Chichester Racquet & Fitness Club’s Men’s First Tennis Team went into their last match of the season away, against Slinfold Tennis Club’s First Team. Both Clubs were joint top of the table and only one team was assured promotion and the title. With both teams being so close, on the number of sets and games won over the season, no team could rely on a draw to see them over the finish line.
The match comprised four rubbers and the first pair, Joe Van der Wee and David Kislingbury, struggled to take their chances in their first match and eventually lost 7-5, 6-4. On the adjacent court, Chichester’s second pair, Joe Glover and Ralph de Leeuw, raced through their first match, in just under an hour, to take the win 2-6, 3-6.
At the interval, with two rubbers played, both teams were equal and it was everything was to play for. Rain delayed the start of the last two matches, but once the conditions improved both got underway.
Glover and de Leeuw continued their fine form into the first set of the third rubber to win it 1-6. They were pegged back in the second set, losing it 6-2, and the match came down to a champions tie-break. After saving three match points, they took the victory 1-6, 6-2, 0-1 (10/12), and gave Chichester a 1.2 lead.
Both teams knew how significant the final rubber of the match was going to be. Van der Wee and Kislingbury took the first set 4-6 but lost the second 6-3. At one set all it was down to the wire and the whole season, for both teams, rested on a champions tie-break. With both pairs neck and neck, Chichester finally managed to edge ahead and take the fourth and final rubber 4-6, 6-3, 0-1 (5/10).
Chichester won on the day 1.3, and as a result secured promotion and the Tennis Sussex division title! Their summer season starts again in April.
David Kislingbury: Captain