Windsor LTC 3rds finish season in style
7:20am Thursday 2nd August 2012 in Sport
AS A result of weather cancellations, Penarth Windsor Lawn Tennis Club’s men’s 3rd team had a run of four matches in ten days to complete the season.
The first match, away at Allt Yr Yn, was not a promising start. Windsor found it difficult to adjust to the synthetic surface at the Newport club and also found themselves competing against a strengthened team which included a youngster more used the heights of the premier divisions rather than the lowly division 6 in which this match was played. Windsor came away with a disappointing 5-1 defeat, with only the junior pair of Elliot Richards and Tom Bellingham winning a rubber.
Back in Newport two days later at top of the table Stow Park, Windsor needed to put defeat behind them which is exactly what they did. First pair Alan Hope and Ben Bellingham won their first match on a third set tie-break against a strong Stow first pair and Morgan Williams and Tom Bellingham made easy work of their first match.
Third pair Simon Parkhouse and Peter Bellingham were locked into a long battle against the Stow Park second pair. One set up and serving to keep themselves in contention for the second set, an injury to Bellingham senior forced a short delay.
When play resumed Windsor lost the second set on a tie-break but went on to win the match on a third set tie-break. With a draw already guaranteed at the half-way point Windsor went back out determined to bring home a win. Morgan Williams and Tom Bellingham played robust tennis to win in straight sets against the Stow Park first pair and Alan Hope and Ben Bellingham again won with a third set tie-break.
Unfortunately, with Simon Parkhouse having to cover much more ground to make up for the injured Peter Bellingham the final match went to Stow Park. Despite the apparent size of the 5-1 margin there were actually only 8 games difference between the two sides, Windsor having the edge in four out of five tie-breaks.
The following weekend’s matches were both at home, the first to local rivals Penarth LTC. Morgan Williams and Tom Bellingham played exceptional doubles tennis to make light work of their first match winning 6-0, 6-2. Simon Parkhouse and Elliot Richards also had a straightforward match, beating the Penarth 3rd pair 6-4, 6-3.
The two first pairs, however, were battling it out in a match that eventually ran to over two hours. Alan Hope and Ben Bellingham lost the first set on a tie-break, then won the second comfortably 6-2 but lost out to Penarth’s strong first pair in the third-set tie-break.
In the second round the match was secured with both Parkhouse / Elliot and Hope / Bellingham winning their matches. This left Morgan Williams and Tom Bellingham battling against the Penarth first pair Tom Pegg and Joe Hall. A long first set was edged by Windsor 7-6 and with darkness falling both pairs continued their competitive tennis with Windsor finally winning the set 6-3 to secure a 5-1 match result.
After a day’s rest the team were back on Sunday morning to face Allt Yr Yn in the final match of the season. With four regulars out through coaching courses, holidays and injury, and the recent 5-1 defeat by the visitors in mind, Windsor may have expected a tough match.
But this spurred them on to play some of their best tennis in a 6-0 match victory. Alan Hope and Ben Bellingham made light work against the Allt Yr Yn first pair, winning 6-0, 6-1, although they had a much more difficult second match winning on a third set tie-break. In their first match, Colin Jones and Jon Ray stormed to a 6-0 first set but then lost the second before winning the third set tie-break. They went on to win their second match comfortably. Morgan Williams and Alex Brown, playing for the first time together, won both their matches, the outcomes of which never looked in doubt.
Team captain, Peter Bellingham, congratulated the squad on an excellent season: “We were all disappointed by the way we played last season but we rallied this year and have played some great tennis," he said.
"We have finished in joint second place with 86 points from a possible 100 and will narrowly miss guaranteed promotion by a tiny margin on the matches won percentage.
"I hope that with the usual end of season shuffling that takes place as a result of teams dropping out from higher leagues we may still be in with a chance of being promoted.
"Among our season highlights, being the only team to beat the league champions home and away is a great achievement. It’s also been a real pleasure to see how the junior players’ doubles tennis has improved this season. Their presence in the team has been central to our success and this has given the adult members of the team more confidence.
"My thanks go to all the core players who have contributed to the season – Alan Hope, Paul Hudson, Colin Jones, Simon Parkhouse, Morgan Williams, Elliot Richards, Ben Bellingham and Tom Bellingham and also to players who have stepped in to play the occasional game – Alex Brown, John Cox, John Adamson, Dan Pitt and Jon Ray."