Holcombe Brook ladies and men’s teams both produced sizzling displays in the sunshine in last Sunday’s must-win qualifying rounds in the Aegon National Team Tennis.
With Rawdon maintaining their unbeaten run at the top of the table the Holcombe ladies visited Holmfirth club Thongsbridge in what had become sudden death match for the runners-up spot with the winners going into the end of June play offs.
Early signs were good as all four singles matches were played at the same time and all the Brook players got off to a good start. However Jessica Ren playing at number three fell apart after winning the opening set 6-1.
The 21-year-old was desperate to do well after last year, when through a misunderstanding of a rule she was the cause of her team to lose two important results and therefore certain qualification, when she played in this fixture last year.
But the occasion appeared to get to her and she ended up losing her match against a player, Olivia Noble, who she has easily beaten a number of times in the recent past.
Meanwhile Anna Fitzpatrick comfortably won the battle of the number one’s winning 6-3-6-4, against former Holcombe player Nicole Petersen.
Teenager Eva Siskova, who moved to England from New York last year made an outstanding debut for the Brook, beating one of the countries top junior players, Holly Horsfall in three sets, to put the Brook 2-1 ahead.
Holcombe’s number two Yasmin Clarke had a titanic struggle to overcome Emma Wilson, another highly rated junior. She lost the opening set 3-6 after having been a break of serve up. She then put her supporters, nerves to the test before winning a the third set tie-break by 8-6.
This left the visitors needing just one win from the two doubles to secure a play-off place, and no 1 pairing of Fitzpatrick and Clarke produced a blistering display to deliver in fine style.
Jessica Ren and Siskova struggled at first but when Ren saw that victory was assured her free flowing play returned and they also won a championship tie-break to record a slightly flattering 5-1 overall victory.
The men also recorded a stunning victory when they beat local rivals Manchester Northern at home. The home team again recorded a 3-1 lead after the singles round, the highlight of which was the battle of the number one players.
Making his debut for the Brook was Cheshire player Ashley Hewitt, who was up against Liam Broady, a player ranked inside the world top 400. Broady rarely loses at this level and when he won a tight opening set 7-6 things seemed to be going as expected.
But that was without taking in the tenacity of the new man who dug in deep and battled to record a shock three set victory in two and a half hours of ferocious tennis. The opening doubles was quickly lost, but captain Andrew Davies pulled a shrewd move by bringing in a fresh pairing of Chris Nott and Johnny Parkes who secured a tight two-set win which brought the 4-2 victory that puts the Brook on top of the league. With two matches to go, qualification is now in their own hands.