Brown Advisory Ladies British Open Doubles 2019
Another great British Ladies Open was played over the weekend at Malvern College. This year saw the competition grow again with seventeen enthusiastic and very capable pairs playing in the main draw and a plate competition.
In the first semi-final last years winners Issie Thorneycroft and Lauren Gooding from Wellington College played Georgie Gunn and Minty Knowles. Both pairs served well, but the extra power of the Wellington duo meant Gunn and Knowles were always on the back foot. After the first game finished 15/3 it was much of the same in the second and Thorneycroft and Gooding finished it off taking the second game 15/7
The second semi-final was a slightly closer affair. Georgie Willis and Tara Lumley, who moved up to the first seed spot after Lea Van Der Zwalmen withdrew for personal reasons, played the fourth seeded Cheltenham pair Abbie Whybrow andFionnuala Dowling-Membrado. The first game ebbed and flowed between the two pairs, who were engaged in some excellent rallies, before Tara and Georgie served it out 15/11. The second game was very competitive, but the court experience of the older pair showed winning it 15/3 and a place in the final.
The top two seeded pairs then met in what was to be an epic encounter. The first game set the tone for the match, with some excellent serving, returning and long rallies, the packed gallery was in for treat. At 9-9 Lauren went on a good serving run and managed to establish a 14-9 lead, but couldnâ€™t close the game out. The Wellington pair managed to win the serve back, but having two game points they couldnâ€™t get over the line. Tara then served well to take it to a set and serve it out to take the first game 17/15. The second game was just as exciting as the first. Tara and Georgie took a 13-7 lead, but Lauren and Issie were not giving up! After fighting back to 10-13, they quickly won the serve back and from 10-13 won the second game 18/13 with some very controlled hitting.
The third game was a little quicker than the others with both Georgie and Tara serving a very good length, which meant it was very hard for Lauren and Issie to get a foothold in the game. After getting to 11-6 quite comfortably Tara served the game out to take it 15/6. The Fourth game was back to being a close affair with all four players now starting to feel the pace of a long day. With the serving not quite so effective, more unforced errors were starting to creep in and it was becoming a match of attrition as well as some hugely entertaining rackets. Serving runs of four or five points for both pairs were common now and at 11-10, 13-11 and 14-12, Issie managed to finish the game off 15/12 and take it into a final and deciding game.
No one new how this was going to turn out. The power of the Wellington pair looked ominous, but the competitive spirt and big match experience of Tara and Georgie was also going to be a huge factor in this tight affair. Issie and Lauren took an early lead and at 10-5 looked to be in control. Issie was moving around the court well and Lauren was hitting some blistering forehands, however Tara and Georgie stayed in the match with some amazing returning and volleying off the side walls. The lead was getting shorter and was always no more than a couple of points, 10-7 then 12-10, but finally The Wellington pair had a match point 14-10 on the second hand in. Lauren served to Tara who hit a great volley back to the server, but Lauren couldnâ€™t manage the pace and hit the ball into the tin. Tara then started to get her composure back on serve and reeled off seven points in a row for them to have a match point of their own. This was returned beautifully by Lauren, which won the point and gave Georgie another chance at winning the match. After a few seconds to gather herself Georgie produced an inch perfect serve for an ace and with it the Ladies British Open Championship. All four ladies gave everything for the cause and should be proud of their part in this thrilling match.
The plate competition was an all Cheltenham affair seeing Flo Fletcher and Hannah Wood play Alice Vyvyan-Robinson and Tilly wood. The first game was comfortably won 15/0 by Flo and Hannah, serving extremely well to an excellent length. However, a spirited fight by Tilly and Alice made for a much more competitive second game and although they lost it 15/11 a great deal of credit should go to their resilience and fantastic attitude. This meant the Norman Rosser Salver was deservedly won 15/0 15/11 by Flo and Hannah.
Everyone who came on Sunday had a great day of rackets and it was amazing to see such full galleries enjoying some excellent Rackets. A big thank you to all the Proâ€™s who came along to help and support and we look forward to next year being even bigger and better.
Finally congratulations to Tara and Georgie on their victory and all the players for their attitude throughout the day.
Master in Charge/Head Coach of Rackets
G. Willis & T. Lumley beat A. Whybrow & F. Dowling-Membrado 15/11 15/3
L. Gooding & I. Thorneycroft beat M. Knowles & G. Gunn 15/3 15/7
G. Willis & T. Lumley beat L. Gooding & I. Thorneycroft 17/15 13/18 15/6 12/15 17/14
Norman Rosser Plate
F. Fletcher & H. Wood beat T. Wood & A Vyvyan-Robinson 15/0 15/11