Monday, 06 July 2020

Phyllis Court side hit back to secure place in quarter-finals

PHYLLIS COURT A marched into the quarter finals of the National Inter-Club Championship last week thanks to a spirited comeback against a strong Woking team, that necessitated winning three of their four afternoon matches to triumph 4-3.

On paper Phyllis Court were out-gunned in three of the four-player head to head match-ups and so the situation looked challenging at lunchtime with Raouf Allim and Chris Roberts doubles rubber and Ian Norris’ singles having gone Woking’s way.

Roger Golding had kept Phyllis Court in the fight with victory in his morning singles rubber, which, like the rest of the play, was compromised by the driving rain and cold temperatures.

Woking were headed by England international and UK number 11, Jeff Dawson, whose long range ball clearances and hoop runs were spectacular but uncharacteristic unforced errors were also in evidence in his game on this occasion.

Fortunately for the visitors, their number two player and captain Mike Town was in fine form and it was his performance that had made the difference in his side’s morning success in the doubles.

The first afternoon rubber to be completed gave Phyllis Court a big boost when their number four Norris brushed aside his opposite number with a quick-fire win 7-4, 7-1 to level the overall score 2-2.

Allim then recorded his best three-game win to date, in scalping Dawson 7-3, 6-7. 7-6 in the number one singles match which drew compliments for Allim from the former England player.

Roberts, at number two for Phyllis Court, monitored proceedings whilst matching the on-form Town game for game and with their decider also evenly poised, it looked as though the overall result would hang on that encounter.

But suddenly there was elation from the Phyllis Court team when Goldring, in the number three berth, got away from the higher ranked Malcolm Bigg after a first game reverse, to seal Phyllis Court’s victory with the all-important fourth match win, 6-7, 7-3, 7-4.

With the victory in the bag, it mattered less that Roberts got hampered at hoop nine which allowed Town to capitalise for, what turned out to be, a consolation match win 7-2, 5-7, 5-7.

Next up for the Henley team’s efforts to better last season’s runners-up position is a quarter-final tie against old rivals Surbiton or Sussex County. Phyllis Court A stuttered to an ultimately comfortable win in the SCF Level League two days later at home to village side Littleton, from near Winchester.

Allim and Goldring paired up for the morning doubles this time in a combination that didn’t gel as well as on previous occasions and they let their much lower ranked opponents draw level with them in the second game of three in their match, which was then halted, to be resumed only if the overall fixture result was dependent on it.

There was a surprise in the first of the morning singles matches to finish when Phyllis Court’s Helena Fensome fell 4-7, 6-7 to low ranked Ron Monger who played well above his grade.

Chris Roberts levelled the overall score with a 7-4, 7-5 win over Jerry Wilde with the four afternoon singles to come.

After lunch Allim beat Peter Wingent comfortably 7-2, 7-3; Goldring was challenged in his first game but ran out a 7-6, 7-2 victor; Roberts was too good for Monger 7-4, 7-0 and Fensome showed good spirit to come back after the morning’s shock to defeat Wilde in three games 7-2, 6-7, 7-5.

With the overall result decided the deciding doubles game was not played and that rubber was halved.

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