Ipswich tennis players put club on map

IPSWICH Sports Club's men's National League tennis team's three-year campaign to put the club on the map of British tennis culminated in a thrilling best 16 club sides play-off at Sutton on Saturday.

IPSWICH Sports Club's men's National League tennis team's three-year campaign to put the club on the map of British tennis culminated in a thrilling best 16 club sides play-off at Sutton on Saturday.

Ipswich lost all four singles and the two doubles matches contained in the fixture to Sutton, who qualified as the best of the London and Southern clubs in their KIA National Club League Division.

Ipswich fielded a strong line- up based on their local club players Graham Fretwell (manager and captain), Marc Powell, James Ashton, Jeremy Cowley, Ashley Watling and Josh Bolt.

Sutton, however, were able to field professional (ATP) tour player, Matthew Smith ranked No. 631 in the world, and four more singles and doubles players with LTA ratings more than three levels higher than each of the Ipswich opponents.


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There were some close encounters though, with all of the sets played having to be fought for, and little room for unforced errors or inconsistency. Watling and Ashton, both LTA rated as 3.1 players, came closest to upsetting their opponents in the singles, both losing in 6-4 6-4 to Nick Weal (rated 1.2) and Ed Allinson (rated 1.1).

Powell put up the bravest performance of the day, losing to Smith 6-2, 6-2 but using some incredible improvised touches and without allowing the normally dominant Smith to settle or take any points or rallies for granted.

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Cowley (rated 4.1) also stood up well for Ipswich, playing the legendary figure of Miles MacLagan (2.1) in the fourth string, losing narrowly in the first set 6-4, and then 6-2.

The doubles went even closer with Powell and Cowley for Ipswich taking a set and forcing a tiebreak to decide the outcome, which again went in Sutton's favour.

Ipswich tennis has come a long way to reach the elite 16 of club sides over the last three years, and can look forward to many more successes as they develop and manage their squad with its effective blend of young European and local junior and senior talented players.

Team manager and captain Fretwell is delighted with the national acclaim that the team received during the eight National Level league matches, winning six and losing two.

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