Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lee County Men's Leagues- End of Year Report

There are a few men's leagues in Lee County including Southwest Florida Team Tennis (SWFTT) which is holding its inaugural season. I'm starting with the largest men's league in the area and will finish with the newest. 

The Men's 50-Plus Tennis League of Lee County is only four weeks into the season, so it’s far too early for predictions, but we can take a look at who is off to a good start. We’ll start with the lower divisions and work our way up.

Blue Flight D
Breckenridge has won all four of its team matches and has posted a 15-1 record for individual matches. Gulf Harbour and Kelly Greens are tied for second with 10 points each, but neither fared so against Breckenridge, both losing all four courts in their first contest with the league leader. Unless the second place teams bring in some reinforcements or Breckenridge suffers injuries or defections, it looks like the rest of the teams will be playing for second. Long way to go though.

Blue Flight C
Things appear to be shaping up a bit tighter in this division, with Shadow Wood (12 points) holding a two-point lead over Vines and Dunes (RB), which are tied for second with 10 points. Dunes (DC) and Seven Lakes are in hot pursuit with nine and eight points respectively. A number of other teams seem to be competitive as well, so this one looks like a good race to watch.

Blue Flight B
Fort Myers Racquet Club continues to show its strength on the courts in this closely contested division. They are tied for the lead with Legends (10 points each), just two points ahead of the two teams tied for third with eight points: Gulf Harbour and The Landings. Cross Creek isn’t much further behind, sitting in fifth with six points.

Blue Flight A
The Landings and Lexington are tied atop the division with 11 points each, and they meet each other for the first time in their next match on Tuesday, January 8 at the Landings. Colonial is lurking right behind the leaders with 10 points, and already have a 3-1-win over the Landings. However, Colonial lost 1-3 to Lexington at home, so that doesn’t bode well for The Landings. We shall see next week. In fourth place with seven points, Cape Coral Racquet Club (CCRC) has shown that it could contend for the division, having split the four courts in their match with The Landings.

White Flight E
CCRC (13) leads Flight E by two points over The Forest (11), but dropped three courts to The Forest in Week 2. CCRC has swept its other three opponents, but those opponents don’t appear to be among “the contenders” at this stage of the game. The Forest, on the other hand, have played the other three teams in the top four, beating two (CCRC and Heritage Palms- 9 points) by 3-1 scores, and splitting the four courts with Pelican Preserve (9 points). These four appear to be the cream of the Flight E crop, but only time will tell.

White Flight D
It doesn’t get any closer than the race in this flight, with Pelican Landing and Fort Myers Racquet Club (FMRC) tied with 11 points atop the division, and the two split the four courts in their only meeting thus far. The match was played at FMRC, so the nod must go to Pelican Landing at this stage. However, The Landings is only two points behind the leaders, hasn’t played either, and has played one match fewer. There are at least three horses in this race.

White Flight C
Park Meadow has swept three of its four opponents to claim the early division-lead with 15 points. Lexington and Cypress Lake are tied for second with 11 points each, and three points back in fourth is The Vines (JW). Park Meadow hasn’t played the other two teams in the top three, but did shutout The Vines (JW) in their only meeting. Despite the tie, Lexington did take three of four courts in their only meeting with Cypress. It’s definitely too early to know how this will shake out, but chances are the division-winner will come from among the three currently at the top.

White Flight B
With only five points separating the eight teams in this division, it is the most competitive of the divisions. Colonial and The Dunes are atop the leader board with 10 points apiece, Pelican Landing and Shadow Wood are locked up at nine points each, and Lexington is holding down the fifth spot with eight points. If you’re looking for an edge, you might consider that The Dunes split the four courts with Colonial, and beat Lexington 3-1, while Lexington downed Colonial 3-1. In fact, The Dunes has yet to lose a match, winning two and splitting two matches. After only four matches, this is far too close to even speculate. Certainly warrants a good look down the road.

White Flight A
Does the name “FMRC” ring a bell? Well it should, because FMRC is holding down another division lead. It’s a slim, one-point lead (12-11) over Pelican Landing (another name that keeps popping up among division leaders), but it’s a lead nonetheless. Right on their heels is Kelly greens with 10 points and Pelican Preserve with nine. Although sitting in third, Kelly Greens has shown that it is competitive with the top two, splitting the four courts with both. Given that Kelly Greens split with Grandezza, which is tied for fifth with Seven Lakes at seven points apiece, and lost to Pelican Preserve, 1-3, another heated battle appears to be shaping up in this division.

Red Flight D
Taking a place from the White B Division, Red D’s eight teams are also separated by just five points. Tied for the 1-spot is Shadow Wood and Legends with 10 points each, followed by Gulf Harbour and Herons Glen with nine apiece, and The Landings closing out the top-five with eight. Despite the tie at the top, Legends took three of four courts against Shadow Wood in their only meeting.

There has been just one sweep in the 16 matches played in this division, and the only team without a loss thus far is Legends, which has won two and tied two. Although Gulf Harbour took a tough 1-3 loss to Breckenridge (one point out of fifth), all of its matches has been on the road. Perhaps some home cooking might change its fortunes.

