That’s the message Kent Elms are sending out to their Division Two rivals in both the mixed and men’s leagues! Elms have started the season in blistering fashion with both teams only dropping a combined total of three sets – a run that has resulted in both teams already having a five-point cushion at the summits!
After a resounding 5-1 win on their travels the previous week, Elms’ first mixed team kicked off the week as they hosted Rayleigh who were looking for their first win of the season. It was soon apparent that the wait would continue into a fourth week for the visiting side as their hosts were in an unforgiving mood! Father and daughter combo of Martin & Hayley Needs blitzed past Gary Luck & Becky Humphries 6-1 6-0. Not far behind were Will Morley & Richard Turner who strolled past Joe Bleeching & Paul Mason 6-1 6-1. With the win secured it was left to Nalandi Sharma-Ebdon & Katy Cox to add the gloss and complete the whitewash! Rayleigh, however, did go down with a fight! Lucia Bigden & Susan Monte rescued a point for the visiting side as they drew 2-6 6-4.
Elms travel to second-placed Southend Lawn next time who could only manage a 3-3 draw away at David Lloyd.
With their first mixed team picking up a ruthless win at the beginning of the week, it was a case of ‘hold my beer’ for Elms’ first men’s team! Like their mixed team, they came into their fixture against local rivals David Lloyd off the back of an impressive 5-1 away win and their confidence was evident straight from the off! First pairing of Phil Stevens & Will Morley dispatched Dean Smith & Richard Worland 6-1 6-0, whilst Martin Needs teamed up with son, James, to emphatically beat Gary McCarthy & Chris Rackham 6-0 6-2. The third rubber proved to be a tighter affair as home pairing of David Jones & Andy Wayman defeated Mark Hughes & Neil Sales 6-3 6-4.
Unbeaten Elms travel to third-placed Southend Lawn next time, who fought hard to earn a 4-2 win away at Thorpe Bay to also maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
Elsewhere in the men’s leagues, newly promoted Wickford defeated Thorpe Bay 5-1 to maintain their lead at the top of Division One. Craig & Neil George overcame Lee Blackman & Brindley Piper 6-2 7-6, Rory Young & Cliff Warwick beat Simon Dowell & Dave Tuskin 6-3 6-2, whilst Wickford’s Alexis Vancostenobel & Dave Goodman drew 4-6 6-4 with Joe Murray & Simon Payne.
In the ladies leagues, the race of the Division Three crown is shaping up nicely with the top three being separated by only three points. League leaders Thorpe Bay 3 picked up a 5-1 win over fourth-placed Kent Elms meanwhile Rochford defeated third-placed Westcliff Lawn 4-2 to leapfrog their opponents into second. Lawn will have a chance to haul themselves back into contention next time as they host Thorpe Bay.
A title race is also developing in the Mixed Division One as only two points separate Hadleigh Park in first and Westcliff Hard in third. Park extended their lead from the comfort of their living rooms after they were given a 6-0 walkover by their opponents. Nearest rivals Rayleigh fought to a 4-2 win over Thorpe Bay with all three rubbers being close affairs however home advantage told in the end. Hot-on-the-heels of Rayleigh are third-placed Westcliff Hard who had to win a second set tiebreak in the mixed rubber to salvage a draw in the Westcliff Derby against Westcliff Lawn.