16th Nov. 17

Taking up where they had left off after the summer, Herne Bay’s Men’s 1 team proved unstoppable in Division 4A of the Kent League. Having won their opening match of the campaign, their remaining fixtures came in quick succession. At home to Sevenoaks 2, Bay’s pairings Alex Kazekeos/Ben Keighley and Matt Newman/Patrick Thomassen enjoyed the unusually warm mid-October weather and won all their rubbers in straight sets. Against the visitors first pair, both Kazekeos/Keighley and Newman/Thomassen had close first sets before the Sevenoaks pair fell away, losing both 2nd sets to love. The visitor’s second pair played more consistently but were ultimately no match for Bay.

Bay then travelled to Gravesham and Kazekeos/Keighley got off to a flyer against the host’s first pair taking the 1st set to love before Gravesham took the 2nd set in a tie-break. Despite the host’s aggressive tactics, Bay prevailed taking the 3rd set championship tie-break. With a similar outcome Bay’s second pair Newman/Thomassen also overcame Gravesham’s first pair in three very tight sets. Herne Bay had little difficulty against the host’s second pair, winning both rubbers easily to record a well earned 4-0 victory.

With Thomassen unavailable for Bay’s final match, Peter Elsden partnered Newman away at Knoll (Orpington) 2. Both Bay pairs beat the host’s first pair comfortably in straight sets but then found Knoll’s second pair far more challenging. Kazekeos/Keighley found themselves up against it losing a marathon 1st set before rediscovering their form where Kazekeos’ consistent baseline play and Keighleys’ dominant net play proved too strong for their opponents, Bay came through to take the 3rd set championship tie-break. In another tight contest Elsden/Newman eventually overcame Knoll’s second pair in straight sets. Elsden’s experience and Newman more aggressive play proved to be the winning formula and Bay once again came out winners 4-0. The result means the Men’s 1 team have an unassailable lead at the top to take the Division 4A Winter League title. Remarkably Bay only lost 5 sets throughout their four matches.

Also doing well are the Men’s 2 team who have continued their good form in Division 7B. Playing host to Beckenham 4, the ever reliable pairing of Graham Miles/Ian Cooke proved far too strong for their opponents beating both pairs in straight sets with the loss of only three games. The new pairing of Gary Smith/Dan Walker did well to beat the visitor’s 1st pair having previously lost a close encounter with their 2nd pair. Bay the winners 3-1. The Men’s 2’s next match could not have been any closer. The visitors this time were Shooters Hill 2. In the first round of rubbers the normally solid Miles/Cooke struggled and lost in straight sets to the visitor’s first pair. Meanwhile the returning Mark Townsend paired up with Dan Walker and narrowly lost out to Shooters second pair in a 3rd set championship tie-break. In the reverse rubbers Miles/Cooke were taken all the way before eventually closing out again in a 3rd set championship tie-break. Walker/Townsend then produced a fantastic display to completely outplay Shooters first pair to win in straight sets 6-1, 6-1. In a rarity, the match was drawn 2-2 in rubbers, 5-5 in sets and 36-36 in games. Despite the draw the Bay team are well placed at the top of the Division.

The Men’s Over 60’s Midweek opened their campaign travelling to Blackheath. Bay’s first pair Ian Cooke/Mark Townsend were far too consistent for their opponents and won both their rubbers in straight sets, losing only 4 games. Making his debut, Jim Holgate partnered Bob Toye and the pair put in an admirable performance to take the host’s second pair to a championship 3rd set tie-break, narrowly missing out after some bad luck with a couple of ill timed net cords. The set gained though proved pivotal with Bay edging the match 5-4 in sets after drawing 2-2 in rubbers.

In the Ladies section, Herne Bay Vets 1 met Tunbridge Wells 2 in their first match in Division 1A and played well to take the points. The first round of rubbers ended all square with Anne Gibbs/Sue Toye winning theirs in straight sets but Kay Mileham/Debbie Holden lost out after a couple of close fought sets. The reverse saw Gibbs/Toye eventually prevail after a tight 1st set and Mileham/Holden overcoming Wells’ first pair losing only 4 games in the process. Bay the winners 3-1.

Yet another close match saw Ladies 2 edge out Broadstairs Ladies at Broadstairs in Division 3B. Although all the rubbers were won in straight sets, they were all very tight and hard fought. Sue Toye/Kay Mileham narrowly lost both their rubbers but the excellent pairing of Caroline Packer/Denise Parrett took both theirs to leave the tie balanced at 2-2 in rubbers and 4-4 in sets. The count back revealed Bay just taking the spoils by 39 games to 37.

Mixed 4 opened their winter matches by playing two within a week, both at home and both successful. Kemsing 3 were the first visitors and at times the players felt they were playing more the wind than anything else. The match was played in good spirits however with some good tennis at times. Helen Lipyeat/Colin Thompson edged their first rubber in two close sets whilst Diana High/Roger Thomas comfortably beat the second pair. In the reverse rubbers Lipeat/Thompson trounced the second pair losing only one game. High/Thomas lost to the visitor’s first pair. Victory for Bay 3-1. The same Bay pairings hosted Blackheath 4 in slightly calmer conditions and again ran out 3-1 winners. Lipyeat/Thompson played consistently to take both their rubbers in straight sets. High/Thomas narrowly lost to Blackheath’s first pair in a 3rd set championship tie-break but overcame their second pair in straight sets. Mixed 4 are currently sitting at the top of Division 8B.

Elsewhere, the Deal Indoor League has got under way with Bay recording a win and a loss. Herne Bay Men’s 2 met Deal ITC 3 in an epic encounter that could have swung either way. Gary Smith/Steve Howard took their opponents to three sets in both rubbers, narrowly losing both. Jason Hollingsworth/Rob Catterick edged past Deal’s second pair again in three sets but fell short against their first pair having lost a 1st set tie-break, Bay losing out 1-3 in rubbers. The Men’s 1 team took Walmer 1 that was always going to be a close affair with some fine tennis on show. In a tight first rubber Alex Kazekeos/Ben Keighley were taken to a championship tie-break, Walmer edging it 13-11. They bounced back in the second rubber to win in two fairly comfortably. Meanwhile Bay’s second pair Matt Newman/Richard Marshall formed a cohesive partnership and let their tennis do the talking by taking both rubbers in straight sets. A fine 3-1 win for Herne Bay!