After a disappointing start to the month it was good to have a weekend of wins on 16/17 November with Ladies’ 1 winning their postponed match against Marlow and Men’s 1, 2 and 3 winning against Bracknell, Maidenhead and Windsor respectively.
The month started with both Ladies’ matches postponed due to rain on Saturday 2nd and our Boys 14U Boys team of Harvey Dougan and Arlo Filley well beaten by Woodland on the following Sunday.
The following week, with all three Mixed teams playing, a single point was registered by Mixed 1 who drew 2-2 in their match away against Bracknell 2 in Division 3. Emma Knowles/Jon Blatchford won a marathon rubber against Anthea Fentum/Zeljko Juric, losing the first set 6-7 but taking the next 6-3 and the deciding tie-break. Cath Sillitoe/Hamish McCarthy were outplayed by Lesley Woolton/Mark Odonnell, losing 1 and 2 and it was a similar story in the second round as they lost 3 and 1 to Fentum/Juric. It was left to Knowles/Blatchfor to salvage a point for the Crows as they beat Wooton/Odonnell 6-4 6-1.
Mixed 2 had a home tie in Division 4 against Ascot 1 who, having been relegated down to Division 6 a few years ago, are now rising up the divisions and beating up every team they play against on the way. It can’t be much fun for them and it certainly wasn’t much fun for their opposition, Alison Nicholson/Mark Callaghan and Jenny Sheppard/Steve Stow, who collected a grand total of 5 games. However, their opposition in the previous round, Caversham 3, won just 2 games so Crowthorne’s 5 can be viewed as a considerable achievement!
Mixed 3 were playing Maidenhead 3 in their home match in Division 5E and they were unlucky not to get a point, losing 1-3. Ravinder Norman/Andrew Morrison started with a straight sets 6-1 6-3 win over the visitors’ first pair, Sheriden Walton/Simon Brittain, but Maggie Ingham/Phil Timm were beaten 0 and 1 by Natasha Baylis/Paul Sergeant who were evidently the stronger pair. Norman/Morrison also lost to Baylis/Sergeant, the score 4-6 3-6, but Ingham/Timm had a great start against Walton/Brittain, winning the first set 6-3 only to lost the second 1-6 and the deciding tie-break.
Ladies 1 vs Marlow, that had been scheduled for early October, was finally played last Saturday… reports Alison Nicholson.
Crowthorne’s first pair, Emma Knowles and Tina Stern, made a strong start against Marlow’s first pair, winning 6-1 6-4. They then had a lengthy wait, which did nothing to help Tina’s cold, whilst Cath Sillitoe and Alison Nicholson, Crowthorne’s second pair, were involved in a very close match. The first set went to the visitors 6-4. Cath and Alison came back from being 1-4 down and took the second set by the same score, 6-4. Finally Crowthorne’s pair won a tight championship tie break 10 points to 8. So at the break Crowthorne were in a strong position 2 rubbers to 0.
Marlow’s first pair were too strong for Cath and Alison and they only managed to win one game; however, Emma and Tina beat Marlow’s second pair without losing a game, so the three points went to Crowthorne.
An enjoyable afternoon’s tennis, and the right result for Crowthorne at the start of the season!
The next morning all three Men’s teams were in action and all three of them finished with a win on a morning when rain had been expected but the low mid-November sun proved to be the main hazard.
Men’s 1 were at home to Bracknell 2 in Division 2 and they were very pleased to finish with a 3-1 win against their local rivals. James Brennan/Russell Finch started with a 3-6 3-6 loss against Joaquin Munoz-Sabater/James Crane but Al Galloway/John Phillips levelled the tie with a 6-3 6-0 win over Mark Odonnell/Marco Attene. Brennan/Finch won a closer match against Odonnell/Attene 6-2 7-5 while Galloway/Phillips rounded off the 3-1 win 6-2 6-4 against Munoz-Sabater/Crane.
Men’s 2 were away against Maidenhead 5 in Division 4 and they will have been relieved to win the closest of ties by a single game following their defeat against Sonning in the previous round. All 4 ties featured deciding tie-breaks and it was Matt Paxton/Hamish McCarthy who got things rolling for the Crows, winning 6-1 2-6 1-0 against Andrew Guest/Jeffery Sears while Jim Hawes/Richard McCully were losing 6-4 2-6 0-1 to Simon Brittain/Peter Tarvin. Paxton/McCarthy were winners again in the second round, this time coming back from behind to win 3-6 6-3 1-0 against Brittain/Tarvin and, again, Hawes/McCully fell at the final hurdle, losing 3-6 6-1 0-1 to Guest/Sears. However, the last laught was on the Crows who, at the final reckoning, had won by 36 games to 35.
Men’s 3 were also at home, playing Windsor 6 in Division 6E and badly needing a win after a loss and a losing draw in their first two rounds. Vince Brooks/David Stone had a good start against the visitors’ first pair Jas Sandhu/David Stephens, winning 6-2 6-1. In the meantime, Steve Stow, playing with Mike Smith, who had come out of retirement to make up the numbers, were recording an equally convincing win, 6-3 6-1, against Jeno Nesselfeld/Nish Kainth. It was more difficult in the second round however as the sun came round making play from the top end of the courts impossible at times and the opposition started to gain in confidence. Stow/Smith never really managed to overcome the conditions, losing 3-6 3-6 to Sandhu/Stephens, but on the other court it was a set all at 6-3 4-6 as the rubber went into a deciding tie-break to decide whether it would be 3 points or 2 to the home side. There was a collective sigh of relief as Brooks/Stone hit the winning shot to make it 3-1 to the Crows.
The following Sunday it was the turn of the juniors with our Boys 18UA team winning 6-0 against Woodland. Dan Rippon dropped just one game against Edward Tracey but Thomas Opalka had a somewhat tougher time beating Roshan Patel 6-4 7-6. A 6-2 6-2 win in the doubles completed the clean sweep. With Boys 18UB and Boys 14UA both losing 0-6 in their away matches it was left to Mixed 10U to restore some balance, winning 8-4 at home against Slough. Henry Evan-Hart, Misha Ordovasand Jake Walbancke got the job done for the losss of just 2 games despite missing Angel Mendel-Idowu due to illness.