What a wonderful day’s tennis was enjoyed at Shiplake Tennis and Social Club on Sunday 9th September! It was the Club Championships Finals Day; seven adult and eleven junior matches were played in a competitive but friendly atmosphere, watched by both club members and relatives of the entrants. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea was served, washed down by large quantities of prosecco, wine and beer. (We ate 288 sandwiches between us!)
First on court 1 was the Ladies Doubles. Jenny Berger/Katie Binning were narrowly beaten by Sharon Hearn/Cosima Wagner, despite having two match points in the second set. Sharon played her tramline shot to great advantage and Jenny’s volleys were unreturnable. Cosima’s cracking cross court shots won many points, as did her humdinger serve. Katie was so consistent returning everything from the baseline. The match was a pleasure to watch!
Meanwhile, Matt Thomas/Tom Cary were taking on Tim Verran/Archie Spiers in the Mens Doubles. This was the first of Matt’s three finals, no mean feat, and everyone was wondering whether he’d still be running as fast, hitting the ball as hard and grunting as loudly by the end of the day! Some entertaining rallies were enjoyed by all the spectators, all played with good humour and determination, with Matt and Tom victorious after two sets.
The first junior match of the day saw Annabelle Richardson take on Alec Steel in the U12 singles in an exciting match. There were some fantastic rallies, with both players hitting very confident well-coached ground strokes. In two hard-fought sets, Annabelle just edged some vital games to win 6-3, 6-2.
The under-14 singles was between James Johnson and Rosie Richardson, with Rosie dominating early play before James found his feet and started to fight back, unfortunately too late to stop Rosie winning in 2 sets.
In the under-16 singles, Millie Thomas played against Jack Lynskey. Some great rallies from two very promising juniors, although Jack dominated with greater accuracy and speed to win the match in two sets.
The under-18 singles final was between Zoe Richardson and Ben West, a repeat of last year’s final, and the year before that! It was a hard-fought contest, with both players hitting the ball SO hard and moving around the court so fast– many of the adult members spectating were wondering whether they’d be put out to grass with such promising juniors playing! At one set all, the result could have gone either way, but Zoe just had the edge in the third set and her superior matchplay resulted in victory.
The ladies Singles saw Nikki Botterill beat Caroline Edwards, a repeat of last year’s final. Caroline was heard to murmur that she hadn’t played tennis since July, as she’s been occupied with other things, and all Nikki’s practising paid off with an easy victory.
Matt Thomas’ second final was the Mens Singles against Nigel Richardson. Nigel didn’t play his best, and I suspect was in trouble with his daughters for breaking their run of victories by losing to Matt!
The under-10 doubles was played on court 3, where Alfred Cary/William Smith played well to beat Noah Thurgood/Harry Rechner in what was their first ever tournament match for 2 of the players.
Zoe Richardson played in her second final of the day when she and Henry Peters took on Tom Lynskey/Lottie Botterill in the under-18 doubles. Despite storming the second set which they won 6-1, Zoe and Henry lost in three sets with some wonderful cross court rallies between Zoe and Lottie.
Veterans were on next, with Colin Main/Sheena Darke playing against Howard Poll/Clare Pelling, both left-handers! Howard and Clare won fairly easily with their zoomy, spinning shots getting the better of Sheena and Colin.
The under-12 doubles final saw Evie Blomfield/Theo Scampion defeated by Annabelle Richardson/Megan Weatherston in a close match which was sometimes unpredictable due to the strong gusts of wind affecting the lighter green balls.
Mixed Doubles were on next on Court 1, when Tim Rose/Georgie O’Brien took on Sarah Blomfield/Matt Thomas, playing in his THIRD final!! What a hard-fought contest this turned out to be, with some amazing matchplay from all four players. Result could have easily gone either way, but Tim and Georgie were finally victorious after some really entertaining tennis.
The mixed Doubles plate, for losers in the first round of the Mixed Doubles, saw Caroline Cousins/Tim Verran (in his second final of the day!) beat Julia Foskett/Alan Mitchell.
Meanwhile on Court 3, Noah Elrington/Lucy Blomfield beat Will Verran/Rosie Richardson in the under-14 doubles, with both sides playing strong tennis and some excellent shots particularly from Noah.
The last match on court 1 was the under-16 doubles between Meg Hearn/Sam O’Brien and Jack Lynskey (in his second final of the day)/Ashleigh Poolan. After three sets of really long rallies, Jack and Ashleigh were victorious!
Alfred Cary (in his second final of the day) beat Noah Thurgood in the Mini Tennis Elite (orange) – I have no doubt that both will be snapped up by the Mens A Team before too long! They both played superbly, and it’s a good job it was short sets, otherwise I think they could still be playing!
Edward Cary beat Freya Weatherston in the Mini Tennis Tigers (red) on Court 3, which was best of three tiebreaks. Amazing to watch our youngest juniors playing with such great sportsmanship and determination.
The Finals Day was truly a family occasion, with parents and children from the O’Brien, Blomfield, Thomas, Richardson, Cary, Hearn and Verran families all competing. Many thanks are due to Howard Poll, Marcus Binning, Peter Robertson, Katie Binning, and Karen Peters who were the organising Committee. Thanks are also due to Chairman Tim Dunn who presented all the prizes. Last but by no means least, HUGE thanks are due to Tim Rose. Throughout the day the juniors competed absolutely brilliantly, which is due in no small part to Tim’s coaching – he’s worked at our club for over 25 years. He also masterminded and umpired the Junior matches, and left with a huge bag of trophies for engraving. Thank you Tim! We couldn’t have done it without you.
CLICK HERE to view and download photos of the STSC Finals Day.