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Cambridge Weekend, Graduate Cup and Club Dinner, May 2008

Posted on May 21, 2008 | in Giraffe, Match Report, Tournament | by

Forty-eight alumni and supporters of CURTC congregated at Burrell’s Walk Tennis Court, Cambridge in the middle of May to take part in the annual Cambridge Weekend handicap doubles tournament.

The tournament is organised into two divisions by handicap. Each division is divided into four groups for the initial round-robin stages with the winners of each of the four groups going through to the semi-finals.

Division 2
The draw meant that there was a potential of husband and wife meeting in the final. Jeremy Fairbother with Guy Kirk won through but Linda Fairbrother & Malcolm Howlett were unable to overcome the handicap difference against Tipper & Womack to achieve this.

The final, between the closely match pairs of Jeremy Fairbrother & Guy Kirk and Donald Tipper & Michael Womack, was re-arranged to allow Jeremy to nip down to the river for a rowing training session as a warm-up! Fairbrother & Kirk quickly built up a 4-1 lead but in the 6th game a double fault gave Tipper & Womak game point and an excellent dig out of the backhand corner by Tipper drew Tipper & Womak back to 2-4 and then 3-4.

Strong serving by Fairbrother & Kirk gave them the next 2 games but Tipper & Womak won a chase 4 to draw back to 4-6. Fairbrother took on the serve at 6-4 and with a drive to the grill and tactical play of a drive into the last gallery to win a chase 2nd gallery pulled them within one game of the tournament. Tipper served carefully and into the nick to pull 30-love ahead. A hazard chase saw the serve switch and Fairbrother drove to the grill to gain match point and then with a lovely drive to the tambour took the game and match.

Division 1
Division 1 was a close-fought event with Ed Pearson & Ali Hakimi; George Pearson & John Mears; Ross Smythe & Julian Stafford; M. Carter & J. Harrison winning through their round-robin groups. The draw meant that there was a potential of a father (George) and son (Edward) meeting each other in the final. George & his partner Mears did win through to the final but Edward & Hakimi were defeated by Smythe & Stafford.

The final was a real nip-and-tuck affair, with neither team able to pull ahead in the first 6 games. In the all-important 7th game Mears served and defended the galleries well to go up 40-love. Smythe & Stafford gained a hazard chase and rallied with the serve and won an excellent rest to to pull back to 30-40. Mears and Pearson won back the serve with another hazard chase and won the chase to pull ahead 4-3.

Mears & Pearson then started to dominate the match, retaining the serve for two games and driving this advantage to a 7-3 lead. In the 11th game Mears & Pearson, at the hazard end, gained two hazard chases to take the serve at 15-30 down. Great play by Mears at the net and strong cross-court play by Pearson at the back gave the game, match and tournament to Mears & Pearson – successfully retaining their hold on the Brian Church Bowl as well as winning the Cambridge Weekend Division 1 event for a second successive year.

The full results are given at the end of this report.

Graduate Cup
The Graduate Cup final, between Gill Houston and Raymond Spencer, also took place on Saturday afternoon. It promised to be an intriguing encounter between two players of contrasting styles. The match got off to a brisk start with Ray being perhaps the quicker to settle. Right from the start the spectators were treated to some very impressive retrieving from Ray in response to some typically searching forehands from Gill into the corners. During the course of the match there was rarely more than one game in it and the score quickly progressed to 4-4 with Gill gradually finding just that bit more penetration on the returns.

Then, as so often happens in Real Tennis, there was one of those imperceptible shifts in the balance of power with Ray, who had barely missed a beat in the early part of the match, making just one or two unforced errors. By 6-6 the smart money was perhaps on Gill (at least from those of us who have been ground into the dust previously by her unfaltering determination), but Ray regrouped mentally and by 7-7 it was too close to call. No-one was surprised when the score reached 40-40 and match point. At the finishing post, Ray pulled out yet another good-quality shot which made things just a bit too tricky for Gill and a shot into the net sealed victory for him.

The crowd had been treated to a match of extremely high quality – a tremendously watchable spectacle. Both players played well above their suggested handicaps and rose to the occasion magnificently. The crowd came away feeling very well entertained and mightily relieved that they were not on the opposite side of the net facing either opponent.

