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Neptune British Open Doubles 2008

Nov 26, 2008
Fahey and Male win Neptune British Open Doubles. Fahey takes Singles and Doubles trophies home.

If the Neptune British Open Singles final was a mix of guile, superb tactical acumen and power, the doubles final was about the latter, and lots of it.

Rob Fahey, current World Champion partnered up with James Male, thought by many to be the greatest Rackets champion of all time. James hung up his Rackets bats some time ago, and by his own admittance had not played much Tennis recently either! They faced off against the stylish Nick Wood and the emerging talent of the game, Camden Riviere. Camden had lost to Rob in the singles final 24 hours earlier and would not have wanted to leave Queens Club without a winner's trophy of some description.

Another packed dedans and gallery made for an expectant atmosphere, the previous night's match having set the standard to which all matches should aspire.

It was clear from the very start that this was going to involve some big hitting, however I don't think many realised just how much. The first set was packed full of exocet-like forces, launched from the racquets of all 4 players. The ease in which players of this standard hit the top corners of the dedans should not be understated. Even with such talent and ability as they all possess, defending the force is a thankless task. The brute power meant for many missed volleys, and as such the first set boomed along to 4-4, with both pairs trading blows and displaying admirable courage under fire.

At this point it is worth noting that the writer was asked on more than one occasion if James is coping ok?, to which one could only point to the court, and await the necessary evidence to be produced. His and all the players ability to volley and retrieve powerful shots from the tambour was breathtaking to watch, and was a key feature of many of the long rallies. It was just such an exchange which decided the outcome of the 1st set, Rob planting several shots to the tambour region, Nick and Camden clawing back the seemingly impossible, until one final blow sealed the set.

The second went in much the same fashion, some rallies were upset by some missed grilles and the odd shot that crept onto the penthouse, although the standard was still of the highest order. It was and is fascinating to watch the players faces and expressions when the ball inadvertently finds its way onto the penthouse. I think Camden must take the trophy for best anguish when such an event occurs; quite often to accompany the grimace and huff, is a good old stubborn lean against the wall! As usual though, he recovers in time to make yet another astonishing get. Rob and James took the second set 6-2.

The comeback was on in the 3rd set, Nick and Camden finding their range and killing the ball with less fuss. Camden especially returning serves for the side wall force with particular aplomb. It should be noted that throughout the match, although the ball was travelling quite often at Mach II or above, Nick Wood always looked the picture of calm and serenity. He is the classical stylist of the tennis world, and it was in stark contrast to the other 3 players whose combination of contrasting styles should not be understated. Nick and Camden broke through to take the set 6-2, and setup a tense 4th set.

As with the previous night's final, there was to be no grand slam finish, no comeback from Camden and Nick, and certainly no let up in the pace of the game. Rob and James completed victory 6-3 in the 4th set, with James Male at 44 rolling back the years, and putting even more stress on the shelves of his trophy cabinet. For Rob, it is another British Open title, this time retaining it with a new partner; can anything or anyone stop the World Champ? On form if anyone can, it will be Camden, but he will have to wait another year to do it at Queens.

Report by Oli Harris

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