The University of Sheffield Women’s Tennis 1s completed a comfortable 10-2 victory over the University of Manchester 1s on Wednesday afternoon to move nearer the promotion places.
All but one of the first team were injured, so the convincing scoreline against a side three places above them highlighted the strength in depth at Sheffield.
Starting the day in the relegation zone, the Women’s 1s needed to prove a point, especially with Sheffield Hallam University already well clear at the top of the league.
Without the likes of Carla Bâceanu and Ashy Foster, Isabel Schrapler and Natalie Youhana had to set a positive tone at the start of the tie. A powerful display of hard hitting, which culminated in a 6-4, 6-3 victory, gave Sheffield an early advantage, and when Anna Fedenko and Aimee Kirkup won a gruelling doubles rubber 6-4, 4-6,12-10 the home side were 4-0 to the good.
An injury to one of the Manchester players meant a bye which put Sheffield 6-0 up on the scoresheet. Dangers of losing from such positions would’ve been in the players’ heads, despite the comfortable advantage; just two weeks ago, the Women’s 2s lost a 6-0 lead in the Northern Conference Cup match to go out to the University of Leeds 1s.
The manner of Kirkup’s second win of the day proved the same outcome would not occur again. A 6-0, 6-0 victory gave Sheffield an 8-0 lead, and even when Schrapler lost her singles by the same scoreline, the overall victory was never in doubt.
Youhana’s 7-5, 7-6 win added the cherry to what had been a very large cake for Sheffield.
Elsewhere, the Men’s 2s recorded their first league point of the season after a spirited gritty display against Leeds 2s.
Throughout the tie, neither side could ever break away. The first doubles match of the day went the way of Jack Kearton and Josh Mitchell, 6-1, 7-6, to put the home side in front, before Leeds levelled up at two apiece when Alex Wood and Adam Lane were defeated 7-6, 6-4.
Kearton’s singles loss, 6-4, 6-1, put Leeds back in front, but Sheffield levelled again when Wood triumphed 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in an extremely tight match.
Then, after Mitchell failed to win his rubber, falling to a 6-4, 6-1 defeat, it was up to Earp if Sheffield could gain their first point of the season. And a 6-2, 6-3 win for Earp did just that.
The Womens 1s next match is at home to the University of Liverpool 1s on January 18, while the Men’s 2s play the University of Sheffeld 1s a week later.