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LRTA British Ladies Handicap Tournament 2023*

Posted on November 16, 2023 | in Tournament | by

Outside, the grey rain..  Luckily, the inside of Prested Real Tennis Club is not glumly decorous like most RT Clubs, but glories in a vibrant clash of colours: pink floors, green and blue stripes, yellow lines – some find this a cue to go and lie down on the welcoming leather sofas, but in the weather conditions of the LRTA Ladies Handicap weekend, the bold décor was just the thing to get our blood racing.

There were twenty four players– with an age range from 12 year old Lexi to a select group whose age data is carefully locked behind an inscrutable password (we hope).

This year the tournament saw an exceptional French turnout of seven, all thanks to Bernie Bidouze’s tour operator talents. Among them, Amy Wintersteen, an American interloper currently living in Bordeaux, to make the tournament a truly global event. Huzzah!

Arriving en masse in a large van, the Bordelaises proceeded to first take over the club with French chatter, and then the tournament, with feisty, competitive tennis.  They also were extremely voluble supporters of their team, cheering not only the success of their own, but also every stumble or fault by the opposition – this cunning plan was very effective…

Bernie provided the gaiety on court – her long shorts billowing round her sturdy calves; hands waving at the penthouse to invite the ball into the right spot; a firm volley at the net into a far corner – and of course, the frequent ‘merde!’ coming – possibly – from her direction.

The French contingent played above their pay grade with Bernie (and Kate Evers) winning the Division 1 Final, Typhanie and Cécile also reaching the finals, and Amy, Jeannette, Florence and Emmanuelle all going knockout. through to the Not surprisingly, the group plans to come back next year to beat les Anglaises again.

Full results will be found on the LRTA website before too long.

Div 1 Singles Final
Sarah Sullivan had been playing excellent consistent tennis throughout, solid and safe and she continued this way in the Final, and with a hefty handicap in her favour, kept up with Ulla Petti whose athleticism had been very apparent in all her matches, But by 4/2 to Ulla, the strength and accuracy of Ulla’s shots into corners took their toll, though Sarah never stopped trying. 6/3 to Ulla.

Div 1 Doubles Final
Bernie and Kate Evers against Amy Pye and Cécile was a great prospect and so it turned out.  There were a number of great rests, with Kate and Bernie usually coming out on top.  Amy and Cécile were patchy at times, playing superbly for 2 or 3 points, and then over-casual for the next 3. No such favours from Bernie and Kate, who were solid throughout, and Bernie’s war dance told it all.  She really wanted to win, and she and Kate stayed ahead all the way, embracing French style after every difficult rest, winning 8/4.

But to finish, some particularly outstanding efforts:

Most consistent:
Sarah Sullivan, who won all her first round singles and doubles matches (plus adding more in further stages)
Best hair styling:
Saffron and Emilia, the Wellington girls, who not only played their socks off, but also had matching pony tails with an hypnotic bouncy life of their own.
Best Victory Dance: 
Bernie by a mile.
Best use of the tambour:  
Amy and Cécile in their semi-final
Most promising:     
Typhanie and Emily Wilson, who both began to play barely a year ago.
Most fearsome
A tie between Ulla and Kate who were obviously AI generated, hence able to run, reach and return any missile aimed at them.
One last thought:
Only two winning gallery shots were landed during the two and a half days….  Now why should that be?? Answers on an envelope, please.

Our thanks to the Prested Club and committee, and to the professionals, Levi and Vaughan, for their excellent marking. Also the catering staff, the kind hosts who offered beds, and all who made it such a successful tournament, especially Kate Evers, Sarah Sullivan and Candida Nicholls who did the organising, Ian for the scheduling, and all those others too many to mention.

Linda Fairbrother, LRTA & CURTC

*Many thanks to the LRTA and Linda for allowing us to post this splendid report!


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