SOUTHEND’S Rob Carter was the runner-up in the annual Bryan Watts/Eddie Kirtland Invitational Trophy.

Carter lost 3-6 6-2 [7] to Essex County team-mate Richard Wire in the final of the event.

Westcliff Lawn’s Matthew Pearce lost out 6-3 6-1 to Wire in the semi-final but defeated Marshall Tutu 6-1 6-0 in the third-fourth place play-off.

Billericay’s Chris Gardiner was beaten 6-3 6-3 by Pearce and then defeated Daniel Bagguley 4-6 6-4 [13] and Peter French 6-4 6-3 in the playback section.

The consolation side of the draw was won by Billericay’s David Wright, who beat Mark Klein 5-7 6-3 [5] in the final.

Wright defeated Thorpe Bay’s Harry Randle 3-6 6-3 [3] in the consolation quarter-final.

The singles tournament featured 16 of the county’s best players.

Non-playing men’s captain Jamie Willson said: “It was a great weekend of tennis and was used as a warm-up and towards the selection pricess for the Winter Inter-County Cup.”

Essex’s men are in Group 2B of the annual Lawn Tennis Association tournament.

They will face Middlesex, Cheshire and Sussex at Essex LTA's headquarters in Redbridge between November 23 and 25.

Essex men will have a final warm-up for the tournament against Group 1 champions Hertfordshire on Sunday, November 4.

The county's women are also in action at Redbridge in the county cup, facing Middlesex, Buckinghamshire and Sussex.