How tennis scorelines can hide fascinatingly close matches –Portsmouth Winter League round-up

With the weather continuing to be set fair, another bumper crop of matches were completed in the Portsmouth Winter League.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 8:21 am
Seacourt v CourtX (from left): Sue Bethell, Andie Harding, Caroline MacDowell, Dawn Dewilde, Caroline Hardy, Leah Clifton, Karen Claey

An unusual proportion of those contests finished 4-0, which in most sports would reflect a very one-sided encounter, writes ALAN BEST.

But while that is often true in tennis, in some cases it can hide a fascinatingly close match.

Take, for instance, the Ladies Division 4 match between Fishbourne and Lee 3rds.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sarisbury Green v Stubbington (from left): Mary Colquhoun, Heather Hanslip, Jacqs Clarke, Cheryl Goater, Karen McCulloch, Elaine Reed, Suzanne Johnson, Jean Carty

Fishbourne’s Nikki Scott and Kate Gurl took the opening rubber, but only after winning a match tie break in the first one, while Priscilla Pendle and Debbie Dupe had to fight for a 6-4 6-4 win in their first rubber.

Scott and Gurl had to win two more tie breaks, 7-6, 7-6, to overcome Deana Tarrant and Jen Lake, while Pendle and Jupe were taken to 7-5 in their final set before completing the 4-0 win.

In essence, the difference between the two teams was a handful of points in three hours of competitive tennis.

Sometimes, though, 4-0 really does represent a one-sided match - Chichester’s mixed team conceded just 11 games to Alverstoke while their ladies 1sts allowed Avenue 1sts just 15 games in their Division 1 match.

Avenue’s mixed masters team also suffered a 4-0 defeat at Ryde Lawn, taking just 12 games. Their ladies masters 2nds gained some consolation, trouncing Warsash for the loss of just 13 games.

To round off the one-sided matches, Stubbington ladies conceded just 18 games to Sarisbury Green and Southsea men restricted Warsash 4ths to the same number.

But back to more competitive matches, though CourtX ladies probably didn’t think their match with Seacourt would turn out that way when Caroline Hardy and Dawn Dewilde whitewashed Andie Harding and Lou Green 6-0 6-0!

Sue Bethell and Caroline MacDowell kept Seacourt in the running with a 7-5 6-1 win over Karen Claeys and Leah Clifton before the CourtX pairs edged both the reverse rubbers for a 3-1 success.

Other ladies matches saw 3-1 wins for Warsash 3rds against Avenue 3rds, and Active Academy against Rowlands Castle 1sts. Wickham and Southsea shared the rubbers 2-2, Wickham taking the extra winning draw point 6-4 on sets countback.

There was a full programme in Men’s Division 2, with Chichester stretching their unbeaten run to five games with a 3-1 win over Warsash 2nds.

Fishbourne and CourtX 2nds maintained their promotion challenges, the former overcoming Ryde Lawn 2nds 4-0 and the latter edging past Avenue 2nds 5-4 on sets countback.

JEM Tennis 2 recovered from a disappointing start in Men’s Division 3 with a convincing win over Warsash 3rds, while one division down CourtX 4ths and Southsea moved into promotion-challenging positions with wins over Ryde Lawn 3rds and Warsash 4ths respectively.

Lee have entered a second team into the mixed competition for the first time and remain unbeaten after three matches, having not lost a rubber yet, with JEM Tennis 2nds their latest victims.

There were 4-0 victories for Alverstoke 2nds (over Warsash 3rds) and Ryde Lawn 3rds (over Chichester 2nds).

The midweek masters leagues have enjoyed particularly good weather this season and all this week’s matches were played in glorious sunshine.

Avenue 1sts ladies defeated visiting Ryde Lawn 4-0 in Division 1, but in the same division Warsash and CourtX ladies could only be separated by two games after sharing the rubbers and sets in a three-hour marathon.

Avenue’s mixed 2nds team strolled to a 4-0 victory over Southsea.