Avenue and Chichester play out dramatic marathon contest 

Warsash members gathered to celebrate the reopening of their courts which have been resurfaced and repainted in Wimbledon green and purple colours
Warsash members gathered to celebrate the reopening of their courts which have been resurfaced and repainted in Wimbledon green and purple colours
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Avenue mixed masters played out a thrilling match against Chichester with the two teams unable to be separated over rubbers, sets and games.

Matches with three sets played in all four rubbers are rare, writes Alan Best.

But it was a momentous week in the Portsmouth & District League with dramatic events for the Avenue club.

The mixed masters fought a memorable contest with the rubbers level at 2-2, the sets at 4-4 and the games at 33-33.

Amazingly, that came two days after a 12-set marathon played out between Avenue ladies firsts and Ryde Lawn firsts.

Avenue must have thought they were well placed, having won both the rubbers in the first round in the third set tie breaks.

They then went on to win the first set in each of the reverse rubbers.

But Ryde are made of stern stuff these days.

Sarah Hill and Zydreida Denning started the fightback.

Lynn Sandy and Kahren Barter then finished things off, enabling Ryde to claim the winning draw points 45-40 on games.

Then just to round off a week of close matches for the Avenue, their weekend mixed second team also took on Chichester, again sharing the rubbers 2-2 but this time just edging the sets 6-5, enabling them to claim the winning draw points.

Unfortunately, none of the Avenue players played in all three matches.

That really would have been a feat but nevertheless it was still a unique weekend for the league.

Tiebreaks were required to settle a number of other matches.

In ladies division one Seacourt first team edged past Lee thirds 3-1 thanks to a match tiebreak rubber win for Lou Green and Jane Robertson.

In the second division Ryde Lawn two needed two-match tie breaks to overcome Wickham 3-1.

Warsash seconds also needed a match tiebreak to decide one of the rubbers in their match with Ventnor seconds.

But they had already won the other three rubbers so that final one wasn’t crucial.

In division three JEM Tennis Hamble ladies got their season under way with a 4-0 win over Seacourt seconds.

Ryde Mead beat Fishbourne 4-0 to lead division four.

Alverstoke secured a win over Ryde Lawn thirds and Lee fours earned a victory against Southsea.

For Lee it was a third win on the bounce.

The first two rounds of the men’s championship were washed out.

But Lee and Denmead finally got the programme underway with Lee chalking up an impressive 3-1 win.

In division two Alverstoke’s men’s first team backed up the ladies with a 3-1 victory over Chichester first team.

Harry Brind and James Gascoigne’s match tiebreak win over Phil Tite and Dick Nicholson was enough to give Lee fours a 3-1 win over Fishbourne seconds in division four.

Match tiebreaks were once again to the fore when Lee’s mixed team met reigning champions Warsash.

Both Lee’s pairs needed a match tiebreak to overcome their opponents in the first round of rubbers.

But Matt Rogers and Chloe Efford then went on to win their reverse rubber in straight sets, giving Lee a great chance of winning their first championship since 2013.

The weekend mixed teams from Jem Tennis Hamble, David Lloyd, Southsea and Warsash thirds all started their seasons with wins over Ryde Lawn thirds, Ryde Mead seconds, Rowlands Castle and Carllton Green seconds respectively.

In the midweek mixed masters competition Ryde Lawn firsts got their season back on track with a 4-0 win over Fishbourne.

Avenue seconds overcame Rowlands Castle 3-1.

And in the ladies midweek competition Warsash, who started their season later than others due to their court being resurfaced, played two matches in a week, unfortunately losing both, one to Fishbourne firsts and the other to Avenue firsts.