Telford Park LTC hosted Grafton LTC at home on Saturday 31 May in what was potentially a battle for a place in the final, with both clubs aiming to set high targets for the others in their final round robin matches of the league competition.
The first four matches were shared: Grafton’s Mark Gunner was at his athletic best in the men’s open singles, wearing down Simon Gaysford (TP) 6-4 6-3, while Telford’s Sally Cole levelled the tie in the 40+ singles against Julie Wilson (G), cutting out the unforced errors in the second set to win 6-4 6-1.
In the boys singles Ivan Barker (G) took control over the older and bigger Joe Snuggs (TP), taking it 6-0 6-2 as Grafton’s girl Katie Diamond looked on course when taking the relatively easy first set only to find Annie Griffiths (TP), playing her first Millennium match, digging in to snag the match in a mini-epic tiebreak and eventually edging through 2-6 6-3 [11-9].
Telford edge ahead
The evergreen Keith Lavender (TP) was too strong for Jon McElroy (G) in the men’s over 45s, 6-3 6-1, and Karen Milburn (TP) beat Anna Jones (G) 6-3 6-3 in a close contest to give Telford a 4-2 lead.
Grafton’s women’s doubles pairing of Nicky Babbage and Kath Bower just got the better of Telford captain Juliet Griffiths and Brigid Clarke 6-4 4-/6 [10-7] in another close encounter to keep Grafton’s hopes alive.
A brave fight
Grafton needed the men’s doubles to stay alive and two tight sets were shared, with Chris Stonehouse and Eddie Tomlinson taking evasive action from the hard-hitting Tim Loughhead and Peter Gaspar, who struggled with Chris’s fiendishly spinny serve.
Despite Grafton moving ahead in the deciding champions tiebreak, the Telford pair focused to score the win 4-6 6-4 [10/7] to mount an unassailable lead in the tie overall.
Telford’s Karen Milburn registered a convincing 6-3 6-3 win over Anna Jones (G) while Mark Rothwell and Rebecca Ruff (TP) battled hard for the valuable extra point in a very tight first set in the mixed before defeating Paul Flatters and Laura Arthur (G), 7-6 6-2.
The win put Telford Park at the top of the league table with 20 points and Grafton in second place with 18, both clubs having completed all their matches.
However, the three other clubs – Norbury Park, Wigmore and Woodfield Grove – still have two round to play each.
Results(Telford Park names first)
Women’s Singles: Karen Milburn d Anna Jones 6-3 6-3; Men’s Singles: Simon Gaysford lost to Mark Gunner 6-4 6-3; Women’s Over 45 Singles: Sally Cole d Julie Wilson 6-4 6-1; Men’s Over 40 Singles: Keith Lavender d Jon McElroy d 6-3 6-1; Girls Under 16 Singles: Annie Griffiths d Katie Diamond 2-6 6-3 [10-7]; Boys Under 16 Singles: Joe Snuggs lost to Ivan Barker 6-0 6-2; Women’s Doubles: Juliet Griffiths & Brigid Clarke lost to Nicky Babbage & Kath Bower 6/4 4/6 [10-7]; Men’s Doubles: Tim Loughhead & Peter Gaspar d Chris Stonehouse & Eddie Tomlinson 4-6 6-4 [10-7]; Mixed Doubles: Mark Rothwell & Rebecca Ruff d Paul Flatters & Laura Arthur 7-6 6-2.