Field Trophy Semi Final
Moreton were given a home tie against Hatfield in the semi-final of the Field Trophy. Victory would not only earn the team a place in the final but also secure promotion to next years Pol Roger competition.
The match started with the second doubles rubber which saw Tom Lewis and Simon Hobson taking on the Hatfield pairing of George Foxall and James Bowler. The honours in the first set went to Hatfield 4-6 but Simon and Tom turned things around for the second set levelling the rubber with a 6-4 win of their own. In the deciding set Moreton raced to a 5-1 lead before George and James started a revival which got them to 5-3 and looked like it might continue before Tom and Simon secured the win for Moreton 6-3.
With Moreton 1-0 up in the tie the No.1 singles march was next which saw our club champion Tom Bomford facing Hatfield’s Nick Lloyd. The match was a one sided encounter with the Handicap difference of 8 showing on the court. Tom eased to a 6-0, 6-1 win.
With the match at 2-0 Moreton required one more rubber to secure the win. Next up were Vaughan Hamilton and Simon Heck both equally matched according to the handicapper. Vaughan took the first set 6-3 before the more experienced Simon began to identify a winning approach and responded with a 2-6 win in the second. The third set started off in the same vein with 2 games going to Hatfield before Vaughan responded, levelling to 2-2. Simon then won three games on the trot to make it 2-5 and apply the pressure to the youngster. In the eighth game Vaughan saved one match point to take the game to deuce, found the grille to take the advantage and won the game with a successful second gallery chase, 3-5. The next game saw Vaughan save two more match points to take the game to deuce with both players then trading advantages in some long and entertaining rests. It took a main wall boast into the dedans from Simon for him to finally convert his advantage into a win to take the rubber.
At 2-1 Hatfield were now looking to level the tie with the final singles rubber between Lloyd Pettiford and Steve Brewerton another well matched pairing. With the first set at 2-2 the players then sought to demonstrate the accuracy of the handicap system with the next 5 games all going to deuce. Steve was able to convert the crucial points giving Hatfield the set 3-6 and increase the tension for those watching in the dedans. The second set started in the same manner as the first with 3 more deuce games. While coaching from the dedans is not permitted apparently shouting play-up-Pompey to a Southampton football fan is acceptable and had the effect of winding Lloyd up who found his focus saved a game point at 1-1 by matching a chase better than a yard with a ground stroke into the corner and went on to level the rubber taking the set 6-3. In the deciding set the players traded the first five games with the advantage going to Moreton before Lloyd took that last three games, the set 6-2, the rubber and gave Moreton an unassailable 3-1 lead in the match.
The final rubber was the No.1 doubles with Martin Rogers and Richard Willis representing Moreton and Mark Devonald-Smith and Martin Richards playing for Hatfield. On a high the Moreton pair took the first set at a canter 6-1 then debated at length whether they wished to swap servers for the second set they did and immediately regretted it. The Hatfield pair found their form with Martin and Mark both producing some great tennis out of reach of the Moreton rackets, 3-6. So a once again third set was required to decide the rubber and this time it went to 5-5 and a deciding game. The moreton pair were able to secure the serve for the game which gave them the advantage and the set 6-5.
The final score of 4-1 to Moreton Morrell does not reflect the competitive nature of the matches and the narrow margins between victory and defeat.
Moreton will meet Oxford in the final following their victory over Jesmond Dene on Saturday. With Moreton in the final a new neutral venue will be found for the match to take place on 11th March