We head into the final week of the mixed leagues in the Leigh and Westcliff with several divisions still in the balance at both ends of the tables. There will be a mixture of nerves and excitement across the league as clubs prepare to sink or swim!
Arguably the biggest match of the week comes in division one as Rayleigh host Westcliff Lawn with the top two facing-off in a winner-takes-all clash. Current leaders Rayleigh head into the contest unbeaten since week three including a 4-1 win at their opponents in week five. Westcliff Lawn suffered their first defeat since that meeting last time out as they lost 4-2 at Thorpe Bay in a closely fought contest with both rubbers being decided by match tie-breaks.
The title race in division two will also go down to the wire with current leaders Kent Elms having a three point lead over second placed Hockley. Elms travel to mid-table Rayleigh while Hockley visit Westcliff Lawn on Thursday night. Both sides were convincing winners over their opponents in week five and Hockley, in particular, will be hoping for more of the same whilst praying neighbours Rayleigh can help them out against Elms.
Kent Elms are guaranteed at least one piece of silverware as their second team have run away with division three! They will be looking to round-off a successful season with their seventh successive win when they host Westcliff Hard on Monday. Since the last time they failed to win – week two at Hadleigh Park – they have only dropped two points in matches played.
In contrast to their first two teams, Kent Elms’ third team are in a relegation scrap in division four. Heading into their final match at home against Westcliff Hard, they occupy fifth place and have a three point lead over basement club Wickford who face an almost impossible task as they host champions Rochford. Rochford have been unstoppable from the start, sit on 49 points, 19 ahead of second and only dropped points on two occasions all season.
Southend Lawn will be hoping to avoid a hat-trick of bottom placed finishes this winter as their third and fourth teams occupy second from bottom in division five and six. With their first team already relegated from division one, Southend Lawn three travel to bottom club Kent Elms four on Sunday. Lawn currently have a three point cushion on their rivals and will look back to their week five meeting that they won 5-1. Like their division five counterparts, in division six, Southend Lawn four are three points ahead of their week ten opponents Crowstone. The sides could not be split in their week five meeting, however Lawn will be more than happy with another draw.
It is often claimed the game of tennis is as much mental as it is physical. It is a strange sport where matches can be won or lost not just on court but in the mind. The physically and technically superior player on the court may be the favourite to win, but if you don’t have the ability to control your mind when under pressure you limit your capacity to win. The true definition of a champion, is the person who possesses the ability to thrive under the pressure of competition. At the end of the day, you are only either a winner or a loser!