Holcombe Brook ladies second team face Leeds club Rawdon in a do-or-die home fixture in the last Aegon National Team Tennis round robin match on Sunday.
Victory this weekend for either team will lead to a play-off match against Scottish opposition, and either would be fancied to join the Holcombe first team, the defending champions, who have already qualified with three emphatic victoriesfor the Bournemouth finals in July.
It is a unique opportunity for the Longsight Road team as the organisers have never previously allowed two teams from the same club to compete in the national event.
But a commanding win in last year’s regional event, coupled with a lack of quality northern opposition forced a change in policy.
The Yorkshire team will be no pushover. They are led by national over 35’s singles champion, Anne Meridith, who played for “the Brook” in the early 90s.
Adding further spice to the match will be the sibling rivalry of the Craven sisters, Joanna (Rawdon) and Georgia (Holcombe).
Team captain Hayley Warrington from Ramsbottom is likely to play only doubles in this match as her team will be strengthened by the return of Hawkshaw’s Liz Ullathorne now back from playing the American university circuit.
If the Brook can clinch victory and go on to qualify for Bournemouth, first team captain Tony Lawson could have the uneasy task of his team facing his stepdaughter’s Warrington team at the finals weekend.
The Holcombe men’s team, regulars at the finals in recent years, are struggling without injured captain Andrew Davies, and qualifying through the play-offs looks their only prospect of being at Bournemouth.