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Victory in the North

Our esteemed Fixtures Secretary is keeping quiet about this – but CONGRATULATIONS, Christie, that trip to the Jesmond Dene invitational doubles seems to have paid off!

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IRTA visit the Home of Real Tennis

CURTC, 2 – 5, IRTA


Our first Club match of the season proved enjoyable but the Irish, especially the visiting Irish, proved more than a match for the Home team.

Roland Budd, not missing the ball

Roland Budd, not missing the ball


Led by Roland Budd, the visiting Irish were in fine form in spite of playing what (to me at least) looked like an exhausting schedule of Singles and Doubles in their tournament the previous day. A brief glimmer of success was provided by Andy Smith who was in imperious form against Rustom Manecksha. On Blue, Roland clearly decided that mistakes were not his thing and barely put a foot (or ball) wrong against a hard working Julian Stafford.
 
 
Tony Penny, not missing it either

Tony Penny, not missing it either


A couple of contrasting 3-setters followed, both going to the IRTA. Mark Rossiter belied his years and losing the first set by keeping his composure and ball striking on track to take that critical third. Howard played the role of comeback kid after narrowly losing the first set against Tony Penny. In fact so emphatic was his second set showing that I decided lunch was in order and I was somewhat surprised to hear the ‘Oh it’s 5-All’..
 
 
Mike Bolton

Mike Bolton

The last match was an entertaining Doubles struggle where the average age was ~40 on one side of the net and circa 50 on the other. However the 50 side had a far greater variance in years and prevailed by that narrowest of margins in the third. I hope I’m that mobile when I get to Mike Bolton’s vintage!
Apologies to Richard Ramjane, John(ny O’)Lees and Gerald Smith who ‘missed out’ on being snapped. Many thanks to Peter & Kees for marking and organising and we look forward to welcoming the IRTA back to the Home of Real Tennis next year or even a visit to a re-opened court in Dublin…

A link to a Google photos gallerynof the above images and much more photos.app.goo.gl

And finally the scores!

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East Anglia Cup, 2018…

…was held at Hatfield this year. The result came down to the last match between the Richards of Hatfield* and Newmarket** (effectively playing as a proxy of Prested). The Richard of Hatfield had to win to wrest the title (and the rather splendid cup) from Prested’s grasp. Sportingly, he gave Richard of Newmarket a 4 game lead (the match being a set to 6) before drawing level. We in the Dedans thought that was it but Richard of Newmarket had other thoughts. He promptly won the 9th game but then it was 5-all and 30 -all. At this point, Richard*** won two straight points and it was all over…
The less said about Cambridge’s performance the better. It would have been a complete debacle without Ollie Brenton who amassed 75% of our points with some remarkably cool and calm headed tennis over much more experienced opponents. Thanks to him (and him alone) we just beat Newmarket to avoid the EAC Wooden Spoon.
*Williams
**Dunn
***Cheap shot. Which Richard? Ed
ps Many Thanks to Robin Mace and Hatfield for hosting such an excellent day of Tennis (and congratulations to them on winning the 2018 EAC…)

