Defending Portsmouth Winter Tennis League champions Lee march on – after a few scares against Chichester
Having stormed through one of the lower divisions in the summer leagues, the newly-formed Chichester ladies 1 team was placed in the top division in the winter competition.
Faced with high quality opposition, they have understandably struggled.
But they gave reigning champions Lee a run for their money, forcing two of the rubbers to deciding match tie breaks.
Victory in those tie breaks would have guaranteed them a point, but they lost them both and Lee march on in defence of their title.
Canoe Lake ladies 1 opened up a slender lead on nearest Division 2 rivals Ryde Lawn when they edged a close match with Warsash 2nds 3-1 while Lawn were held to a draw by Lee 3rds.
Lake were indebted to Lynn Candlish and Amanda Freeman who won both their rubbers in straight sets.
They were backed up by Grace Saunders and Danni Walters who beat the Warsash top pair, but narrowly lost to the second pair.
Meanwhile, Lawn and Lee shared the opening round of rubbers, with Lawn taking a one game advantage.
Both the reverse rubbers were also shared, after match tie breaks, but Ryde conceded three fewer games and so took the extra winning draw point.
Division 3 leaders Canoe Lake’s 2nds enhanced their position when the beat previously unbeaten Avenue 2nds 3-1.
The opening rubbers were shared but the crucial encounter was the 1v1’s match up between Lake’s Karen Claeys and Alzbeta Kucerova and Avenue pair Gill Clarke and Fran Palmer.
The sets were shared but the Lake duo just edged the tie break to give their team the points.
One division lower still, Avenue 3rds also tasted defeat in an even closer contest.
Following a well worn path, the opening rubbers were shared but Warsash led 19-16 on games won.
And although the reverse rubbers were also shared, Warsash extended their advantage to take the extra point by a 36-32 margin.
Clashes between intra-island rivals Ryde Lawn and Ventnor always have a bit more edge than a normal match.
And none more so than in a mixed match where Ventnor regular Matthew Knights had switched his allegiance this winter to Ryde.
Ventnor’s Elliott Rugg and Linda Jones soon made Knights think twice about his decision with a 6-1, 6-1 rubber win.
Alex Parker and Emma Chow kept Ryde in the match, beating Elliott Jones and Mia
Rugg and Linda Jones clocked up a second rubber win but Knights and Lynn Sandy beat Elliot Jones and Gerty to level again. However, they forced that final rubber to three sets
and that gave Ventnor the winning draw points.
Ventnor’s 2nd mixed team secured a comfortable 3-1 win in Division 2 against Warsash 2nds.
Other division 2 matches saw Ryde Lawn 2nds edge past JEM Tennis 5-4 on sets, the rubbers having been shared 2-2.
Avenue 2 were pushed all the way by Fishbourne before winning 3-1, Ian Holt and Nicolette Lock securing a double.
The men’s programme was largely washed out but the intra-island Division 2 match between Ventnor and Ryde Mead survived.
Elliott Jones and Hugh Idle won both their rubbers, including the crucial one against Mead’s top pair Josh Pietak and Ben Urquhart.