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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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Results of Finals Day sponsored by Hannay Robertson Financial Planning 17 March 2018

  • 70+ Helena Tunks beat Matthew Johnson 8-1
  • 60+ Tony Kennedy beat Kate Kirk 8-3
  • 50+ Robin Faux beat Jim Ludekens 8-2
  • 40+ Will Boys-Stones beat Nigel Parslow 8-4
  • 30+ Andy Smith beat John Firth 8-3
  • 20+ Jimmy Campbell beat Charlie D’Oyly 8-2
  • Ladies Club Championship Venetia D’Arcy beat Vix Harvey 6-3 6-4
  • Graduate Cup Donald Fung beat Hugh Markus 8-3
  • Junior Championship U16 Alex Peake beat Isabella Harvey 8-1
  • Junior Championship U18 Jim Ludekens beat Andrew Barker 8-6

Congratulations to one and all!

Jim Ludekens

Jim Ludekens

Important to be on your toes when on Court

Important to be on your toes when on Court

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Finals Day, Saturday March 17th

Yes, CURTC’s Finals Day, sponsored by Hannay Robertson Financial Planning takes place tomorrow starting at 9:30am. There will be 10 finals including two Junior Club Championships, six Category tournament Finals, the CURTC Ladies Championship and Graduate Cup Final.

Please drop in and lend your support if you possibly can!

CURTC Finals day, 2018

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Varsity Match live stream

You can watch the Varsity match live stream from Lords here:

Click on link if video player doesn’t appear…

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Varsity Match Update

Not going Cambridge’s way in the Ladies Varsity but our team are at a serious handicap disadvantage. Kudos to Helena & Alexandra who grab a set in the 2nd Doubles!

1-All in the Men’s after the Doubles. Well played Matt & Will who take the second Doubles in 3 sets! 1st Doubles goes to the other place, 6-4 in the 5th….

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20’s and 30’s complete the Finals Day Line-up

20's & 30's

JC & CD’O through but MP’s off skiing

Andy Smith & John Firth will be competing for a place on The Honours Board after a closely fought 30’s Category Tournament. Meanwhile Jimmy Campbell will no doubt be equally confident in his rematch with Charlie D’Oyly in the 20’s final having edged that crucial ’15th’ game. All the Category Finals plus the Graduate Cup, CURTC ladies Championship and the two CURTC Junior Championships will all take place on the Hannay-Robertson Financial Planning sponsored Finals Day, Saturday, March 17th. Please come along and support if you can! It will all start at 9:30am.

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Road Trips 2: Hardwick House


After Moreton Morrell, Hardwick House of Toad of Toad Hall fame was our destination. An early (and brisk) start was at least rewarded with a gloriously sunny lull before the arrival of the Beast from the East.
Again, CURTC showed exemplary courtesy in graciously allowing our hosts a 2-0 lead after the first two matches. Not only were these matches lost, they were lost so rapidly that an extra set was possible within each time slot. Certainly things had warmed up by this point in the Dedans and our third paring of John Bailey & Andrew Snodgrass didn’t hang around and returned the favour of an extra set having won the first. Nonetheless I thought it wise to try to negotiate a ‘Plate’ competition for these second sets where we were being rather more successful.

However, the tide had turned and the match score was evened up in convincing fashion by Ben Geytenbeek & Dave Isherwood who got us well ahead of schedule with a 8-0 victory while, I’m sure they would be the first to admit, being the beneficiaries of a correct but generous handicap.

At this point we returned to the court but in different pairings for the second half and CURTC was frankly unrecognisable from the first two matches. The only loss was a close 8-7 (after holding a 7-6 lead) but the rest of the matches went convincingly our way. Lunch was a splendid affair, with a blazing fire and tennis to add to the ambience. The final scores are below followed by a summary collage of action on the Court.

Hardwick 3 – 5 CURTC

CURTC @HHTC, 25/2/18

Many thanks to our generous hosts and we look forward to welcoming them back to the Home of Real Tennis next year. And finally a google photos gallery with the above photos and more.

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Road Trips 1: Moreton Morrell

CURTC have been on the Road while the Category Tournaments have been occupying weekend Courts. On Feb 11th, it was off to Moreton Morrell, a Court I had not previously visited. With exemplary courtesy, the early shift of Kirks allowed our hosts to take a 2-0 lead as they lost by identical scores in 3 sets. But then the wind shifted (or maybe it was the ‘bonnes odeurs’ from the kitchen) and Paul Brown got CURTC back on track without recourse to a third set and importantly, back on time so lunch could proceed. With remarkable restraint Ben Geytenbeek & Joe Zygmunt didn’t overdo things at the Table and levelled the match score on the Court.

CURTC @MMTCC, 11/2/18

Lunch clearly invigorated the Hip & Knees duo who romped (well maybe romped is a bit of an exaggeration) through the first set without losing a game. Normality was quickly restored as our opponents Keith Beechener (remember him?) & Tim Messer eased to a 5-2 lead before another of those change in directions in the local airflow. And so at 5- and 40- all, a despairing lunge from yours truly failed to reach a 2nd bounce at the 6 yard line giving us the game, set, etc on a 5 & 6 yard chase…. A more coherent view of the proceedings can be found here

Many thanks to Moreton, especially Nick Jury for marking, Tom Granville for organisation and whoever was working so diligently in the kitchen!

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