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The Dedanists

Simple

Simple

Complex, but with scores

Complex, but with scores

The Dedanists are a peripatetic (i.e. don’t have a Home Court) Club who run a successful foundation to support junior and emerging tennis. This is great for the game in general even if a bit late for yours truly whose tennis I’m forced to admit has fully emerged. Things started brightly for the Dedanists on Saturday. For a start everyone (all 10) showed up on time even if there was a bit of grumbling at the complexity of the arrangements (It was really quite simple, find letter corresponding to you first match in the Table on the top left and then the time and Court in the Table to the right. Repeat in reverse to find you partner and opponents. Repeat in the Match 2 column to find your second match… Simple, right!).
Through a masterstroke of programming the pairs in each of the 10 matches were within 2 handicap points of level, so off level we played (with full deuces). On Court the brightness continued for the Dedanists continued as we/they romped to victory in the 1st two matches. Well, romped is perhaps a bit misleading as on the Blue Court, myself and Simon Mansfield produces an almost Lazarus worthy comeback from 4-2 down to win 8-7. On the other Court, Josh Farrall and Chris Stanton took an entirely different approach. They got their noses in front before starting a seemingly endless series of deuces. The marker finally took pity on the players (and the spectators) by calling the game 6-3 to the Dedanists after the 50 minutes allocated time… We had long finished our 15 games by this point.
However at this point things clouded over Dedenistwise. There were some notable attempts at fightbacks without unfortunately actually winning and spirited attempts to get on with winning or losing (actually losing) as quickly as possible to get the schedule back on track. And so alas the Dedanists early lead evaporated as the match finished 8-2 in favour of the Hosts.
However the main business of the day was by no means over. Not only was there an excellent lunch but also a true masterclass on joint replacement and pain management (both before and after). I had no idea about the possibilities out there and my (single) hip replacement along with a couple of Ibuprofen before venturing out seem positively amateurish compared to what can be achieved.
Yet again we eschewed the traditional team photos and instead focussed on some action shots off (and on) Court. A selection below…
Lunch!

Lunch!


Rock-Paper-Scissors

Linda & David attempt to grasp the rules of Rock-Paper-Scissors…


Thanks to Peter & Simon for their marking!

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Seacourt drop by for some Lunch (and Tennis)

Seacourt, CURTC, Seacourt, Seacourt, CURTC, SS (marker)

Seacourt, CURTC, Seacourt, Seacourt, Seacourt, CURTC, SS (marker)

Seacourt visited Grange Road following tennis related detours to Hatfield and Newmarket last Sunday. To be fair, they had had to endure the day/night of eternal rugby whilst in Newmarket so were perhaps not at their ‘freshest’. However, this was not really apparent on Court as they took three of the four Singles whilst resting in the Doubles.

This left the match tied at 3 apiece which is how it remains following a failed attempt to count back glasses of wine over lunch. All the Singles went to three sets so there were plenty of candidates for the much coveted come-back of the day award, a.k.a. the Lazarus Shield. In fact it was so close, that we are going to leave it to you dear reader(s) to decide with the following poll…

Lazarus Shield

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The Hyde Visit

The Hyde, 3 – 3, CURTC


The Hyde is the UK’s westernmost Court in the UK and is about as close to Devon as you can get and still be in Dorset. Their Court has had a colourful past and has at various times been for repairing tanks, housing livestock barn and storing farm machinery. In 1998 it was restored to its rightful purpose. We started off with two Singles match and mine was over sufficiently quickly to see Gerald complete a comeback from losing the first set.
On to the Doubles… Al Clark continued his incredible main wall boasts which homed in the Dedans with those that missed falling for chases around the 3 yard mark. The first set went in a blur of trying to work out where to best position ourselves to stand a chance of being within a racket’s length as Al’s volleys zipped by. At 4-1 down in the second, we managed to get a couple back and clawed Lazaruslike back in to the match. Gillian & Kate won their Doubles handily but graciously allowed their opponents to feel their long trip had been worthwhile. We look forward to the return trip to Dorset next year.

The Hyde: John Davies, Mark Brinson, Ros & Al Clark

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Jesmond

Some familiar faces (and magnificent weather) greeted us in Jesmond after a fairly dismal drive on Saturday morning although what on earth I was thinking in arranging this trip on a bank holiday weekend is a very good question. The dismalness of the drive was only surpassed by the dismalness of the news coming from Test Match Special at Lord’s with a similar ‘what on earth was he thinking?’ question never far from one’s mind.
On Court we arrived to find poor Dave being helped into the changing room after a stirring comeback from 4-0 down had been cut short. Kate Kirk got Cambridge back to winning ways by refusing to be intimidated by her opponent’s repeatedly returning everything. However, the CURTC husband and wife pairing was not a success this time in the subsequent Doubles. Suffice it to say Guy did not have the best of days on Court having manpersonfully driven us for 5 1/2 hours up the A1.
I had a rather better day and actually had some success targeting the Grille for once! However the ‘match of the day’ was my teaming up with Bernie in the Doubles. We started ok against some strong (and youthful) opposition but couldn’t keep the serve and trailed 3-6 and 5-7. The wind changed (or something did, anyway) and we levelled the score, by keeping the serving end more effectively. Bernie was on fire and served out the last game with my only touch of the ball being when I handed him one between points! Alas it was too much for our hero and the final Singles went Jesmond’s way.

