Lee Ladies on course for Solent Cup return

The second half of the winter season kicked off with Lee Ladies consolidating their position as championship leaders.

Lee 3 v JEM 2. From left|: John Dubber, Gary Lyndon, Jim Clark, Les Ainley, David Bray, Ryan Buchanan, Steve Crofts and Will Davies
Lee 3 v JEM 2. From left|: John Dubber, Gary Lyndon, Jim Clark, Les Ainley, David Bray, Ryan Buchanan, Steve Crofts and Will Davies

They secured a convincing 4-0 win over Avenue and 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 tier down, Ryde Lawn II 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 six sets to five.

The match between Wickham and Lee 3 also saw the rubbers shared 2-2, with the former claiming their first win of the season 5-4.

Warsash II moved clear at the top of division three 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 four 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 one saw Canoe Lake ensure that Avenue 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 II extended their unbeaten record to four in division two with a 4-0 win over Avenue II.

But Lee's third-team colleagues, who play in division three and who had also been unbeaten, lost their record when they went down 3-1 at JEM Tennis Hamble II, for whom David Bray and Ryan Buchanan were dominant,

Seacourt II are another unbeaten team and they notched up a comfortable 4-0 win over Warsash II in men's division five.

Meanwhile, Ryde Mead II and Alverstoke II fought out a 2-2 draw, with Mead taking the extra point as they won 38 games to 35.

Warsash fielded two mixed teams on the same day and both came home victorious.

The second team edged past JEM Hamble 3-1, while the third's match with Ryde Lawn IV was even closer, with rubbers and sets shared 2-2 and 4-4 respectively.

Warsash claimed the win by winning 26 games against 33.

Victories for Fishbourne (over Chichester), Warsash (over Ryde Lawn) and Avenue (over Canoe Lake) in Midweek Masters ladies' division one sees the title race wide open as ever.

In division two, 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 saw Karen Downie and Michael Isaacs win a third set tie-break against Denise Simper and Rob Mort.