Bromley LTC Title Defence Still Alive

The 2011
AEGON National Team Tennis Championships entered its final group stages at the
weekend with Bromley Lawn Tennis Club contesting a “must win” tie against Globe
LTC from North London on Sunday. Having
incurred two losses already this season, the defending National Champions were
well aware that anything less than a convincing victory in this penultimate
match would end their campaign.

With some
squad members unavailable, injured or playing qualifying events at Queen’s
Club, Bromley’s team on the day wasn’t as strong as they had hoped for.

Playing
indoors due to the rain, Bromley’s line-up for the four singles matches was headed
up by the Kent No.1 and Britain’s
No.17 Sean Thornley. Competing against Globe’s Konstantinos Kalaitzis, Thornley
quickly despatched his opponent 6-4, 6-2.

Having been
crowned Men’s Over 35 National Clay Court Champion the day before in
Bournemouth, Bromley’s head coach and Britain’s former No.3 Andrew
Richardson was very match tight going into his singles against Gaddo Guidotti,
winning 6-2, 6-3.

Oliver
Freelove, Britain’s
former No.8 and Bromley’s Team Manager contested a close three set match
against Bartosz Terczynski. Losing the first set 6-3, Freelove had to dig deep
and draw on all his experience at top flight tennis, ultimately coming through
to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Replacing regular
team member Tom Higgins at No.4 (who is imminently to become a father for the
first time), was Bromley club member and resident osteopath Tom Cornish. Despite
a great effort, Globe’s Deepindu Singh proved too strong and Cornish went down
6-1, 6-1.

Going in to
the two doubles rubbers 3-1 up, Bromley required just one more win to secure
overall victory.

Thornley
and Cornish teamed up as Bromley’s first pair to take on Kalaitzis and Guidotti
but were defeated 6-3, 6-1.

With the
tie now becoming very close indeed, Bromley were relying on the experience of
Richardson and Freelove to secure victory. The match didn’t start well as the home
pair lost the first set 6-4 to Terczynski and Globe’s team captain Damian
Nzekwu. With the whole tie looking to potentially go into a tie-break shoot
out, the Bromley pair pulled out all the stops and won the second set 6-4 to
level the match at one set all. A Champions tie-break would decide the rubber
(the first to ten points – clear by two) which the Bromley pair won 10-7,
securing victory for the team 4 rubbers to 2.

Speaking
after the match Oliver Freelove was impressed by his team’s gritty performance.
“A win was by no means certain as all our opponents in the group are of a very
high standard. The result could have gone either way at one stage and to dig
out the victory is a credit to all our players. Winning today means that we now
have a good chance of reaching a play-off for the finals. We still need to field
a very strong team for our last match to beat Sutton next week though, who have
been one of our closest rivals in the competition for many years”.

“The top
team in our group will qualify automatically for the finals in July. Those in 2nd
and 3rd place have to contest a play-off match against a team from
one of the three other National Divisions from around the country. With several
teams in our group all on the same number of points, qualification is still too
close to call and it will go to the wire”.

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