Bourne lose narrowly as conditions take their toll

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Bourne Tennis Club’s men’s team made a losing start to the winter season in Horncastle, falling narrowly short in very difficult conditions.

With the rain heavy and the courts only just playable, Bourne were up against it from the off as top seed Matt Hassall was outhit in the opening singles rubber, losing 3-6, 1-6 despite a steady supply of unlikely winners.

Second seed Tom Hill found himself more closely matched with his opponent but passed up a wealth of opportunities to put points away, undermining what was a strong, aggressive performance in a 2-6, 2-6 loss that was far closer than the scorecard suggested.

Having lost the first two rubbers, Bourne could afford no more mistakes.

Tim Bradley and Richard Worth made a fine start to the first doubles rubber against Horncastle’s third seeds, taking the first set at a canter.

As the weather began to clear, the drier courts benefited Horncastle. The hosts were able to chase down more shots and force a third set, in which they claimed an early lead. However, Tim and Richard’s greater experience proved to be the difference as they won 6-1, 3-6, 10-5 to keep Bourne in the match.

Deflated, Horncastle’s third seeds then succumbed quickly to Matt and Tom, who secured a 6-1, 6-1 win with a display of huge serving and aggressive ground strokes.

With the match finely balanced at 2-2, Tim and Richard needed to deliver a result as underdogs against Horncastle’s top two seeds, but were blown away by their opponent’s relentless net play and lost 2-6, 1-6 to condemn Bourne to a tight 2-3 defeat.

l Bourne’s junior tennis side, Bourne A, maintained their perfect start to the winter season by crushing local rivals Deeping B 7-1 at home in terrible conditions.

First pair Matt Hassall and Ed Nation made a slow start in their opening rubber, with neither player consistent enough over the first few games.

However, some big serving and ground strokes allowed them to peel away from opponents Sophie Patman and Elliott Cox to win 6-3, 8-1.

Second pair Tom Hill and Jack Mangieri faced a sterner test, though, against Deeping’s top pair, David Packer and former Bourne junior Tom Cooke.

Having edged the first set, Tom and Jack could not quite match Deeping’s consistency and eventually drew the rubber 5-4, 3-6.

With the rain now torrential, Matt and Ed provided the two sets necessary to secure the match against David and Tom, coming through a tense first set with a committed performance before racing away again in a 6-3, 9-0 victory.

Tom and Jack put in a similarly strong showing against Sophie and Elliott. On top throughout, they swept through 7-2, 8-1 to complete successive resounding wins and leave Bourne looking dangerous towards the top of the table three weeks in.