tennis

Chetwood Trophy 2022

Jan 10, 2022

Jan 07, 2022 - Jan 09, 2022 Hyde J Brodie

The Chetwood trophy returned this weekend, and with it the shocked faces of the players when they find out the handicap for their match. It’s always too much, or never enough.

Whilst the field was slightly smaller than previous years, the competition was no less fierce and clubs from as far away as Jesmond Dene, who were represented by the husband and wife pairing of Tony and Fiona Harrison.

The weekend started as it continued with a close battle between Wellington’s John Amor, and The Hyde’s Sid Dawe. It was nip and tuck all the way, until John nicked the 11th game to take the match, although in this final game he injured his wrist in a collision with the wall. Tom Monk of Canford was next up against the long distance traveller, Tony Harrison of Jesmond Dene. Whilst the scoreline of 6-1 to Tom was the biggest win of the weekend, it did not tell the full story of the game which was very tight with the call of 40 all being used regularly.

Tom was back on court against Sid in the next match for the biggest handicap difference of the weekend. It was another close game in which Tom battled brilliantly against an inspired opponent and the handicap involved chases 3&4. With the scoreline tied at 5, it looked like it could go either way until Sid hit a fantastic return of serve straight into the dedans for match point, and then followed it up with the bouncing bomb into the dedans to take the match 6-5. This is a shot that would be used to great effect all weekend.

Tony and John were next on court and with John struggling with the wrist injury Tony took an early lead. As the game progressed John’s injury started to ease and he found some tactics to protect it, he fought back to 5-5 40 all. However Tony kept his composure and closed out the match for the 3rd 6-5 set of the weekend, meaning it was all to play for in the last 2 matches of the group. Both games were set up for a “win and in” scenario.

Tom faced a recovering John and 1 serve banned tambour in the first match. The handicap proved a little too much though as John won out 6-4. Although this did allow Tom to score some brownie points back at home, and we wish him and his wife all the best with the imminent arrival of their new baby. Unfortunately for Tony, Sid saved his best tennis for the final group game to take the set 6-3 and first place in the group.

The second group got underway, the same way the last group finished with another Hyde v Jesmond Dene matchup (the long distance derby?). The match started out very close, with the two players sharing the first 6 games, however from 3-3 Steven Heather pulled away by virtue of taking a couple of 40 all games to win the first match 6-3.

Hatfield House representative Simon Constantine played some fantastic tennis against Matt Boulton of Seacourt in the second match. Unfortunately for Simon, who started a little slowly, Matt was also playing some sublime tennis on a court where he had success previously with the Seacourt Brodie Cup winning team of 2020. It was a superb set of tennis, which eventually went the way of Matt to the score of 6-4.

Simon was straight back on court against Fiona Harrison, and quickly went 3-1 down as Fiona started to find her length. Simon picked up his game, but couldn’t recover from the slow start, and Fiona took the set 6-3.

Steven and Matt took to court next. After a tight opening the game started to edge in the direction of the Hyde player as Matt struggled with the handicap against him. Matt started to get into the game, and his wonderful volleying was again in evidence as he fought his way back. Unfortunately it was a touch too late as Steven took the set and guaranteed a place in the semi finals with a game to spare, and setup a winner takes all matchup for Matt and Fiona.

Simon and Steven played out their dead rubber match. Whilst the game didn’t have anything riding on it, it was no less exciting. Once again Simon started a little slowly, but with no pressure on him, and a tambour to aim at, started to play some amazing tennis. If it wasn’t the grille board taking a battering, the onlookers were ducking and diving in the dedans (we knew there was a net there, but even so!). Somehow Steven managed to hold off the onslaught and sneaked the set 6-5 to guarantee top spot in the group and avoid an all Hyde semi final.

The group games concluded with the last semi final spot up for grabs. Fiona was still hitting shots to a great length and got out to an early lead. Matt, looking far more at ease with the handicap having just played with a big difference against him, started to move really well and kept hold of the service end with some excellent containing serves. When Fiona managed to get up to the service end, Matt quickly re-established serve with some excellent chases and won the match 6-3, but not before Fiona hit the shot of the weekend with a superb backhand volley into the edge of the winning gallery.

Finals Day

Sid Dawe and Matt Boulton faced off in the first semi final. It was a great start to finals day as both players came out firing. Sid, with his unorthodox style, was getting some superb shots back and was battling hard against the solid volleying of the Seacourt player. Sid took an early 2 game lead, and in the shortened set format it seemed like it would be a decisive early move. Matt came back and had a 40 all point to level at 2-2, however Sid had other ideas and fizzed a return straight into the dedans to take a 3-1 lead. Sid continued to battle hard and the next 2 games were shared to allow him to take the first set 4-2.

The second set was a mirror image of the first. Sid continued to chase everything down but this time it was Matt who took the early lead. Again, Sid had a chance to level things up at 2-2, but Matt took the game and went on to take the 2nd set 4-2.

As we moved into the 3rd set, the effort of the first 2 had taken their toll on Sid. He was unable to keep up the movement and Matt started to have success in all areas of the game. The match quickly went in his favour, and took the set 4-0 and the first place in the final.

The second semi final, between Steven Heather and John Amor, was just as tight. Whilst John’s wrist had improved overnight, Steven took a little time to warm up after the efforts of Saturday. The first couple of games were shared, but John nicked the next 2 games on 40 all points. Steven kept things close, but not close enough as John took the first set 4-2 with a super backhand in under the grille (a theme for the weekend).

Steven changed his tactics in the second set. Bringing his serve shorter kept John from cutting in tight chases. He also started to attack more from the receiving end and peppered the dedans. He made short work of the set and won 4-1, setting up a decider.

The final set started out well for both players. Steven’s tactics from the second set were still working, although John was starting to figure them out and could unleash his backhand a little more. At 2-2, it looked as though the match was going to go all the way. John had other ideas though, and quickly moved through the last two games with some more wonderful backhands to move into the final.

Matt and John both have backhands that belie their handicaps, so the final featured some wonderful cross court rallies. It was John’s forehand that tipped the balance in his favour. Spurred on by support from 4 generations of his family in the dedans, he chased every ball down and with a little good fortune took the first set 4-1. It appears as though Matt was getting into the game early in the second set, and at 1-1 he had fought his way to 40 all only to be denied with a superb dig from John that snuck into the top corner of the dedans. The momentum had shifted back to John and he took the next 3 games to win the match and the Chetwood Trophy that eluded him 4 years ago.