COMPETITION at the top of the Premier Division increased in week three of the Wildmoor Spa Tennis League as current champions Stratford drew level at the top on nine points with Evesham thanks to convincing 4-0 win over bottom side Studley B.
Meanwhile, Evesham were held to a 2-2 draw at fourth placed Ardencote Manor. Studley A drop a place to third on eight points after they too were held to a 2-2 draw away to bottom but one team Littleton.
Finally, Alcester on six points stay fifth after a 2-2 draw with sixth placed Henley-in-Arden, who have five points.
After a wobbly start Stratford returned to the top of the table on sets difference after their 4-0 victory over Studley B.
Host captain Tim Page with Will Morley-Cotterill lead from the front, beating Dave Douglas and Mark Wilmore (Studley B) 6-0, 6-2 and then James Fitton and Chris McGregor 6-0, 6-1.
Stratford’s other pair Richard Monk and Ralf Nielsen beat Fitton and McGregor 6-3, 6-4 and beat Douglas and Wilmore 6-0, 6-4.
Evesham lost some ground over their adversaries after being held to this 2-2 at Ardencote. The opening rubber went Evesham’s way as Ardencote captain Myles Wilcox-Smith and Christian Hardy went down 4-6, 3-6 to Evesham’s John Clarke and Chris Francis. They then lost out to Evesham pair Simon Wall and Andy Crowther after a tie-break 3-6, 6-7 (3-7).
However, Ardencote’s other pairing of Ben Summers and Rich Butler surprised Evesham by beating Wall and Crowther 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-8) in the closest of third set championship tie-breaks, before going on to also defeat Wilcox-Smith and Hardy 6-4, 6-4.
Studley A also lost ground with a 2-2 draw at Littleton. Sean Witheford and Dave Rudge (Littleton) lost to Damian Hampton and Mark Wilmore (Studley A) 6-4, 6-7, 0-1 (6-10). They then beat Martyn Richards and Paul Farmer (Studley A) 7-6, 6-1.
Richard Herborn and Simon Blewitt (Littleton) beat Richards and Farmer 6-4, 7-5 but lost to Witheford and Rudge 5-7, 1-6.
Alcester and Henley drew 2-2. Alcester’s first pair Tim Kenneally and Stuart Beach took both their points by beating Brett McKay and Marcus Tate 6-3, 6-2 and then beat Sam Turner and Stuart Kent 6-3, 6-1.
James Morley-Cotterill and Harvey Williams (Alcester) lost to Turner and Kent 0-6, 1-6 and lost to Kenneally and Beach 0-6, 0-6.
In Division One Moreton-in-Marsh have opened a five-point gap at the top with 11 points following a 4-0 victory away to Whitnash.
Pershore on six points move up the table to second after a good 4-0 home win over Inkberrow. Finally, Snitterfield hosted bottom club Aston Cantlow and the resulting 3-1 win for Snitterfield moves them up to third place on sets difference behind Pershore with six points, pushing Claverdon down to fourth after they had no match.
Ardencote Manor B with 11 points top Division Two following a 4-0 away victory over Inkberrow B, who drop to sixth.
HDA Redditch A stay second place with eight points despite being held to a 2-2 draw by fourth placed hosts Alcester B (six points). Stratford B stay third with seven points after they overcame bottom team Chipping Campden A 3-1.
Finally, FISSC moved up to joint fourth after beating hosts Shipston A 4-0.
In Division Three Claverdon B retain top spot with nine points but level with them are Henley B and Studley C after they both enjoyed emphatic 4-0 victories.
Claverdon B were held to a draw by fourth placed Snitterfield B (seven points), while Henley B beat next to bottom Chipping Campden B 4-0 and Studley C beat sixth placed Alcester C 4-0.
Ilmington were docked a point for fielding only one pair but stay fifth on five points after drawing 2-2 with bottom team Wildmoor Spa A.
It was all change at the top of Division Four when Claverdon C knocked Bidford A off the top and down to joint third spot by beating their hosts 4-0. They share this lead with HDA Redditch B on ten points but with Claverdon’s set difference is one better.
The Redditch outfit entertained and beat joint third placed Pershore B 3-1, leaving the latter on seven points. Inkberrow C are joint fifth with Littleton B on five points apiece. Inkberrow C managed to defeat hosts Moreton-in-Marsh B, while Littleton B won 4-0 at bottom placed Chipping Campden C.
In Division Five new club Warwick lead on ten points thanks to a good 4-0 win at home to bottom team Shipston B. However, the Shipston side were only able to field one pair and were docked a league point.
Wildmoor B, HDA Redditch C and Inkberrow D all lie equal second on eight points. Wildmoor Spa B beat bottom but one side Evesham B 4-0, HDA Redditch C defeated Moreton-in-Marsh 3-1 and Inkberrow D beat Bidford B 4-0.