THE SCORELINE may have flattered them but Leamington won the 2016 Inter-League Charity Cup final as they defeated Stratford 4-0 at the Wildmoor Spa & Health Club on Sunday.
The Alcester Road venue sponsors the Summer League and welcomed its reigning champions Stratford and Stratford & District Winter League winners Leamington for the showpiece event.
In the 15th staging of this final, Summer League champions Stratford fielded a slightly depleted side as two of their top players Callum Bailey and Roy Malik were already playing in a competition in Chipping Campden.
Their team was captain Tim Page partnering Simon West and Chris Marrow partnering Will Morley-Cotterell. Leamington fielded a strong side as captain Miguel Espada partnered Ben Franklin, while Rupert Larkin paired up with Martin Todd.
The last four years had seen these two teams fight out tremendously close contests and this final was certainly no exception, although the final scoreline did not reflect how long and closely contested most games were.
In the first three of these encounters Stratford had just come out on top to take the trophy and last year there was nothing to choose between the sides and they shared the cup for six months each.
This year some hard fought tennis ensued as the overall contest lasted three hours and 40 minutes, even longer than 2015 when every match featured tie-breaks.
Larkin and Todd took a first round point for Leamington by beating Stratford captain Page and West 6-3, 6-0. However, they were then made to wait another 50 minutes before the rubber on the other court was decided in an epic battle.
Leamington eventually made it 2-0 when their captain Espada and Franklin finally overcame Marrow and Morley-Cotterell in two tie-break sets.
The second round of rubbers seemed to go on forever before Leamington secured a misleading 4-0 win as Espada and Franklin finally triumphed 6-3, 7-6 over Page and West, whilst Larkin and Todd finally saw off Marrow and Morley-Cotterell 6-7, 6-4, 1-0 (10-3) after a Championship tie-break decider.
The cup and individual awards were presented by Tony Eskew, the chairman of both the summer and winter leagues. Corin Bishop, secretary of the Wildmoor Spa Summer League, presented a cheque from his league for £100 to the choice of a local charity made by Leamington, which was Myton Hospice, Warwick.
The balls were supplied by Inspire2Coach, based at the University of Warwick.