Avenue ladies manage to find late replacement and beat Canoe Lake in Portsmouth & District Tennis League

Early last Sunday morning Jenny Smith, captain of the Avenue ladies team due to play Canoe Lake that day, received the call all captains dread - one of her players had dropped out at the last minute.

By Community Sports Reporter
Friday, 16th July 2021, 9:16 am
Avenue and Canoe Lake ladies' players, from left: Gill Clarke, Jenny Smith, Lucy Smith, Dawn Wears, Fiona Goode, Alison Wakelin, Grace Saunders and Claire Keiditsch
Avenue and Canoe Lake ladies' players, from left: Gill Clarke, Jenny Smith, Lucy Smith, Dawn Wears, Fiona Goode, Alison Wakelin, Grace Saunders and Claire Keiditsch

The only replacement she could find was ineligible to play, as she had already represented another club in this league season.

But the league administrators decided that it was much more important that eight ladies got a game of tennis than sticking to the letter of the law in a season when the whole idea of the league was to get people playing again after over a year of hiatus, write Alan Best.

Avenue triumphed, with Jenny and partner Gill Clarke winning both their rubbers comfortably, and all eight players had an enjoyable morning.

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Rowlands Castle and Alverstoke ladies faced off last week, pictured from left: Jane Mellor, Elaine Hannigan, Caron Howe, Tracy Lazenby, Lynne Foster, Tara Treacy, Jane Whitaker and Jan Norman

The men from Southsea and Chichester B also had an enjoyable – and very close - match. Both first pairs beat the second strings comfortably and when James Marks and Harry Boyd took the 1s v 1s rubber for the Sussex team 6-1 7-6, they looked to be in a strong position.

But Southsea’s Dan Lee and Carle Spencer edged past Nige Marks and Toby Hindmarsh to level the rubbers at 2-2 and the 7-5 6-4 result was enough to give Southsea the winning draw points by two games.

Avenue and Canoe Lake also met in a mixed league match, though with a largely different cast of players. Avenue were on their way to a clean sweep but one of their pairs were unable to complete the final rubber and had to concede, reducing the winning score to 3-1.

The midweek masters league is nearing completion and Canoe Lake completed their sixth win out of six in the ladies section.

However, Warsash made them fight all the way - three of the four rubbers going to match tie breaks.

Lake won two of the three tie breaks, though, and with Caroline Hardy and Lorraine Hebbes securing a straight sets win in the fourth rubber they triumphed 3-1.

There was a surprise result in the mixed masters match at Wellow; there the home team, bottom for most of the year, suddenly found their form to record a 4-0 win against previous table-toppers Avenue.

The scene was set when Mike Bevan and Laura Doddington won two 7-6 sets against Avenue’s strong top pair, Gill Clarke and Ian Holt.

Sheridan Easton and Elaine Pickering followed up with a 6-0, 6-1 win over George Bentley and Denise Simper and there was then no coming back for Avenue.

The midweek league is known for its close encounters, but rarely do matches finish up exactly tied, with equal rubbers, sets and games. It is remarkable, therefore, that two such

ties were recorded in successive days.

David Lloyd West End (DLWE) started the trend when they entertained Canoe Lake in a mixed league match.

Barry Moorman and Sarah Keith overcame Bob Puncher and Karen Claeys 7-5, 6-1 while Seamus Cruise and Judy Osmond lost 3-6, 1-6 to Rod Bailey and Dawn Dewilde.

The ladies then paired up, Lake’s pair winning for the loss of just three games, while it was almost the exact opposite in the men’s pair,

DWLE lost just two games in their march to victory, levelling everything up.

The next day, Avenue travelled to Warsash for their third clash of the season. The other two

matches had both finished level at 2-2, but Avenue had gained an extra set in the first one and Warsash the same in the second match.

So it was no surprise when the opening rubbers were shared, with just one game difference. And the reverse rubbers followed the same pattern - Warsash’s David Marsh and Michael Isaacs losing the first set to Rob Mort and Adrian Drummond, while on the adjacent court Syd Quinn and Nick St John also lost the first set to Avenue’s Phil Pinto and Martin Giles. Curtains for Warsash? Not at all, as Marsh and Isaacs hit back to win the second set, as did Quinn and St John.

It was all down to the tie breaks. Marsh and Isaacs lost theirs, but Quinn and St John were always in control of theirs. Both sides ended with 38 games apiece and, with one more match to play, there is everything still to play for.