Jesmond, 6 – 3, CURTC


Scott & Kerry joined us for a splendid meal in the evening before we retired to our mercifully fairly quiet hotels on Osbourne Road. Some ‘hangover’ Doubles in the morning set us up for lunch al fresco (apparently the weather is like this all the time in Newcastle…) and  a far less dismal (news from Lord’s not withstanding) journey back by train. We look forward to welcoming Jesmond on May 19th next year (if not sooner).

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Cambridge Weekend, sponsored by our good friends at Pol Roger

Vixtorious Team B: Chris Evans & Evelyn Fleming, Jim Ludekens & Vix Harvey, India Blaksley & Alex Ridgeon

This year’s Cambridge Weekend featured a new Team Mixed Doubles Tournament, an ‘A Grade’ Doubles tournament for those too under handicapped to qualify for the aforementioned TMDT and myself commuting from Cambourne (don’t ask). For the (don’t ask) reasons, I can’t normally play over the Cambridge Weekend so I was eager to find out how mixed was my tennis these days as I am too over handicapped to qualify for ‘A Grade’ status. The answer was very… Mind you the format of the tournament was a step outside my comfort zone as we each played three matches of two (yes two) sets each.

Pol Roger: Action Shot

To avoid complicating the organisers already somewhat complicated lives our Mixed pairing chose to lose (mostly) or win (occasionally) both of the two sets. However, our team mates were not so thoughtful as they chose to sometimes win one set and lose the other (or vice versa), prompting the perfectly reasonable question as to whether they had won (or lost)? In any case, the organisers were one step ahead of us and simply added up sets won (which in our case was rather easier than adding up sets lost) to determine the the winning Team without answering our team mates aforementioned question directly. In any case it was all very enjoyable and as nobody really knew who was going to win we all kept on merrily hacking away under the vague illusion that there most be some way that our admittedly increasingly dismal scores could translate through some fiendish algorithm into a Team C victory.

Team Mixed Doubles

On Saturday afternoon, we were joined by the other Doubles tournament played under a more usual scoring arrangement. However, the organisers had clearly anticipated that this arrangement would be disappointingly uncomplicated for the participants so they chose to mix things up a bit through a few typos on the scoresheet, see photo. So again nobody really knew who had won that Tournament either!

We try to make sense of it all…


A Grade Doubles


Stephen Doel

Charles Harcourt

Charles & Stephen, off Court


Eventually it was all sorted out, bottles of Pol Roger were handed out to our worthy winners (thanks Pol!), we imbibed the rest and I went back to Cambourne which was where I had started the day…

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Real Tennis World Championship

Championship Point

Championship Point….

Last Saturday afternoon I went to Cambridge University Real Tennis Club (CURTC) where I am a member and watched The Real Tennis World Championship Final on a big (-ish) screen along with 30 or so other members. Every one of us was rooting for Australian Rob Fahey to regain the World title he lost two years ago to American Camden Riviere. Rob has dominated the sport of Real Tennis for the last 25 years and was World Champion from 1994 to 2016. In 2016 he lost his title (7-2) to Riviere on Riviere’s home court at Newport, Rhode Island. It appeared that at the age of 48 Fahey might find it difficult to continue to compete at the very highest level with the man 18 years his junior.

The scoring in Real Tennis is broadly similar to Lawn Tennis although the game itself is radically different. It would take too long to explain those differences here so please Google it if you want to know more. The World Championship is played every two years and this year was held at the Queen’s Club in London. Rob Fahey made it to the final to challenge Camden Riviere for the title. The final is best of 13 sets and is played over three separate days.

