National Over 70s Handicap Doubles
Leamington Tennis Court Club hosted the inaugural National Over 70s handicap doubles tournament over two days in December 2016. This tournament was a new entry to the calendar after a number of players participating in the Over 70s championship noted the lack of a handicap variant. Norman Hyde and Ian Steele kindly donated a trophy and arranged a suitable date before gaining interest from players across the country. The tournament was very well supported with 14 pairs taking to the court to do battle whilst enjoying the usual Leamington hospitality. The group stages were very competitive and ran smoothly through to Thursday lunchtime when the court started to sweat and the court became unfit for play. Luckily at this stage we had our quarter finalists and it was agreed that play would be suspended and everyone would be invited back to finish the tournament in January. After possible dates were published it became apparent that getting everyone back together would be impossible due to prior commitments which unfortunately meant the pair of Paul Danby & Paul Butler were unable to participate in the closing stages along with a late injury withdrawal from the pairing of Colin Butler & Michael Seymour. 6 pairs did reconvene at Leamington however and on the 10th January the quarter finals recommenced.
The first quarter final saw Tony Crook and David Weston take on Brendan Hegarty and Mick Moore. This match was incredibly close with Crook/ Weston making a good start before Hegarty/ Moore fought back however Crook & Weston managed to steady the nerves and serve the match out. The next match was the tournament sponsors Norman Hyde and Ian Steele taking on Carl Snitcher and Rod Taylor. With a large handicap in favour of the latter pair this was always going to be a tough match however some great serving from Hyde & Steele kept them in control throughout the match and they managed to secure their place in the semi-finals. In the bottom half of the draw both pairs ended up with a bye to the semis.
After lunch, the first semi-finals saw the mornings players back on court with Tony Crook & David Weston taking on Norman Hyde & Ian Steele. This time Hyde & Steele made the strong start with Crook & Weston taking a while to settle into the match before fighting back. It was however a little too late and Hyde & Steele secured their place in the finals. The second semi final was between the paring of David Sloan & Josh Farrall and local pair Geoff Broome & Bill Slora. Sloan & Farrall came out firing and didn’t for a moment look like they were going to relinquish a game and they kept that momentum going taking a comfortable win.
The final between David Sloan & Josh Farrall against Norman Hyde & Ian Steele was always going to be a close match with the latter being the favourites playing on their home court. Sloan & Farrall kept their incredible form from the semi-finals running and although both pairs began level pegging each other at 3 all Sloan & Farrall edged ahead and kept their competitors at arm’s length closing out the match 6/3 and winning the inaugural Over 70s National Handicap title.
Thank you to all players for a fantastic couple of days at the club and for your understanding regarding the court condition. We look forward to welcoming you all (and hopefully more!) back next year.