Bourne-Deeping 18&Under Boys were crowned Lincolnshire AEGON Team Tennis County Champions after a brilliant but tense 4-2 defeat of DL Burton Waters in Lincoln.
Having been taken apart in the 16&U Boys’ final by the same opponents in a 0-6 demolition, the Bourne-Deeping players were determined to avoid suffering the same fate this year.
Top seed Matt Hassall, of Bourne, made a bright start, taking the first seven points of his encounter, before slowly slipping out of the match and dropping a tight first set. He responded well, though, and kept his nose in front throughout the second set to clinch it before racing through the third set tie-break to win on his second match point 4-6, 6-3, 10-2.
Second-seeded Ollie Brett, of Deeping, also made a promising start against a solid opponent but, unlike Matt, managed to maintain his early lead and clinch the first set with a spate of winners.
However, Burton Waters turned things around and raced through the second set before inching ahead at the end of a tight tie-break as Ollie lost 7-5, 2-6, 7-10.
With the final delicately poised, Tom Cooke of Bourne turned in a superlative performance, systematically taking apart a very strong, more powerful opponent in a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 victory, while captain Nathan Jones, from Deeping, made a slow start. He struggled with the slow courts early on but upped his game quickly to secure a 6-2, 6-1 win.
Needing to claim just one of the doubles rubbers to be crowned champions, Deeping-Bourne started brightly in both matches before first pair Matt and Ollie suddenly fell to pieces on court, losing ten straight games to sacrifice an early 3-1 lead and avoiding a dreaded bagel only in the penultimate game of the match.
With the pressure of the occasion now on Tom and Nathan after that 3-6, 1-6 loss, the second pair played superb tennis in romping to the first set before finding themselves 0-2 and two break points down in the second.
Rather than crack under the pressure, though, they reeled off the last six games to win 6-2, 6-2 and clinch the county title for Bourne-Deeping for the very first time at this level.