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York dominated Lancaster in all but one of the weekend’s tennis events to take 12 of the 14 points on offer.
Saturday started horribly for the Men’s 2nds with each of their three doubles pairings well beaten. However, it was in the singles that their fortunes changed. Chris Wally’s 6-4, 6-4 victory over Jamie Nutter set a standard which Nathan Worrell then bettered with an unforgiving win over York’s Sam Francis during which he only dropped a single game.
York’s Bradley Hudson then gave the visitors a two point advantage with a convincing 6-0, 6-1 victory to take the score to 4-3 in York’s favour. That meant York needed only one more win from the remaining two matches so it was up to Vladimir Topencharov and Jeremy Cain to stage a fight back.
Both players won the first set of their matches against Peter Strachan and Matt Holland, respectively. However, they were both beaten 6-3 in the second set and faced an uphill battle to win Lancaster the points. Something had to give.
That something came when rain clouds appeared over Lancaster and within minutes the tennis courts were flooded. The players had to react quickly to the conditions and Topencharov did so best to take the final set 6-3.
The overall score was tied at 4-4 and despite the rain falling harder, Cain and Holland continued to play. Neither competitor could strike the ball with the accuracy they had done earlier, but Cain found the edge to take the final two games and a 6-4 win. After a truly dismal morning in the sunshine, Lancaster staged an enthralling comeback in the rain to win 5-4 overall.
Captain Akshay Janakiram was delighted with the turnaround when he spoke to SCAN. He said:
“It’s the first time we’ve won in three years. It’s a big turnaround from last year when we didn’t even win a set. It all came down to Jeremy and Vlad though, so big thanks to them.”
The heavy downpour meant the Mixed Doubles was moved to Sunday. Lancaster’s Felix Buchbinder and Andrea Gunz along with Alen Bramley and Gurt Gutmanis were the only couples to put points on the board for Lancaster. York went onto win the event 4-2 overall.
Although Lancaster’s Ladies 1sts lost their event 12-3 overall, the contest featured some great results for the red rose including Andre Gunz’ emphatic 6-0, 6-0 win. The stand out performer in the Ladies matches was York’s Cat Hanrahan though, who served brilliantly and outclassed Courtney Napurski in every department to win 6-2, 6-1.
The best tennis of the weekend came in the men’s singles when Buchbinder and York’s Jack Moon met. After his earlier loss to Moon in the men’s doubles, Buchbinder went in search of revenge and found it when he broke his opponent’s serve at the first time of asking. Nothing could separate the two after that though and the first set went to a tie-breaker. Moon went onto win the breaker, and eased to the second set 6-1.
As York won another three singles matches the win was guaranteed, and the final contest between Dan Dugmore and Chris McDonald was at risk of becoming an exhibition event. Neither player allowed that to happen though.
The first set ended 7-6 to Dugmore, and the two continued to exchange some intense rallies in the second to level the set at 4-4. Ultimately though, Dugmore had the shots take him to another level and after a superb lob he went up 5-4 to set up the chance to serve out the match.
McDonald struggled to return blow after blow from Dugmore and when match point arrived he could only return the ball with the frame of his racquet. The ball bounced high and dropped tamely into Dugmore’s side of the court. With his timing impeccable, Dugmore thrashed a forehand past Mcdonald to seal an emphatic win.
Although it proved only a consolation in the overall score of 9-6 to York, it was a great reminder of the high quality of tennis Lancaster had played throughout the weekend. Men’s 1sts Captain Craig White spoke to SCAN about his team’s missed chances:
“The weekend went well. There was some good play in the final match and the whole tie came to the last two points. It could have gone either way in the last two singles matches so in the end it was a shame we lost.”