Nelson has won the Lucas Cup, but it needed a countback to do it.
Sunday’s Lucas Cup senior tennis fixture against Marlborough proved to be one of the closest matches yet in the cup’s 68 year history, producing some of the best tennis seen in Nelson for a while.
After 16 games of singles, doubles and mixed doubles the scores were tied at 8 matches each, the set scores were also tied at 17 each which meant the cup was decided on which province won the most games – Nelson did, 151 to 141.
The fixture delivered outstanding play. Nelson Tennis Club mates David Averill and Paul Muncaster played first men’s doubles against a strong Marlborough combination of Albie Hailes and Hamish Morrow, with the hosts prevailing 6/1, 6/7 6/0.
Marlborough pair Kyla and Jade Otway gave Farrah Richards and Holly Mace a testing first leg in the doubles. The local pair rose to the occasion, giving the Marlborough siblings a run for their money in the first set, the Otway’s powering off with a couple of break of serves to take the second and the win 7/5, 6/3.
The pivotal set in the fixture had to be the singles between Nelson’s Taylor Bianco and Dave Sandford of Marlborough. With Marlborough up 4 to 3 in the singles leg, Bianco and Sandford were the last players out on the singles courts. The pair playing a mammoth singles game with accurate baseline shots, consistent cross court placing of the ball and a furious pace, keeping both players constantly on attack and defence.
Bianco’s tenacity saw him through, winning the second set tie break and the win 6/4, 7/6, to even the overall singles score.