Many teams would have conceded the match and saved themselves the trip, especially when one of the players in the remaining pair was a teenager, writes ALAN BEST.
But not Ventnor. They rooted around and, at the last minute, persuaded two juniors to join them. They acquitted themselves well, taking several games off the vastly more experienced Chichester pairs.
Hugh Idle and Elliot Jones also surprised the Sussex team’s No 2 pair, Stuart Marks and Nicolas Corentin, taking the first set and leading in the second before losing the match tie break.
Ventnor returned home pointless, but clear winners of the sportsmanship prize.
Lee men’s 4ths leapfrogged over Rowlands Castle in Division 4 after a 4-0 victory. Roger Castle and Rob Thompson claimed Rowlands’ sole success, 7-6 in their first set, before losing the next one 0-6.
Three of the rubbers in the Avenue 1sts v Warsash 1sts encounter in Ladies 1 were relatively one-sided, but the match between the two top pairs made up for that.
Warsash’s Victoria Pine and PG Udal took a tight first set 7-5, only to lose the second 5-7. They needed to win the match tie break to secure a clear win, but Natalie Denby and Jenny Smith had gained momentum and took it 10-8.
As a result they shared the rubbers, giving them a point and restricting Warsash to two points for the winning draw.
Avenue ladies 2nds’ match followed a similar pattern. The opening rubbers were easily won by the respective top pairs and Chichester claimed the 1 v 1s rubber in straight sets. But, as in the first team’s match, Avenue lost the opening set in the final rubber before taking the second and then the match tie break, thus sharing the rubbers and winning a point. Chichester 2nds took two points thanks to winning 5-4 on sets.
Ryde Lawn ladies 2nds knew a defeat to CourtX would severely damage their promotion hopes. After the first two rubbers those hopes were still on the line, the matches shared with both teams having won an identical number of games.
And when Fiona Goode and Danielle Waters won the first set of the 1 v 1s for CourtX, promotion hopes were hanging by a thread. Andrea Waugh and Suree Russell dug deep, though, winning the second set and then the match tie break to carry Ryde to three valuable points.
Ladies’ Division 4 is now a simple two horse race between Active Academy and JEM Tennis. The latter are unbeaten after five rounds, while the former clocked up their fifth win out of six. Their only loss was against JEM, so the return match is a mouthwatering prospect.
With Avenue’s ladies’ teams having lost two very close matches, their mixed 2nds helped restore smiles when they edged past CourtX.
The pattern of rubbers was much the same as in the ladies matches, the opening two comfortably won by the respective top pairs, while Avenue’s Krys Diamond and Lucy Smith were relatively untroubled in winning the 2 v 2s match.
But Emma Smith and Doug Galley had a humdinger of a battle against Christophe and Caroline Hardy. The husband and wife duo took the first set for CourtX on a tie break, with Smith and Galley winning the second.
Smith and Galley retained the initiative to take the tie break, the rubber, and the match.
Chichester’s mixed 2nds beat Alverstoke 2nds 4-0, Carlton Green eased past Warsash 3rds 3-1, and Southsea earned a winning draw against Wickham in
a match in which all four rubbers were won in straight sets - Southsea winning 35-32 on games countback.