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Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis Club

This article was published in October 2015. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis ClubWill 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

Peter Hale
October 2015

Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis Club

This article was published in September 2015. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Eaton Bray Lawn Tennis ClubTime 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.

Peter Hale
September 2015

Try Tennis for Free - Sunday 17 May

This article was published in May 2015. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Eaton Bray Tennis Club will be opening its doors to anyone wanting to try tennis for free on Sunday 17th May.

Part of the national Great British Tennis Weekend campaign, the club will be holding an open event, where anyone is welcome to come down and have a 'smashing' time!

Club coach Sara Leavy will be at the club on the day to give free advice and guidance, supported by volunteers from the club committee:

"The event is running from 2pm – 5pm and is open to everyone, players of all ages and abilities, to come down and have fun on the day. There will be mini tennis for the youngsters, a ball machine for the more ambitious and even cardio-tennis for the fitness fans – and it's all free," said Sara.

Coach Sara has herself won numerous county titles and now helping her young players compete in the South Bedfordshire League. Since the club was first founded in 1987, it has been run by a group of volunteers, making sure the facility is kept open and available to the local community.

The Great British Tennis Weekend is organised by the nation Lawn Tennis Association, clubs across the country will be taking part. Details of all the clubs taking part across Bedfordshire can be found at

LTA Participation Manager Nina Bridge added: "Last year's open day was a real success with over 800 potential new players visiting our clubs across Bedfordshire. With any luck we will find our next Andy Murray this year."

Tennis Club - 17 May 2015

Photo shows : Eaton Bray Club Coach Sara Leavy with some of her young members – ready to welcome new players on Sunday 17th May.

Quiz, Eaton Bray Village Hall, 8 October 2011

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

Quiz - 8 October 2011

Eaton Bray Village Hall - Saturday 8th Oct 2011
This fabulous quiz with quizmaster Keith Blackburn will still include a free supper with the questions. Bring you own glasses and drink
7.00pm for 7.30pm
Just £9 per person. Teams of up to 8 people. Fabulous prizes!
This event is organised jointly by Eaton Bray Village Hall Fundraising Committee and Eaton Bray Tennis Club
For bookings contact Ross 221411 and Katrina 01582 662406