AT the halfway stage of the Wildmoor Summer Tennis League, Alcester A lead the way in the Premier Division by 24 points following their 2-2 draw with second-placed Pershore.
Alcester A fielded a weakened second pair against Pershore and it cost them two rubbers.
However, even the first pair were forced to fight all the way before triumphing in both their rubbers against stubborn Pershore resistance.
Stuart Beach and Sam Thruston-nend (Alcester A) just defeated Mike Langston and Matt Sime after a hard-fought championship tie-break 6-4, 3-6, 1-0.
They had to endure another three-setter before overcoming Steve Bauer and 6-4, 5-7, 1-0.
Alcester’s second pair Marcus Powell & Duncan Robertson lost to Bauer and Guppy 7-6, 2-6, 0-1 and then Langston and Sime 6-7, 1-6.
Reigning champions Stratford-on-Avon were dealt a blow by a Littleton team dominated by the Witheford family who made up three of Littleton’s four players.
Sean and Ali Witheford had to fight hard to beat Chris Welland and Nacho Fernandex 6-7, 6-1, 1-0 after a championship tie-break, but then defeated Alaistair Orchard and James Smith 6-2, 7-5.
Craig Witheford and Richard Herborn overcame Orchard and Smith 6-2, 7-5 and then beat Welland and Fernandez 6-4, 6-3, to dent Stratford’s title ambition.
Chipping Campden retained fourth place in the Premier Division this time by beating penultimate team Evesham 3-1.
Tom Partridge and Tobias Kemp (Campden) squeezed past Evesham’s Andrew Crowther and David Hubbard 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 on a tie-break.
They edged out Wall and Everatt 7-5, 7-5.
George Richards and Chris Davis (Campden) went down in three sets to Wall and Everatt 6-3, 6-7, 0-1, but bounced back to beat Crowther and Hubbard 6-2, 7-6.
Just above the bottom of the table, Alcester B took on bottom side Henley-in-Arden and shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw.
Matt Fielding and Gareth Price (Alcester B) lost to Tom Griffiths and Matt Williams 3-6, 3-6, but beat Max Retallack and Brett Mackay 6-3, 6-3.
Tom Edmunds and Duncan Robinson (Alcester B) beat Retallack and Mackay 6-1, 6-3, but then lost to Griffiths and Williams 3-6, 2-6.
In Division One, with previous leaders Ardencote Manor having no match, Redditch took over at the top thanks to a 4-0 victory over Alcester C.
Moreton-in-Marsh travelled to Claverdon and returned with a 2-2 draw.
This saw both sides drop a position to fourth and fifth respectively.
Lastly, Stratford B earned a 4-0 win away at Shipston-on-Stour to move up to third in the table.
Inkberrow A retained top spot in Division Two after they recorded a convincing 4-0 win over bottom side Henley B.
Pershore B are hot on Inkberrow A’s heels, but drew 2-2 with Chipping Campden B, leaving the latter in sixth place with 12 points.
Snitterfield A moved up to joint second after claiming a 3-1 win over fifth-placed Warwick (14).
Mid-table Ardencote B beat second-bottom Claverdon B 4-0.
In Division Three, Bidford-on-Avon A march on as clear leaders following a 3-1 victory over Evesham B.
Shipston B dropped to third after they could only manage a 2-2 draw against Inkberrow B.
Redditch B proved worthy victors over basement team Inkberrow C and moved up to second place.
Studley B jumped up to third with Shipston on 16 points after beating Chipping Campden C 4-0.
Stratford opened up an eight-point gap at the top of the Division Four table following their 4-0 victory over Wildmoor A who slipped to third place.
Redditch moved up to second with a 4-0 straight sets victory over Tysoe while Aston Cantlow drew 2-2 with Warwickshire County Council.
Meanwhile, Moreton-in-Marsh B beat basement boys Bidford B to stay fifth.
Pershore moved ten points clear at the top of the Division Five table after their 4-0 triumph over Claverdon C.
Third-placed Wildmoor B disposed of lowly Moreton C 4-0 while the mid-table clash between Wildmoor C and Littleton B ended in a 2-2 draw.
Elsewhere, Henley C beat bottom-of-the-table Shipston C 4-0.