With Men’s 1 in Division 4B and Men’s 2 in the much stronger Division 4B, Russell has had to juggle his squad while taking into account the nomination rules. With the 1st team already leading the division after 3 rounds, they headed for Caversham to play their 4th team. The result was a crushing 4-0 win for our lads for the loss of just 8 games so they are looking forward to life in Division 3 next summer. David Smith & Matt Paxton won both of their two rubbers 6-1 6-0 while Jim Hawes & Anthony Hayes were somewhat profligate in winning 6-1 6-3 and 6-0 6-2.
Back at home, the 2nds faced Wargrave 2 and Andy Sayer & Jon Blatchford started well with a 6-2 6-4 win against Jeremy Morgan & Gary Westwood. One of the visitors’ 2nd pair arrived very late so Richard McCully & Vince Brooks claimed the first set against Colin Johnson & Charles Freeman. However, they lost the second set 1-6 and missed out in the decider as well against a pair that seemed to be a good deal stronger than the two down as pair 1. In the second round, Sayer & Blatchford had chances to take the first set but eventually lost it 6-7 and the second 3-6. McCully & Brooks put in a strong performance against Morgan & Westwood and to lose by a score of 5-7 4-6 was no disgrace. But it meant the final result was a 3-1 win to Wargrave. The team are 3rd from bottom in the Division and a win against Twyford in their final match should see them stay in the division.
On the other home courts, the 3rds were playing Westmorland Park in Division 6B. Mike Smith & Steve Stow playing as first pair started off against Greg Tichbon and Cezar Nechita, a Romanian left hander with a crunching forehand. After losing the first two games, Smith & Stow levelled the set and eventually went into a tie-break at 6-6 which they lost. With the visiting pair on a roll, the second set went away quickly 6-1 leaving the Crowthorne pair disappointed to get nothing after their long first set battle. Andy Stone & Rob Hughes were meanwhile despatching Ian Angeloni & Tony Canning 6-4 6-3 to leave the visitors leading by a game at the halfway point. Smith & Stow, realising that the result was likely to come down to a games count, did their best in the second round by beating Angeloni & Canning 6-1 6-1 and were pleasantly surprised when Stone & Hughes came off court having beaten Tichbon & Nechita 6-3 6-2, their unique blend of tennis having neutralised the weapons of the visiting first pair. With two matches remaining against the teams in 5th and 6th place, there is a good chance that the team will be promoted.
Once again Monday night saw a win for the veterans, this time the Over-45s who had not yet gained a point. Division 2 has been very strong this year so a 3-1 win over RSF was welcome. David Smith & Matt Paxton found the opposition stronger than that at Caversham on Saturday but won both of their rubbers winning 6-2 6-0 against Chris Wise & Shane Leather and then having a tougher time beating Phil Newborough & Mark Fuller 7-6 6-2. Vince Brooks & Mark Lardner, having beaten Newborough & Fuller 6-1 6-4 in the first round, were then soundly beaten 6-0 6-2 by Wise & Leather. The team will need a win against Caversham Park in their final match to ensure survival in Division 2.