Portsmouth & District Winter Tennis League: City area and beyond players braved bad conditions with Canoe Lake, Southsea, Portsmouth Tennis Centre and others in action

A mixed bag of weather didn’t prevent Portsmouth’s tennis players defying wind, rain and even hail in the latest round of league matches.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 9:31 am
Updated Friday, 28th May 2021, 9:52 am
Wilson Neaves, second left, John Taylor, third left, and Macca Neaves, fourth left, made up part of a strong Portsmouth Tennis Centre team who defeated Canoe Lake

In the top men’s match, Canoe Lake 3rds took on Portsmouth Tennis Centre (PTC) and results from two late reported matches probably led them to believe they were in for a close match.

The first of the late results saw PTC edge past Lake 2nds in an 11-set marathon in which PTC scrapped home thanks to match tie break wins in the final two rubbers.

The following weekend Lake 3rds took on a similar strength Lake 2nds team. Though they lost, they won one rubber and went close in the other three.

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But unbeknown to Lake, PTC were able to field their strongest team of the season with the Neaves brothers, Macca and Wilson, supported by Ben Mason and John Taylor.

They duly proved far too strong, though Lake’s Martyn Cox and Matt Dyson salvaged some pride when they forced the 2s v 2s match into a tie break.

Bad weather meant Canoe Lake’s 4th men’s team were unable to complete their match with Southsea. As often happens in the first round of rubbers, the respective first pairs beat the second strings. However, Lake’s Martin Jewell and Tim Fielder took the first set off Southsea’s Robin Gallagher and Joe Denney, and that meant when the rains came Lake claimed the winning draw points as they had won 3 sets to 2.

The ladies leagues – usually played on a Saturday – have been particularly badly hit since play resumed after lockdown.

But the two matches that survived the latest batch of unseasonal weather produced very exciting finishes.

The Southsea v Sarisbury Green game followed the usual pattern, with the opening rubbers shared, Sarisbury edging ahead by winning two extra games.

The reverse rubbers both went to match tie breaks, Sarisbury’s Cheryl Goater and Bettina Harvey taking the final set from Helen Shelton and Emily Last.

That left Linda Swinburne and Deborah Prytherch the task of beating Sarisbury’s Mary Colquhoun and Penny Redwood to keep Southsea in the hunt. A 2-6 first set loss didn’t bode well, but they won the second and a final tie break victory meant rubbers were shared.

That gave Southsea a point for the draw, but Sarisbury were able to claimed the extra winning draw point as they won just four more games overall.

That result was almost mirrored at Lee, where the ladies 3rds took on Warsash 2nds. Lee

went into the reverse rubbers four games to the good, but Warsash’s Karen Downie and Jacky Gregory whittled away that advantage with a 6-1 6-4 win over Donna Davey and Barbara Parodi.

Jane Lyndon and Laura Regan hit back for Lee, taking the first set against Joanne Kelly and Mandy Richardson 6-4. But the visitors took the second set and, although Lyndon and Regan won the tie break to tie the rubbers at 2-2, Warsash secured the winning draw points by 5 sets to 4.

In the mixed competition, Avenue 1 and Chichester fought out another high-quality draw.

Chichester’s top pair, Tony Roddis and Katica Robertson, won both their rubbers on match tie breaks. The Avenue pairs proved too strong for the Sussex outfit’s second pair with the rubbers shared at 2-2, the match decided in Avenue’s favour thanks to the sets won in the losing rubbers.

Other mixed results saw another Avenue 3rds claim a 5 sets to 4 winning draw with Alverstoke 2nds, while the latter’s 1sts swept to a 4-0 win over Wickham, albeit that with 86 games played over the day it wasn’t such a comfortable victory as 4-0 might suggest!