1st Mar. 18

The winter period is always throwing up difficult conditions to play tennis in but despite this Herne Bay LTC have been able to complete a number of Kent League fixtures in recent weeks with a measure of success.

Herne Bay Men’s 3 produced an excellent performance away at St Johns in Division 10B claiming the points with an emphatic 4-0 win. Bay’s first pair Colin Thompson/Dave Lawrence did well to overcome St Johns first pair 4-6, 3-6 and had little trouble beating their second pair with loss of only 3 games. Meanwhile, Bay’s second pairing of the experienced Bryan Packham with youngster Robbie Benka proved far too strong for the hosts second pair before taking on the St Johns first pair and eventually edging the final rubber 6-7, 5-7. Bay are well positioned in the league currently lying 2nd with a couple more matches to play.

Maintaining a very strong position are the Mixed 2 team who top Division 4B with one more match to play after yet another fine performance away at Margate. After an indifferent start in which the Bay pairing of Anne Gibbs/Graham Miles lost the opening rubber in straight sets, Bay’s second pair Nicola Mileham/Dan Walker fought a marathon match eventually succeeding in a 3rd set championship tie-break after the first two sets were settled on tiebreaks. With neither side giving an inch, both the reverse rubbers culminated in championship tie-breaks, with Bay coming out on top in both to record a magnificent 1-3 win.

The Men’s Vets team played out two very different matches in recent weeks in Division 2A. Firstly they entertained Beckenham Vets 2 on a beautiful still day and ran out winners 4-0. In a fairly one-sided affair, Bay’s pairings Ian Cooke/Graham Miles and Gary Smith/Eddie Fisher proved far too strong and completed the job without losing a set.

Conversely their next match was played in strong winds and culminated in a very close match. The opening rubbers both went to championship tie-breaks with Cooke/Miles just edging theirs and Bay’s second pair Smith/Jason Hollingsworth (in for the unavailable Fisher) falling just short against the visitor’s second pair. In the reverse rubbers Cooke/Miles dropped only 3 games whilst Smith/Hollingsworth put up valiant resistance but fell short in two sets. With the match level in rubbers and sets, Bay just did enough winning by 4 games. Bay top the Division with one more match to play but are not yet assured the title.

Having suffered a 1-3 reverse at Canterbury, the Ladies over 60’s Midweek team bounced back in fine style at home to Blackheath recording an impressive 4-0 victory in Division1. Bay’s pairings of Diana High/Kay Mileham and Tui Thain/Isobel Warnock raced through the opening rubbers without losing a set. High/Mileham winnings 6-2, 6-3 and Thain/Warnock 6-1, 6-2. With High/Mileham brushing aside the visitor’s second pair 6-1,6-3, Thain/Warnock then had a real struggle in the final rubber of the day and after finding themselves 1-1 in sets, went on to take the championship 3rd set tie-break. The team still have two more matches to play and have consolidated their mid-table position.

The Ladies Vets 1 team hosted Sevenoaks Vets 1 in a very close match in Division 1A. In a keenly fought opening rubber, Bay’s first pair Nicola Mileham/Kay Mileham took some time to settle but after losing the 1st set 1-6, bounced back in a tight 2nd set tie-break and then went on to claim the 3rd set championship tie-break. Also finding the going tough were Bay’s second pair Anne Gibbs/Sue Toye. With Toye suffering the after effects of a recent illness, Bay fell away losing comprehensively in straight sets. In the reverse rubbers, Gibbs/Toye put up put up more fight and were unlucky to just miss out in a 1st set tie break before losing the 2nd set 3-6. The Milehams’ meanwhile had a more comfortable rubber against Sevenoaks second pair winning 6-4, 6-2. Although the rubbers were level 2 apiece, Sevenoaks took the match 4-5 in sets.

Elsewhere in the Deal Indoor League Herne Bay Men’s 1 took on Broadstairs 1. Initially it looked like it was going to be a tough evening when Bay’s first pair Ben Keighley/Alex Kazekeos were taken to a 1st set tie break but having successfully negotiated that, they went on to take the 2nd set 6-2 and with it the rubber. Bay’s second pair Matt Newman and new member Dan Sharp forged a formidable partnership and came through their first rubber 6-3, 6-0 and the trend continued in the reverse rubbers; Keighley/Kazekeos winning 6-1, 6-1 and Newman/Sharp continuing where they had left off comfortably winning 6-1, 6-2 for Herne Bay to take the match 4-0.

Herne Bay Men’s 2 also had a convincing 4-0 win this time against Hythe 2. The opening rubbers saw Bay’s first pair Colin Thompson/Rob Catterick get the better of Hythe’s first pair dropping just the 2 games winning 6-2, 6-0. In a feisty encounter Bay’s second pair Gary Smith/Jason Hollingsworth edged their rubber against Hythe’s second pair 7-6, 6-4 whilst in the reverse rubbers, Thompson/Catterick won 7-5, 6-3 and Smith/Hollingsworth 6-2, 6-2.