The month started successfully with a 4-0 win for our Over 55 Men’s team against Caversham Park in Division 1. Both pairs started the first round winning close first sets, Adrian Draffin/David Stone winning 7-5 6-4 against Rakesh Bhandari/John Paradine and Jim Hawes/Andy Stone winning 7-5 6-1 against Mark Scott/Paul Flood. Having broken the opposition, the second round was easier with Draffin/Stone winning 6-2 6-4 while Hawes/Stone won 6-3 6-1.
Our Over 40 Ladies were less successful away to Ascot two days later, losing 0-4 to a strong side. Jenny Sheppard/Cath Sillitoe with Jenny Partidge/Wendy Miles were no match for the Ascot team but Sheppard/Sillitoe did win a set, 6-4, in the second round only to lose the deciding tie-break.
Ladies’ 1 finished their season with a 2-2 win against Riseley who ended up a point behind them at the top of Division 4B. Emma Knowles/Tina Stern were as dominant as ever, losing just 3 games from 4 sets. Alison Nicholson/Cath Sillitoe lost 3-6 2-6 against a strong home second pair, Tania Dereham/Clementina Tuck, before ensuring it wouldn’t go down to games by taking the first set 7-5 against Fiona Mayani/Amanda Brundrett who went on to take the second 6-0 and win the tie-break.
In their delayed match against Latika, our Girls 18U team were well beaten by a team who were clearly the other class act in the division ahead of the Crowthorne duo. Stefanie Blaser/Marina Hammond were outclassed by Mariam Balat/Bethany Dark who only allowed our previously successful pair 5 games.
Back to the veterans and the Ladies Over 40 team received a welcome walkover against Wargrave who were unable to field a team for the rearranged match.
Our Men’s Over 45s had a difficult trip to Maidenhead to play their ‘C’ team and they lost 1-3. Vince Brooks/Mark Callaghan lost 0-6 2-6 to Brad Allen/Warren Roscoe before Richard McCully/Phil Timm put in a good performance, winning the first set 6-3 against Andrew Guest/Simon Davies before losing the second 1-6 and the tiebreak. In the second round McCully/Timm pushed Allen/Roscoe hard in the first set, losing it 6-7 before running out of steam and losing the second 0-6. Brooks/Callaghan also had a decent match against Guest Davies but lost 3-6 4-6.
The following Monday, the team was given a walkover by Caversham B who were unable to raise a full team, however, even with the 3 points and a game remaining, the team look set for relegation to Division 3 where they may have a more enjoyable season next year.
The intervening weekend saw the last scheduled round of the Men’s Doubles League with Men’s 1 up against a dominant Caversham Park 1 in Division 3B. John Phillips/Jon Blatchford had a great start, beating the visitors’ first pair Jonathan Tait/Steven Ratcliffe 7-6 6-3. Meanwhile, David Smith/James Brennan were having a battle against Sean Carson/Logan Turner, losing the first set 3-6 but coming back strongly to win the second 6-0, only to lose the third 6-7. In the second round Phillips/Blatchford lost to Carson/Turner by the same score they had won by in the first round, 6-7 3-6. Smith/Brennan. meanwhile had taken the first set 6-4 against Tait/Ratcliffe but the lost the second 3-6 and the third 4-6. Although the Crows lost the match 1-3 on rubbers and 4-6 on sets, it was 40-40 on games, which shows how close the match was. Also, the rubber won by Phillips/Blatchford was the only rubber lost by Caversham Park all season.
Men’s 2 were at home against Twyford 2 in Division 4A and they needed all 3 points from their 4-0 win to ensure they finished as Division champions ahead of Maidenhead 4 , who were handed a walkover by Bisham 2. Michael Harris/Matt Paxton won a close 6-2 7-5 first round match against Nicholas Webb/Jamie Henderson but Russell Finch/Jim Hawes found it a bit tougher against Jonathan Noy/Gerard Stewart, winning the first set 6-2 before losing the second 0-6 and coming back to win the deciding tiebreak. In the second round it was Harris/Paxton who had the tougher rubber, winning 6-3 6-7 1-0 against Noy/Stewart with Finch/Hawes winning 6-2 6-4 against Webb/Henderson. The team will be in Division 3 next season at the same level as Men’s 1, although they’ll probably be kept apart in the A and B divisions.
