Storms Ciara and Dennis affected several matches so there were a number of postponements this month.
However, on the 1st February, both Ladies’ matches were played, with both ending in 2-2 losing draws.
Ladies’ 1 were away playing Wokingham 2 in Division 3 and Emma Knowles/Tina Stern lost their second set against Hele Judd/Juliet Wragg before taking the deciding tie-break to win 6-4 2-6 1-0. Alison Nicholson/Ravinder Norman had a close first set against Paula Morley/Lynn Taylor but lost it 5-7 and then lost the second 2-6. They put up a decent performance against the strong Judd/Wragg pairing, losing 3-6 2-6 before Knowles/Stern were able to salvage a point with their 6-3 6-1 win against Morley/Taylor.
Meanwhile, Ladies’ 2 were entertaining Wellington 2 at home in Division 7. Jenny Partridge/Maggie Ingham won a long match against Stephanie Diplock/Linden Wilkinson 6-3 6-7 1-0 while Penny Hemingway/Wendy Miles were going down 6-1 6-3 against Wendy Dacey/Christine Hayter. With Hemingway/Miles losing 1-6 2-6 to Diplock/Wilkinson, Partridge/Ingham squared the match with a 6-1 6-3 win against Dacey/Hayter to gain a point for a match lost by a set.
Report by Elaine Rippon
It wasn’t until Friday 21st February that the next match took place, a rearranged Boys 18U match with our A team playing Latika B in Division 2. The pressure was on as Thomas Opalka and Dan Rippon needed a win for the A team to win the league. The strong blustery wind proved challenging for both teams, but the Crows seemed to cope better. Dan, playing his final match as a junior, against a tricky opponent, Matthew Starkey, started the match 4-0 down but went on to win 6-4, 6-2. Thomas’ match was closer than the score suggests, losing 6-2, 6-1 to a hard hitter, Ollie Binner. So it was down to the wire in the Doubles! Luckily, Dan and Thomas make a fantastic team and worked their magic to win 6-3, 6-2.
Although we are waiting for LTA verification, according to Caroline’s calculations this means the team has just squeaked the top spot in the Division with a draw on points (8 each) a draw on rubbers (24 each) but we have one extra set overall ( 25:24). It couldn’t have been closer! If so, it will be a fantastic way for Dan to end his time in the junior team. Well played to all the Team – Dan, Thomas and James.
The following afternoon Ladies 1 had a rescheduled match in Division 3 away at Peppard and came away with a winning draw. Emma Knowles/Tina Stern started strongly with a 6-2 6-2 win over Ellie Fry/Helen Lee and Cath Sillitoe/Lorraine Fowler very nearly made it 2-0 against Louisa Bisson/Wendy Franklin, narrowly missing out 5-7 7-6 0-1 after an epic rubber, but winning the set that would eventually make the difference between 1 and 2 points. Unsurprisingly Sillitoe & Fowler had to take a breather against Fry/Lee, losing the first set 0-6 but coming back strongly in the second only to lose it 4-6. Knowles/Stern wrapped up the match with a 6-1 6-0 win against Bisson/Franklin to take the team into 3rd place in the division, ahead of Peppard and within shouting distance of promotion if they win their remaining two matches.
On the final scheduled weekend of the Men’s Doubles, bad weather was forecast and two matches were postponed but Men’s 1 managed to play despite the wind and drizzle and recorded a 3-1 win over David Lloyd Berkshire in Division 2. Russell Finch/Al Galloway, playing first pair, started with a close rubber against the visiting number ones, Philip Blincow/Charlie Garrett, losing 4-6 6-7 but Jon Blatchford/John Phillips evened the score by beating Antony Foster/Stuart Felton 6-2 6-3. In the second round, Finch/Galloway won a close first set 7-5 against Foster/Felton and clinched the rubber by winning the second 6-2. Blatchford/Philips’ second win of the morning, 6-3 6-2 against Blincow/Garrett, ensured all three points went to the Crows and the win means the team survive in Division 2 for another season unless bottom team Caversham beat runaway leaders Ascot in their final match.