Canoe Lake were cruelly denied a third successive victory in the men’s top tier of the Portsmouth & District League, writes Alan Best.
Captain Tim Clark and John Saunders were in charge of their second rubber when the latter suffered an injury and was unable to complete the contest, handing the win to Denmead.
The opening rubbers had been shared before Aaron Blackmore and James Sillence won their second clash for the victors.
With leaders Warsash only able to field one pair in their match with Avenue, Denmead now have a great chance to win a maiden championship.
In division two, Avenue II outlasted Ryde Lawn II in a marathon five-hour match.
All but one of the rubbers went to three sets – with Avenue taking the decider for a 4-0 win over the previously unbeaten leaders.
Canoe Lake II also lost their unbeaten record.
They were turned over by the Fishbourne youngsters, who were inspired by a double from Tom Craddock and Harry Dry.
Chichester maintained their unbeaten record as they strolled past Southsea 4-0.
At the other end of the table, Rowlands Castle drew 2-2 with relegation rivals Avenue IV.
However, Castle boosted their outside chances of beating the drop by grabbing the winning draw point.
Ryde Lawn continue to lead the way in ladies’ division one after a hard-fought 3-1 win over Avenue II.
The opening rubbers were shared and the match was decided at the death when Andrea Waugh and Lynn Sandy edged past Avenue’s Bobbie Cozens and Helen Weeks in the third set.
Canoe Lake kept their faint title hopes alive with a 3-1 win over struggling Warsash.
In division two, Rowlands Castle looked set to net a surprise win over promotion favourites Ryde Mead.
Caron Howe and Dawn Wears took the first set off Mead’s Carrie Drake and Kirsty Roberts.
And while they lost the next two, Castle’s top pair had already beaten Rachel Andrews and Moyza Ackroyd, giving them a one-set advantage at halfway.
Howe and Wears then raced into a 6-0, 3-0 lead in the reverse rubber, thus needing just three more games for a winning draw.
But the heat then took its toll as the Rowlands pair tired and Mead took control to win the set and the subsequent decider.
Avenue II fielded former club professionals Roger and Tracy Manvell in their mixed division contest with Ryde Lawn II – and, perhaps unsurprisingly, they won 3-1.
In division three, Chichester and Southsea slugged it out for 10 hot sets before the Sussex team won 3-1.
Avenue IV consolidated their lead at the top of division four with a 4-0 win over Warsash III, while second-placed David Lloyd kept up their pursuit with a 3-1 win over Alverstoke – with all four rubbers going to three sets.
Chichester’s ladies starred in the midweek masters action by beating Warsash 4-0 in the top tier.
Meanwhile in division two, Lee claimed winning draws against both Avenue and Rowlands Castle and Warsash II edged past Sarisbury Green.
And in the mixed divisions, Fishbourne’s top two teams were both in action. The first string beat Warsash 3-1 but the seconds lost 4-0 to Lee.