Telford Park’s 5-4 ‘squeak win’ over Grafton on Sunday 4 June catapulted them to the top of the Points Standings, leading their visitors by just one point, but they are unlikely to stay there.
Hosts Telford halted Grafton’s unbeaten run on their clay courts in one of the closest and most enjoyable Millennium Cup encounters for a long time.
At the start it was Grafton that edged ahead 2-1 after completing the first round of rubbers.
Naela Muhammad proved too strong for the spirited Flo Binny, allowing her just a single game, while the boys was a close encounter, with Grafton debutant Jacob Miller outlasting Jamie Kirwan, 6-3 6-4.
In the Men’s Singles, Telford’s Paulo Rebora pulled one back against arch-retriever Mike Bright in a long match of endless deuces, 6-3 6-4.
The lead was to be short-lived, however, as Telford then effectively gained control of the tie, winning all the second round matches to go 4-2 up.
In the Women’s 40 & Over, Lisa Rebora won a tight first set, 6-4, against another Grafton newbie, ex-Telford member Vicky Pike, and took the second, rather more comfortably, 6-1.
Telford’s Pernille Hansen beat Rosie Merriman by the same score in the Women’s Singles, 6-4 6-1.
Meanwhile, there was an extraordinary fight-back in the Men’s 45 & Over when all seemed lost for Grafton’s Trevor Dunton as wily Richard Povey patiently built a 6-0 4-0 lead, only to have Trevor spark to reel off six games in a row to take the rubber into a match tiebreak in which Richard refocused to take it, much to his relief. Some match!
The two Mary’s, Prickett and Micklewright, out-steadied Telford’s Juliet Griffiths & Sally Binny, 6-2 6-3, in the Ladies Doubles, before Grafton’s Murray Sutton, delighting in the clay with drop shots galore, and super-server Emma Webb levelled the Mixed in probably the most entertaining match of the tie against Steve Graham and Caroline de St Quentin, who hardly missed a ground shot.
At the last it was Murray who polished it off with a delicate half volley drop, 5/7 6/2 [10-5].
With the tie poised at 4-4, it was left to the Men’s Doubles, already on court, to decide the result and it was Telford’s James Binny and Mark Francis who took the final rubber, 6-0 6-4, despite the second set fight-back from Tim Bannerjee and Alex Hamlin, and nicking the tie 5-4 in the hosts’ favour.
Special mention is made in dispatches of Juliet’s homemade quiches and salad!!
Just three points now separate the top three clubs in the Points Standings, with Telford Park currently leading the pack with 17 points, having completed all of their four ties, while Grafton lie in second place with 16 points and Norbury Park at 15, but both with one remaining tie to play.
It will therefore be a tense Sunday, 11 June, as Wigmore host Grafton and Norbury Park take on Woodfield Grove with everything yet to play for.
Report by Murray Sutton, Millennium Cup Captain, Grafton LTC
Telford Park LTC defeated Grafton LTC 5-4
(Telford names first)
Women’s Singles: Pernille Hansen d Rosie Merriman 6-4 6-1; Men’s Singles: Paulo Rebora d Mike Brigh. 6-3 6-4; Women’s Over 40 Singles: Lisa rebora d Vicky Pike 6-4 6-1; Men’s Over 45 Singles: Richard Povey d Trevor Dunton 6-0 4-6 [1-0]; Girls Under 16 Singles: Flo Binny lost to Naela Muhammad 6-0 6-1; Boys Under 16 Singles: Jamie Kirwan lost to Jacob Miller 6-4 6-3; Women’s Doubles: Sally Binny & Juliet Griffiths lost to Mary Prickett & Mary Micklewright 6-2 6-3; Men’s Doubles: James Binny & Mark Francke d Tim Bannerjee & Alex Hamlin 6-0 6-4; Mixed Doubles: Steve Graham & Catherine de St Quentin lost to Murray Sutton & Emma Webb 5-7 6-2 [1–0].