(Credit: James Goodenough)

The 2017/18 BUCS tennis season has reached its mid-season winter break and it has been a struggle so far for Sunderland Men’s tennis 1st’s.

The side currently sit bottom of the six-team Northern 4B league on minus-two points after five matches and are yet to register a win.

With no fixtures scheduled until January 31, Sunderland will be hoping they can revive their campaign after the break, as a relegation battle in the New Year looks almost certain.

The season so far

The opening match of the season proved to be the worst possible start, as Sunderland were whitewashed 12-0 away to Sheffield Hallam on October 11.

This was followed a week later by Sunderland’s best result of the campaign to date – a 3-3 draw at home with Hull, which earned a point.

That point remains the only one Sunderland have picked up this season and was followed by another 12-0 defeat two weeks later – this time away at Durham.

Sunderland were then scheduled to travel to Lancaster the following week for the BUCS Northern Conference Cup.

They were, however, forced to withdraw and hand Lancaster a walkover to the next round, meaning their cup run was over before it had begun.

The reason for the withdrawal was that Sunderland did not have enough players to field a team and so from then on, has become a recurring problem for the side.

This was seen the following week, when Sunderland only had three players instead of four to take on Leeds Beckett at home.

As a result, the team had to start 2-0 down before eventually losing 6-0 to a strong Leeds side, leaving Sunderland in 5th place.

There was then a two-week break before Sunderland were set to travel to Teesside, who were bottom of the league at the time.

However, the match was postponed due to bad weather, with a new date still yet to be announced for the rescheduled meeting between the two sides.

In Sunderland’s final match of year at home to Sheffield Hallam, the problem of unavailable players continued, as they were forced to hand Hallam a walkover win.

The withdrawal from that match leaves Sunderland bottom of the league as they were deducted three points for being unable to field a team.

Sunderland will be hoping for a change of fortunes in 2018, when their season resumes on January 31 away at Hull.