Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis Club
Posted on October 6, 2009
A magnificently sunny Saturday afternoon hosted our club's Final's Day on 12th September, the culmination of several months of eagerly competitive knock-out rounds, and the barbecue sizzled succulently as once more our 3,016 menu options were hungrily devoured by players and supporters alike. Helen Woodhead donned the apron as my sous-chef, whilst the day's umpiring activities were carried out by Dave Hillman, Peter Hale, Ross Bagni and the visually challenged John 'how am I going to get up into that chair?' Palmer. John actually tried to blag a free burger on the basis of being an OAP and even flourished his bus pass in an effort to avoid paying the £1.50, but the promise of a nice sit down later with a cup of tea was sufficient to entice him into the chair. Thinking about it, I don't recall anyone helping him down again, he might still be there. If anyone's up at the courts, would they mind checking?
On court, the Men's Singles final was a rematch of last year's, but this time Darren Kerins was able to overcome Michael Tatham in two sets, beating his own record of being our most prolific Champion, making this his 22nd title overall, and the 29th for the Kerins family. His first was all the way back in 1993 when he won both the Singles and the Men's Doubles. This year though, Darren could only make runner up in the Men's Doubles final with his partner Dave Williams, when in another very close encounter they just lost to Simon Mitchener and Pete Messetter, whose unique style of serving left his opponents open mouthed. Those that have seen Pete serve will understand this ironic juxtaposition....! The Ladies Doubles saw Danielle Tansley and new partner Carol Thorp play very well together as a team to defeat Jane Cross and Anne Moxey, giving both ladies their first title. Later however, Jane did take her 11th overall title in the Mixed Doubles when paired with Keith Hillman, who took a day off from his football, badminton, squash, rugby and basketball (he's almost as fit as I am...), in victory against Judy Venn and Simon Mitchener. Simon was standing in for the injured Peter Hill, who had a fault with his foot. This was Judy's 20th year competing in the club tournament, having won her first title in the Mixed Doubles back in 1989 at the club's inaugural Championship. No clubhouse, floodlights or barbecues back in those days; we used to bring up our own chairs and picnics and if you were caught short then it was off into the bushes!
We also savoured a keenly competitive junior tournament: in the under 8s Finlay Tarvit won in a close match against Mollie Baylis, and in the over 8s, Sophie Mitchener ran out the winner against Laura Baylis, in a reverse of last year's competition when Laura won. Judging from the talent being displayed on court three by these juniors, the club has a great future to look forward to; who knows what records will be being broken on Final's Day in 20 years from now! One thing's for sure; it won't be me breaking them.
As a 'change from the norm' this year, Madame Chairman had the excellent idea of staging a social evening in the clubhouse following the Finals. So after a quick hose down, about 30 members, both adult and junior, all gathered together having brought along various savoury and sweet dishes, the quantities of which could have fed most of Eaton Bray for a week. Our clubhouse fridge was bulging with copious amounts of bottles and cans of suitable liquid refreshment, consumed whilst regaling ever more exaggerated stories of heroic exploits on court earlier in the day. It was after one particularly potent can of lemonade that I was asked by the Chairman to act as master of ceremonies for the trophy presentations. Matters were not aided by Ross, who despite being in charge of the junior tournament couldn't remember the names of any of the winners, or indeed any competitors at all. Despite this setback, I struggled through the address with an almost 100% record on the finalists' names, my only challenge being my interpretation of Peter Hale's handwritten note confirming a 'Dave W' as a runner-up in the Men's Doubles, which for some inexplicable reason I interpreted as Dave White, another member but one not present on the day. It was of course Dave Williams, who was there, to whom I apologised profusely blaming dementia, poor lighting and Peter's lack of written clarity, but not necessarily in that order.
For any further information about the club, including when we get together for our social tennis sessions up at the School Lane courts, or our various activities, you can visit our website at www.ebltc.org.uk; Alternatively please contact Chairman Bernadette Hillman, Coach Nick Boys, or if they're all out and I'm not mixing up people's names, me, Randy Coss.
Source: Focus, October 2009
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