Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis Club
Posted on October 5, 2015
Will this year be the one when Dan takes home the cup?
That was the question posed in the penultimate paragraph of the September article.
In the first Eaton Bray Men's final, way back in time, both participants were in their 40ies. This year Darren Kerins also found himself in that age range against the younger Dan Sunderland. It was Darren's 19th consecutive final, Dan had reached the final on 2 previous occasions in 2002 & more recently in 2013 both times Darren had proven too strong an opponent. This year's match lasted in excess of 3 hours. At 6-4; 1-6; 2-5; Darren's defence of his title looked doomed but he saved a match point in a 57 shot rally & won the next 4 games. It was then Dan's turn, at 5-6 down, to stare defeat in the face but his overwhelming will to win gave him strength against a superb adversary & eventually he secured victory at 8-6 on the 69th shot of the final rally. Fortunately the crowd were not holding breath between points!
Dan has joined the exclusive band of "one hit wonders" Peter Hale, Anthony Kearney & Roy Cook - winners of a single final – not an insignificant feat as all four achieved what one prominent player strived to do, without success, over 17 years. Wayne Moore, Nick Boys & Michael Tatham are the only other players besides Darren to have won twice or more.
In the Under 18 Boys final Benjamin Johnson reversed earlier results against the same opponent by defeating Max Freebairn. Max had his moments of triumph later on.
Whilst these finals were progressing, (even without the presence of Focus poet & menu master Andy Cross,) Stephen Macintosh, Anthony Jones & Dave Williams, Eaton Bray's answer to the Beverly Sisters (prior to the recent sad loss of Joy) were producing beautiful burgers & heavenly hot dogs. They certainly did know their onions & Shirley Macintosh kept them on their toes.
The Under 18 Boys Doubles final was won by Max Freebairn & Philip Clarke against Benjamin Johnson & Ben Williams. Philip Clarke was also victorious in the Under 16 Boys final against Thomas Noithip. In the Under 14 Girls final Rosie Dickson beat Anna Bowen & this after Anna had earlier played her semi-final against Georgia Griffiths. Thomas Noithip defeated Cameron Brown in the Under 14 Boys final, Jessica Bowen came out on top against Lauren Smith in the Under 12 Girls final & in the Mini Green final Lewis Brown beat Jamie Williams.
Great credit should be given to all of the junior tournament participants – finalists & those who didn't quite make it this year – there is always time – ask Janet Hale, who beat her husband's record in the longevity stakes by featuring in the first & twenty seventh Ladies Doubles final – plus a couple in between as Mem Sab (Membership Secretary & all round scary chaser of subscription renewals) Helen Woodhead, reminded me. Not surprisingly, super-coach Sara Leavy aided by our very own Scottish tennis ace, Kirsty Glynn, beat Janet & Alison Lowe. All 3 sets were fiercely contested. Hopefully Alison will continue her tennis activities at University and on behalf of Eaton Bray Tennis Club I wish her every success.
Steve Macintosh took a little time off from handing over burgers to hit a few of his topspin, southern hemisphere, serves when partnering Alison in the Mixed Doubles final. Unfortunately for both Steve & Alison it was not a final to relish as Sara teamed up with partner Adam Bamford & showed why she is one of the top players in the county.
In the men's doubles final Peter Messetter & Simon Mitchener – (still an engravers nightmare – but not for this year) – took on Max Freebairn & a freshly showered Darren Kerins. Max was outstanding as he helped Darren achieve yet another year with a trophy. The length of rallies didn't match the singles final but play concluded so late that Simon nearly missed his train. (An "In joke" as Simon is a train driver) I am sure if Andy was still holding the pen there would be a mention of how Simon went off the rails, had a sleeper for a partner & ended up with a tender behind, but fortunately I am not Andy.
Will this year be the one when Dan takes home the cup? As you now can tell – It was.
The brilliant coaching work of Sara Leavy & her trusted band of helpers continues. Results in the South Bedfordshire junior leagues for summer 2015 have been most impressive, as has the organising by Debbie Williams. The emergence of some junior players into the senior play is very welcome– although they may be encountering some shots not taught by Sara, but hey ho variety is the spice of tennis !
The final placings for the three senior teams are not yet known but hopefully our Men's B team will end up top of their section & the Men's A team, although not fulfilling all of their fixtures, will feature in the top couple of teams in division 3 The summer season was always going to be tough going for our Mixed team who gained promotion into the top flight last year. They will probably be relegated this term.
To conclude, Eaton Bray Tennis Club continues to provide coaching, social & competitive tennis to the local community. New members are always welcome. Information is available on our website ebltc.org.uk
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