The month started with a 4-0 win by Ladies’ 1 at home against Royal Ascot 2 in Division 4B. It was closer than the score suggests as both rubbers against the visitors’ first pair went to a deciding tie-break. Tina Stern/Jenny Sheppard shared the sets 7-5 5-7 before prevailing in the breaker against Kristy Leemimg/Jojo Southwell while Ravinder Norman/Lorraine Fowler were winning 3 and 2 against Amy Hammond/Gillian Clark. The second round was similar with Stern/Sheppard winning 1 and 1 while Norman/Fowler were winning 3-6 6-1 1-0.
The next morning our Men were in action in the Team Tennis competition. Men’s 1 were away at Bisham Abbey in Division 3 and they beat the home 2nd team 10-2. Matt Paxton at number 1 faced a strong Alex Templar in the singles and lost 1 and 1 but it was plain sailing in the other rubbers which were all won in straight sets. David Smith beat Hardip Gill 6-4 6-1, Andy Sayer beat Nitin Srivastava 6-1 6-2 and Michael Harris beat Mark Brewer 6-2 6-0 in the singles before Paxton/Harris won 6-3 6-1 in the doubles against Gill/Templar. The other doubles wasn’t played.
Men’s 2 were at home against Home Park in Division 5A and, with the opposition heading the division at the start of the day, Men’s Captain Russell Finch was able to field a strong team. Jon Blatchford had a great start in the singles winning 6-1 6-0 against Matt Goff and Russell Finch put in a strong performance to beat Mark Shelmerdine 6-3 6-1. Peter Lindholm had more of a battle against Peter Blanshard but still won 6-4 6-4 but Simon Usher found Su Chaoqiang far too string, losing 0-6 2-6. In the doubles Blatchford/Finch clinched the points with a 4 and 4 win against Goff/Shelmerdine and Lindholm/Usher were unlucky in their very close rubber against Chaoqiang/Blanchard, losing 7-6 4-6 0-1.
The club’s 4th win on a successful weekend came from Boys 14U A who hammered their opponents away at Caversham for the loss of just 3 games. Jake Griffiths beat Jamie Barlow 6-3 6-0 and the team lost no further games as Oskar Wroblewski beat Rhys Warwick 6-0 6-0 before the two went on to win the doubles by the same score.
The next evening it was the turn of the Veterans as our Men’s O55 team hosted Bucklebury in Division 1 and were unlucky to lose by a set and a margin of just 2 games. Adrian Draffin/Dave Stone started with a 6-3 6-1 win against Darren Blackwood/Paul Munton but it became clear that that was the weaker pair as Andy Stone/Jim Hawes lost 1-6 2-6 to John Palmer/Mark Brunwin. In the second round, Stone/Hawes battled to a 6-3 4-6 1-0 win against Blackwood/Munton but Draffin/Stone missed out 6-7 5-7 in another close rubber against Palmer/Brunwin.
Two days later Ladies’ O40 visited Division 3 leaders Wargrave A and lost by just 1 game in a match that included two deciding tie-breaks. Tina Stern/Jenny Partridge started well with a 6-4 6-1 win against Linda Nelson/Rebecca Salisbury-Beard but Lorraine Fowler/Ravinder Norman were just unable to win against Christine Reid/Janice Dobbin, coming back to take the second set 7-6 after the disappointment of losing the first 1-6 but just failing in the deciding tie-break. They clearly ran out of steam in the second round, losing 6-7 0-6 against Nelson/Salisbury-Beard but Stern/Partridge kept the Crows’ hopes alive with a 4-6 6-1 1-0 win over Reid/Dobbin only to find they had fallen short by a game.
The following Saturday, the ladies were in action again with Ladies’ 1 having a difficult trip to Cholsey. Missing a few key players, the team were unlucky not to have at least one win after the first round as both Emma Knowles/Alison Nicholson and Ravinder Norman/Jenny Partridge lost in 3 sets to their opponents. Knowles/Nicholson got a win on the board with a 6-1 6-3 win against the home second pair but Norman/Partridge could make little impact against the first pair. The 1-3 loss means the final match away to Riseley, who currently trail the Crows by a rubber at the top of the table, will decide who wins the division.
With Henley conceeding their match against Ladies’ 2, the Crows team lead Division 7B with Wokingham 5, who they play in their next and final match, trailing by a point. Looks like 6th July will be a big day for our ladies’ teams!
The next weekend the men were in action with Men’s 1 visiting Twyford to play their firsts in Division 3B. Jon Blatchford/John Phillips surprisingly slipped up against Paul Smith/Rob Croft, losing 4-6 6-3 0-1 but order was restored as Russell Finch/David Smith beat Rupesh Ahluwalia/Andy Vyronos 6-2 6-4. With Blatchford Phillips winning 6-2 6-0 and Smith/Finch winning 6-0 6-3 in the second round the final 3-1 result means a win against Caversham Park in their last match should secure the division top place.