On Tuesday it looked as Riviere’s new dominance would continue as he finished the first session 3 sets to 1 in the lead. On Thursday in the second session amazingly Rob Fahey won all 4 sets to earn himself an overall 5-3 lead. Only two more sets needed and he would be World Champion once again!

In the third and final session on Saturday it did not start well for Fahey when he lost the first set 6-5 after leading 4-0 and 5-2. Riviere won the second set 6-0 to square things up at 5 sets all and it looked as if those of us watching in Cambridge would soon be applauding gallant runner up Rob Fahey and murmuring what a great World Champion he had been in the past but how even he couldn’t combat the passing of the years. (Something most of us in the audience were all too familiar with!)

But we of little faith were made to eat our thoughts as Fahey won the next two sets 6-3, 6-3 to take the match 7 sets to 5! He won the final point by hitting the ball into the winning gallery – you’ll have to Google that as well. There was much jubilation at CURTC as Rob Fahey was once again World Champion – two days short of his 50th birthday. Although he was born in Hobart, Tasmania, Rob is very much seen as the ‘local lad’ at the Cambridge club. He played several seasons for the Cambridge team and was frequently seen around the club where he was well liked by everyone who met him. He is a worthy Champion and hopefully the wider sporting world will give him the recognition he deserves.

I love playing Real Tennis and now know what a delight it can be to watch as well – even if (no, ‘because’) it was unrecognizable as the same game I play. The play was of the supremely highest level and Rob Fahey’s victory and the manner in which he achieved it must rate as the finest comeback in Real Tennis and arguably across all sports.

Dave Dove

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Booted in Wellington

Wellington, More – Less, CURTC


Inspired by a great afternoon at CURTC watching the denouement of the RT World Championship, streamed from Queen’s, it was off to Wellington to put newly found inspiration into practice. Wellington is now even bluer, is crest free (on the main wall at least) and has a newly polished floor that looks almost marble like (but it isn’t). Each match lasted one hour which explains some of the odd scores and I think I was convinced that we had not won at the end of it all. Singleswise, I did not have a good day (to put it mildly). My thanks to the Wellington marker Adam for not including the score of 3rd set that I also lost during our 55 minutes on Court. Liz took pity on me at that point and decided that the extra 5 minutes would be better spent on lunch. And I won the first game…. Doubleswise it was a different story. Funny ol’ game!
More to come….
….and here’s the more….

CURTC visit the bluer than blue Wellington


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Captains’ Challenge, 2018


Olivia Chesser and Matt Shaw, this year’s Varsity Captains, set the tone for last night’s Challenge right from the first reste of a dozen or so (I lost count) hard hit shots. I almost felt sorry for Matt as he withstood a series of hard struck volleys from the Hazard end. Olivia rushed (there was nothing slow paced about the game) to a 4-1 lead mostly from that Hazard end, defying the conventional wisdom that in these sort of matches you really want to serve. Olivia finally did get the serve and incredibly Matt began to creep back. He was banned chases worse than 3 (which had to be explained to someone in the Dedans who really should have known to which of the two players this applied…). I couldn’t understand why Olivia wasn’t leaving anything but when she finally did, it fell better than 3 such was Matt’s accuracy. Grilles were traded but Matt clawed back to 4-all and inched ahead 6-5. But Olivia was totally unperturbed by a few unreturnable shots and serves and kept volleying anything she could. A few mistakes crept into Matt’s game as he hit the Tambour (and Hazard 2nd) at crucial points and just lost a short chase. The last reste was just like the first only with Olivia serving. Both players made some astonishing retrieves before Matt hit one that could be safely left….

Congratulations to both players and Olivia on her 8-6 victory. The Varsity Ladies now lead the Captains’ Challenge 2-1.

Olivia Chesser & Matt Shaw, CURTC Captains’ Challenge, 2018 (click on image for larger…)

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More from Moreton

The National Category tournaments took place last weekend and CURTC were represented in at least one of them, Category C at Moreton. JC made it to the final but was pipped in three sets by Freddie Dixon. Thanks Keith!

