Tennis: Oakham Ladies finish on a high

Oakham Ladies Firsts have come good at the end of the season.

Having won their derby last week against league leaders Hamilton, they went on to beat Gynsill 8-1. This puts them second in their league, a far cry from where they thought they might end up when the season began.

Captain Debbie Powell knew this was to be a difficult season, as several players could not commit to the full timetable.

In the end, various injuries and unavailability of players prevented Oakham from gaining promotion and they must try again next year to return to division two.

The Gynsill match was played in windy conditions but the Rutlanders seemed to settle more easily and got off to a 3-0 win after the first round.

Michelle Greening and Jackie Staines then played the hosts’ first pair and were skilful and determined as they edged ahead to win a very close rubber.

Jane Gilmore and Laura Reekie began slowly then gradually got to grips with the wind and ran home, winning all three rubbers.

Top pair Debbie Powell and Carolyn Davies kept a clean sheet, too, after one or two tight rallies with the hosts’ first pair at the end of the evening. The final match to play is at Oadby.

l Oakham Men’s Seconds’ pairing of Nick Crowson and Gordon Reekie played the match of the season against LFE’s first pair at The Vale on Tuesday last week.

It was a fitting end to their season and was thrilling for the spectators who applauded their magnificent win.

Crowson and Reekie used all their experience and determination to beat a young college tennis student home from America.

They had won their two rubbers earlier in the evening but were suddenly faced with a young player who could thunder down serves at great speed. He and his partner were foiled by the two Oakham men who were taking no prisoners.

It made all the difference between winning and losing as second strings Jeremy Wood and Justin Fowler had won two rubbers but could not match the first pair.

Unfortunately, Jack Hubbard had a tumble early in the match and was unable to produce his usual immaculate, hard hitting volleys. He and Dan Potter tried in vain to keep the opposition at bay but were hampered by the injury. The score finished 5-4 and puts Oakham right in the middle of division three.

l Mixed and Vets (men and ladies) teams continue to fight it out in the Leicestershire leagues, as well as in Huntingdon and Peterborough matches. Mix-ins on Mondays and Thursdays 
continue.