Tennis: Bourne juniors narrowly lose to Spalding

Bourne’s junior tennis team fell narrowly short against Division 3 favourites Spalding C and now face a mountainous task to win the title.

Bourne lost the first three rubbers very quickly as Will Palmer and Tom Hill were swept aside by Spalding’s first pair, losing 2-11, while Matt Hassall and Jack Mangieri turned in a poor performance in a shock 5-8 loss to Spalding’s third pair.

Tim Bradley and Nigel Bridgewater, lending their experience to the depleted junior ranks, were also defeated 5-8 in a close match that could well have gone Bourne’s way and tipped the balance of the match.

The scoreline turned into 0-4 soon after as Tim and Nigel managed to win just one game against Spalding’s formidable first pair, leaving Bourne with their backs to the wall and just one rubber from defeat.

However, they had managed to defeat these same opponents from 1-4 down earlier in the season and were given hope in the second round of rubbers as Will and Tom edged a nervy tiebreak to win 7-6, while Matt and Jack turned in an improved performance to win 9-4.

Tim and Nigel got their first points on the board by winning 8-5 in their last rubber, while Will and Tom then turned around a 4-6 deficit to win their second tiebreak of the day and level the match at 4-4 going into the very last rubber.

However, it proved not to be another extraordinary Bourne comeback as Matt and Jack were broken early on and never recovered, losing 4-9 to Spalding’s unbeaten first pair and consigning their team to a 4-5 loss.

While it leaves Bourne in a good position to claim promotion, it effectively rules them out of the title race barring a turnaround in the final weeks.