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Great day out at the Palace

Posted on December 15, 2011 | in Match Report | by

In a rare excursion for real tennis players, CURTC were invited to send a team to play at the Royal Tennis Court, Hampton Court Palace on Sunday 4th December 2011.

A team of six with handicaps ranging from 35 to 62 represented CURTC, each playing two rubbers of one set each (singles and doubles, first to 8 games). Each rubber was well matched by the Royal Tennis Court (RTC) team with all games played off Level or ‘owe half 15’.

In the first rubber the experienced John Howard and inexperienced Keith Beechener (match manager) won 8-5 to get the match off to a great start. Gerald Smith took both of his matches (singles and then doubles with Pat Humphrey) to 7-7 only to see the final game go the way of the opponents. These were a both a victory for the handicap system and either team could have won both of these. CURTC fell further behind with two more losses – Keith Beechener managing to lose 6-8 after leading 6-4 and taking the next two games to 40-40, then Tome Hartley paired with John Howard losing 5-8 after showing good early form. CURTC were 1-4 behind with three rubbers to play.

It is worth mentioning at this point that the hosts at RTC provided a superb lunch with a homemade butternut squash soup and assortment of cold meats, salad and cheese plus of course a selection of appropriate refreshing beverages.

The CURTC revival was led by the ever-dependable Gary Weller who shot to a 6-0 lead before graciously allowing his opponent some brief hope and then finishing him off at 8-2. Tom Hartley traded a few games to 3-3 with his opponent before spotting a flaw in the RTC man’s defence and then proceeded to reel off the games to take the rubber 8-4. The final rubber saw Pat Humphrey join Gary Weller to take on two fresh opponents from RTC. Once again CURTC showed no mercy and took the set 8-2 to demonstrate their overall dominance and achieve a 4-4 draw for both clubs.

An enjoyable match overall and it was played in a friendly atmosphere at the oldest surviving real tennis court in England (its last extension refurbishment was in 1628).

CURTC playing at RTC, Hampton Court
CURTC serving to RTC

Keith Beechener

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