Men’s 3 were away against Riseley 2 in Division 6B, needing another win to keep out of the relegation zone. In the event it was a solid 4-0 win and, with a match remaining against bottom of the table Sonning 2 who are unlikely to complete their fixtures, the team should be safe. In fact, 3 points against Sonning would put the team into the promotion places. Vince Brooks/Mark Lardner gave the team a good start, winning 6-1 6-1 against Kevin Still/Matthew Roedel. Steve Stow/Richard McCully found it a bit harder against Jack Eagles/Dilwyn Williams but came out on top 6-2 7-5. They fought hard again against Still/Roedel, winning 6-3 7-6 while Brooks/Lardner completed the victory with a 6-2 6-2 win against Eagles/Williams.
The next Saturday was the start of the Mixed Doubles League matches which always take place on successive weekends in July, August and September. Mixed 1 knew it would be tough in Division 2 and so it proved to be, losing 0-4 to a strong Wokingham 1 side. Matt Paxton/Tina Stern and David Stone/Cath Sillitoe had no real answers against a side who won all 4 rubbers in straight sets.
Mixed 2 also had a tough start in Division 5B away to Home Park 1 on grass. They also lost 0-4 although they had some close rubbers and, on another day, could have salvaged a point. Alison Nicholson/Mark Callaghan lost 2 and 2 against Helen Barnett/Mark Shelmerdine but they did better in the second round, losing 6-4 5-7 0-1 to Anna Lawler/Paul Batty. Jenny Sheppard/Joe Forrester lost 3-6 6-7 to Lawler/Batty and 5-7 2-6 to Bernett/Shelmerdine.
Still, as the pictures show, it wasn’t a bad way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon!
Mixed 3 hosted Sonning 2 in an extremely close match in Division 7B which they won 2-2 on sets, although it could have been 4-0 had two deciding tie-breaks gone their way. Ravinder Norman/Richard McCully set the tone losing 7-5 2-6 0-1 to Linda Burton/Steve Edwards, but Pauline Snell/Andrew Morrison edged the Crows in front by winning 6-2 6-2 against Isabel Melhuish/Tim Banks. Norman/McCully had another long match in the second round but this time it was a win, 4-6 6-2 1-0, against Melhuish/Banks, while Snell/Morrison nearly made a miraculous comeback against Burton/Edwards after losing their first set 0-6, taking the second 6-4 but losing the deciding tie-break. So 6-5 on sets but really close, 38-35, on games.
The following Monday, the Men’s O45 team hosted Caversham, this time playing their A team in Division 2, a week after their B team had handed them a walkover. No such luck this time, though, as the team continued their run of losses with a 1-3 defeat. There was a good performance from David Stone/Jim Hawes in the first round, however, beating Duncan Ross/Andy Von Glehn 6-4 6-2, before the visitors got their act together to take the remaining rubbers in straight sets. Stone/Hawes had chances in the first set against Carey Sayer/John Aspinall but lost 5-7 3-6, however, Vince Brooks/Steve Stow were unable to make much impact against a strong team.
In the second round of the Mixed Doubles League, Mixed 1 faced Berkshire County Sports 1 at home in Division 2. Peter Lindholm was playing at this level for the first time and he certainly didn’t let the side down as the team wom 4-0. Emma Knowles/John Phillips put in their usual powerful performance beating Sarah Quant/Abdu Minhas 6-1 6-0 in the first round and Jane Hunt/Nigel Hunt 6-2 6-0 in the second. Tina Stern/Peter Lindholm won their first set 6-0 against Hunt/Hunt before having a tougher second set which they won 6-4. Their second rubber was a classic, though as, with nothing but pride at stake, they battled to victory over Quant/Minhas 7-6 5-7 1-0.
Mixed 2 were away to Wargrave 3 in Division 5B and they won their first points of the season with a close 3-1 victory. Alison Nicholson/Mark Callaghan won a solid first round rubber 6-3 6-3 against Michael Simpson/Denise Peet while Cath Sillitoe/Joe Forrester were having a real battle against Paul McDonald/Nicola Jones. After narrowly losing the first set 5-7, they came back to win the second 6-3 and take the deciding tie-break. In the second round, Nicholson/Callaghan continued their serene progress winning 6-0 6-3 against McDonald/Jones, but Sillitoe/Forrester were unable to repeat their heroics of the first round, losing 2-6 5-7 to Simpson/Peet.
With David Lloyd 2 calling off their match at the last moment, Mixed 3 took the points from a walkover and now lead Division 7B.