Longest games of the year in week of the longest day – Portsmouth Summer Tennis League round-up

The week which included the longest day of the year inspired Portsmouth area tennis players to play some of the longest matches of the year.

By Alan Best
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 4:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 4:30 pm
Lee v Avenue (from left): Chris Mueller, Dan Eldred, Tom Chattell, Marty Page, James Green, Rowan Smithson, James Rosenthal, Richard Steeds
Lee v Avenue (from left): Chris Mueller, Dan Eldred, Tom Chattell, Marty Page, James Green, Rowan Smithson, James Rosenthal, Richard Steeds

Both games in Men’s Division 1 went to 10 sets, with Avenue 1sts edging out Lee 1sts thanks to a double recorded by James Green and James Rosenthal.

Richard Steeds and

Rowan Smithson’s two rubbers both went to three sets - one they lost, but the final one they won gave Avenue a 3-1 success.

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Swanmore v Carlton Green (from left): Nick Stuart-Taylor, Stuart Doherty, Chris Doherty, Mandy White, Gwen Isaacs, Steph Martin, Chris Jenkins, Chris Weatherill

The match between Chichester 1sts and Canoe Lake was even closer.

The opening rubbers were shared, Chichester taking a two-game advantage into the reverse rubbers.

Both of those went to three sets before they were also shared, and for the second time this season. Chichester lost out on games countback, this time by just one game in 91!

But in Men’s Division 3, Avenue 3rds and Lee 3rds played an even longer match. A total of 112 games still couldn’t separate the teams in terms of rubbers, despite 11 long sets.

Mark Boylett and Bailey Rowsell won the 1’s v1’s rubber in straight sets and that was enough to give Avenue the winning draw points on sets countback.

One division down, Lee 4ths were also involved in a long encounter, against Warsash.

With the rubbers shared 2-2, Nick St John and Jake Betteridge won the second set in their final rubber on a tie break, giving Warsash the winning draw points and avoiding yet another 10-set match.

The rubber between Warsash’s Matt Crebo/ Mike Betteridge and Lee’s Dave Robjohns/Tom Williams was notable for the scoreline - 5-7, 7-5, 7-6, just two games short of the maximum number that can be played in a rubber of three tie break sets.

The mixed Division 2 match between Seacourt and Avenue 2nds followed the same longevity pattern. Only nine sets were played, but every one was very close and 97 games were needed before Avenue secured the winning draw points 5-4 on sets (though Seacourt won 49-48 on games!)

Southsea’s victory over Rowlands Castle, in mixed Division 4, was less competitive, Southsea running out 4-0 winners, but even here the seasiders needed tie breaks in both the reverse rubbers to seal victory.

Fishbourne started their mixed match against Abshott CC in style, Cressida Williams and Rob Moore winning the opening rubbers. But that was their only success, Abshott taking control of the three remaining rubbers for the loss of just four games.

There was a similar one-sided look to the match between JEM Tennis and Warsash 3rds in Ladies 3, JEM easing to a 4-0 win for the loss of just 10 games.

The competitive, but social, nature of the midweek leagues was highlighted on Tuesday when eight players from the Avenue club in Havant set off together to cross the Solent to play against teams from Ryde Lawn.

Lawn’s first mixed team proved to be too strong in the first match, not allowing Avenue a rubber.

The second match was much closer; the two mixed rubbers were shared, with Avenue taking a one set advantage into the second round as Mark Fullstone and Dawn Wears won a set in their losing rubber.

With the same sex rubbers also being shared, that extra set advantage carried through to the final result to give Avenue the winning draw points.

Other midweek mixed results saw Wellow maintain their pursuit of leaders Ryde Lawn 1sts with a 3-1 win over CourtX, while Warsash 1sts edged past Lee 3-1.

Swanmore continue to dominate Division 2, unbeaten now in four matches, the latest one by 3-1 against Carlton Green.

And continuing the opening theme of long matches, Rowlands Castle edged Southsea in an 11-set thriller on the seafront, Peter Mellor and Roger Fearn sealing the winning draw by taking the opening set of their rubber against Gavin Lane and Brian Foster.