19th Feb. 19

Making the most of the reasonable weather conditions throughout January, Herne Bay LTC were able to complete a number of matches in the Kent Inter Club Winter Leagues.

The Men’s 1 team finally recorded their first win in their last match of the campaign when they travelled to Maidstone in Division 3B. In challenging conditions, very cold and with a blinding low sun at one end, the first round saw Ben Keighley/Alex Kazakeos edge a close 1st set 5-7 before powering on to take the 2nd 2-6. Graham Miles/Matt Newman narrowly lost their 1st set 7-5 but then bounced back to take the 2nd 3-6 to force what proved to be a pivotal 3rd set championship tie-break which the hosts went on to win. In the second round Keighley/Kazakeos again got stronger as the match went on to win in straight sets 4-6, 1-6 whilst Miles/Newman lost out 6-2, 6-4. With the rubbers level 2-2, Herne Bay took the tie 4-5 in sets.

The Men’s over 60’s Midweek enjoyed a good week playing two matches in the space of six days in Division 2 and coming out on top in both. The first match could not have been closer away at Gravesham. The opening rubbers saw the sides level pegging after Mark Townsend/Ian Cooke saw off their opponents 2-6, 4-6 whilst Bob Toye/Tony Blackhall faded after a sound start losing 6-3, 6-1. The reverse rubbers saw a similar pattern, Townsend/Cooke again proving too strong winning 1-6, 3-6 and Toye/Blackhall losing by the exact same scoreline. With the match level 2-2 in rubbers and 4-4 in sets, the countback revealed Bay succeeding 32-34 in games.

Next up Herne Bay entertained Crescent at Beacon Road and this proved to be a far easier affair with Cooke/Townsend imperious in dropping just 1 game throughout both their rubbers. With Toye unavailable Mark Roe partnered Blackhall and although they lost the first rubber, the partnership grew stronger and they finished off winning the final rubber 6-3, 6-0. The 3-1 win keeps them well placed for a potential runners-up spot with one match to play.

The Men’s Vets played host to Blackheath in a very tough Division 2A. Peter Elsden/Ian Cooke made light work of their opening rubber losing just the one game. Graham Miles/Gary Smith were taken all the way by a determined Blackheath 2nd pair. Having dropped the first set 2-6, Bay hit back taking the 2nd 6-4 and eventually edging the championship 3rd set tie-break. The second round saw Elsden/Cooke’s class again seeing off the visitor’s 2nd pair 6-2, 6-0 before Miles/Smith succumbed in straight sets. A fine 3-1 win leaves Bay mid table with a couple of matches still to play.

Herne Bay Mixed 3 continued their impressive form away at Brenchley & Matfield Mixed 2 in Division 7B. Bay did well to edge the opening rubbers to hold the advantage after Sue Toye/Matt Newman came out on top in straight sets 5-7, 3-6. Meanwhile Debbie Holden/Mark Townsend took their time to get going losing the 1st set 6-1. They fought back well to take a nervy 2nd set on a tie-break before going on to take the 3rd set championship tie-break. Toye/Newman carried on where they left off in the second round with Newman’s aggressive net play and Toye steady from the baseline to record a powerful win 3-6, 1-6. Holden/Townsend then had another epic match very similar to the first round. Having lost the 1st set, they bounced back to take the 2nd on a tie-break but this time the host’s edged the championship tie-break but it did not take the gloss off a fine 1-3 win for the Bay.

The Mixed 4 team rounded off an excellent season in Division 8A winning their final two matches by 4-0 victories. Firstly, Bay welcomed St John’s Mixed 2 to Beacon Road and the scoreline did not reflect the closeness of the match. Colin Thompson/Helen Lipyeat produced some fine tennis to win their opener 6-3, 7-5 whilst Roger Thomas/Lesley Oconnell just pipped their opponents in 3 topsy-turvy sets. The reverse rubbers saw a repeat of the first round with Thompson/Lipyeat overpowering the visitor’s 2nd pair 6-0, 6-3 and Thomas/Oconnell endured another marathon in which they were again taken to 3 sets before coming out on top.

Their final match was an impressive demolition away at Gravesham Mixed 3. All the rubbers were won in straight sets with Thompson/Lipyeat winning 2-6, 4-6 and Thomas/Oconnell 1-6, 1-6 in the openers and followed those up with Thompson/Lipyeat 1-6, 0-6 and Thomas/Oconnell 1-6, 5-7 winners. The results mean Bay secured the runners-up spot in their Division.

Elsewhere in the Deal Indoor League, Herne Bay Men’s 2 came up against Herne Bay Men’s 3 in Division 2. The familiarity of the players did little to quench the competitive side of the match and the opening rubbers saw the Men’s 2 1st pair Gary Smith/Jason Hollingsworth triumph over the 3’s Bryan Packham/Colin Thompson 6-4, 6-4 whilst the same score was recorded by 2’s 2nd pair Steve Howard/Geoff Holland against Tony Blackhall/Dave Lawrence. The reverse rubbers saw Packham/Thompson draw 1 set each with Howard/Holland and Smith/Hollingsworth defeat Blackwell/Lawrence 6-3, 6-1 for the 2’s to take the spoils 7 sets to 1.