The bottom-placed side came within a whisker of upsetting the top-placed team when Marlborough Rockets went down on set countback to Marlborough Foxes in round nine of the Craigs Investment Partners Marlborough Premier tennis competition on Wednesday night.
Both sides won three matches each, but, in the end, it was Foxes who narrowly triumphed by eight sets to six at the Forrest Winery Marlborough Tennis Centre.
Rockets benefited from having Eveline Apthorp subbing in for Abbey Hogg, Apthorp fighting back to win her singles over Mel Trolove and combining with Yuichi Ando for another come-from-behind win in the mixed doubles. Ando easily accounted for Nick McLauchlan to earn Rockets other point.
However, Foxes' Robert Cowlishaw and Lee Harborne comfortably won their singles and joined forces to take out the men's doubles over Blair Harvey and Jason Flowerday. With the score locked at 3-all, the sets won by Trolove in her loss to Apthorp and Trolove and McLauchlan's defeat by Apthorp and Ando in the mixed match proved the difference for Foxes.
Foxes' victory saw them maintain a six-point advantage over Rapaura Drylands One at the head of the standings.
Drylands One downed Marlborough Dragons 5-1 on Wednesday, strong performances coming from Anthony Walkenhorst and Mark Evans for Rapaura's top side. Donna Clark beat Sandy Stubbs in the women's singles for Dragons' lone point.
Marlborough Stars beat a young Marlborough Bullets outfit 4-2 to maintain third spot on the ladder. Hamish Morrow and Charlie Mercer were standouts for Stars, with Josh Winter winning his singles for Bullets and Andrew Forgesson teaming up with Sarah Maxwell for a notable three-set win over Stars' Lily O'Fagan and Hiro Kishida.
On grass at Rapaura, Rapaura Drylands Two scored a 4-2 win to stay in touch with the leaders, but were made to fight by an increasingly competitive Marlborough Jigsaw side. Three matches went to super tiebreaks, with Jigsaw winning two of those thanks to Logan Croad and young Joshua Gwynne. However, Rapuara's Owen Dodson won a nail-biter over Nick Winter and with Rebecca Boon women's singles triumph and wins in both doubles matches, the home side secured victory.
ROUND NINE RESULTS
Marlborough Foxes 3 (8 sets) beat Marlborough Rockets 3 (6 sets): Robert Cowlishaw beat Blair Harvey 6/1 6/3, Lee Harborne beat Jason Flowerday 6/2 6/0, Nick McLauchlan lost to Yuichi Ando 6/0 6/3, Mel Trolove lost to Eveline Apthorp 3/6 6/4 10/8, Cowlishaw & Harborne beat Harvey & Flowerday 6/1 7/5, McLauchlan & Trolove lost to Ando & Apthorp 3/6 7/6 10/5.
Marlborough Dragons 1 lost to Rapaura Drylands One 5: Peter Rogge lost to Anthony Walkenhorst 6/0 6/4, Nigel Sowman lost to Darryl Harper 1/6 6/4 10/4, Josh Watson lost to Mark Evans 6/3 6/0, Donna Clark beat Sandy Stubbs 6/0 6/4, Watson & Sowman lost to Harper & Evans 7/5 6/4, Rogge & Clark lost to Walkenhorst & Stubbs 6/4 6/4.
Marlborough Stars 4 beat Marlborough Bullets 2: Hamish Morrow beat Andrew Forgesson 6/2 6/2, Hiro Kishida lost to Josh Winter 7/6 (5) 6/3, Charlie Mercer beat Mitchell Smith 3/6 7/6 10/8, Lily O'Fagan beat Sarah Maxwell 6/1 6/0, Morrow & Mercer beat Winter & Smith 6/2 6/2, Kishida & O'Fagan lost to Forgesson & Maxwell 2/6 6/4 10/3.
Marlborough Jigsaw 2 lost to Rapaura Drylands Two 4: Nick Winter lost to Owen Dodson 6/4 3/6 13/11, Logan Croad beat Ben Burridge 6/2 3/6 10/6, Joshua Gwynne beat Gary Tait 7/5 3/6 10/4, Kate Rawcliffe lost to Rebecca Boon 6/3 7/5, Croad & Gwynne lost to Dodson & Tait 6/2 6/2, Winter & Rawcliffe lost to Burridge & Boon 6/3 7/6. Points standings: Marlborough Foxes 55, Rapaura Drylands One 49, Marlborough Stars 44, Rapaura Drylands Two 35, Marlborough Dragons 29, Marlborough Bullets 25, Marlborough Jigsaw 25, Marlborough Rockets 23.
- The Marlborough Express
Who will win the Press Cup on Saturday, 2.30pm, Lansdowne Park, Blenheim?