Round 2 of the Summer League matches started on Saturday 21st April with Men’s 1 at home to Bisham Abbey 1 in Division 2 while Men’s 2 were away at Caversham against their 3rds in DIvision 4A.
Men’s 1 had a close match, winning 3-1 but with three matches going to a 3rd set. Crowthorne’s Jon Blatchford & John Phillips took the first set 6-4 against Adam Kemp & Marc Cook but they were taken to a tie-break in the second set which they lost, although order was restored as they took the decider 6-1. James Brennan & Andy Sayer were in a real battle against the visitors’ second pair, Robert Daly & Nick Cox, winning the first set on a tie-break but narrowly losing the second 5-7 and collapsing a bit in the decider which the visitors won 6-1. In the second round, Blatchford & Phillips cruised through 6-2 6-2 against Daly & Cox to put the Crows well ahead on games, but it was left to Brennan & Sayer to secure all three points as they came through in three sets against Kemp & Cook, 4-6 7-5 6-2.
Men’s 2 had a match of four 3-setters with very little to separate any of the pairs. After David Smith & Russell Finch had lost against Andy Barker & Oliver Richardson, Matt Paxton & Chris Torkington levelled the set and game score with a win over Duncan Ross & John Aspinall. In the second round, Smith & Finch narrowly won while Paxton & Torkington were narrow losers. With the score at 2-2, 6-6 in sets and 64-64 in games, the home side took the shootout so the Crows came away with just a point.
On the following Sunday, our 18U Boys went to Mapledurham and recorded their second victory in a row, this time winning 3-0. Thomas Opalka had a tough match against the home number one, Jack Cuthbertson, coming back from a set down to win 4-6 7-5 1-0 on a deciding tiebreak. Dan Rippon cruised through 6-0 6-1 against Douglas Jones and, in the doubles, the Crows’ pair had a relatively comfortable 6-4 6-2 win to make it 3-0.
The next Wednesday evening our Men’s O45 Veterans travelled to Riseley to play RSF. Matt Paxton & Mark Lardner had a great start against ormer Crows’ men’s champion Chris Wise and his partner Shane Leather, winning 2-6 1-6. However, Mark Callaghan & Steve Stow found Earl Sibley & Phil Newborough a much tougher proposition and lost 1-6 0-6. In the second round, Paxton & Lardner also foun Sibley & Newborough a handful, losing the first set 4-6 before winning the second 6-4 and taking the deciding tie-break. Unfortunately Wise & Leather had upped their game by the time they faced Callaghan & Stow and the Crows pair went down 2-6 3-6. Nevertheless, it was a point won against a tough side in Division 2 of the O45s league.
The next Saturday it was the turn of our ladies. Ladies’ 1 travelled to Ascot to play Royal Ascot 2 who must have wished they had had a prior engagement! Tina Stern & Emma Knowles set the tone with a 6-0 6-0 thrashing of Kristy Leeming & Samantha Faulkner while Ravinder Norman & Jenny Sheppard were doing nearly as well winning 6-0 6-2 against Susan Knight & Amy Hammond. Both Crowthorne pairs recorded marginally inferior results in the second round with Stern & Knowles winning 0 and 1 against Knight & Hammond and Norman & Sheppard winning 1 and 2 against Leeming & Faulkner. With a 4-0 scoreline for the loss of just 6 games, our Ladies’ 1 team look set to return to Division 4 next season.
It was a win too for Ladies’ 2 who travelled to Binfield in Division 6A. With Lorraine Fowler returning from a year out with injury, she and Alison Nicholson played as second pair with Jenny Partridge partnering Maddy Dunckley in the number one spot. Partidge & Dunckley narrowly lost their first set 6-7 against Maria Pena & Penny Gillham and then lost the second 2-6. However, with Fowler & Nicholson winning 6-2 6-3 against Angelique Blom & Sue Bunch, the team had established a lead at the halfway point. Fowler & Nicholson went on to beat Pena & Gillham 6-4 6-0 and Partidge & Dunckley came good against Blom & Bunch, winning 6-3 6-1 to win the match 3-1 and claim all 3 points.
Also on Saturday our 14U Boys were in action at home against Royal Ascot. Although James Kempson won his singles 6-2 6-0 against Matthew Berry, George Loverdos was unable to make any impact against Samuel Grimes, losing 1-6 1-6 to make the score even with the doubles to play. Despite a great start, winning the first set 6-4, our pair were unable to maintain their standard as they lost the second set 0-6 and lost the deciding tie-break and thereby the match.
On Sunday it was the turn of Team Tennis Berkshire and once again Crowthorne 1, on a trip to Bisham Abbey, were finding out how tough it is in Division 2. Matt Paxton, rated 5.1, faced Rob Mariconda, 4.2, in the number one spot and he was blown away 6-0 6-0. David Smith lost 2-6 2-6 against Adam Kemp, but it was Russell Finch who gave the Crows’ team hope, winning the second set 6-4 after losing the first by the same score against Robert Daly. However, he lost the deciding tie-break and it was left to John Phillips, currently rated an improbably low 10.1, who won 6-2 6-1 against James Bradshaw in the number 4 spot. Although the doubles matches were closer, Phillips & Paxton lost 3-6 5-7 against Walker & Kemp and Finch & Smith lost 5-6 7-6 0-1 against Daly & Bradshaw; the final score, 10-2 to Bisham.
In Division 5A Crowthorne 2 were brought down to earth after their win at Home Park by a very strong David Lloyd Royal Berkshire team who have yet to lose a set in their first two matches. Despite it being a 0-12 defeat, the team of Peter Lindholm, Mark Callaghan, Richard McCully and Shaun Hewitt were not too disheartened to lose to a team of talented younsters who look set to win the division.