Canoe Lake club now thriving … five years after being in danger of closing down

Only five years ago the tennis facilities at Canoe Lake were sadly neglected and in danger of being closed down.

By Alan Best
Thursday, 31st October 2019, 2:47 pm
Warsash (from left) George Utterson, Tracy Mclean, Seamus Cruise, Fi OConnor, PG Udal, Graham Richardson and Trevor Spence
Warsash (from left) George Utterson, Tracy Mclean, Seamus Cruise, Fi OConnor, PG Udal, Graham Richardson and Trevor Spence

But thanks to a generous benefactor, the facilities are now in sparkling condition with a new clubhouse – and the club itself is thriving. 

They now enter 12 teams in the Portsmouth Leagues, and their resources were tested when they fielded four men’s teams on the same day. 

But they weren’t found wanting. 

The 1sts, playing in Division 1, scored a 3-1 win over Ryde Lawn 2, with John Saunders and Joe Eales clocking up a double. 

Two divisions down, the 2nds enjoyed a 4-0 victory over Alverstoke and in the same division the 3rds team completed a hat-trick of wins with a 3-1 success against neighbours Southsea.

The 4ths weren’t quite so successful; up against a young and skillful Chichester 2nds, they lost 3-1 with Rod Bailey and Terry Mawby beating Tony Walsh and Hugo Frey for their sole win.

Lake’s resources were again under pressure on Wednesday, when they put out two mixed masters teams at the same time. 

The 1sts scraped home against Fishbourne 1sts by winning a match tie break

in the final rubber, while the 2nds drubbed Rowlands Castle 4-0.

Canoe Lake weren’t the only club to field multiple teams on the same day.

Lee hosted two intra-club matches, with the Ladies 1sts playing the 2nds and the first two men’s teams doing the same. 

In both cases the higher ranked teams won, but they were both made to work for their victories.

In the men’s rubber between first teamers Dan Eldred and Noah Bradwell and Paul Kirkwood and Josh Maitland, the latter pair won the first set comfortably before losing the second and then the rubber on a tie break.

Reigning summer league champions JEM Tennis were another club fielding two men’s team on the same day.

The 1sts visited Ryde Lawn and drew 2-2, Shaun de Jong and Hynek Paul winning both matches for JEM. 

And although team- mates Henry Lidington and Mark Turl were unable to claim a rubber, they did take a set off Ryde’s second pair and that gave JEM the winning draw points. 

The match between JEM 2nds and Fishbourne 1sts was even closer. 

With rubbers shared 2-2 and sets 5-5, it came down to the number of games won. 

JEM were indebted to second pair Steve Carter and Steve Crofts, who won their first rubber 6-2 6-1 -  enough to give them an eight-game advantage and the winning draw points.

The final match in Men’s 1 saw Warsash 1sts overcome Denmead 4-0 while in Men’s 2  Avenue 1sts, keen to regain the top flight place they lost last winter, beat Ryde Mead 1sts 3-1. 

In Men’s 4, Rowlands Castle were thankful for rain against Fishbourne 2nds. 

The teams had shared the first round of rubbers, but Matt Bennett and Paul Roux took a set off Simon Fallon and Dick Nicholson in their losing rubber.

Fallon and Nicholson had completed a comfortable victory in their second rubber and, with Andre Rogers and Derek Norden having taken the first set off Bennet and Roux 7-6, Fishbourne looked set for victory. 

But rain made the courts unplayable and hence the result was based on the half-time score – Castle winning by one set. 

Castle’s mixed doubles team, playing against Chichester 2nds the next day, won 4-0 while Chichester’s 1st mixed team beat Alverstoke by the same score.

Midweek mixed masters league: Warsash 1sts 3 David Lloyd 1sts 1, Ryde Lawn 1sts bt Avenue 1sts by one game, Wellow 4 Avenue 2nds 0, Southsea bt

Fishbourne 2nds by one set, Fishbourne Ladies masters 1sts 4 Warsash 0, Lee men’s masters 3 Avenue 1.