Lee Ladies on course for Solent Cup return
The second half of the winter season kicked off with Lee LadiesÂ consolidating their position as championship leaders.
They securedÂ a convincing 4-0 win over AvenueÂ andÂ are now the hot favourites to win the right to represent Portsmouth in the Solent Cup for the first time since 2014.
Also, in the top division, Warsash inflicted a sixth successive defeat on Canoe Lake.
One tierÂ down, Ryde Lawn IIÂ dented Seacourt's promotion hopes when they claimed a winning draw after an 11-set marathon match.
Seacourt's second pair, Linda Medlow and Caroline McDowell, won both their rubbers after a third set tie-break.
But Ryde's Andrea Waugh and Suree Russell secured a straight-sets win over Louise Green and Jane Robertson and that was enough to give them the extra point by sixÂ sets to five.
The match between Wickham and Lee 3 also saw the rubbers shared 2-2, with the formerÂ claiming their first win of the season 5-4.
Warsash IIÂ moved clear at the top of division threeÂ when they followed up a pre-Christmas win over PTA with another one over Stubbington.
PTA also went down to Ventnor, although Karen Claeys and Leah Clifton did earn them a rubber win over Maddy Clewett and Heather Higton.
But the closest match of the day was the division fourÂ clash between Alverstoke and Avenue 3.
The rubbers were shared 2-2 and sets 4-4, but Alverstoke managed to win 39 games to Avenue's 38, giving them the extra-winning draw point.
Men's division oneÂ saw Canoe Lake ensure that AvenueÂ returned home winless for the third match in succession.
Christophe Hardy and John Saunders won both their rubbers.
Terry Lawrence and Stuart Gray then clinched the points after a third set tie-break win over Richard Marston and Neil Crawford.
Lee IIÂ extended their unbeaten record to fourÂ in division twoÂ with a 4-0 win over Avenue II.
But Lee's third-team colleagues, who play in division threeÂ and who had also been unbeaten, lost their record when they went down 3-1Â atÂ JEM Tennis Hamble II, for whom David Bray and Ryan Buchanan were dominant,
Seacourt IIÂ are another unbeaten team and they notched up a comfortable 4-0 win over Warsash IIÂ in men's division five.
Meanwhile, Ryde Mead IIÂ and Alverstoke IIÂ fought out a 2-2 draw, with Mead taking the extra point as they won 38 games to 35.
Warsash fielded twoÂ mixed teams on the same day and both came home victorious.
The second team edged past JEM HambleÂ 3-1, while the third's match with Ryde Lawn IVÂ was even closer, with rubbers and sets shared 2-2 and 4-4 respectively.
Warsash claimedÂ the win by winning 26 games against 33.
Victories for Fishbourne (over Chichester), Warsash (over Ryde Lawn) and AvenueÂ (over Canoe Lake) in Midweek Masters ladies' division one sees the title race wide open as ever.
In division two,Â Lee consolidated their position at the top with a 3-1 over Rowlands Castle.
The only midweek mixed match played saw Warsash keep their championship hopes alive with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Avenue.
The crucial rubber sawÂ Karen Downie and Michael Isaacs win a third set tie-break against Denise Simper and Rob Mort.
- ALAN BEST