The season started well for the Men’s Doubles teams with two wins out of two, although the 2nds were only able to win on games in a 2-2 draw.
Men’s 1 were away at Bisham Abbey in Division 3B and they crushed the home 1st team 4-0 for the loss of 18 games. David Smith & Russell Finch had a relatively tough opener against Jan Hvizdos & Jitender Patel, winning 6-4 6-3, but John Phillips & Matt Paxton cruised through 6-2 6-1 against Mark Neal & Christopher Ritchie. In the second round Phillips & Paxton again had the easier run, beating Hvizdos & Patel 6-1 6-2, while Smith & Finch rounded off the match winning 6-1 6-4 against Neal & Ritchie.
Men’s 2 hosted Caversham 3 in Division 4A and this was step up for Richard McCully & particularly Steve Stow who is usually a 3rd team player. However, they provided good support for their 1st pair, despite losing 2-6 4-6 to Kevin Byrne & Michael Barker and 4-6 3-6 to Angus Adam-Cairns & Mahli Jasbir, but ensuring they maximised their game count. Andy Sayer & Jim Hawes, possibly playing together for the first time, immediately gelled as a pair, winning 6-1 6-1 and 6-1 6-0 to ensure a 2-2 win by 10 games.
Ladies 1 went to Bracknell for their first match of the summer season – reports Ladies’ Captain, Alison Nicholson. The weather was typical for April, at one point feeling so warm that one player went down to a strappy top and skirt – and only minutes later an icy hail shower sent the players running for cover, putting on fleeces and gloves.. The wind picked up as well during the afternoon, gusting hard so making balls fly long from one end, and making drop shots into the wind dying on the court. But the weather didn’t affect Crowthorne’s first pair, Emma Knowles and Cath Sillitoe, playing together for only the second time. They beat Bracknell’s first pair Jane Mulligan and Laura Lloyd-Jenkins 6-2 6-3. Meanwhile on the other court Jenny Sheppard and Alison Nicholson were having a long battle vs Val Ratcliffe and Gail Trueman, but Jenny and Alison managed to take a tight match 6-4 3-6 6-4. After a long wait in the club house, Emma and Cath took a game or two to get back into the swing of things, but they quickly over-powered the Bracknell second pair, winning 6-2 6-0. So with the match won, Alison and Jenny took a while to adjust to Bracknell’s first pair whose game was very different from the second pair and they went quickly 0-3 down. Then slowly they got back into the match, winning 6 games in a row to take the first set 6-3. The second set was very close all the way but in the end Jenny and Alison took it 7-5, perhaps keen to avoid another 3 set match! So a good win, 4 rubbers to 0, and a great start to the season.
Meanwhile back in Crowthorne, Ladies 2 were taking on Bradfield 2 at home. Jenny Partridge and Ravinder Norman lost a close match vs Bradfield’s first pair, just losing the tie break 3rd set. In Crowthorne’s 2nd pair, Pauline Snell was playing with Linda Diessner, who is fairly new to playing in team matches, but in their first match vs Bradfield’s 2nd pair, they won a very tight match on the tie break. So it was one rubber all, and all to play for. Jenny and Ravinder then went out and showed no mercy vs Bradfield’s second pair, without losing a game! – winning 6-0 6-0. On the other court, Pauline and Linda lost to Bradfield’s 1st pair 2 and 2. So a very tight match, ending 2 rubbers all, 5 sets all, but Crowthorne winning on games 40 to 34, with that crucial double bagel for Bradfield helping CTC take the points.
Well done ladies, a very good day out. Next match is on 18 May.
In the Berkshire Team Tennis League, Men’s Team Tennis 1 hosted Caversham Park 3 in Division 3. David Smith, at no. 1 for the Crows started with a solid 6-4 6-4 win against Sean Carson, then John Blatchford, at no. 2, had few problems despatching Steven Ratcliffe 6-0 6-3. James Brennan, at no. 3, had a poor start against Richard Morgan, losing the first set 2-6, but he recovered well to take the next 6-2 and the deciding tie-break. It wasn’t totally straightforward for John Phillips at no. 4 against Jake Dellow, but he won a close first set 7-5 and then took the second 6-2. So, with the match won after the singles, our pairs could relax a bit in the doubles; Phillips & Blatchford swept away Morgan & Dellow while Brennan & Smith recovered from losing the first set 5-7 against Carson & Ratcliffe to take the second 6-3 and the deciding breaker to make it a 6-0 win, or 12-0 as they like to score it in this competition.
Men’s Team Tennis 2 were away against BCS 3 in Division 5A and there were good performances for all of the team in their 10-2 win. Matt Paxton must have found it particularly satisfying seeing off Danny Miller, recently of Bracknell TC, 6-1 6-0, but Russell Finch had to fight hard against the awkward John McDonald, but won 7-6 6-3. Performance of the day was by new member Michael Harris, who demolished John Dunford 6-0 6-0 in his first match for Crowthorne TC, and Simon Usher nearly made it a clean sweep in the singles but missed out in the deciding tie-break against Paul Dougan after coming back from losing the first set 5-7 to take the second 6-4. In the doubles, Finch & Paxton made sure of winning the match with a 6-1 6-0 win against Dunford & Miller, while Usher & Harris’s 6-3 6-2 win against MacDonald & Dougan, meant that the result was a 10-2 win for the Crows.
