Lee’s title chances shattered by unbeaten Chichester – Portsmouth Winter Tennis League round-up

The penultimate week of the Portsmouth Winter Tennis League season saw few teams in action, most of the leagues having been completed.

By Community Sport Reporter
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 11:00 am
Chichester 1sts v Lee 2nds (from left): Stuart Marks, Joe Glover, James Marks, Matt Worden, Chris Cunningham, Chaz Earl, Mark Wallis, Chris Mulleur
Chichester 1sts v Lee 2nds (from left): Stuart Marks, Joe Glover, James Marks, Matt Worden, Chris Cunningham, Chaz Earl, Mark Wallis, Chris Mulleur

Few of the matches played had any significant bearing on promotion or relegation issues, but that did not reduce their competitiveness!

Indeed, the one match which could have affected the promotion places, the men’s 2 encounter between Chichester 1sts and Lee 2nds, was possibly the most one-sided, writes ALAN BEST.

Lee went into the game knowing they needed a 4-0 win to give them a chance of snatching the title. But the Chichester pairs - James Marks/ Matt Worden and Stuart Marks/ Joe Glover - soon dashed those hopes with straight sets wins in the opening rubbers.

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If anything, the reverse rubbers were even more one-sided, allowing Chichester to go through the season unbeaten to claim their place in division 1 next winter.

The ladies 4 match between Alverstoke and Fishbourne was very much a matter of playing for pride, not positions.

A disappointing season had seen the former fail to win a match, but they got the better of the opening rubbers. Jane Payne and Jan Norman triumphed while Sue Western and Nicky Heyworth lost theirs, but only after a match tie break.

Amanda Slevin and Nikki Scott completed a double for Fishbourne, but Western and Heyworth won their second rubber to tie the match at 2-2, Alverstoke taking the winning draw points – and a first victory of the season – thanks to their half-time lead.

JEM Tennis have carried all before them in Mixed 2 this winter, having won all their matches without dropping a point. And they looked to be on course to complete their whitewash season when they took a 2-1 lead against Warsash 2nds.

But they reckoned without the determination of two former JEM players, Mandy and Graham Richardson. They took the final rubber to a match tie break and, just as they had done many times before when playing for JEM, they prevailed, levelling at 2-2. JEM still won the match, 5-4 on sets, but Warsash claimed a point for the losing draw, and with it much satisfaction at having prevented a complete whitewash for JEM.

One division down, in Mixed 3, Active Academy and Ryde Mead also had nothing to play for except pride. Here again, the action was very close. Kirsty Roberts and Jon Gosling needed to play 45 games and two ten-point tie breaks to win their two rubbers - just seven short of the maximum possible!

Their efforts meant that the rubbers were shared,, enabling Ryde to claim a point for the losing draw, Active winning 6-4 on sets.

The final match in the midweek mixed masters, between Ryde Lawn 2nds and Warsash 1sts, also had no bearing on promotion or relegation. There was no slacking, though, as 11 sets were played, with four tie breaks involved.

Kahren Barter and Stuart Brett edged out Karen Kirwan and Trevor Spence, after two tie breaks, to give Ryde a lead, but Jacky Gregory and Syd Quinn levelled.

Warsash’s ladies needed a match tie break to win their rubber and, with the match evenly poised, Warsash’s men held their nerve to win their match tie break for a 3-1 overall success.

Warsash were also involved in the final match of the week, a mixed masters 2 when they hosted Carlton Green. The visitors stamped their authority on the match in the opening two rubbers, both won by Carlton in straight sets.

Warsash’s ladies notched up a win, with Carlton’s men taking a close match for a 3-1 victory.