With only two weeks left in the FCPTL season, most of the divisional races at both the top and bottom of the standings are coming down to the wire. With hopes of promotion and fears of demotion, most of the teams have put out the call to arms in the effort to field their strongest teams. As in an actual paddle match, it all comes down to wire play and the hope that you don’t get nicked. Below is a recap of last week’s play as well as Featured Match of the Week for Divisions 1-3. Divisions 4-7 are off for the holiday weekend.
The Division 1 title has come down to a two-team race between Wee Burn CC and Wilton Y. Wee Burn CC took all 4 points in their match against New Canaan FC led by Wee Burn’s #1 duo of Sebastian Bredberg and Boie Bogardus who defeated Brad Easterbrook and Hardy Manges in 3 sets. Wilton Y defeated Rowayton 1.1 3-1 as Rowayton’s 4 team of Alex Luchars and Bob Little pulled out a 3-set team to deny Wilton the sweep. Wee Burn now holds a two point lead over Wilton Y with 2 matches remaining, including a face-off the final week of the season. The real battle is the race to avoid relegation as where 9 of the 12 teams are only separated by 5 points. Greenwich Field Club helped tighten the gap with a 3-1 win over Lake Club as did Milbrook with a similar 3-1 win over Darien CC. It should be an interesting last 2 weeks to see who can avoid the trip to Division 2.
Featured Match of the Week
Wee Burn CC vs Rowayton 1.1: With a likely division-deciding match versus Wilton Y coming up in the following week, Wee Burn will be looking to maintain their 2 point edge over Wilton Y this week. However, Rowayton 1.1 is always a tough out and could easily take 2 or 3 points from Wee Burn if Wee Burn is missing any of their top players. Wee Burn can ill afford to drop any points as Wilton Y is facing the other Rowayton team which is rumored to be missing some players and therefore could be swept by Wilton Y.
Woodway CC swept Tokeneke Club 4-0 to take a firm command of the Division 2 lead. They currently stand 7 points ahead of the field with only 2 matches/8 points remaining. However, Division 2 has 3 teams tied for second place with identical 22-14 records. Round Hill Club maintained their hot play with a 3-1 win over New Canaan FC, while New Canaan CC swept Roxbury 4-0 to pull into that second place tie. The surprise of the week was last place Stanwich Club which is assured of moving down to D3, upsetting Wilton Y 3-1 to push Wilton Y back in the standings tied with Round Hill and New Canaan CC. As the 3 second-place teams have all played each other, it looks like the second promotion spot will be decided by how these three teams fare against other opponents while scoreboard watching at the same time.
Featured Match of the Week
New Canaan Field Club vs Stamford Italian Center: Two teams at the bottom of the Division 2 standings trying to avoid demotion to Division 3. New Canaan FC currently occupies the 2nd relegation spot but only trails Wilton Y 2.2 and Stamford Italian Center by 2 points. A New Canaan FC win over Stamford Italian Center would reverse the two clubs’ position for demotion. However, with New Canaan FC’s Division 1 team now having to worry about demotion, there may not be many reinforcements for New Canaan this week.
The race for the Division 3 title remains title with leader Rowayton losing a little of their lead over Greenwich CC and late-charging New Canaan Town. While beating Wilton Y 3.2, Rowayton failed to capture the sweep as Wilton Y’s Ron Gayda and Phil Penny took the 4 spot in the match. Meanwhile, Greenwich CC easily swept past Lake Club to close to within 1 point of Rowayton. Greenwich also holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against Rowayton. Meanwhile, New Canaan Town swept previous contender Burning Tree CC to pull into 3rd place, 4 points behind Rowayton. At the bottom of the standings, Woodway CC had a chance to distance themselves from the bottom 2 spots, but could only tie Wee Burn CC 3.2 With Wilton Y 3.1 also engineering a tie against Wee Burn 3.1, the race to avoid elimination remains close with Woodway only 1 and 2 points ahead of Wilton Y 3.1 and Wee Burn CC 3.2.
