The fascinating vagaries of the tennis scoring system – Portsmouth & District League round-up

Numbers have always fascinated me and so when I received two match results in successive days saying the result was a winning draw on games countback, 40 to 39, I looked forward to reviewing two very similar scorecards.

By Community Sport Reporter
Friday, 15th October 2021, 9:22 am
CourtX 1sts v Denmead (from left): Christophe Hardy, Alfie Reynolds, Terry Lawrence, Toby Pallett, James Craven, Joe Pace, James Sillence, Aaron Blackman
CourtX 1sts v Denmead (from left): Christophe Hardy, Alfie Reynolds, Terry Lawrence, Toby Pallett, James Craven, Joe Pace, James Sillence, Aaron Blackman

But the vagaries of the tennis scoring system meant that the cards were actually totally different, writes ALAN BEST.

The first match, in men’s Division 3 between Avenue and Warsash lasted just eight sets – the minimum possible – with Avenue’s top pair, Rob Mort and Stewart Wiles winning both their rubbers comfortably, accruing 25 games in doing so.

Their second pair garnered an impressive 15 games without actually winning a set. Chen Seng and Michael Isaacs went into their last set against Mort and Wiles knowing they needed three games to force a tie.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Active Mixed (from left): Rachel Heda, Matt Grigg, Poppy Marston, Chinula Wickramarantha

They stood at 2-5 down but serving and had five game points but couldn’t convert any of them, so fell one game short.

By contrast, the second 40-39 match – a ladies weekend between Sarisbury Green and Chichester 3rds – played out the maximum 12 sets, a very rare event with all four rubbers so evenly matched that all four went to match tie breaks.

Sarisbury’s Cheryl Goater and Heather Hanslip lost the first set in both their rubbers but fought back to win the second set and the tie break, while Doreen Cadman and Mary Colquhoun followed a similar pattern in the first two sets but were unable to claim either of the tie breaks.

Amazingly, a third match, a men’s Division 4 game between Ryde Lawn 3rds and Lee 4ths, showed another variation of how the scoring system can vary. In this case the games score was 41-37, very similar to the earlier matches, but here Ryde won six of the rubbers played compared to Lee’s four, so the games score didn’t even come into play.

Top match of the week was the men’s Division 1 encounter between CourtX 1 and Denmead. As often happens, the first round of rubbers was shared with the games scores level as well.

And with CourtX’s Toby Pallett and Terry Lawrence comfortable overcoming James Craven and Joe Pace, everything rested on the 1’s v 1’s match up. Denmead took the first set, but Alfie Reynolds and Christophe Hardy responded with the second and then went on to take the tie break to secure the three points.

The other men’s Division 1 match was rather less competitive. Lee were only able to field one pair to face Warsash, who took full advantage to win by 48 games to 3.

There was another 48-3 score line in men’s Division 3, when a very experienced Seacourt team met with a very inexperienced JEM Tennis squad, while in the same division Lee 3rds edged past Chichester 2nds 3-1.

Rowlands Castle moved to the top of men’s Divsion 4 after a 3-1 win over Fishbourne 2nds, Simon Welch and Paul Roux scoring a double, backed up by Matt Bennett and Peter Morgenroth’s win over Fishbourne’s top pair.

Rowlands’ midweek ladies were also on form, claiming a notable 3-1 win at Warsash 2nds. Other midweek ladies matches saw Avenue 1sts ease to a 4-0 win over Warsash 1sts and Avenue 2nds trounce Lee 4-0.

There was another 8-0 win in the ladies weekend league Division 2, Warsash 2nds overcoming Ryde Lawn 2nds in a match much closer than the score might suggest.

JEM Tennis ladies were prevented from recording an 8-0 win over Fishbourne when Kate Gurl and Susie Upton-Brown took the match tie break against Aurelia Hemphill and Chantelle Vartin.

JEM’s mixed team were also in successful action, with a hard fought 3-1 win over Chichester, Liz Sherwood and Tom Mitchell winning both their rubbers, backed up by one win for Suzanne and Kevin Peat.

The final mixed match saw a young Active Academy team beat Avenue 3rds 3-1.