Avenue dent Hamble’s title challenge

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JEM Tennis Hamble lost their chance to establish a stranglehold on the Portsmouth & District League men’s championship when they were unable to overcome Avenue.

In one of only three matches to beat the rain last weekend, the crucial tie was between Avenue’s Adam Filip and Ahmad Abd Rabuh and JEM’s James Mack and Mark Turl. 

The Havant pair won the first set 6-1 but Mack and Turl fought back to take the second 7-5 – forcing the rubber into a third set.

But one break of serve was all it took for Filip and Abd Rabuh to claim the set, the rubber and with it a 3-1 win overall.

JEM can still win the title but to do so they must reschedule their outstanding matches – against Canoe Lake and Ryde Lawn – and win them both.

The relegation battle between Avenue III and Ryde Mead II in mixed division three was a nailbiting affair.

A full three-point win would have been enough to save either side.

But to get three points a team has to win at least three of the four rubbers.

With the opening rubbers shared one each, there was all to play for in the reverse matches.

Ryde’s Kirsty Roberts and Will Drake set the ball rolling with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Phil Tusler and Evie Howarth.

But try as they may, John Gosling and Carrie Drake were never quite in the hunt against Avenue’s second pair Phil Broad and Lucy Smith – going down 6-4, 6-1.

With the rubbers shared 2-2, the scoring draw win – and two points – went to Avenue as they won five sets to Ryde’s four.

Both teams now have one match to play and a win for either could still save their place in the division.

However, as they play the top two teams in the division, those wins will not be easy to deliver.

The final match of the weekend saw Fishbourne record a comfortable 4-0 win over Active Academy.

The victory secured second place in the division and promotion to division three for next summer.

Rowlands Castle and Fishbourne delayed the start of their midweek mixed masters division two match to avoid the early morning rain.

And they were rewarded by a match that was much closer than the 4-0 scoreline might indicate.

The win moved Castle into third place and a win in their last match should earn them runners-up position.