Portsmouth secure double over Southampton

The successful Warsash mens team, from left, Mike Challis, Ian Udal, Jake Norris and Martin Wilkinson

The successful Warsash mens team, from left, Mike Challis, Ian Udal, Jake Norris and Martin Wilkinson

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Portsmouth Tennis League teams did the double over their Southampton counterparts in the Solent Cup.

Ladies’ champions Ventnor and men’s winners Warsash defeated their opponents in classic nail-biting finishes.

Ventnor took on Winchester, who had held the cup for three years in a row.

The first round of rubbers was shared, with Anita Pearce and Heidi Drew beating the Winchester second pair – but Linda Jones and Rosie Rodley, playing as second duo for Ventnor, went down 2-1.

However, the set they won gave them a slight advantage.

Jones and Rodley then increased the lead by winning the first set of reverse rubbers, only to find the match levelled up when Winchester took the second set.

At the same time Pearce and Drew lost their rubber, leaving the match level, with the result to be decided on the outcome of the final set.

Winchester started strongly, but Jones and Rodley rallied strongly to take the final set 6-3, and with it the trophy.

The men’s match was a somewhat unusual encounter, with Warsash teams having won both the Portsmouth and Southampton leagues.

But this was no friendly knockabout.

As with the ladies’ match, the first round of rubbers was shared, with the Portsmouth team gaining the advantage of winning three sets to Southampton’s two.

That one-set lead was soon taken away when one break of serve was enough to give Matt Pond and Dan West the first set for the Southampton team in their match against Ian Udal and Martin Wilkinson.

And with Christophe Hardy and Liam Hignett just getting the better of Jake Norris and Mike Challis, it looked curtains for the Portsmouth team’s hopes.

But Udal and Wilkinson raised their game, and with the latter’s flashing backhand returns of serve complementing his team-mate’s superb hand skills, the veteran duo stormed back against their younger opponents to take both the last two sets by 6-1.

That was good enough to win them the match by just four games overall.

– ALAN BEST

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