Seacourt 2 snatch title with defeat of Avenue

Avenue II won the division two crown after a crucial win over Warsash II
Avenue II won the division two crown after a crucial win over Warsash II
Sue Price competing in the Portsmouth Tennis League.  Picture: Neil Marshall (171040-1)

Portsmouth have missed influential duo

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Seacourt 2 snatched a narrow win over Avenue 3 to clinch the Portsmouth & District League ladies’ division three crown.

The Hayling Island outfit claimed glory by six games – after the showdown was tied 2-2 and 5-5 on sets.

The match was crucial for both sides – with Avenue needing victory to save them from relegation.

But with the rain threatening to close in and 40mph gusts of wind making the contest almost impossible, both teams deserved credit for battling through to the end.

In the other game completed, Alverstoke 2 capped their best mixed season for several years when they travelled to Ryde Mead and came away with a heartening 3-1 victory.

The win was not quite enough to take them into the promotion places – but augured well for next season.

The Portsmouth & District League caters for all clubs in the area – big and small.

The bigger clubs often enter multiple teams, including players of differing standards, to ensure every division is highly competitive.

As the dust settles on another winter campaign, there is little doubt in the ladies’ section that Avenue must take the club-of-the-season award.

After several years in the doldrums, teams from the Havant-based club took both the first and second division championships.

And while division two was won by an experienced group of players, the top-flight’s winning team was sprinkled with youth – with Alice Robson, Evie Howarth, Emma Bouchard and Sadia Mayer all playing their part.

Another notable performance in the ladies’ competition came from the Portsmouth Tennis Academy (PTA), who gained their third promotion in succession and will now test themselves in division two next winter.

Much of their success is down to the regular first pairing of Debbie Berry and Viola Masona.

But PTA are developing a string of very useful back-up players and it will be interesting to follow their progress next season.

No review of the season could ignore JEM Hamble, who were the unbeaten winners of ladies’ division five.

Meanwhile, Stubbington – winners of the fourth tier – won their first nine matches but lost the final one due to an unfortunate injury.

Perhaps the most disappointing performances of the season came from Lee and Ryde Lawn.

Lee surrendered their division one title – and their spot in the Solent Cup – while their second string also struggled to impose themselves in division two.

And after many years of challenging for honours in all divisions, none of the three Ryde Lawn teams could finish higher than fourth in their respective competitions.

Alverstoke have been struggling for a few years.

But both their ladies’ teams put in spirited performances this winter.

The premier team just missed out on promotion back to division one.

And the second string finished as runners up in the fifth tier – earning themselves a well-deserved promotion.

And with a new, professional staff breathing fresh life into the club, perhaps this is a sign of better things to come.