Defending champions Stratford off to a flying start

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Warwick’s Steve Attridge, captain Mark Mitchell, Mark Brennan and Paul Riman.

REIGNING Wildmoor Tennis League Premier Division champions Stratford-on-Avon started the defence of their title with a 4-0 victory over last year’s runners-up Chipping Campden.

The Bard’s town players Max Hurtubise and Ryan Bolton beat Campden’s Geoff Vaughan and Pete Lishman 6-4, 6-2 and then Campden captain George Richards and Tom Partridge by the same score.

William Morley-Cotterell and Jeremy Simmons (Stratford) then beat Richards and Partridge 6-3, 6-3 before downing Vaughan and Lishman 6-0, 7-5.

Alcester A, who had finished in third place last season, enjoyed an expected 4-0 victory over their own B team.

Charlie Watson and Marcus Powell (Alcester A) beat Pete Watson and Sam Thruston-Nend 6-3, 6-3 and then blasted past Duncan Robinson and Gareth Price 6-0, 6-1.

Stuart Beach and Barney Williams (Alcester A) also beat Robinson and Price 6-1, 6-0 before overcoming Watson and Thruston-Nend 6-1, 6-3.

The team that finished fourth last year, Pershore, opened with a good 4-0 result at home over Henley-in-Arden.

Steve Bauer and Dan Walker started well for Pershore with a convincing victory 6-1, 6-0 over Henley’s Oli Didlick and Tom Griffiths. They then enjoyed a comfortable win over Henley’s second pair Matt Williams and Carrick Waldron 6-1, 6-2.

In contrast, Pershore’s second pair Antony Fordham and Matt Sime were forced to fight harder for their two victories, overcoming first Williams and Waldron 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 after a championship tie-break before going on to defeat Didlick and Griffiths 6-3, 6-2.

In the final Premier Division match played at Evesham, the two newly-promoted sides met, with the hosts going down to Littletons.

While the visitors eventually ran out 4-0 victors, the result did not reflect the tightness of the contest between the sides in three of the four rubbers.

Sean Witheford and Ali Witheford (Littletons) opened by defeating Paul Everatt and Simon Wall 6-4, 7-5. They then had an easier job beating Andrew Crowther and Ray Foster-Morison 6-1, 6-0.

However, in the other rubbers two epic battles took place. Craig Witheford and Richard Herborn (Littletons) had to win a championship tie-breaker before overcoming Crowther and Foster-Morison 2-6, 6-2, 1-0.

They then had to repeat this feat before finally squeezing past Everatt and Wall 6-3, 6-7, 1-0.

Division One saw a spate of draws on the opening week of the season. The two teams relegated from the Premier Division, Ardencote Manor and Redditch, drew 2-2 as did Studley at home to Alcester C and Moreton-in-Marsh who hosted Stratford B.

The only positive result was recorded by Claverdon at home against Shipston-on-Stour.

Their 4-0 victory put them top of the table after the opening week, although the match was closer than the score suggested.

In Division Two, promoted Pershore B started their season well with a 4-0 win over fellow promotion side Warwick.

Henley B could only manage a 2-2 draw at home to Claverdon B, Snitterfield achieved a 3-1 away win over Chipping Campden B, while the two teams relegated from Division One met at Inkberrow where Inkberrow A and Ardencote B drew 2-2.

Bidford A top the Division Three table following their 4-0 home victory over Studley B. Two of the newly-promoted sides in Chipping Campden C and Evesham B drew 2-2.

The other promoted team, Shipston B, played two matches in the opening week.

The first was away to Redditch B where they lost 3-1 before securing a 4-0 home win over Inkberrow C which mean they head the division by a point.

Finally, Inkberrow C also played a second match against their sister side Inkberrow B which went to form when the latter emerged 3-1 victors.

Newly-promoted Stratford C made a promising start by topping the Division Four table after they recorded a straight sets 4-0 away win at Tysoe.

The other two promoted sides in Moreton-in-Marsh B and Warwickshire County Council shared the honours and points in a 2-2 draw.

Bidford B hosted Aston Cantlow, but their visitors offered no favours when Cantlow defeated Bidford B 3-1.

Lastly, Redditch C, who had been relegated from Division Three, were at home versus Wildmoor A and finished in a 2-2 draw.

In Division Five, new team Pershore C were happy with their promising start to the season when they recorded a 4-0 victory over Shipston-on-Stour C.

Another new team in Littleton B had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Moreton-in-Marsh C. Henley C, played relegated side Claverdon C and that too resulted in a 2-2 draw.

As expected Wildmoor B beat sister side and new entrants Wildmoor C 3-1.

Finally, Claverdon C hosted Shipston C as both played a second match of the week and came out 4-0 winners to top the table by one point.