February League Roundup

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.

Cath & Lorraine at Peppard TC

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.