The Captains took a big part in this week’s Men’s results. The Firsts’ Captain, Patrick, led his team to a tremendous away win at promotion-chasing Knowle, and Ray Clarke pumped some adrenalin into his Fifth team to reverse an earlier 8–2 loss against Fry.

But it was the opposing Camvale Captain, Ryan Harris, who was instrumental in forcing the Seconds to lose a very tight match by just one game. James Brocksopp, newly back from injury, had to carry the flag for his Third team, all of whom had not played in the Thirds before, and not surprisingly, they had a difficult time at Thornbury.

The Ladies’ Firsts continue to steamroller their opponents in their quest for a fast return to Division One tennis. At the midway point, five out of the six teams in Division 3B are all in with a chance to be promoted and relegated, making every game important.

Writhlington, travelling to Knowle, welcomed the young superstar duo of Tom Hunt and Matt Alexander with open arms, with Patrick Lodge and Jon Doel completing the four players. Tom showed early on that he was excited for the fixture by ripping the door off Jon’s car after he agreed to drive! A handy screwdriver and more force from Tom meant a warm-up at Knowle was probably not needed; the door safely reattached.

Matt and Pat paired up against Tony and Joe and quickly found a rhythm. Playing attacking tennis, they won through 6–2, 6–0 – the score not reflecting the game.

Tom and Jon came out of the gates flying against Murray and Ollie, 6–2 to Writhlington. The second set was a tighter affair, with Knowle taking it 6–4, and a tie-break was played. Both teams had match points before Knowle snatched it at the death 11–9.

Matt and Pat started slowly against Murray and Ollie, chiefly because Knowle sprinted clear, 5–0, with some great play. Matt and Pat came back with a change of tactics and somehow saved the set, 7–6, and from there took it 6-0!

Tom and Jon went up against Tony and Joe. Locked at 6–6 it was anyone’s game, but Tony and Joe took it 7–6. Another tight set followed, but it was 6–4 to Knowle.

The crucial set on the night won by Tom and Jon meant we took home the extra two points. Tom will be pleased his lifetime smash conversion rate continues to improve, 9/9. Well played team!

Ex-Writhlington player, Ryan Harris, carried his young Camvale team to a surprise victory over a very solid Writhlington foursome of Chris Cox, Adam Day, Graham Steer and Andy Jeffery. He dominated both rubbers with his partner Mark, and he hardly put a foot wrong all night in a tremendous one-man display.

The other pairing of Kyran and David managed to get enough games to win the match by just one game! The scores were: Andy and Graham lost 6–3, 6–2 to Ryan/Mark, and won 6–2, 6–3 against Kyran/David. Chris and Adam won 6–2, 6–4 against Kyran/David, then lost 6–2, 6–3 to Ryan/Mark. This leaves Writhlington in fourth place, with Camvale clear favourites to avoid the relegation tussle.

Ray Clarke, Richard Hood, Mike Cuthbert and Mike Bell entertained Fry Seconds on a very warm and sunny Chilcompton evening.

Ray and Richard took on Tony and ‘Big John’ and quickly threw away the first set, 2–6, with amazing generosity of point donation. This also continued in the second set, with blinding sun from one end not helping, until at 1–4 we finally changed tactics – taking all pace off the ball and dropping shots short. Not very pretty, but effective.

The set was retrieved to six-all and the resulting tiebreak won, 7–1. Opting to play a CTB, we cruised to a deciding set win, 10–2. On the other court, the two Mikes were battling Steve and Mark with a bizarre scoreline of 2–6, 6–0, 1–6 for a 2–1 defeat. Maybe the sun got in their eyes!

In the second rubbers, the two Mikes recorded a comfortable win over Tony and John 6–2, 6–2, having been well briefed on correct tactics by Captain, Ray. ‘Big John’ increasingly lost the plot as the rubber progressed, with both Mikes dominating the points and playing well.

Ray and Richard also won out in their second rubber, with a closer but well deserved 6–4, 6–4 win. Patient build-up play to create good volleying opportunities was key to this win, played in very exacting conditions from the blinding low setting sun.

A great comeback from the mighty Fifths, who still await the great return of Captain ‘Dean’s Ball’ Taylor.

Andy Jeffery, Patrick Lodge and Ray Clarke