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Tennis Centre dethrone Summerhayes

Justin Marville

Tennis Centre dethrone Summerhayes

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?The Summerhayes era is over.
?Youth has been served, as well a long-awaited dose of revenge, as a brigade of junior female players led the National Tennis Centre’s title-clinching 46-33 victory over the five-time champs in Saturday night’s Republic Bank Inter-Club Tennis final at their home courts in Wildey.
With young Fed Cup player Cherise Slocombe heading the charge, the hosts finally avenged a pair of finals defeats to the same opponents in 2010 and 2011 after also beating Summerhayes in the preliminaries.
And the Tennis Centre couldn’t have found a more fitting cap to the moment, with Slocombe and Kenton Gamble finishing off the rubber with a resounding 9-0 victory in the mixed doubles against Kim Brandford and Prashant Nebhani.
This was after the home team needed just six games from that final match to secure an outright victory in a wildly entertaining back-and-forth tie.
But Slocombe and Gamble never looked like settling, not after breaking Nebhani for a quick 2-0 lead and then jumping all over Brandford’s first service game to set the tone.
It was the stunning end to a rubber that started off on an even keel when 12-year-old Tangia Riley-Codrington beat Caryl Pearson 6-4 to give the hosts a slim lead which they gave right back after Dylan Hall upended Davis Cup captain Kevin Yarde 6-3.
However, the tie swung decisively in the home side’s favour in the first set of doubles, as Kiana Marshall and Ilana Blackwood romped to a rather routine 9-1 win over Brandford and Lisa Massiah.
Former Davis Cup player Bernard Frost and Sean Eteen did pull it back somewhat for Summerhayes, but their 9-7 victory over Matthew Weir and Maurice Waldron was not enough to make up for the then seven-game margin.
Things only went downhill from there for the visitors, with Marie-Jeanne Symmonds and Judith Steinbok dropping a 9-4 result to Slocombe and Samaiya Dottin in the other women’s doubles to put Summerhayes further behind.
Frost’s brother Martin and Michael Date still gave them a chance though, having beaten Stephen Slocombe and Julian Baird 9-3 to leave the champs trailing by just four heading into that final mixed doubles match.
But Cherise and Gamble wasted no time in getting the six games needed to ensure the win, before finishing off the tie in style by failing to drop a single game in that match.