STRATFORD clinched a record 13th Wildmoor Spa Tennis League Premier Division title with a 3-1 win over previously second placed Studley A in the penultimate week of action.
The result pushed Studley down to third place on 31 points, while Stratford reached 40. Alcester took advantage to move into second place on 33 points after they saw off Littleton 4-0.
Ardencote Manor and Evesham join Studley A on 31 points and all are still in the running for league runners-up awards. Ardencote beat Henley-in-Arden 4-0 while Evesham had one of their players pull out ill at the last minute and could only therefore manage a 2-2 draw – forfeiting two points to Studley B.
The latter result, along with Littleton’s, meant Studley B with 11 and Littleton with 12 are both relegated.
Callum Bailey and Adam Moran remained unbeaten on the night for Stratford by thrashing Mark Willmore and Damian Hampton 6-0, 6-0 and then dropping only on game in beating Martyn Richards and Dave Douglas 6-1, 6-0.
Stratford skipper Tim Page with Will Morley-Cotterell defeated Richards and Douglas 6-7, 6-2, 1-0 (10-8) after a close rubber, but then went down 1-6, 4-6 to Willmore and Hampton.
Alcester enjoyed an invaluable 4-0 win over now relegated Littleton and moved into second spot after a late run. Sam Allum and Barney Williams (Alcester) beat Chris Elliott and Paul Dyas 6-0, 6-0 and defeated Sean Sinclair and Nick Murphy (Littleton) 6-2, 6-0.
Alcester captain Tim Kenneally and Marc Rawling beat Sinclair and Murphy 6-1, 6-2 and beat Elliott and Dyas 6-3, 6-2.
Ardencote Manor stayed third after their comfortable 4-0 win over Henley. Ben Summers and Phil Silk (Ardencote) defeated Brett Mackay and Marcus Tate (Henley) 6-4, 7-5 and then beat Sam Turner and Oli Didlick (Henley) 6-2, 6-3. Christian Hardy and Jack Smith (Ardencote) beat Turner and Didlick 6-3, 6-3 and saw off Mackay and Tate 6-2, 6-2.
Evesham had to forfeit the first two rubbers to Studley B due to illness, but the remaining pair managed to win both their rubbers to emerge with a 2-2 draw.
Simon Wall and John Clarke (Evesham) beat James Fitton and Ollie Smith 6-3, 6-2 and beat Dave Douglas and Richard McGhee 6-2, 6-1. This unfortunate result may have cost Evesham the runners-up medals, but Studley B were already doomed to go down to Division One next year.
In Division One Moreton-in-Marsh with 34 points were crowned champions as, although second placed Claverdon could technically catch their points total, Moreton have a far superior sets difference.
Moreton achieved this goal despite being held to a 2-2 draw by fourth placed Snitterfield (22). Claverdon (30) lost their chance of the title and had to settle for promotion when they were held 2-2 at home by fifth placed Whitnash (20).
The team to miss out on promotion was Pershore (26) whilst Inkberrow (14), who had already completed their fixtures, were relegated alongside Aston Cantlow (9) despite the latter’s 2-2 draw with Pershore.
In Division Two HDA Redditch A took the title and promotion with 44 points after their 2-2 draw with second placed Ardencote Manor B (38). Ardencote did, however, confirm promotion but not yet the runners-up spot which is being contested by Alcester B (37).
With three teams being promoted this year from Divisions Two, Three, Four and Five, both Ardencote B and Alcester B have guaranteed Division One tennis next year.
Alcester B celebrated this first achievement by defeating sixth placed Stratford B (18) 3-1. Mid-table teams FISSC (22) and Chipping Campden A (21) drew 2-2 and bottom sides Inkberrow (15) and Shipston A (11) shared the points in a 2-2 draw which confirmed Shipston’s relegation to Division Three and leaves Inkberrow needing a miracle to avoid the drop.
In Division Three Snitterfield B confirmed their promotion place and stay top with 38 points after a 3-1 win over bottom and relegated Wildmoor Spa A (11).
Claverdon are still in the title race but also confirmed promotion on 36 points following their great 3-1 win over third placed Studley C (30). Henley B (27) are threatening Studley as they also won 3-1 against sixth placed Ilmington (21).
In the other fixture Alcester C (22) moved up a place to fifth when they beat Chipping Campden C (20) who are in grave danger of the drop.
Division Four saw the top three teams – HDA Redditch B, Inkberrow C and Claverdon C – confirm their promotion to Division Three next season.
HDA Redditch (40) did so with an emphatic 4-0 victory over relegated Chipping Campden C (2). Meanwhile, despite the other two being held to 2-2 draws – Inkberrow C (37) away to fourth placed Pershore B (29) and Claverdon C (36) away to sixth placed Moreton-in-Marsh B (22) – they also celebrated promotion.
Littleton B (24) moved up to fifth after beating Bidford-on-Avon A (18) 4-0. With this result, Bidford were relegated to Division Five.
Division Five, which has seen a ding-dong battle between leaders HDA Redditch C and Warwick all season, saw that contest continue, although both can celebrate promotion next year.
HDA C (44) convincingly beat bottom side Shipston B (12) 4-0, while Warwick (43) did the same to fourth placed Wildmoor Spa B (25).
Moreton-in-Marsh C (27), looking for that final promotion spot, moved up to third thanks to a 3-1 win over fifth placed Bidford B (22). Sixth placed Evesham B (20) overcame bottom but one team Inkberrow D (15) 4-0.