For the first time in the history of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Summer Leagues, a team from Herefordshire has won the overall Division 1 title. Ross Tennis Centre's Mens A team have achieved this honour after a memorable season.
The season started with the worst possible fixture, away to a strong Manor Park team on their favoured artificial grass courts! Even in defeat, a 4-2 loss, there were early signs that the team had the right spirit with Allan and Neil Meek losing a tight three set match, newcomer Julian Hitemin fitting in well, the return of two hugely talented players, Tim Bibby and Jo Taylor and the ever present, now officially, 'veteran' player, Chris Friend!
Due to various commitments, the team pairings would, in the course of the season, be shuffled around, but this is where owner of the centre, Chris Friend, felt was the difference this year compared to others.
The players coming into the team have all added to the results. Colin Bennett and Richard Wheeler came in to face a very strong side from Worcester but the players managed to secure both their rubbers with their respective partners. In that match, Tim Bibby partnered Colin and Alan Meek paired up with Richard. Richard and Alan again paired up when the team travelled to Stourport and they again won both their matches.
Also in this fixture Paul Element came out of retirement and, along with partner Chris Friend managed a win before being edged out in three sets against the oppositions first pair.
Josh Gilmour, because of work commitments, could only play in two matches during the summer, away to Stourbridge B team, and home to last year's champions Stourbridge A team.
Reforming his partnership with Chris, he also completed his season with a 100% winning record, the highlight being a 7-5 7-6 win against the A teams first pair. The seasons results were as follows.
Manor Park Away lost 2-4, Worcestor Away won 6-0, Wall Heath Home won 5-1, Droitwich Home won 5-1, Stourbridge 'B' Away won 6-0, Stourport Away won 5-1, and Stourbridge 'A' Home won 6-0.
Going through the season losing just five rubbers was a fine achievement and the team secured the title by the margin of nine points from second place Stourbridge 'A' team.
The team captain, Chris Friend, is immensely proud of his team and hope all the players will be up for selection next year to defend their title. In the meantime, they are back in action this Sunday playing the first match in Division 1 of the Winter League at home against Manor Park 'B'.