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A night to remember

Dec 24, 2008
The lights go out at Queen's
On 23 December at 9 o'clock in the evening, most citizens of London have finished the party season, finished the christmas shopping, and left to spend the long weekend somewhere in the country. Not so the valiant young racketeers - they've been in training, and haven't even started any of the above...! They came to Queen's to play in the final of the U21/U24 Championships, and play they did.They played on...and on... and on...through two 'best of 5' Singles matches and two best of 5 doubles matches, of which the Under 21 Doubles was exceptionally entertaining and close. Will Hopton attempted a hat-trick, but lost out in the U21 Doubles; nevertheless, he spent well over 3 hours playing competitive rackets, and almost every minute of it watched by his family, who presumably had done the christmas bits for him! Although Hopton was tipped to win the U21 Singles, which he did, for the second time this season he took on and beat James Coyne to win the U24 Singles too, a match punctuated by unforced errors from Coyne, and latterly by tiredness on both players parts. Nick James and Sam Northeast prevailed in the U21 Doubles in the fifth set at 14 all and 3-1, and in the U24 Doubles Bone and Bailey were too strong for Penna and Coyne, the latter of whom needed to pace himself for the subsequent U24 Singles match. This was not the time of year to guarantee huge crowds, and at one point it seemed that Queen's itself would actually close. In the middle of the U24 Singles the court lights went out without warning, and we thought it must be a message, but no, it was just Queen's being efficient and saving electricity. But by the time we made it to the bar for the presentations afterwards, we were defintely THE last players at Queens this Christmas, and are grateful to the few staff still present to look after us. Thank you to Howard Angus too for marking most of the matches. With that, we sign off for the holiday season.
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