Local Rivals, Mixed Fortunes

In a tense finish to the Wilson Sandford Sussex summer doubles league last Sunday, Amherst Ladies team hung on to their 2nd Division status by earning a 2-2 draw away to Angmering, while their St Leonards near-neighbours The Green suffered relegation after a similar score as hosts to the David Lloyd Club. 

With Southdown already down, the second relegation spot lay effectively between the rival St Leonards and Hastings teams. The Green had started the day just one point behind Amherst, and were playing with home advantage, but although both Green pairs beat the David Lloyd second pairing, neither made much headway against the first. Over at Angmering, Amherst had to compete without regular first-teamers Jane Garrett and Pearl Hare, and their second pairing of Barbara Fentiman and Bessie Miller found their West Sussex opposition too strong. But top pair Nikki Crowhurst and Nic Charter, the latter in her only outing for Amherst this summer, squeezed past Joy Withers and Sarah Hufford in a third set tie break, then won a straight sets victory over their hosts’ second strings, to earn a share of the spoils and maintain their one point advantage over The Green in the final league table.

Amherst Men won an easy 4-0 victory on the same day at home to Sussex County LTC in the 5th Division. Respective pairings of Mark Cunnington with Quentin Soucek and Ross Cudmore with Hayden Hoxhey each played controlled and consistent tennis of high quality. But the tightest of margins (equal points and just a fractionally lower percentage of sets won to sets conceded over the season) they lost out to Southdown in the promotion race, finishing third out of seven.

The Green Men have finished their fixture schedule in Division 8 East, and lie second out of eight, but are having to await other results before their promotion is confirmed. Robert Millington and Laurence Satow have been mainstays of their squad.

The Green did at least triumph over Amherst the previous weekend in a Wealden League mixed doubles match on the Amherst courts. With the Amherst second pairing of Dylan Preece and Sarah Chapman being twice defeated in straight sets, but Andy Chapman and Karen Cunnington overcoming Green pair Alex Williams and Sue McLeavy, it was left to visitors Rachel Allinson and Chris Grief to come from a set down to equalise against Chapman and Cunnington, and then win the final tie-break 11-9 to force a 3-1 team win. Local rivalry doesn’t come tighter than that.

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