Craig Phillips Helps Somerset Men’s Tennis Win Promotion in County Competition!.
Somerset Men’s Tennis have secured promotion to Division 3 of the 7 tier competition for the first time since 1991. The team battled it out on the grass courts in Division 4 held at North Oxford Tennis Club for the week winning all their matches, against some teams with significantly greater resources. Avenue Tennis Club coach Craig Phillips was part of the successful Somerset County team and played a major role in securing promotion.
Somerset had a difficult start against a strong North Wales team but after some matches that went to deciding sets Somerset came through 8-1. The team enjoyed an easy time on Day 2 beating rivals Notinghamshire 9-0 with only dropping one set. The crunch match that ultimately decided the group came on day 3 vs Middlesex. In a match that contained an excellent standard of tennis, which was above the other teams in the group, Somerset pulled out victors 6-3 to make in 3 wins from 3.
The team faced Warwickshire on Day 4 who boast some of the finest facilities in the country. Somerset proved far too strong running out 8-1 winners at a canter. That guaranteed a place in one of the two promotion spots, but a win against Lincolnshire on the last day would mean topping the group. The team set about their business quickly and won 7-2 to the delight of the team. They were presented with their glass trophies by LTA councillor Nicola Maskens.The Somerset ladies team also competed in Division 4 of the competition, held at Cambridge. After a good start winning two matches on the first three days 5-4 (vs South Wales and North Wales) but faded away in the later stages of the week to go down to Division 5 courtesy of having won 1 less match across the week than South Wales.
Somerset is enjoying a good run in men’s tennis at the moment boasting three players in the team who have world ranking points, James Marsalek at World No. 773, Daniel Manlow at No. 1028 and Toby Mitchell at No. 1528. With two further players available for selection in World No. 439 Richard Gabb (Street) and No.1860 Andrew Bettles (Trull), both of whom were competing in professional events, the push towards the top divisions in county tennis looks sure to continue.
Back Row L-R: James Deem (Capt, Wellington), Sam Edwards (Wells), Craig Phillips (Avenue Club), James Pankhurst (Yeovil)
Front Row L-R: Alistair Felton (Street), Toby Mitchell (Mark), James Marsalek (Taunton), Daniel Manlow (Wellington)