The Portsmouth men’s double pairing of James McCord and Tristan Bacon succumbed to a heavy defeat at the hands of an impressive Southampton duo during Varsity on Sunday.
The home pairing largely dominated proceedings, winning 6-0 6-0 to take the opening match at a canter with Pompey struggling to compete with the opposition’s accuracy and power.
However, it was Portsmouth who had the first opportunity to break the host’s serve in the match, having three break points in the opening game of the contest.
Unfortunately, the home duo pulled themselves back to hold and went onto triumph in Portsmouth’s first service game minutes later to immediately gain a grip of proceedings.
This would set a precedent for the pattern of the first set, with Portsmouth struggling to gain a foothold on their serve, often losing the game by a heavy margin.
To add to their frustration, the visitors often troubled the Southampton serve, routinely having the opportunity to break but not quite having the fortune to win the crucial points they required to pull themselves back into the match.
It was not until the final game of the set that McCord and Bacon really troubled the hosts with their serve, almost winning the game which would have given them confidence going into the second.
This was not to be however and Southampton were well in the ascendancy going into the following set.
It was telling which team were on top and by the second game, a Southampton victory was inevitable following yet another break of serve.
Eventually, the hosts won the set by the same score line as the first to earn a deserved victory but speaking after the match, the visiting duo remained in high spirits.
McComb commented, “It’s Varsity. The main thing is to come here and have fun and that’s just what we have done”
Competing in the singles, Bacon got off to a considerably better start for Portsmouth than in the doubles, holding serve to win his first game of the day in the opening stages.
Unfortunately, the remainder of the first set went much the same as the first with Southampton winning all the remaining games to race into an early lead.
The second looked to be following the pattern of the day when the home side took the first three games, but as the sun began to shine across the courts, a rejuvenated Bacon pulled himself back into the match.
Some impressive groundstrokes and serving helped the second year to win three games in a row and level the set.
The Pompey representative then held serve in the following games to force the set into a tiebreak in which Bacon continued to display some quality shots.
This put the opposition under pressure which eventually told as the host lost his first set of the day to force the match into a third set.
To speed proceedings along, it was agreed that a 10-point tiebreak would be played which at this stage, favoured the visitors.
However, the quality of the home representative shone through and it was Southampton who eventually won the match despite coming under pressure late in the match.
Speaking after the match, Bacon stated, “I knew he was a good player but he didn’t play particularly well in the second and when that happened I started to play better.”
“This is a step up from what I’m used to. Usually it’s third years that play in Varsity and I play fourths for the first team so he was a much harder opponent to what I’m used to.”