Grey clouds billowed menacingly across the sky last Saturday as our annual club Final's Day got underway,....
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Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis Club

Posted on October 8, 2011

This article was published in October 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis ClubGrey clouds billowed menacingly across the sky last Saturday as our annual club Final's Day got underway, our 23rd since we stared out in 1989. Tennis players and supporters however are a hardy bunch, and all arrived undeterred by the BBC weatherman's forecast of 'a few light showers' determined to play – and hopefully win – their finals, or to cheer on their family member/friend/person who'd paid them to come along. And so it was that we laid out 20 garden chairs alongside court 1, made ourselves a cup of hot coffee, and sat down to enjoy the first final of the afternoon. Umpire was Peter Hale, who had to make do standing on another garden chair, as we'd inadvertently left the umpire's ladder in Judy Venn's garage and no-one had the energy to go back and get it.

This was the first time the Ladies Singles final had been contested since 2007, and we were not disappointed. Alison Lowe took on Alicia Franklin, both ladies still strictly Juniors, but putting on a display of tennis that would make any one of our first team players look over their shoulders. A match very high in quality eventually saw Alison come out on top 6-1, 6-3 to take her first Senior title at the club. Congratulations Alison!

Next up was the Men's Singles, which saw our only 3-setter of the afternoon. Darren Kerins and Kevin Todd entertained us for almost 2 hours in a fiercely competitive match full of chips, lobs and powerful forehands. Despite Kevin taking the first set, Darren came through in the end 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to take his 13th Men's Singles title, his first being in 1993. Not many professional tennis players are still at the top of their game after 18 years! I should clarify that part of that 2 hour match included a rain break, when the heavens opened and every committee member to a man ran onto the courts to pull out the protective covers, before remembering that we didn't have any.

A short sharp shower it was however; play quickly resumed after a swift 10 minute break in the clubhouse (during which Kevin had a cup of tea and a bag of cheese and onion crisps).

The Mixed Doubles was played out on Court 2, giving some spectators the challenging decision of which court to place their garden chairs alongside. Carole Thorp and (tennis) partner Simon Mitchener had the tough task of playing club coach Sara Leavy and her partner Glen Wigley. Sarah played a 'blinder' with some magnificent contributions from Glenn (or so he told me afterwards, when I told him I'd be writing my Focus report later), and despite strong resistance from their opponents, Sara and Glenn won in straight sets 6-4, 6-1. That match was quickly followed by the Ladies Doubles final, consisting of Jane Cross and Claire Fox-Wilson against Judy Venn and Alison Lowe, by now fully recovered from her earlier victory (the stamina of these youngsters)! Judy and Alison played superbly, taking control of and winning the first set, and despite Jane and Claire raising their game in the second, they couldn't prevent Judy and Alison taking the title 6-1, 7-5. Two titles in one afternoon for Alison, and Judy's 3rd title overall, her first being back on our inaugural Final's Day in 1989. Still winning titles after 23 years is some achievement!

The final match was the Men's Doubles between Simon Mitchener and Peter Messetter, playing Darren Kerins and John Slater. Darren and John put up a good fight and made it a very close encounter, but Simon and Peter emerged victorious at the end of an exciting tie-break,6-3, 7-6. And so ended a fantastic day of tennis, but being Eaton Bray Tennis Club, the day was only just beginning! There followed a social evening in the clubhouse with around 30 members (some suitably hosed down after their exploits on court), both adult and junior, enjoying various savoury and sweet dishes brought along by members, 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. Cups and prizes were awarded, and as night fell, everyone slipped away happy, contented and proud to be a member!

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

Source: Focus, October 2011

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