12th Apr. 18

Herne Bay LTC have enjoyed another successful campaign in the Winter Kent League.

Having won their league convincingly the Men’s 1 team took on Sevenoaks 3 in the Men’s Division 4 Final. Although chilly, the conditions were favourable for good tennis. Herne Bay were without Patrick Thomassen suffering from a virus and he was replaced by the experienced Peter Elsden. In the first round of rubbers Bay’s 1st pair Alex Kazekeos/Ben Keighley got off to a solid start where Kazekeos’ consistent baseline play, Keighley’s expertise at the net and their excellent court coverage combined to take the first set 6-4. Sevenoaks rallied in the second set and with the Bay faltering stormed the set 1-6. Kazekeos/Keighley settled down again and eventually took the rubber in the third set championship tie-break. Meanwhile Bay’s 2nd pair Matt Newman /Peter Elsden overcame Sevenoaks 2nd pair combining brilliantly with their consistent serving and aggressive net play to take the rubber 6-2, 6-3. In the reverse rubbers Kazekeos/Keighley had little trouble winning 6-2, 6-0 whilst Newman/Elsden took the first set from the visitor’s 1st pair 6-3 and were leading 2-0 in the second when their opponents had to retire through injury and Herne Bay took the title 4-0.

The Mixed 2 team also enjoyed a comfortable victory in the Mixed Doubles Division 4 Final away at Freedom Leisure 2. Playing indoors, Herne Bay got to grips with the surface quickly, Bay’s 1st pair Dan Walker/Nicola Mileham set the ball rolling with a well earned 6-2, 6-4 win in their first rubber. Bay’s other pair Ian Cooke/Anne Gibbs got off to a flier and dropped just the one game winning 6-0, 6-1. The reverse rubbers continued in a similar vein, Walker/Mileham taking theirs 6-1, 6-4 whilst Cooke/Gibbs had more of a battle to overcoming the host’s 1st pair 6-4, 6-3 to record another 4-0 victory.

The Men’s over 60’s Midweek team completed a fine campaign by topping Division 3. Entertaining Bearsted 2, Bay’s 1st pair Ian Cooke/Mark Townsend fought out a close first set eventually winning a tie break before taking the 2nd set 6-2. Meanwhile, Bay’s 2nd pairing of Bob Toye/Greg Pearson had a tight opener losing the first set 4-6 before coming back to take the second 6-3 and sealing the rubber by winning the third set championship tie-break. The match took it’s toll on Toye/Pearson who only managed to take the one game off the visitor’s strong first pair but Cooke/Townsend completed the job with an emphatic 6-0, 6-1 scoreline to win the match 3-1.

Two other finals saw Herne Bay being proudly represented. In the Men’s Doubles Division 7 Final, the Men’s 2 team travelled to David Lloyd Dartford 1. Playing indoors on carpet Bay’s 1st pair Ian Cooke/Gary Smith did well to take their first rubber in a close match coming through to win a championship tie-break. That was as good as it got. Cooke/Smith lost their second rubber in straight sets while Bay’s 2nd pair Dan Walker/Mark Townsend never got to grips with the surface and only managed to win 3 games over both rubbers.

After topping their league, the Men’s 3 team travelled to Gravesham 4 for the Division 10 Final. Bay’s opponents fielded two father and son pairings and the 1st pair proved to be too strong for both Bay pairings Colin Thompson/Dave Lawrence and Robbie Benka/Jason Hollingsworth, winning both rubbers for the home side in straight sets. Both rubbers against the host’s 2nd pair could easily have gone Herne Bay’s way but both were eventually lost to championship tie-breaks to complete a 0-4 loss.

Other teams completing their fixtures were the Ladies Vets 2 who journeyed to Beckenham and played out an incredible draw. Denise Parrett/Debbie Holden won both their rubbers in straight sets while Diana High/Helen Lipyeat did just enough in games in their two rubbers to ensure the match was tied. Scores in the end were 2-2 in rubbers, 4-4 sets and 31-31 in games for a share of the spoils!

The final match for the Mixed 3 team ended with a resounding victory against bottom placed Bromley Mixed 2. The ever reliable Matt Newman/Caroline Packer won both their rubbers fairly comfortably whilst the new pairing of Bruce Emond/Debbie Holden forged an excellent partnership to win both rubbers, the second going to a championship tie-break and a great start for Emond in his first match for the club. The 4-0 win means a third place finish in a very tough Division.

Elsewhere there was success for the Herne Bay pairing of Anne Gibbs/Graham Miles in the Maidstone Open. In a repeat of last year’s Final they were matched up against the holders Jackie Bowen and David Willis from Sevenoaks. Bowen/Willis got off to a flier and secured a 4-0 lead in the first set with 2 breaks of serve. Gibbs/Miles rallied and at 6-5 missed a couple of set points before going to a tie-break which Gibbs/Miles won 7-3. In the 2nd set another early break for Bowen/Willis saw them go on to take the set 4-6. In a deciding 3rd set championship tie-break which was close throughout, Gibbs/Miles finally closed out the set 10-8 to claim the title.