The ‘A’ team started the season playing in Division 1 after relegation last year, with a good 7-1 away win against Glebian A, and a defeat of Hampshire Club C on our grass courts. The team then battled out a good away draw to Compton & Shawford A on a very windy day with 4 non ‘A’ team players helping out the team, but this was followed by conceding a match away to Sandleheath, due to being unable to field a team (the B team were also playing that day). The team then had 3 home matches, which were all won, with the best result being against Winchester B (5-3), the team that were also relegated last year, which meant that victory in the last match against local club, Bassett A, would mean that they would go back to the Premier Division as Champions, and win they did 6-2, to finish with 13 points.
The ‘B’ team were playing in Division 2, after avoiding relegation last year, started the season with a home defeat against Kingsgate, but then got their first points with a good 5-3 home win against Portswood A. This was followed by a close 5-3 home defeat to Hampshire Club D and a great 6-2 away win against Winchester C, so the first half of the season returned 2 wins and 2 loses. The second half started with three away matches, which resulted in only one point gained out of six (1 defeat, 1 drawn & 1 postponed against Swanmore B). This meant that for the second year running relegation was a possibility; a home victory against River Park would mean safety, but the rains came and the match was postponed, leaving no free Saturday to play the match at home before our courts closed for the season. And so it came down to two away matches against Swanmore and River Park to get the required points, but the first match resulted in a 7-1 defeat. This meant that, after looking at the latest tables, if the team avoided defeat by more than 5-3, they would be safe on rubbers. After the mixed matches the score was 2-2, so one more rubber would mean safety. The 1st Men nearly got this, losing 5-7 in the 3rd, but the 2nd Men of Christie and Geoff Parmenter, won a 3rd set tie-break, to gain the required 3rd rubber. The 5-3 defeat meant that they finished in the safe position of 7th with 5 points.
Hants & IoW
The Men started their Division 6 season, with a 9-0 away defeat to local rivals Bassett B, but this was followed by a Walk-Over from Kingsgate B. After that, there was two 8-1 score lines, firstly a defeat by Totton & Eling and then a victory against Waterside. After three consecutive home matches, the season finished with two away matches, against Thornden and Wellow. These matches resulted in two 6-3 defeats, leaving the team with 4 points and finishing in 5th position. The Ladies weren’t playing this season, as it was decided that it had became too hard to field teams, so they were withdrawn from the league.
What a season the teams had, promotion for the Apsley A team and a successful nail biting end to the B team’s campaign. Many thanks to all the players who played in the matches, particularly the members who helped out in the Apsley A matches, when the regular players weren’t available. Let’s make next year as successful, by making sure that we field full and the strongest teams, so please make yourself available to the hard working team captains, and by keeping your “Match Saturday” free of other events, if possible.