Melton Mowbray Tennis Club’s mixed first team relinquished their hold on the prestigious Mercury Cup when they lost to a talented Loughborough TC team.
They were dealt a blow on the eve of the match with the loss of two players, and with Laura Cooper and Corinne Blythe nursing injuries, skipper Charlie Griffin knew they had a battle on their hands to retain the trophy.
The first round proved decisive when Simon Hawthorne and Charlie lost in two sets before both pairs of Mactaggart and Cooper, and Tom Rowe and Blythe agonisingly lost out in third set tie-breaks.
Mactaggart and Cooper pulled one back with a straight sets win, but it was to no avail as Charlie and Simon and Tom and Corinne both lost in a 5-1 defeat.
Scores: B. Mactaggart/L. Cooper L 4-6, 7-5 (6-8); W 6-4, 6-4. T. Rowe/C. Blythe L 6-4, 4-6 (5-7); L 4-6, 3-6. C. Griffin/S. Hawthorne L 4-6, 3-6; L 4-6, 4-6.
* On the league front the men’s first team whitewashed a two-pair Carisbrooke B team 9-0 to keep up their title aspirations ahead of Loughborough and Knighton.
Scores: B. Mactaggart/T. Rowe W 9-2, 9-1, W/O 9-0; R. Parmar/J. Rowe W 9-1, 9-3, W/O 9-0; L. Smith/T. Ellis W 9-2, 9-7, W/O 9-0.
* The men’s second team also kept up their promotion hopes at home to Leicestershire E.
Melton were in dominant form and collected a vital 9-0 win, with John Sturmey and Jake Beagle losing just five games in their three rubbers.
Scores: J. Horobin/S. O’Regan W 9-4, 9-8, 9-1; S. Hawthorne/J. Wheatley W 9-3, 9-4, 9-5; J. Sturmey/J. Beagle W 9-3, 9-0, 9-2.
* Melton ladies’ first team also secured a no-nonsense 9-0 home win over Leicestershire B to keep up the pressure on leaders Loughborough.
Georgene Ashmore and Jess Gadsby lost just two games, while skipper Charlie Griffin, partnering Sarah Driver at first couple, lost just three games in their three matches, and Sumitra Fox with Ellie Jenkins lost just four.
Scores: C. Griffin/S. Driver W 9-3, 9-0, 9-0; G. Ashmore/J. Gadsby W 9-0, 9-0, 9-2; S. Fox/E. Jenkins W 9-2, 9-2, 9-0.