Melton Mowbray Tennis Club’s ladies first team’s never-say-die attitude proved invaluable as they finished their season as Division One champions.
Their triumph came after favourites Loughborough LTC slipped to a shock defeat in the run-in, and despite the poor playing surface at their Sports Village courts.
The ladies’ team lost just once – to Loughborough – in a magnificent season, but with two matches to go the title seemed to be heading to their rivals. Team captain Charlie Griffin asked her team for a big effort to the end of the season and they responded well with resounding 9-0 wins over Leicestershire A and then Rothley.
Melton then faced an anxious wait before news filtered through that Loughborough had fallen to a surprise 5-4 defeat at Roundhill, leaving them needing a 9-0 win in their final match at Carisbrooke to pip Mowbray.
But they could only manage an 8-1 win which gave Melton Mowbray the title.
Charlie Griffin, as always, led from the front, finishing top of the league averages with 26 wins from 27 rubbers.
Georgie Ashmore and Jess Gadsby both won 24 out of 27, Corinne Blythe 20 out of 21, Ellie Jenkins 19 out of 21, Sarah Diver 19 out of 24, and Sumitra Fox nine out of nine to all finish at the top end of the individual standings.
Scores (v Leicestershire A): G. Ashmore/Jess Gadsby W 9-5, 9-2, 6-0; C. Griffin/S. Fox W 9-1, 9-7, 6-0; C. Blythe/E. Jenkins W 9-3, 9-5, 6-0.
(v Rothley): C. Griffin/S. Diver W 9-1, 9-2, 9-0; G. Ashmore/J. Gadsby W 9-2, 9-5, 9-4; C. Blythe/E. Jenkins W 9-3, 9-1, 6-0.
* Charlie and team-mate Corinne will be hoping to take their club form into the County Week, when they represent Leicestershire Ladies in their Group Three matches at Portsmouth.
The county will have most players available for the championships and will be hoping to be among the promotion challengers.
Clubmates Laura Cooper, Ben Mactaggart and Eban Straker-Meads, meanwhile, have been called up for Nottinghamshire.
* While the first team were able to celebrate, the ladies’ second team were dealt a bitter blow last week.
Having thought they had snatched the Division 3B title the previous week, they were then informed the LTA computer had registered a score incorrectly.
When put right, Stoney Stanton had instead pipped Melton by a single point.
Despite their disappointment, Melton’s joint captains Nicky Kennedy and Carol Gilchrist praised the efforts of their squad and congratulated Stoney Stanton on their promotion.