Consequently, there is now a 3-way tie for the D6 lead between Darien CC, Lake Club 6.1 and Weston FC with Wilton Y only 2 points behind. On the other end of the spectrum, Milbrook Club came out firing and swept Roxbury 4-0 to lift themselves out of the cellar.

Featured Match of the Week
Lake Club 6.1 vs Darien CC. Two of the three co-leaders face-off this Sunday. With both teams coming off defeats, they should be equally motivated to get back on the winning track. Given that the two clubs have let other teams back into the race, the outcome here will surely be critical to the final standings.

Division 7
First place Aspetuck Valley faced off against second place Stamford Italian Center and like their upper brethren team, Aspetuck Valley rolled to a 4-0 sweep to keep their place atop the D7 standings. Meanwhile, Darien Town swept Roxbury to move into second place behind Aspetuck Valley (sound familiar?).

Featured Match of the Week
Aspetuck Valley vs Wee Burn CC. Wee Burn has quietly moved themselves into the top third of the Division 7 standings and given themselves a chance for promotion to D6. However, in order to do so, they will have to get by Aspetuck Valley first. Fortunately Wee Burn will have the home court advantage as given the way Aspetuck Valley has played to date, they will need any edge they can get.

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David Lee