Ventnor seal derby win as Ryde power wanes

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Aaron Butcher with his Road To Wimbledon trophy following coutny glory

Butcher smashes county rivals to clinch Wimbledon invite

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Portsmouth’s lady tennis players shrugged off 50mph winds and heavy rain showers to continue in their quest for honours.

All seven fixtures in the Portsmouth & District League started and only one failed to make it to the bitter – and very cold – end.

Ryde Lawn have traditionally ruled the roost on the Isle of Wight.

And they have brushed aside most of the mainland opposition, too.

But this winter they are running well behind leaders Avenue after succumbing in their derby clash with Ventnor last weekend.

It wasn’t even particularly close – with Ventnor winning three rubbers comfortably, before losing the first-string match-up.

The ladies’ third division is the most competitive.

Portsmouth Tennis Academy (PTA) still lead the field but for the second time in three matches they failed to beat one of the bottom teams – Avenue III.

PTA suffered from the absence of experienced left-hander Debbie Berry.

Alice Hudson was promoted into the first pair, where she won both rubbers alongside Viola Mason.

But the team’s weakened second pairing could not manage to take a set off either Avenue team.

When rubbers and sets are tied, the result is decided on games won.

But these were also equal – 38-38 – giving a rare tie.

Southsea have won only one of their six matches to date, so Warsash III may have expected an easy success.

But Southsea edged a thriller – winning two of the three match tie-breaks played – to leave both teams in danger of relegation.

Another side benefiting from two match tie-break wins were Seacourt II, who kept up the pressure on PTA by overcoming Rowlands Castle and recording a 4-0 win.

Stubbington continued their recent revival in division four – recording a sixth successive win.

And the comfortable 4-0 success over Sarisbury Green leaves Green fighting to avoid consecutive relegations.

The final ladies’ match saw Chichester II gain revenge over Lee IV for an early-season loss. Having shared the rubbers 2-2, the deciding factor was the set Janet Briggs and Della Baird claimed against Wendy Hadfield and Kathy Regan.