Featured Match of the Week
Greenwich CC vs New Canaan Town: New Canaan Town has been on an impressive roll having won their last 5 matches, including the last three by 4-0 sweeps. As a result, New Canaan Town have moved themselves into contention for promotion to Division 2. New Canaan Town faces off against the team directly above them this week: second place Greenwich CC. It’s do-or-die time for New Canaan Town. Trailing Greenwich CC by three points, New Canaan needs at a minimum a win and most likely a sweep to secure the second promotion spot. However, with Greenwich CC paced by pro, Patricio Misitrano, a New Canaan sweep could be difficult to achieve.
Middlesex Club had a chance to clinch the division title last week with a sweep but could only manage a 2-2 tie against last place Rowayton 4.2. However, with a 4 point lead and 1 match to play, Middlesex looks to be in good shape to win the division. This is because second place clubs, Patterson and Wilton Riding, were unable to capitalize on the opening. Wilton Riding had a tough opponent in Stamford Yacht and the end result was a 2-2 tie. Meanwhile, Patterson Club was facing a desperate New Canaan FC team that is sitting in one of the two relegation spots. New Canaan FC managed to pull out a 3-1 to get them closer out of the demotion zone.
Desperate to avoid demotion was a theme in two other matches as Lake Club and Wilton 4.2 both pulled off 3-1 wins over teams above them in the standings, Roxbury and Tokeneke. Consequently, the battle for the 2nd promotion spot and the 2nd demotion spot will all come down to the last match in 2 weeks. Patterson and Wilton Riding are tied for 2nd place but only 1 point ahead of Stamford Yacht and Tokeneke Club. Meanwhile New Canaan FC trails 4 teams by 2 points or less. The most interesting team is Rowayton 4.1 who at 20-20 could theoretically grab either of the last promotion or demotion spot depending on their final match. It should all make for an interesting last weekend.
Second place Darien Town swept New Canaan FC to reduce their magic number for promotion to Division 4 to only 1. Round Hill Club took a 3-1 victory over Wilton Riding Club to stay mathematically alive for promotion and at least can take matters into their own hand as they face Darien Town in 2 weeks. A Round Hill sweep over Darien Town in the final week could get them to Division 4. The other contender for promotion, Stamford Italian Center, however, stumbled last week and lost 3-1 to Wilton Y. Still a sweep by Stamford Italian Center in their last match could possibly let them sneak into Division 4. At the bottom of the standings, New Canaan FC has already secured their trip down to Division 6. The other demotion spot is currently occupied by New Canaan Town who were swept last week to fall 1 point behind Middlesex Club and Wilton Riding Club. And finally, yes, Aspetuck Valley swept again to keep their perfect record intact at 40-0.
Weston Field Club recovered nicely from their 1 point penalty for use of an illegal player to sweep a fourth-place Woodway CC. Weston FC was only tested at the fourth line, where DePalo and Lenihan took a close 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 win over Woodway’s team of Greg Lesko and Brian Curry. With the sweep, Weston FC maintained its one point divisional lead over Darien CC, who also won with an easy sweep over Stamford Yacht Club. Lake Club 6.1 was unable to keep pace with Weston and Darien as they surprisingly were tied by 11th place Roxbury. Roxbury’s tie tightened up the race to avoid relegation as did last place Lake Club 6.2’s 3-1 win over Rowayton. As it stands now, the bottom 6 teams are only separated by 4 points with 1 more match to be played. It’s anyone’s guess who will be demoted to Division 7.
Unfortunately there is really not much more to write about in Division 7. Both Aspetuck Valley CC and Darien Town swept their matches last week over New Canaan CC and Lake Club respectively. With the sweeps, Aspetuck and Darien maintained their stranglehold on the top two spots, nine and seven points ahead of the third place team. While anything can happen in paddle, the odds favor Aspetuck and Darien gaining promotion to Division 6.