No separating Warsash and Ryde

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John Taylor competing in the Portsmouth event last year. Picture Ian Hargreaves (160333-4)

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Ryde Lawn and Warsash beat the snow to play out a thrilling tie in Portsmouth League men’s division one.

With several matches called off because of the untimely showers, it was left to the top-flight rivals to keep everyone warm.

And they did so in style, although failure to force a victory put an end to the home side’s title hopes.

The first two rubbers of the match were shared – with Ryde holding a one-game advantage at that stage.

James Seaton and James Scully – playing at one for Ryde – then gained an excellent 6-4, 6-4 victory over Rob Norris and Matt Pond to leave everything to play for in the last tie.

The home side’s David Fothergill and Harry Wilmot knew they needed to beat Ian Udal and debutant Luke Mendez in straight sets to keep their championship hopes alive.

But Udal’s finesse and the power of Mendez eventually wrested control from Ryde, who nevertheless did enough to earn a tie from the fixture overall – with rubbers, sets and games all shared equally.

In the ladies’ division, Warsash were involved in an exciting finish as they beat Lee by just two games.

With the first two rubbers shared – and both ending 6-0, 6-0 – Cathy Russell and Gina Kennard battled valiantly in a 6-1, 7-5 defeat to Lee’s Helen Brind and Jacky Will.

Their efforts in the second set were enough to seal a match win, though, as PG Udal and Katy Firrell beat Barbara Wilkie and Mandy Reid 6-0, 6-3.

In the second tier, Warsash II sealed a hat-trick of wins for the club with a comfortable 4-0 success over Ryde Lawn II.

Stubbington took a step closer to an unbeaten season in division four with an eighth straight win – this time beating Lee III by four games.

It was the fourth time the leaders have drawn 2-2 on rubbers this term – but each time they have edged to glory on sets or games.

Ventnor kept up their slim chance of finishing second with a 3-1 win over Sarisbury Green.

JEM Hamble were already running away with mixed division two before they lost just five games in a devastating defeat of Alverstoke.

The Portsmouth Tennis Academy (PTA) and Rowlands Castle clash was a lot closer, though.

The rubbers were shared 2-2 but PTA took two extra sets to seal glory.

JEM’s second mixed team are also blazing a trail through the lower tiers and they beat Alverstoke II 3-1.

The mixed third division featured the only Warsash outfit to lose last weekend – but they didn’t go down to Avenue II without a fight.

Michael Isaacs was a key man in an 11-set, 81-game thriller two weeks ago and he featured again in a clash which lasted 83 games seven days later.

Not to be outdone, his partner Karen Kirwan took centre stage in this week’s marathon – again 11 sets but a whopping 92 games!

Avenue took a 2-0 lead but only after Helen Weekes and Rob Mort had played the maximum number of games to beat Kirwan and Julian Colls in a rubber involving three tie-breaks 7-6, 6-7 (1-0).

Father and daughter combination Phil and Ella Tusler played just one game less in beating Jim Moore and Claire Ryan 5-7, 7-6 (1-0).

The reverse rubbers were almost as close but Weekes and Mort edged the final champions tie-break to win the match 6-5 on sets.

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