Jimmy on Court at Moreton Morrell

Jimmy on Court at Moreton Morrell

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Pol Roger Final 2018

Cambridge did not make it to the Pol Roger Trophy Final this year but three recent Alumni did….

MCC beat RTC 3-2 in the Final. Thanks to Keith Beechener for the photos and the observation that we seem to have forgotten to engrave ‘Cambridge’ on the Trophy as last year’s winners. Here’s a small reminder anyway…

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Finals Day Images

Clk’wise from top left, 20, 70+, Graduate Cup, Ladies, 60, Juniors, 30, 50, 40

Finals Day, 2018

Part 3

Following links will open Google Photos Galleries of the individual pictures

Thanks again to our Finals Day sponsor Hannay-Robertson Financial Planning and Pol Roger.

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Finals Day Wrap-up

TK's psychiatrist, Camice Revier, and his motivational coach, Richard Jones,

TK’s psychiatrist, Camice Revier, and his motivational coach, Richard Jones, enthuse over the standard of play…

A great day of tennis at the Home of Real Tennis on Saturday. First up were Helena Tunks and Matthew Johnson in the inaugural 70+ Category Final. Both played well above the handicap category but Helena has improved more than Matthew since the tournament. On Green Kate Kirk was up against Tony Kennedy (aka TK) who had clearly come prepared (see photo). It was much closer than the score suggested as all the games I saw went to deuce. But TK won those critical points… The rapidly improving Jim Ludekens took on Robin Faux in the 50’s final. Jim took the first game and an upset looked to be on the cards but Robin turned it up a notch and made his experience count, particularly in a couple of close games at the start.
 
Up, up, up... and unreturnable

Up, up, up… and unreturnable

In the 40’s final, Will Boys-Stones took on Nigel Parslow who promptly defied their previous encounter (6-0, Will) by taking a 3-2 lead. Nige’s defense of the Dedans in the face of a relentless barrage was remarkable but gradually Will put a slow start behind him… The 30’s saw Andy Smith pull away from John Firth before John clearly thought it was time to pull out his high sidewall serve. He was spot on and was within a point or two of leveling the scores but Andy adjusted and pulled away for the win.
 
Spot the shoes...

Competition time: Spot the shoes…

‘Fresh’ (fresh???, Ed) from some previous night revelries, Jimmy Campbell refused to be put off by Charlie D’Oyly’s** tennis ball coloured shoes (see photo, the one… I think you should be able to work out which one). Jimmy, moving around the court as if he was still on the dance floor*, retrievied just about everything in a high class match.
 
 
 
velcro ball

The velcro ball trick…

In the midst of the Category tournament finals, Donald Fung and Hugh (I’ve got it right this time) Markus battled it out for the Graduate Cup. With all due respect to Hugh, Donald’s level of play was just that much higher. Hugh brought out the velcro ball (see photo) but Donald was only momentarily fazed and went on to become the first Chinese winner of any Cambridge real tennis tournament since 1875***.

Finals Day also saw the CURTC Ladies Championship with Vix Harvey and Venetia D’Arcy playing in a rare Cambridge final where both players have the first initial V. Venetia stormed through the first set while politely letting Vix win a couple of games after taking a 3-0 lead. The second set was closer as Vix’s relentless return of serve volleying put Venetia under pressure while at the other end Vix got her serve creeping along the floor and/or back wall. It was tied up at 4-all and we were looking at a third set. But Venetia had seen enough, ramped up the determination level to 11**** and now will have her name engraved on the coveted plate for a second time.

*OK, I admit I have never had the pleasure or otherwise of seeing JC on the dance floor so this comment is just semi-informed speculation
**Charlie, please note I have made no mention of the actual Cups (except for this one of course)
***Confirmed by extensive DF research. Thanks to TK for letting me know.
****If Spinal Tap doesn’t mean anything to you, ask a grand parent

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