Two weeks later it was a different story for our Team Tennis squad with both teams facing strong opposition. Men’s T/T 1 were away to league leaders Wargrave 1 in Division 3 and were soundly beaten 10-2 with John Phillips picking up the only win in his match against Panos Kontogiannis in which he stormed through the first set 6-0, narrowly lost the second 5-7 and clinched the win in the tie-break.
Men’s T/T 2 hosted GDT Slough in Division 5A and they finished 6-6 on rubbers. Unfortunately, they only played a doubles tie-break to decide the match instead of the 2 singles and 1 doubles they should have done, and in losing this, it cost them the match. In the singles, Peter Lindholm at 1 faced Falco Niekoop and lost 3-6 2-6 while Richard McCully at 2 was losing 4-6 2-6 to Balbhadra Giri. In the lower half, however, the Crows had better fortune with Steve Stow winning 7-6 6-4 against Yusuf Khan and Joe Forrester 6-2 6-2 against Phani Kaza. In the doubles, Lindholm & Forrester had a battle against Niekoop & Khan but lost 4-6 5-7 but Stow & McCully levelled the match winning 6-0 6-3 against Giri & Kaza. So some good performances but a pity about the shootout. (NOTE: The shootout rules are at League Matches under Format for Adult Team Tennis Matches)
On the same day, all six Junior teams were in action with our two 18U Boys teams facing each other in the afternoon in Division 2B. The A team’s crushing victory augers well for their future ties. Thomas Opalka and Max Filley losing just two games against Alex Trill and Matt Bowers. That morning our 18U Girls’ team went to Windsor to play their A team in Division 2A and nearly came away with a clean sweep, although they had to settle in the end for a 4-2 win. Stefanie Blaser was far too strong for Windsor’s Keela Macdonald, winning 6-1 6-1, and Marina Hammond, having dropped a close first set 4-6, came back well against Elsie Runnicles to take the second 6-1 but lost the tie-break. However, a 6-1 6-4 win in the doubles ensured the win. Back to the afternoon and our 14U Boys A team were playing Bradfield at Crowthorne in what Junior co-ordinator Caroline Atkinson later described as “a thrilling match overall, probably the best junior match ever played at CTC!” Jake Griffiths had a tough start against Bradfield’s Charlie Moor, losing 2-6 1-6, but Oskar Wroblewski was thrilling the spectators with a stunning 6-0 first set against Max Harrison-Gillon before being pegged back to 6-6 in the second and winning the tie-break. With all to play for Griffiths & Wroblewski lost the first set in the doubles 4-6 against the Bradfield pair but they took the second 6-3 and went into a tiebreak which would decide the match. The fact that they lost it doesn’t take away the fact that it was a stunning match and a great start to the season for the team. The 14U Boys B team lost 0-6 at Wargrave and details will be inlcuded once the opposition have posted the result. Back to the morning and our first ever 10U Mixed team were in action at Reading University playing against TennisPark in Group B. Thomas Fewell started slowly against Maizi Mulley, losing the first set 1-4, but he recovered to tke the second 4-1 and win the tie-break. Henry Evan-Hart was unfortunate to find himself up against Adhrit Rajagopalan, a county player twice his size, and lost 0-4 0-4. Angel Mendel-Odowu won a close first set 5-3 against Michelle Benintenci and then took the second 4-1 for the tem’s second win before Misha Ordovas, having lost a close first set 3-5 against Myles Warwick, fell away 0-4 in the second. So, at 2-2, it was all down to the doubles and Mendel-Odowu & Evan-Hart were quickly behind against Mulley & Rajagopalan, losing the first set 1-4; but they came back to 3-3 in the second only to lose it 3-5. It was the opposite score, however, for Fewell & Ordovas, who won 5-3 4-1 against Warwick & Benintenci to level the tie at 3 rubbers all. A championship tiebreak to decide the match was won by Crowthorne to give the team their first win in a match they seemed destined to lose.
The first Veterans’ match of the season took place the following Monday with our Men’s O45 Team taking on RSF at home. The visitors arrived with a strong side and Vince Brooks & David Stone were put to the sword by John Tuck & Shane Leather who won 6-0 6-2. Steve Stow & Phil Timm did a little better against Lax Mayani & Mark Hetem but still lost 3-6 2-6. Brooks & Stone then, having lost the first set 1-6 against Mayani & Hetem, made a remarkable come back to take the second set 6-0 and win the tie-break. Stow & Timm fared better than their team mates against the visitors’ first pair Tuck & Leather but still lost 3-6 2-6 to make it 3-1 to RSF.