TENNIS: Duston closing in on return to top flight

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DUSTON United men’s A are closing in on a return to the top tier of the Northampton Men’s Winter League at the second attempt.

Duston picked up a vital 5-3 win over rivals County B, less than a month after cementing their place at the top by beating second-placed Abington A 8-0.

The pairings of brothers Connor and Max Evans, along with Joseph Clare and Richard Smith, played in both top-of-the-table clashes, dropping just three sets on their way to two big victories.

A large part of Duston’s success this season has been down to the Evans brothers, who have dropped just two sets out of their 24 played together as a pairing.

Connor, 21, will be looking to guide his side to promotion in his first winter season as captain of Duston’s top side.

Max, aged 16 has been in and out of Duston’s A team over recent years but has cemented himself in the side, forming a formidable partnership with his elder brother.

The equal efforts of the pairing of Joseph Clare and Richard Smith must also be recognised, as they won more than half of their sets played – as well as contributing with different partners.

It is now a tense wait for Duston United to see if they have done enough to win the Northampton Men’s Winter League and gain promotion to division one.

United have played all 10 matches, and must wait on second and third-placed Abington A and County B to finish their fixtures.

Second-placed Abington sit five points behind Duston with one game remaining, which is against third-placed County B.

Abington will need at least six points to overtake Duston at the top, from a match where their opponents also stand a chance of promotion.

County B lay 12 points behind leaders Duston with two games left to play, meaning at least a 6-2 and a 7-1 win will be needed to secure promotion as the outsiders in the title race.

County’s remaining fixtures are against second-placed Abington, before a trip to bottom side LMRCA on the last day of the winter league season.