WEEK eight of the Wildmoor Spa Tennis League produced a shock 4-0 win for Claverdon over previously second placed Alcester in the Premier Division, which pushed Alcester down the table while pulling Claverdon out of the relegation zone.
Evesham maintained the pressure on leaders Stratford with another good 3-1 victory, this time over mid-table Henley-in-Arden, although Stratford continued their seemingly unstoppable progress to a 12th title on the trot with a 4-0 win at Littleton.
Finally, previously high-flying Ardencote Manor met an improving bottom of the table Inkberrow who enjoyed home advantage, however Ardencote managed to claim a 3-1 victory meaning they stayed in the top half.
The surprise result of the week resulted when Claverdon entertained visitors Alcester. Their top pair Pete Thomas and James Courier cruised past Tim Kenneally and Matt Poole (Alcester) 6-3, 6-2 before an easy victory over Jack Newbold and Simon Tinley 6-0, 6-3.
Claverdon captain Richard Butler and Carsten Astheimer beat Newbold and Tinley 6-2, 6-1 and rounded off a great match for their side when they edged out Kenneally and Poole 4-6, 7-6, 1-0 (10-3) after a Championship tie-break decider.
Evesham kept their hopes of the title alive with a 3-1 victory at home to Henley-in-Arden and are beginning to look like the only team who might be able to challenge Stratford’s superiority.
Chris Francis, playing with captain Ray Foster-Morison, endured two tough tie-breakers, losing out in the first to Bret Mackay and Sam Turner (Henley) 7-6, 4-6, 0-1 (8-10), but then redeeming themselves in the second rubber by beating Jon Hunt and Max Retallack (Henley) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-6).
Evesham team-mates Simon Wall and John Clarke beat Hunt and Retallack 6-4, 6-0 and beat and beat Mackay and Turner 6-4, 6-0.
Stratford continued their unbeatable progress at the top by disposing of the penultimate side in the table Littleton 4-0.
Richard Herborn and Jack Philpott for hosts Littleton succumbed to Stratford’s Callum Bailey & Rob Slatter 3-6, 1-6 and then lost to Stratford captain Tim Page and partner Steven Price 1-6, 2-6. Dave Rudge and Sean Witheford lost to Page and Price 4-6, 3-6 and lost to Bailey and Slatter 2-6, 1-6.
Inkberrow met visitors Ardencote and gave them a warm welcome and a tough match. Ben Summers and John Brain (Ardencote) beat Gordon Keir and Jim Richardson 7-6, 4-6, 1-0 (10-1) and beat Nick Brookes and Mike Baker 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7).
Christian Hardy and Jack Smith beat Brookes and Baker 6-2, 6-3, but lost to Keir and Richardson 5-7, 7-6, 0-1 (7-10).
Division One had only two fixtures as both third placed Snitterfield and sixth placed Shipston-on-Stour had no fixtures. However, this did not detract from the clash between the top two teams when leaders Studley A hosted second side Pershore at Eldorado Close. The resulting 2-2 draw left Studley still clear at the top from Pershore.
In the other match Studley B travelled to Aston Cantlow in a match which could eventually decide who goes down at the end of the season and Studley B triumphed 4-0 and with this pulled up into mid-table and away from relegation worries.
In Division Two Moreton-in-Marsh A extended their lead to eight points by beating bottom team Claverdon B 4-0. Second placed Stratford B visited third placed Whitnash where after a tough match honours were even in a 2-2 draw and the sides stayed in the same positions.
Alcester B had a mid-table tussle with Bidford-on-Avon A who had been a point above them. The resulting 3-1 win for Alcester meant they overtook Bidford in the table.
Redditch side HDA A had no match, as did Division Three teams who all enjoyed a free week.
Division Four saw new leaders Henley-in-Arden B by a solitary point following their emphatic 4-0 triumph over lowly Littleton B.
Previous leaders Claverdon C dropped to second after they were held to a 2-2 draw by third placed Snitterfield, who still only trail them by a single point.
Mid-table Studley C overcame bottom side Chipping Campden C 3-1, while Alcester C had a free week.
Division Five leaders Pershore B stay top by two points following another maximum points 4-0 victory, this time over Bidford-on-Avon B.
Inkberrow C stay second after they beat foot of the table and sister side Inkberrow D 4-0. HDA B of Redditch travelled to mid-table Moreton-in-Marsh to play their B team and saw them off 4-0 to stay three points off the leaders.
The team with a week off was Wildmoor Spa B.