Shiplake Tennis Club Finals Day – Sunday 8th September 2019
Report by Amanda Andrews
Once again we were blessed with early Autumn sun and the courts were bathed in golden rays. The new courts and clubhouse were looking good with stunning garden pots by Tina Dalzell. A hearty breakfast assortment and coffee awaited spectators and competitors alike and were provided by Katie Binning.
The Ladies singles kicked off at 8.30 am with a repeat of last year’s final with No1 and 2 seeded players Nikki Botterill and Caroline Edwards.
Nikki wore ankle supports following an earlier injury sustained in the week.
The first set proved to be the most dramatic, with Nikki developing cramp and Caroline suffering a spectacular tumble running for a short ball.
Caroline’s fall left her knee gashed for which she needed medical attention.
The tennis drama continued to unfold with Nikki getting the upper hand in the first set by dropping short balls and making Caroline run. However, in the second set Nikki seemed to lose focus and Caroline raced away to a 5-1 lead.
The large crowd saw Nikki dig deep and almost level the score at 5-4.
Caroline by now was not letting go of her lead and she served out the set to take the second set 6-4.
The decider got underway with the ladies equally matched at 2-2. Caroline looked cool and calm with her familiar late shots and slice, whilst Nikki took almost every opportunity to come to the net and volley. Sadly for Caroline, there were too many unforced errors and Nikki served out the Match to win the Ladies Singles Title 7-6, 4-6, 6-2.
The ladies were on court over three hours in a closely fought battle. Nikki commented after the match “Caroline played brilliantly, I never thought I’d play the match let alone win it” referring to her injury which almost prevented her from playing.
Another early start was on Court three where the Veterans Mixed doubles took place. A keenly fought contest which often saw tactics employed. The first set started well for Jenny Berger and Mike Lynskey who broke serve and went into a 2-0 lead. However, Robin Hughes and Sandra Greenslade proved to be tricky opponents at the net and then took the next six games to secure the first set. Mike and Jenny perfected the art of lobbing to outfox the Greenslade/Hughes net combo. The tactics and the style of play proved successful and Berger and Lynskey took the second set 6-4. Robin and Sandra re-grouped in the third set and developed answers to the lobbing.
Robin and Sandra showed poise and control to deliver great lengths on the baseline putting Jenny and Mike under pressure with the returns. The third set and the match went to Robin and Sandra. 6-2 4-6 6-4.
Mike Lynskey commented on the match “We lost the tennis but won the lobbing”.
The Men’s Doubles featured Tim Rose and Nick Wrigley v Andy Stallwood and Archie Spiers. Club Coach Tim and partner Nick were looking to emulate their form in the earlier rounds. Both Nick and Tim put Archie and Andy under pressure with great volleying and solid ground strokes, However, sadly for Tim and Nick, Archie and Andy were on form with very few unforced errors.
Another healthy crowd enjoyed the match and saw Archie and Andy win 6-2, 7-5.
The Men’s Singles saw a first finals appearance for Fergus Head who had returned in the summer from University in Scotland. Fergus had an impressive run in the competition and was rewarded by a place in the final facing an experienced former winner Nigel Richardson.
A series of double faults from both players saw breaks in serve and a very nervy start from both players. Fergus eventually got in his stride and put pressure on Nigel with powerful serves and an unforgiving forehand. Both men showed impressive athleticism with plenty of running on both sides of the net but youthful legs helped Fergus retrieve many a testing shot from Nigel.
Despite the score, an often very close match, with the younger man just edging out the experienced opponent. Fergus took the match 6-3 6-4.
The Ladies Doubles competition saw a double pairing of A and B Team players.
The two Carolines (Edwards and Cousins) faced Sandra Greenslade and Karen Peters.
From the get go Sandra and Karen stamped their authority on the match with Karen playing pinpoint baseline shots whilst Sandra prowled the net intercepting many a cross court shot from both Carolines. Slightly overwhelmed by this play in addition to Caroline Edwards feeling a bit tired from her epic Singles encounter, the Caroline’s lost the first set in quick time.
The Carolines rallied in the second set and despite making fewer errors, were generally out played by an on-form Peters and Greenslade. A doubling of efforts saw the Carolines fight back in the second set but it proved to be too little too late and Karen and Sandra won the match in straight sets.
Karen Peters seemingly unaffected by her earlier match returned to the court to partner Jeremy Morgan in the Mixed doubles. Their opponents were Mike Lynskey and Nikki Botterill who themselves had already played in previous matches with mixed results. Jeremy’s solid and often faultless play combined with Karen’s epic forehand proved too much in the first set. Despite targeting Karen, the Botterill /Lynskey pairing couldn’t get past and frustration often got the better of them. Buoyed by the Jeremy Morgan “Wall”, Karen stood fast and Morgan and Peters took the first set comfortably 6-2.
An on-form Karen Peters proved to be the ideal partner for Jeremy, and no amount of Nikki’s forehands or Mike’s lobbing could break through in the second set. A highly entertaining match, peppered with amazing rallies and almost exhibition style tennis. Again, Jeremy and Karen eased through the second set 6-0 to win the match.
The annual Recycling cup, better known as the Mixed doubles Plate saw two players, Jenny and Robin, back on court for another appearance. Caroline Edwards partnered Robin Hughes and made her THIRD appearance of the day. Jenny Berger partnering Marcus Binning, both put up a spirited performance. Jenny found depth with her stylish forehand and Marcus covered all parts of the court retrieving balls that seemed impossible to return. Eagle eyed spectators and players alike may have spotted Caroline Edwards napping after her two previous matches. The shut-eye proved well prescribed as Caroline found renewed vigour. Suitably rested she was ably assisted by a “Tigger” like Robin at the net. Robin’s boundless net play and Caroline’s grit and slice proved too much for Jenny and Marcus and Caroline and Robin triumphed in two straights sets 6-2, 6-2.
Click here to see a full album of the STSC Finals Day 2019.