TENNIS: Ward named British player of the month

Northampton's Alex Ward has been named the Aegon British Player Of The Month for April after back to back tournament wins on clay.

Friday, 20th May 2016, 9:47 am
Updated Friday, 20th May 2016, 10:50 am
Alex Ward

The 26-year-old has now reached a new career high world ranking of 294, leaping 26 places as a result of his successes in Turkey and Tunisia, breaking 300 for the first time.

The British No.8 was a winner in Turkey before going on to Hammamet where he also reached the final of the doubles event as he continued to thrive on the red surface. In the singles final in Turkey he defeated Portugal’s Pedro Sousa 7-6, 6-0, his opponent winning just 16 points in the second set.

Meanwhile, progressive county player Joe Tyler and his doubles partner Will Davies picked up a cheque for £250 after winning the Baron Cup on Sunday at Northampton LTC, where Ward himself was once a member. Tyler and Davies defeated County LTC’s Guilano Labban and Christian Rostlund in the final.

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A NEW-found respect for Northants tennis has been earned by other regional counties as a result of the recent steamroller success of the 10 & under boys at the Lionel Cox Trophy at Queenswood School in Hertfordshire.

However, it was only grudgingly bestowed in some quarters as the father of one of the Northants players discovered when his lad inadvertently left behind his light blue county hoodie with the words ‘Northants Tennis’ emblazoned across the back.

On ringing the centre to discover if the top could still be located he was met by a disbelieving voice on the other end with words to the effect: ‘Northants tennis? You won’t have a problem with anyone stealing that mate!’

A far more positive response was received when our persistent sleuth spoke to the Grade 3 referee of the tournament who confirmed he had the missing item of clothing in his possession and would happily send it off. “Yes, of course I know where Sywell is... I used to fly helicopters out of there!” was his surprise riposte.

What’s more, the offer of paying the postage from the grateful parent was also returned with healthy topspin by the referee who simply said: “Just put £5 in the Oxfam envelope next time it comes round...” which of course was quickly remedied.

“All of the lads are really proud of the Northants tennis hoodies so it was great to get it back again,” he said.

NORTHANTS Over 65 men secured a 3-2 win away to Wiltshire last week, coming from behind when they captured the brace of second round doubles matches.

Northants trailed 2-1 after losing the singles matches, Brian Gibbons going down 1-6, 3-6 against James Sinclair while Alan Wetherall was beaten 2-6, 1-6 by Mike Gourlay, the doubles pairing of skipper Charles Henley and Barry Searle keeping the county in the hunt with a 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 success against Colin Gratton and Ian Wallace.

In the second round, Henley and Searle managed a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Sinclair/Gourlay while Gibbons/John Sharman were 6-3, 6-2 winners against Gratton/Wallace.

Henley said: “Our first match was a 4-1 defeat to Somerset but much closer than the score suggests as two of the rubbers were decided on championship tie-breaks.

DALLINGTON A are keeping close tabs on County A in the John Henry League Men’s Division One after an 8-0 win at home to Duston United A last week, the pairings of Dan Pawlusek/Alex Ballinger and Steve Guy/Joel Wood delivering the bacon.

This Friday night’s most significant contests appear to be the clashes of Kettering A and County A while champions Corby Tennis Centre A are on the grass at Abington A.

COLLINGTREE presently sit happily on top of two men’s divisions while grass court specialists Abington have made a strong start in the mixed tables, and were heading Division One and Two until Northampton A beat their C team 8-0 on Monday thanks to Sam Wheatley/Pippa Fisher and Phil Smith/Lisele Sloane.

Abington were held 4-4 by County A last week with the home points split between Dominic Sefton/Amie Norman and Karl Adams/Tracey Hull.

TIME may reveal Earls Barton A’s opening 6-2 loss at early Ladies Division Two pace setters Brackley A was no bad performance and certainly the follow up 8-0 win at home to County E in which Sarah Bray/ Sally Gilbert and Judith White/Sarah Nicholls collected the maximum quota, goes some way to confirming this.

More should be learned from next Monday’s home fixture with Dallington C.

THE introduction of a ladies team at Roade has proved a positive step in Division Three as the village side have opened with two clearcut victories.

Roade sit on top of the table after defeating Rushmere C 8-0 before following up with a 7-1 victory away to Abington B.

Mary Morrison-Paton and Ann Jones have featured in both matches, the former partnering Suili Eckley and Jill McGreevy, while Jones has been alongside Charlotte Chambers and Valerie Cooke.