On 1st December Mixed 1 faced a strong Wargrave 2 side away in Division 3. Emma Knowles/John Phillips were surprised to find themselves down in their first set against Jennifer Harding/Tim Janisch, losing it 5-7 before winning the next 6-2 and the deciding tie-break. Tina Stern/Matt Paxton were well beaten 4-6 2-6 by Rebecca Salisbury-Beard/Christopher Brims but they performed better in the second round only just losing 2-6 6-4 1-0 against Harding/Janisch. Knowles/Phillips, having recovered from their uncharacteristic hiccup at the beginning of the tie, then swept through 6-0 6-1 against the home second pair to ensure a win on games to the Crowthorne team.
Mixed 3 had a good 3-1 home win against Sonning 1 in Division 5E. Alison Nicholson/Mark Callaghan dropped their first set 5-7 against Jennifer Taylor/Stephen Edwards but took the second 6-4 and won the deciding tiebreak. Wendy Miles/Simon Usher won convincingly 6-1 6-2 against Sarah Armitage/Jim Clements before Nicholson/Callaghan won against the same pair even more convincingly. 6-0 6-0. Miles/Usher were out of it in the first set against Taylor/Stephens but recovered well in the second despite losing it 5-7. However, by this time the tie was already won.
The following Sunday, Men’s 1 were at home against Caversham Park 1 in Division 2. Jon Blatchford/ Michael Harris lost their first rubber 1-6 4-6 against a strong looking Alex Swann/Logan Turner but James Brennan/Russell Finch were able to square the tie with a 6-2 2-6 1-0 win against Richard Morgan/Steven Ratcliffe. They were also unable to make any impression on Swann/Turner, losing 2-6 3-6, but Blatchford/Harris fared better against Morgan Ratcliffe despite losing 6-7 3-6 to make it a 3-1 win for the visitors.
Men’s 2 were away playing Caversham Park’s 2nds in Division 4 and they lost 1-3 in a match of 3 deciding tie-breaks. Matt Paxton/Hamish McCarthy faced Bejamin and Thomas Silvester-Ratcliffe in the first round and they finished on the losing side of a 6-2 3-6 1-0 score. Jim Hawes/Chris Torkington lost 6-7 4-6 in a close match they could have won against Howard Willis/Rakesh Bhandari. Paxton McCarthy had a great start against WIllis/Bhandari, winning the first set 6-0 before conceding the tie-break in the second. However, they won the deciding tie-break to give the team the chance of salvaging a point or maybe even two. Hawes/Torkington lost their first set 2-6 against the Silvester-Ratcliffes but they took the second 6-3 and were unlucky to lose the deciding tie-break.
Men’s 3 were at home against Home Park in Division 6E and this was definitely a game of two halves which the Crows side ended up winning by a comfortable margin, despite each pair winning a rubber. David Stone/Andrew Morrison found Peter Blanshard/Chao Su’s combination of slice from Blanshard and heavy topspin from Su difficult to handle and went down surprisingly 3-6 4-6. Meanwhile, Andy Stone/Mike Smith won a close first set 6-3 against the hard-hitting Bassem Salemeh/Luke Beckley but slumped badly in the second, losing it 2-6, and then lost the deciding tie-break 9-11. With a 2-0 lead at the mid-way point, the visitors were full of confidence so it was a surprise when Stone Smith broke away at 4-all to take the next 7 games against Blanshard/Su, eventually winning 6-4 6-2 having volleyed their way to victory against the slice of Blanshard. On the other court there was another upset as Stone/Morrison found that their opponents’ style of play was much more to their liking and won 6-3 6-1 to make it a 2-2 winning draw to the Crows.
The next weekend, Ladies’ 1 were at home against David Loyyd Berkshire 3 in Division 3 and they nearly finished with a 4-0 win but had to settle for 3-1. Emma Knowles/Tina Stern were as imperious as usual, sweeping through majestically 6-1 6-1 against Anita Samuel/Noelle Fung while Alison Nicholson/Lorraine Fowler had an even better start, winning the first set 6-0 before having more of a fight in the second and eventually winning it 7-5 against Inna Byles/Donna Leach. Knowles/Stern then won 6-3 6-0 against Byles/Leach while Nicholson/Fowler just missed out against Byles/Leach, losing 1-6 6-4 0-1.
Ladies’ 2 faced another David Lloyd side, this one away at Newbury in Division 7 and lost 0-4. Details of the match will be added as soon as the winning team enter the scores.
The following day it was the turn of the juniors with Boys 18U A hosting Shinfield and winning 6-0. Dan Rippon set the ball rolling with a 6-2 6-3 win over Jack Bragg with James Kempson winning 6-4 6-2 against the visitors’ no.2. In the doubles it was more of the same with the Crows pair winning 6-2 6-4.
In the same division, Boys 18U B travelled to Woodland where Alex Trill and Matt Bowers were well beaten by the home side 6-0.
Away at Shinfield, Mixed 10U continued their winning form with a 12-0 victory. Henry Evan-Hart beat Alexandr Revenko 4-1 4-1 and Jake Walbancke beat Alex Race 4-1 5-4. But the top results came from the girls with Angel Mendel-Idowu and Alice Dyer, playing her first match, both recording 4-0 4-0 victories. In the doubles, Evan-Hart/Mendel-Idowu won 4-1 4-0 nd Walbancke/Dyer won 4-0 4-0.