Neptune British Over 70s Championships April 2016

03 May 2016

Held at Holyport Real Tennis Club on 22nd, 23rd & 24th April 2016, this event continues to inspire and demonstrates that one of the most experienced generations still has plenty of skill and determination.

Both singles and doubles competitions had a record number of entries,which made for a competitive and excellent tournament, despite the fact that 4 or 5 of the best players were not available. Particular mention should be made of the high standard of tennis played by Ian Steele and David Bevan Thomas, both of whom are now in their 85th year. Perhaps we should run an over 80s tournament?

Friday’s singles went to form yet still produced several high quality matches. John Cook and Richard McGregor played consistently to win through two rounds, qualifying for the quarter-finals. The final quarter final spot was taken by Patrick Jenkins in empathic style. Friday’s doubles saw Norman Hyde and Ian Steele prove too consistent for Carl Snitcher and Rod Taylor, and Josh Farrall and Richard East overcame the spirited partnership of Martin Bronstein and David Glover.

The quarter finals of the doubles produced some high quality tennis with the seeded pairs of Robin Barlow and David Brazier (8/2), Patrick Jenkins and David Bevan-Thomas (8/2), and Paul Danby and Christopher Griffith-Jones (8/3) all proving too strong for their respective opponents. In the final quarter final produced an upset when Colin Butler and Michael Seymour served well and outplayed John Ward and Tony Crook to progress, winning 8/2.

In the semi finals Barlow and Brazier proved too strong for Jenkins and Bevan-Thomas, winning 8/5 despite some exceptional shot making from the defeated pair. In the second semi final the two in form partnerships produced a highly entertaining and well fought contest with Danby and Griffith-Jones prevailing 8/4.

In the quarter finals of the singles the top two seeds John Ward (6/1) and Robin Barlow (6/0) progressed in relative comfort against their respective opponents. Third seed Paul Danby overcame Colin Butler 6/5 in the match of the tournament. The fourth quarter final saw another upset as Patrick Jenkins playing inspired, floor shots to beat a slow starting David Brazier 6/4. In the semi finals both top seeds proved too consistent for their respective opponents as Ward won 8/3 against Jenkins and Barlow won 8/2 against Danby.

Finals day included a well contested handicap plate doubles between Carl Snitcher and Rod Taylor, Martin Bronstein and David Glover, Adrian Mibus and John McVittie, and Norman Hyde and Ian Steele. In the final Hyde and Steele held their nerve to overcome a large handicap difference and defeat Bronstein and Glover 8/3.

The doubles final saw the in-form pair of Danby and Griffith-Jones take on the defending champions Barlow and Brazier. Danby and Griffith-Jones combined their floor and power games excellently to race out to an early lead. Paul Danby was on particularly good doubles form and despite Barlow and Brazier fighting back, they were unable to recover and lost 5/8.

Finals day concluded with the singles final between John Ward and Robin Barlow. This was a repeat of the last 4 years and had many spectators watching from the dedans. Robin started well and John’s poor return of service enabled him take an early lead, however with some accurate serving John was able to recover and take a 6/3 lead. Robin fought back with an excellent high drop service and levelled things up at 6-6. However John was able to hit the key shots in the final two games to secure the match 8/6 and the title for the 6th year in succession.

All competitors thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and look forward to an even larger group qualifying and competing next year. Thanks must go to John Evans for his wrestling with the large and complicated draw, not to mention two days of continuous marking, and to Neptune for their prizes and continued support of the game.

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