Red Flight C
Posting three sweeps in four matches, Gulf Harbour sits atop the Red C throne with 15 points, three ahead of The Forest in second-place. While Gulf Harbour hasn’t played any of the top four teams, The Forest did take three courts from third-place Lighthouse Bay (9 points). Beachview sits in fourth place with seven points despite two early 1-3 losses, and FMRC and Park Meadow are tied for fifth with six points each.

Red Flight B
FMRC (13 points) holds a two-point lead over Pelican Landing (11 points) and took three of four courts in its last outing against Pelican Landing. It was Pelican Landing’s first loss, having posted a sweep and two 3-1 victories prior to the loss to FMRC. Colonial is tied for second, and split the four courts with FMRC when they met in Week 3. Plantation is five points behind Colonial, but did split its match with Colonial in Week 2. This division doesn’t appear to be as deep as some of the others, but there should be a good race for the top three spots.

Red Flight A
Flight A is the highest level in the League, and has but four teams, the fewest number of teams in the League. Although Park Meadow, led by Mike Welter, has only played twice, the team leads the league with seven points. The Dunes is second with six after three matches played, and Heritage Palms is third with five points, also after three matches. The Landings is bringing up the rear in this division, posting just two points in two matches. [Note: If you go to the league website you will no longer find results for Red A. More on that when I get the chance...]

As you can certainly see by now, there is no shortage of tennis and/or leagues in Lee County, and that’s even if you’re north of 70-years-old! This particular league is comprised of 36 teams in five divisions, and they are as competitive as any. Here, we’ll start with the, um, “least mobile” let’s call it, division.

Orange Division
Three weeks into the 15-week season, Pelican Preserve has swept two opponents and won three of four matches against the other, to take the early lead with 11 points. Shadow Wood holds second place with eight points and Legends is third with seven. Legends already dropped three of four courts to Shadow Wood, but Pelican Preserve has yet to play either of the other two teams in the top three.

Green Division
Only two matches into the 14-week season for this division and Kelly Greens has a one-point edge over Seven Lakes, having swept its first two matches against Colonial and Pelican Landing. Seven Lakes swept Gulf Harbour and three of four from Lexington. Breckenridge is in third with six points after taking three of four courts in its first two matches. It’s far too early to prognosticate, so we will just have to check back with these teams later in the season.

Blue Division
Like Kelly Greens, Legends has jumped out to the early lead with two sweeps against The Forest and The Landings. The Vines swept Sanibel Harbour and took three of four from The Forest to claim second place thus far, and Cypress Lake and Cross Creek are tied for third with five points apiece. With 12 weeks yet to go in the season, we can’t place any solid bets, but we can say that The Forest had better pick up the pace!

White Division
There’s a tie atop the White Division with Herons Glen and Heritage Palm both posting seven points after two matches. The Landings and Lighthouse Bay are right on the leaders’ tails, sitting in third and fourth, with six and five points respectively. The two split their match with each other, but neither has played the top two teams. The division-winner is likely to emerge from this quartet, unless reinforcements arrive for the other teams in the division.

Red Division
At the pinnacle of the 70-Plus heap is the Red Division, and Plantation holds the edge in the division after three matches with 10 points. The Landings is one point back in second and the two split their first match in Week 3. The Dunes is third with seven points and FMRC is fourth with six. These two split their first match as well, but FMRC had the misfortune of playing and being swept by the Landings in Week 1, while The Dunes hasn’t played one of the top teams. The battle ought to be fierce the next twelve weeks of the season.

In one of the newest local leagues, Beachview leads the way with 14 points sweeping all four courts in two of the four matches they have played and winning three of four courts in the other two matches. There’s no doubt that Beachview is the prohibitive favorite to win the inaugural season of SWFTT, as they field the best roster of players in the league. Their No.1 team of Peter Redpath and Mark Andrews have yet ot come close to losing a set, three being the most games they have lost in any set in the four matches they have played.

The Landings is holding down second place just three points behind Beachview, but that is by virtue of having played five matches to Beachview’s four. The Landings has a solid team as well, but lack the dominant first-court team and the depth of Beachview.  

Pelican Landing, Lighthouse Bay and Plantation are in a three-way tie for third, with eight points apiece.  Lighthouse Bay has beaten both second-place Landings and Pelican Landings by 3-1 scores, but hasn’t played Plantation. However, Plantation split with the Landings and lost three of four matches to Pelican Landing, so the odds are good that Lighthouse Bay will be the second place front-runner.

Jeff Hossler has proven to be the backbone of Plantation’s squad, winning all four matches in first and second positions. Jeff will have his work cut out for him, however, if he plays in one of those spots against Lighthouse. In eight individual matches at the one and two positions, Lighthouse has lost three, and two of those were to the Beachview juggernaut.

Cape Coral Racquet Club (CCRC) and The Vines are bringing up the rear in the sixth (7points) and seventh (4 points) spots respectively. The odds aren’t good that either team will finish higher than the slots they now occupy, but that won’t stop them from playing. I’m hoping to join the fray for my CCRC team soon. There are 16 more weeks to play and anything can happen…well, almost. Click here to browse the SWFTT website.

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