FCPTL_LogoHappy New Year. As the clock turns to 2014, the FCPTL heads into the homestretch. Only 5 weeks of play remain and ach team captain has probably spent their holiday vacation making their new year plans for their team in the hope of trying to secure a title banner, gain division promotion or avoid division relegation. Expect play to be as fierce as the January weather as teams especially try to avoid demotion. Below is a recap of the play from matches prior to the holiday break and the Featured Match of the Week for this weekend’s play.

Division 1

Wilton Y continues to set the pace atop Division 1. Wilton Y defeated Greenwich Field Club 3-1 with only GFC’s Stew Whitman and Alan Cosby taking a 3-set win at the 2 spot to prevent the sweep. Wilton Y brings their record up to 25-7, which is now 5 points clear of 2nd place Darien Town, despite Darien Town’s 4-0 sweep of Country Club of Darien. In that match, CCD’s captain, Dave Mueller, lost another heart-breaking 3rd-set tiebreaker at the 2 spot. While Wilton Y seems to be firmly in the driver’s seat for a league title, the fight to avoid relegation appears to be getting tighter. Middlesex, unfortunately, got swept by Rowayton 1.B and sits at the bottom of the standings with only 9 points, 3 shy of their nearest competitor. Middlesex will need a strong January to avoid the trip to Division 2. The second relegation spot is totally up-in-the-air. While Lake currently holds that spot with 12 points, 5 teams are within 3 points of Lake Club, so nothing is determined there.

Featured Match of the Week:
Lake Club 1.A vs Darien CC 1.A: Lake Club gets a chance to start 2014 auspiciously with a match against Darien CC who coming off a 0-4 loss is only 2 points ahead of Lake. Adding to the stakes is the fact that the two team captains, Lake’s Scott McKessy and Darien’s Dave Mueller, used to be doubles partners and have been known to trade some trash talk with each other. Neither team can afford a loss if they want to avoid demotion, so it should be a barn-burner of a match. Let’s just hope CCD avoid 3rd-set tiebreakers.

Division 2

Three teams are tied at the top of the Division 2 standings with 22 points: New Canaan Town, Stamford Yacht and Wilton Y 2.B. With only 1 title and 2 promotion spots at stake, it should be an exciting January in Division 2. All three teams entered holiday season with 3-1 wins, although none were easy. Wilton Y 2.B needed a 3-set win at the 2 spot to defeat New Canaan Field Club, while Stamford Yacht took a 3-setter at the 4 spot to get the win over Round Hill Club. New Canaan Town had the toughest match. After New Canaan’s Dekanter/Nicolet lost a tough 3-setter at the 1 spot to Tokeneke’s JJ Cramer/Harlan Stone, New Canaan got 3 set wins at the 2 and 3 spot to take a 3-1 win. At the bottom of the standings, New Canaan Field Club’s 1-3 loss to Wilton Y puts them firmly at the bottom with only 6 points and 5 point deficit from the safety zone. The second demotion spot is currently a 3-way battle between Greenwich CC, Burning Tree CC and Rowayton, with Rowayton’s 11 points putting them 1 ahead of the other 2 teams.

Featured Match of the Week:
New Canaan Town 2.A vs Wilton Y 2.C: New Canaan Town appears to have the toughest challenge among the 3 first place teams this week. They face Wilton Y 2.C who are tied for 2nd place with 19 points. More importantly, will Wilton Y 2.C get some help from the other Wilton teams to both help narrow the gap to the division lead and also aid sister team Wilton Y 2.B, which is also in first place. The key for New Canaan will be having Jim Lipinski and Roxy Enica in the lineup; however, with the Connecticut Mixed the same day, their availability may be in question.

Division 3

After a brief slump, Wilton Riding Club has regained their form and currently sits atop the Division 3 standings with 24 points after a 3-1 win over New Canaan CC. Wee Burn 3.C appears to be getting the club’s support for which team will try to win promotion and made up some ground with a 4-0 win over Patterson Club to get to 23 points. Lake Club 3.B, unfortunately lost ground to their division leaders after only splitting with Darien CC to get to 21 points. Similar to the race for division title and promotion, the fight to avoid demotion is just as close. In what was probably the best match in D3, Rowayton 3.D defeated Wee Burn 3.B by a score of 3-1. At the 1 spot, Rowayton’s team of Hogan/Nicasio defeated Wee Burn’s Cary/Schwarz 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 to seal the win. With the win, Rowayton jumped Wee Burn by 1 point to sit in the safety zone. Meanwhile, with only 11 points, Wee Burn 2.B occupies one of the two relegation spots along with Roxbury 3.B, who split with Tokeneke 3.B. Former cellar dweller, Stamford Yacht 3.B took a 3-1 win over Woodway 3.B to get to 12 points, tied with Rowayton for safety. However, with 5 matches to go, 6 teams (Woodway 3.B and New Canaan CC 3.B have 13 points) are within 2 points of each other as they battle to avoid the trip to Sunday.

