Past encounters between the Newcastle and Northumbria tennis teams have been extremely one sided. Although the Newcastle team lost 10-2, the tie was much closer than previous years and was only won by extremely fine margins.
The doubles commenced with the usual pairings of Corey Chan and Leandro Mariani, and Oliver Warren and Timothy Brazel. Both doubles matches were intensely fought as both tussled for complete net dominance. Quick reactions and sublime hand skills allowed the teams to stay toe to toe, pushing each other all the way. In both matches, sets were decided by one break of serve. Chan and Mariani losing 3-6 5-7 and Warren and Brazel losing 4-6 4-6.
The match continued with the singles. With a quick turn around, Chan, Mariani and Warren went straight back on court. The first to finish was Warren, battling through the pain of a strained glute to win 6-4, 6-3. Warren’s opponent would have benefited from a quicker surface as his serve and volley tactics were neutralised through accurate placement of passing shots and superior groundstrokes from Warren.
"This was a war of attrition as both players used heavy topspin to build points and work an opening to finish it off"
Second to finish was the battle of the captains: Corey Chan and Sam Archer. Their match was a tasty affair, with a variety of thunderous points. Volleys, serves, winners, left, right and centre, along with a couple of line disputes: this match had it all. At one set apiece, and 4-4 in the decider, Archer made a few loose errors count from Chan to break and serve out the match. Archer successfully held, and with that, overcome Chan 6-3, 4-6, 4-6.
This was a trend which continued in Mariani’s singles. Winning the first set 6-2 it looked as if Mariani was in the driving seat. Momentum swung, and Mariani lost the second set 4-6. This was a war of attrition as both players used heavy topspin to build points and work an opening to finish it off. In the third set, Mariani found himself up 4-1 but ran out of gas, and lost the decider 4-6.
Losing 2-8 overall, the only thing left of play was Tom Smith’s singles. The match was played with a ferocious intensity, yet Smith struggled to find his rhythm. Smith’s opponent covered the court with great effect as he closed out the match 3-6 2-6.
It was a valiant effort from the Newcastle Men’s first team but it wasn’t meant to be for them this year. We look forward to next year’s Stan Calvert as well as potentially meeting Northumbria in the league.
MVP: Oliver Warren