Hopes for title take a dent

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BOURNE’S top men’s tennis team suffered a severe blow to their promotion hopes as unbeaten Louth emerged victorious from a scruffy, hard-fought match.

Second pair John Timson and Iain Ross kicked the match off for Bourne in style with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Louth’s third pair, but Bourne were behind after the first round of rubbers. Third pair Michael Gauci and Matt Hassall took too long to work their way into their match and lost 1-6, 3-6 before first pair Clive Moody and James Westgate became embroiled in an epic match, eventually losing 7-6, 6-7, 7-10 to Louth’s first pair.

Clive and James recovered from their disappointment to defeat Louth’s second pair 6-3, 6-3 in a tense encounter to level the match.

However, after a bright, dominant start, three saved match points were not enough for Michael and Matt as they lost 6-3, 2-6, 8-10 and John and Iain were downed 4-6, 1-6 by Louth’s big-hitting first pair.

Needing to win all of the final round of rubbers, Bourne began well with Clive and James winning 6-4, 7-5 to bring the deficit to just one rubber.

Michael and Matt made a good start as well, despite being huge underdogs against Louth’s first pair, but fatigue and a few mistakes cost them a narrow first set and they went down 5-7, 2-6 to confirm Bourne’s defeat.

John and Iain also failed to convert some chances as they lost 3-6, 3-6 to Louth’s second pair, now in inspired form.

An overall 3-6 defeat means Bourne will be relying on results elsewhere to go their way in unlikely fashion for them to seal a return to Division 1.

BOURNE Ladies’ Firsts succumbed 7-2 to perennial Lincolnshire Tennis Doubles League champions St James but not without putting up a fight.

First pair Harriet May and Lisa Edwards got Bourne off to the perfect start by defeating the St James’ third pair 6-2, 6-1. But St James managed to haul themselves into the lead with a 3-6, 0-6 defeat of second pair Helen Whitfield and Liz Williams and a comfortable 1-6, 0-6 win over third pair Lisa Gauci and Fran Bradley, a first-time competitor.

Fran’s baptism of fire continued as she and Lisa, having got their toughest rubber out of the way, then went down 2-6, 1-6 to St James’ second pair but from that point onwards, the one-sided scorelines disappeared.

In the battle between the two first pairs, Harriet and Lisa upped the ante by scrapping all the way in a 5-7, 6-2, 9-11 loss. Knowing St James were now just one rubber from winning the match, Helen and Liz delivered in style with a resilient 3-6, 6-0, 10-7 victory.

With their lead looking in peril at just 4-2, St James moved up a gear and began to grind out wins:

Harriet and Lisa were defeated 6-1, 3-6, 7-10 and Lisa and Fran fell away at the end in a 3-6, 6-3, 2-10 loss. St James’ first pair maintained their unbeaten record with a 1-6, 4-6 defeat of Helen and Liz but a tight match could easily have swung Bourne’s way if they had not been edged out in three third-set tie-breaks.