Featured Match of the Week:
Wee Burn CC 3.B vs Stamford Yacht 3.B: Two teams fighting to avoid demotion face off this weekend. Wee Burn is in the danger zone with 11 points, however, they only trail Stamford Yacht by 1 point. A victory by Wee Burn not only pushes them ahead of Stamford Yacht but also gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker. However, Stamford Yacht’s record has been affected by losing points early in the season due to an illegal lineup and their team is stronger than their record might suggest.

Division 4

Aspetuck Valley 4.A and Darien Town 4.C have traveled the same path for the past 4 years. Starting in Division 7, the two teams have climbed the divisional ladder in tandem. With first place on the line, Aspetuck Valley and Darien Town faced off in a key match before the holidays. Not surprisingly, the match ended in a 2-2 tie with each team taking a 3-set victory. The tie favored Aspetuck as they maintained their hold on first place with 25 points. While Darien Town moved to 22 points, they were passed by New Canaan Field Club 4.C for the second promotion spot after New Canaan Field Club defeated Round Hill 4.B 3-1. At the other end of the division, Wilton Y 4.G continues to struggle and sits deep in the cellar with 5 points after a 3-1 loss to Greenwich CC 4.B, 7 points from avoiding demotion. The win for Greenwich CC 4.B enabled them to tie Lake Club 4.C, who lost 3-1 to Wee Burn CC 4.D, at 10 points and make their January 12 meeting vital to see who might fall to the 2nd relegation spot.

Featured Match of the Week:
New Canaan Field Club 4.C vs Milbrook Club 4.B: New Canaan Field Club 4.C currently sits in 2nd place, just 2 points out of first but also only 1 point ahead of Darien Town for the 2nd promotion spot. They face a tricky Milbrook team this week who with 19 points are in fourth place. A win by Milbrook could vault them into promotion contention, so New Canaan Field Club will have to be ready for a fight if they hope to keep their chances alive for a division title.

Division 5

Weston Field Club 5.A continued their fine play and swept Middlesex 5.D to maintain their first place position with 24 points. Rowayton Paddle 5.F kept pace with Weston FC with a 4-0 win over Woodway but it was hardly routine as Rowayton needed 3 set wins at the 1 and 2 spot to get the sweep. Rowayton now sits in 2nd place with 23 points, 3 clear of Stanwich Club 5.A and New Canaan CC 5.C. However, even with a 4 and 3point gap, Rowayton and even Weston FC should not breathe easy as Stanwich, after a slow start and buoyed by the presence of Ken Dardis, has been coming on strong as seen in their 4-0 sweep of Milbrook 5.C. The loss to Stanwich was painful to Milbrook as they now occupy last place in Division 5 with only 9 points, and 4 points away from avoiding relegation. Middlesex, after their 4-0 loss, and Wilton Riding Club 5.B are currently battling to avoid becoming the 2nd relegation team with 12 points. However, there are still 5 teams within 3 points of Middlesex and Wilton Riding, so nothing will probably be settled until the final weekend.

Featured Match of the Week:
Middlesex 5.D vs Roxbury 5.C: Another key divisional match with regards to demotion. Middlesex currently sits in the danger zone, but Roxbury is only 2 points clear. A win by Middlesex will flip the situation for them and Roxbury, so both teams should be well aware of what’s at stake.

Division 6

Despite dropping their first points in their prior match, Darien Town 6.D continued their winning ways with a 3-1 win over Silver Spring CC 6.A and maintained their strong hold on first place with 29 points. Silver Spring remains in 2nd place with 26 points but are now tied with Aspetuck Valley CC 6.B who took a 3-1 win over Tokeneke Club 6.C. Patterson Club 6.C swept Lake 6.F and remains in the hunt for promotion with 24 points. At the bottom of the standings, Burning Tree 6.B got a couple of needed points by splitting their match with Stamford Italian Center 6.C. However, with only 4 points, Burning Tree still has a ways to go to catch the teams above them. Currently, Wee Burn 6.E occupies the other demotion spot with only 7 points after a 3-1 loss to New Canaan CC 6.D. However, they only trail Middlesex 6.E and Lake Club 6.E by 1 and 2 points respectively, so like the other divisions, nothing is settled yet.

Featured Matches of the Week:
Aspetuck Valley CC 6.B vs Silver Spring CC 6.A: Aspetuck and Silver Spring are tied for 2nd place and the second promotion spot to Division 5. A lot is obviously riding on this match, so expect nothing less than the best from both teams.

Division 7

Belle Haven 7.A continued its quest to be the only FCPTL team to finish with an undefeated season, after easily sweeping Wilton Riding Club 7.C before the holidays and bringing their record to a perfect 28-0. Innis Arden 7.A, New Canaan Town 7.C and Brooklawn CC 7.A all kept pace with Belle Haven with their own sweeps to create a 4-team logjam at the top of Division 7 for the division title and 2 promotion spots. Innis trails Belle Haven by 2 with 26 points while New Canaan Town has 25 points and Brooklawn 24. With no relegation spots in Division 7, all the attention will be at the top of the division in January.

Featured Match of the Week:
Innis Arden 7.A vs New Canaan Town 7.C: Second place versus third place with promotion to Division 6 clearly at stake. If Innis Arden continues to bring out their Division 1 Thursday night players, they should take the match fairly easily. If not, Innis could struggle to gain the upper hand against New Canaan Town.

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