Promotion is back within reach of Bourne Tennis Club’s men’s team after a sensational victory at league leaders Appleby Frodingham.
A depleted Bourne team beat the Scunthorpe side 6-3 and although they sit third, the surprise two points leave Bourne level with second-placed Burton Waters with both teams holding games in hand of the leaders.
If Bourne win their remaining three games, all against bottom-half sides, they will be guaranteed promotion back to the top flight after a five-year absence.
Missing four of the side’s core eight players against Appleby, Bourne were clear underdogs and their first pair of Clive Moody and James Westgate were turned over 4-6, 1-6 by Appleby’s strong leading partnership.
It could easily have been an even worse start for Bourne, but second pair Edward Whitfield and Pete Bridgewater displayed fantastic resilience to recover from going behind as they split the first two sets 6-7, 6-2 with Appleby’s second seeds. They then inched a close third set to level the match for Bourne.
Graham Moyle and Tony Gauci, both making their first appearance for the first team this season, also found themselves caught up in a fight, but Graham’s energetic serve-and-volley game and Tony’s hard-hitting ground strokes earned them a well-deserved 7-6, 6-2 victory.
Graham and Tony then found themselves unable to replicate that effort as they were swept away 2-6, 2-6 by Appleby’s first pair, and Clive and James then lost their third set in a row for the afternoon, 4-6.
However, they displayed tremendous fighting spirit to recover their A-game and claim the second set 3-6 before securing the third-set tie-break, while Edward and Pete maintained their flawless record with a comfortable 6-2, 6-4 victory over Appleby’s third pair.
At 4-2 overall, Bourne were on the brink of a shock victory but Appleby threatened to turn things around as their second seeds defeated Graham and Tony 6-4, 6-4.
Determined not to let such a lead slip, however, Clive and James were almost untouchable in racing through a 6-2, 6-2 victory, and Edward and Pete delivered perhaps the best performance of the match in defeating Appleby’s thus-far invulnerable first pair in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 and seal a magnificent victory.
n Bourne Men’s Seconds tightened their grip on second place in Division 3 of the Lincolnshire Doubles League with a thoroughly comfortable 7-2 victory over Boston 6.
The result leaves Bourne with five wins out of six and a firm grasp on second place, but promotion ahead of runaway leaders Rustons Marconi remains unlikely.
n Bourne’s rock-bottom junior side claimed the shock scalp of promotion contenders Deeping B in a first win of the season that has been a long time coming.
Just two weeks after losing 5-4 to the same team away, a similar Bourne team turned the tables on their more illustrious opponents, winning 5-3.
With two matches remaining, it would take a herculean effort for Bourne to avoid bottom spot, but they have ensured they will not be go down without a victory.
n Bourne’s leading ladies’ tennis players were turned over 2-7 by a strong Grantham side when their hosts rain-sodden astro-turf proved too far removed from the home comforts of grass.