Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis Club
Posted on September 9, 2015
Time has moved on since May when our last article was published in Focus. Now with the imminent approach of our 27th Club Finals Day on Saturday 12th September it seemed an opportune time to put pen to paper / finger to keyboard & delve back into the past with the aid of a quarter century of diaries (I do detect a communal sigh of relief from most club members that E.B.L.T.C. was not formed back in 1968 but that story maybe can be left until Andy Cross re-enters the Focus scene) prior to coming right up to date with information regarding this year's finalists.
Our very first Finals Day occurred on Bank Holiday Monday August 28th 1989 Ably organised by Ross Bagni – is there any limit to his attributes ? – The Men's singles title was contested between two founder members – we probably were all founder members at that time, the club having only been formed in 1987 – Mike Venn & Peter Hale. The youthful 42 year old securing victory. Our first ladies champion was Lisa Abercrombie who defeated her mum (a family affair well ahead of any Williams sister rivalry) in a 2 hour 3 set marathon. Mike & Judy Venn beat Mike & Val Abercrombie in the mixed doubles & Lisa & Val were lady partners defeating Judy Venn & Janet Hale in the ladies doubles final.
Longevity Rules O.K. insomuch as four of the above-mentioned remain active & mobile to this day (at least when Ross is not having a heart attack or being knocked over on court by players twice his size – apologies to Roy Cook for the slight exaggeration of his bulk) and in the ensuing years all four managed to get their names on one or more of the trophies. (Yes, even Ross, thanks to partnering Jenny Baines who holds the record for most ladies singles titles)
Mike Venn & Val Abercrombie, both no longer alive, remain very much in the thoughts of club members.
As the club grew & the annual tournament became much more competitive with the likes of Nick Boys & Michael Tatham participating, one name stood out above all others in the holding of silverware, Darren Kerins. 20 singles finals to date with 16 of them victorious. 7 men's doubles titles, the last admittedly won on the back of being the partner of Andy Cross and 6 mixed doubles titles. Impressive.
So, back to the present. Like most tournaments in local tennis clubs such as Dunstable, Flitwick, Edlesborough etc. getting participants to play their matches on time is an organiser's nightmare as our own David Hillman will testify. Thus with less than 4 days to go to finals day not all of our finalists are known.
Our coach Sara Leavy will contest the mixed final with Adam Bamford should they manage to beat David Hillman & Jenny Baines. Stephen Macintosh & Alison Lowe will be the opponents in the final.
In the men's doubles final Peter Messetter & Simon Mitchener – an engravers nightmare – will take on young Max Freebairn & not so young Darren Kerins who looked into the precipice of defeat prior to scaling the mountain of victory against Peter Hale & Roy Cook, champions of the last two years. Peter & Simon will be going for their fourth victory since 2002.
With the considerable help of young Alison Lowe, who has made quite a name for herself in Bedfordshire tennis, Janet Hale has achieved the remarkable feat of reaching finals in the very first & the current year of Eaton Bray's existence. Hopefully both Sara Leavy & Kirsty Glynn will show respect for their elders & youngers in the final.
David Provan, who has been a tower of strength in our club, has the unenviable task of trying to prevent Darren reaching yet another men's singles final. There awaiting one of them will be Dan Sunderland.
Will this year be the one when Dan takes home the cup?
Hopefully the answer to this & other questions, plus a roundup of both senior & junior performances in the South Bedfordshire Topspin Racquets Summer League, will appear in our next article.
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