Bourne Tennis Club’s men’s first team beat second-placed Louth in their final match of the season but still had to settle for third in the table.
They pulled off a superb victory over their high-flying rivals to move level on points with their opponents on Sunday. But Louth held onto second by the narrowest of margins, shading Bourne on percentage points.
Sunday’s match was thrilling encounter that went all the way to a shoot-out with rubbers locked at 3-3.
Louth, sitting in second, had lost only one tie all season and were looking to finish with a victory over Bourne, bringing a youthful squad who, on paper, were expected to win comfortably.
Louth’s top player, Ed Allinson, a former pro tour player who had beaten Dan Evans, James Ward and Jamie Murray - though he fell short against Andy - began impressively with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Bourne’s number 1, John Timson. The emphatic victory demonstrated Allinson’s power and accuracy.
The scores were then levelled as James Westgate and Iain Ross pulled off an impressive and hard fought three-set doubles victory against the visitors.
Captain Clive Moody played impressive tennis to overcome Louth’s much younger number two in three tough sets as well. Westgate and Ross then entered the singles rubbers but unfortunately could not contain their younger opponents and both went down in straight sets.
Things were looking ominous for Bourne as the experienced pair of Timson and Moody lost the first set of their doubles to the much higher ranked Louth pairing of Allinson and Elliot. Timson and Moody however dug deep and played superb tennis to win the second set 7-6 before clinching the rubber in a match tiebreak to level the match at 3-3.
The match then went into a shoot-out with three match tie-breaks to decide the outcome.
Bourne clinched the first when Timson and Ross won an exciting doubles but Louth drew level when Westgate narrowly lost his singles. Moody meanwhile was matching Allinson shot for shot and finally nudged ahead 10-9. A big serve got Allinson out wide and then a pounding forehand crosscourt from Moody’s racket finished the point as Allinson could not make a play on the ball. Game, set and match, Bourne.
It proved a fantastic end to a successful season, with Bourne tied with Louth on points for second place after being relegation favourites at the start of the year.