Men’s 2 were at home to Maidenhead 4 who were a couple of points behind them at the top of Division 4A but have a game in hand. The result was a 2-2 win which means a win in their final match against Twyford 2 is needed to ensure top spot. There were 4 straight sets victories, two for each team, and in the final reckoning it was the Crows’ team of Jim Hawes/Chris Torkington and Matt Paxton/Michael Harris who had won by 4 games.
In Division 6B, Men’s 3 were visiting Bracknell to play their 5th team, with Andrew Morrision playing his first men’s match for the Crows and veteran Mike Smith turning out for the first time this season to support young guns Nathan Osborn and Joe Forrester. Osborn/Forrester had their moments against Tim Kingcott/William Heath-Turrell but lost 2-6 4-6. Meanwhile, Morrison/Smith were having a real battle against Simon Putner/Navid Eila, gaining the lead but then losing it as the rain drove them indoors. On the resumption, the match reached 6-6, still in the first set, but at 6-6 in the breaker, Smith’s calf muscle popped and, although they finished the set, he had to drop out. With Forrester not feeling 100%, Morrison teamed up with Osborn to play a final rubber against Heath-Turrell/Eila which they lost 1-6 6-4 0-1. So it was a baptism of fire for Morrison and another layoff for Smith, but, despite the 0-4 loss, Morrison had proved his credentials as a tough match player.
On the Sunday, our junior teams had one of their less successful days. Our Boys 18U A team were away at Ascot and lost 2-4. Max Filley had a close match against Samuel Grimes but lost 4-6 5-7 but Dan Rippon made it a rubber all winning 6-3 6-2 against Marcus Morley; however, in the doubles the Crows’ pair were well beaten 6-1 6-1.
The Boys 18U B team were at Woodland and lost 0-6; George Dalton had a fight against Roshan Patel but lost 2-6 4-6 but Alex Trill couldn’t cope with Lewis Oke who beat him 6-1 6-1 with the doubles also going to Woodland by the same score.
It was the same score for our Boys 14U B team who hosted division leaders Latika B.
The Girls 18U match against Latika A was rained off; they need to win their final match against Latika to ensure they win their division.
However, our all-conquering Mixed 10U team have won their division unbeaten with Wargrave and Wokingham dropping out; disappointing for the players who would probably have preferred to play but a good result overall in their first season.
On the last Saturday of the month, all three mens’ teams had wins. Men’s 1 travelled to Wokingham to play their 2nds in Division 3B and their 2-2 win leaves them a point behind division leaders Caversham Park 1 who they play in their final match on 13th July in a showdown for top place. David Smith/Andy Sayer lost to Ryan Carson/David Durell in a deciding tie-break, 6-4 1-6 0-1, while Jon Blatchford/John Phillips were sailing through 6-0 6-1 against Alex Soto/Darren Dunmow. It was a similar story in the second round with Smith/Sayer having an easy ride, winning 2 and 2 against Soto/Dunmow, while Blatchford/Phillips were losing 4-6 6-4 0-1 to Carson/Durell. However, the two sets won against Carson/Durrell were sufficient to ensure a win for the Crows and the games score of 41-27 indicates the result was never really in doubt.
Men’s 2 had a trip to Wargrave to play their 2nds in Division 4A and their 3-1 win puts them a point ahead of Maidenhead 4 at the top of the division. The score doesn’t really reflect the closeness of the match as two of the rubbers won by the Crows were on deciding tie-breaks. James Brennan/David Stone won a very close match 4-6 7-5 1-0 against Colin Johnson/Charles Freeman while Matt Paxton/Mark Lardner were winning 6-4 6-4 against Tom Lewis/Gary Westwood. Paxton/Lardner lost their second round rubber 3-6 2-6 against Johnson/Freeman but Brennan/Stone were able to clinch the match win on another tie-break, winning 4-6 2-6 1-0 against Lewis/Westwood. A clear 3-1 win on rubbers but a far from clear games margin of 40-39. The results on 13th July will decide who wins the division with a win against Twyford 2 needed to make sure it is Crowthorne rather than Maidenhead.
Following their loss away at Bracknell in the previous round, it was encouraging for Men’s 3 to get their first win of the season away at Ascot on Division 6B. Although the result was 3-1, it could have been 4-0 had Steve Stow/Andy Stone managed to win their first rubber against Christian Hansen/Ashley Miles, but they lost a very close match 6-2 5-7 0-1. Joe Forrester/Andrew Morrison got the Crows on the scoreboard with a fine 7-6 6-3 win against Paul Hand/Tony Motton and, in the second round, both pairs won in straight sets, Stow/Stone 7-5 6-3 against Hand/Motton and Forrester/Morrison 6-4 6-3 against Hansen/Miles. So a solid perforance by the team that takes them out of the relegation zone.