Club Dinner
On Saturday night the Blue Court was transformed from a top tennis court to an atmospheric dining area for about 80 alumni visiting for the Giraffe Cambridge Weekend, CURTC members and friends. It was a fine event with much opportunity to celebrate the game of Real Tennis.

Sunday saw a few stalwarts arriving at 9am for a morning of social doubles. Games were less competitive than Saturday and regular rehydration stops were a requisite following the convivial evening dinner.

Thanks to:
Pol Roger for providing Champagne prizes for the event
The markers: Scott Blaber, Kees Ludekens, Peter Paterson, Simon Stokes
The Cambridge Weekend Committee: Duncan Colquhoun, Kees Ludekens
Duncan & Sue Colquhoun for providing refreshments through the tournament
A special thanks to Sue Colquhoun and Linda Fairbrother for providing a wonderful feast for the 80 guests at Saturday dinner

The Giraffe Club Cambridge Weekend is an annual event. The event is for all Alumni, whether or not you played Real Tennis whilst at Cambridge University. It aims to be a fun social event with some tennis included. Next year will be a special event to mark the 800th anniversary of Cambridge University. As well as the doubles handicap tournament on Saturday we hope to have a Old Boys vs Students match on Sunday, matching players past and present for singles. Additionally Rob Fahey has agreed to attend the event and take part in an exhibition match with the leading student of the year. The Saturday night dinner will be held at a special location with up to 200 alumni, students, CURTC members and their guests. The dates for next year are 16th & 17th May 2009. Contact Kees Ludekens 01223 357106 for further details.

The Giraffe Club is for Old Blues and supporters of the University Club. Subscriptions from the Giraffe Club go towards a fund that supports University Real Tennis players. Contact Kees Ludekens 01223 357106 or email the pros for further details.

Full Results
Division 1

Round-robin A
J.Mears & G.Pearson (34) xx 6 6 Winner
A. Petrie & K. Hird (23) 4 xx 4
M. Perriton & Nick Heath (39) 4 6 xx
Round-robin B
M. Carter & J. Harrison (33) xx 6 6 Winner
G. Pilgrim & N. Peabody (34) 4 xx 6
D. Colquhoun & N. Brown (18) 5 4 xx
Round-robin C
A Hakimi & E. Pearson (26) xx 4 6 Winner
J. Ludden & J. Howard (34) 6  xx 0
C. Bowsher & M. Allen (30) 4 6 xx
Round-robin D
A. Greenwood & T. Parker (32) xx 5 4
R. Smythe & J. Stafford (39) 6 xx 6 Winner
C. Harcourt & C. Swan (24) 6 2 xx
Semi- finals Finals Winners
J. Mears & G. Pearson
} J. Mears & G. Pearson
M. Carter & J. Harrison
} J.Mears & G. Pearson
A Hakimi & E. Pearson
} R.Smythe & J. Stafford
R. Smythe & J. Stafford
Division 2
Round-robin A
J. Kirkpatrick & D. Wood (43) xx 2 6
L. Fairbrother & M. Howlett (47) 6 xx 6 Winner
R. Tasker & M.Magnay (54) 1 4 xx
Round-robin B
D. Tipper & M. Womack (56) xx 6 6 Winner
J. Bailey & D. Herbert (59) 3 xx 6
P. Ward & C. Dean (43) 3 4 xx
Round-robin C
R. Altham & S. King (63) xx 0 6
M. Pope & J. Ferguson (60) 6 xx 6 Winner
P.Murray- John & D. Walmsley (49) 1 5 xx
Round-robin D
K. W. Smith & E. Nutter (40) xx 4 6
J. Fairbrother & G. Kirk (52) 6 xx 6 Winner
D. Siedentopf & F. Brown (57) 1 2 xx
Semi- finals Finals Winners
L. Fairbrother & M. Howlett
} D. Tipper & M. Womack
D. Tipper & M. Womack 8/4
} J. Fairbrother & G. Kirk
M.Pope & J. Ferguson
} J. Fairbrother & G. Kirk
J.Fairbrother & G. Kirk

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