THE Penarth Windsor Lawn Tennis Club ladies’ second team travelled to Radyr for their second match of the season with their sights set on a first win.
Having been undone by third set tie breaks in their first match, there was understandable trepidation when two of the first three rubbers went that way. Regrettably, history was to repeat itself and Windsor went into the break 3-0 down with a huge effort required to try and salvage a draw. Becoming accustomed to the artificial grass surface, the visitors began to take advantage of its low bounce and tendency to take the slice. They battled to win two deserved rubbers but were unable to complete the sweep and were resigned to a 4-2 defeat and an evening of thinking about how it could have been so different.
Having adapted well to their new division following last year’s promotion, the men's second team went into a home tie against David Lloyd’s seconds on the back of two wins. Though early in the season, it already looks as though the two teams are going to be in the heat of a promotion battle and the quality of the tennis suggested as much. The visitors made a third successive victory for Windsor look unlikely after taking a 2-1 lead after the first round. They also wrapped up another rubber to secure at least a draw before Windsor pulled the match back to 3-2. All eyes turned to the remaining and decisive match where the David Lloyd third pair rallied to force a third set tie break. Some brief confusion led to the visitors thinking they had clinched victory at 7-4, but, by the time the championship tie break reached its actual end at 10-8, it was Windsor celebrating the win to leave the match a draw that, ultimately, pleased both captains.
The ladies' third team also hosted a strong David Lloyd team last weekend. The early stages suggested that Windsor might struggle but all three pairs found their way into the match and forced a series of third set tie breaks. Clare Jones and Niamh Sweeney secured Windsor’s first rubber but they, unfortunately, weren’t able to add to it and nor were the other pairs of Bev House and Linda Ellis, and Gwenda Davies and Kay Clarke. As with the seconds, the team were left thinking how just a few points were the difference between victory and defeat. With a special guest talk from a sports psychologist, there is every chance that the club will find a way to turn the corner when it comes to the knife-edge third set deciders.
Of course, ideally, they will follow the approach of the ladies’ fourth team who don’t let their matches go that far. They had their third match of the summer league at home against Llantrisant and scored a great 6-0 win to go with two earlier victories that leaves them in top spot.
Their male counterparts, unfortunately, didn’t fare so well and succumbed to a 5-1 defeat to Cardiff Castle. Martin Griffiths and Jon Bockelmann-Evans picked up Windsor’s only win in a mammoth 2hrs 20mins match against their third pairing on a blisteringly hot afternoon. The other pairings of Mark Sweeney and Richard Davies and Richard Day and Alasdair Smith were unable to match the strength of the visitors but showed enough to demonstrate that better results are surely just round the corner.