Real Tennis National Schools Doubles Championships Feb 8th 2015

09 Feb 2015

There was a wonderful standard in the finals, with four pairs with players of below 20 handicap this year.

Under 13

U13 Results

Hardwick hosted the 2015 Junior U13 Inter Schools Doubles Real Tennis tournament and was very well attended with several schools entering multiple teams. This venue was supervised and marked by Mark Eadle (from Radley), so much thanks is due to him through the long day with 10 teams and twenty one matches.

Despite the freezing conditions on court there was a tremendous standard of play with many games being hard fought with excellent rests. Even though the scores showed some large games margins the standard of play was very high with many games going to a last deciding point. The 3 standout teams however were Moulsford, Perrott Hill 1 & Summerfield 1 and with a gripping deciding qualifying match between Perrott Hill and Summerfield for a place in the final against Moulsford in the final.

Alfred Backhouse and Ben Porter from Summerfield 1 faced off against Moulsford's Max Wetton and Felix Breach. Max and Alfred are accustomed to facing each other across the net and both had their strategies worked out to defeat the other. Their respective partners did them proud and at 4-2 down Moulsford set a tough chase to gain the serve and take it to game ball to win a crucial 3rd. Alfred had the Serve for the 8th game and after an exchange of chases Moulsford set a second Gallery chase. Only the luck of the bounce differentiated the teams and a fine return from Alfred hit the nick and the ball run out flat preventing Max from delivering a return that might have taken it to a deciding game.

It was great to see Moulsford developing so fast largely due to the T&RA sponsorship (partly through Neptune) for schools programme that Moulsford has taken advantage of starting last year which provides a contribution to regular weekly lessons for boys. A fine example and something that other schools should be encouraged to seek.

All in all a deserving final result that saw great support from many of the teams that stayed to the end.

Simon Wetton

U14 Oratory

U14 Results

The Oratory Real Tennis Club once again held he the under 14’s National Schools Championship on the 8th February. With 8 very strong pairs entered this year’s competition was going to be the toughest yet! The matches were all of a very high standard which made for some very exciting games. After the morning of round robin games Mayville played Portsmouth (Thomas & Charlton) for a semi-final position. With brother playing brother competition was high and at the half way point Mayville had drawn level however Portsmouth held their cool and took the win 6/3. The second semi-final was between Moulsham and Radley 1st pair. Moulsham made a good start taking early lead. Radley (Barker & Carr) began to fight back but Moulsham were too strong and took the win 6/1. In the final Portsmouth played Moulsham (Ramjane Bros) in a replay of last year’s tournament. The standard of tennis in the final was fantastic to watch and kept the packed dedans entertained throughout- Moulsham came out on top winning 6/1.

Both Canford pairs acquitted themselves well, with the first pair coming close to qualification while Canford 2 also came 3rd. Radley 2 (Daly & Egerton-Warburton) finished the day strongly with a close 6/4 win over the home Oratory pair.

Thank you to all the players and parents who helped make the day so successful and to Moulsham, National Schools Champions.

U16 Radley

U16 Results

A limited entry in this age group allowed a single round robin group, which was won comfortably by Radley 1 (White & Martyn-Hemphill). Radley 2 (Yorston & Gordon) lost the crucial decider to Canford 1 (Milton & Saunders), seeing the latter into the final.

Eton (King & Milne) fought a tight battle with Canford 2 (Dix & Hollywood) , who pushed Canford 1 hard in their internal battle, for the 4th spot, winning 6/4.

The final saw a Milton inspired Canford reach a 5/2 lead before Martyn-Hemphill steadied their ship to win the title by 8/5.

Winners Freddie White & Oliver Martyn-Hemphill (RIGHT), Finalists Nicky Milton & Fred Saunders

Seniors Queens

Senior Results

B Grade

Teams from Seaford, Westminster, Clifton, Canford and Magdalen College School contested this event, with Canford 2, Clifton 2, and both Westminster pairs reaching the semi-finals.

MCS narrowly failed by losing 5/6 to Westminster 1, while Seaford 1 were even harder done by, losing all group matches 5/6 and lost out to Westminster 2, despite winning more games overall. In the semi-finals, Canford 2 beat Westminster 2 comfortably, while Clifton 2 (a very promising brother and sister pairing) just lost to Westminster 1. In the final, Canford 2 proved a class above the rest, wining at a canter to gain the title.

A Grade

Nine pairs from seven schools contested this premier event, displaying the strongest play ever seen in this Championships. Four players of 20 handicap or better were on show, and no-one worse than 50.

Highgate (Sam & Georgie Willis) won Group A, with a surprise victory over Altrincham (Shenkman & Maxwell) and a close match with Radley 1 (Stevens & Batstone). Altrincham then raised their game to win comfortable matches and to claim 2nd spot. Radley 1 won a tight game with Eton 2 (Hodgson & Wright) for 3rd place.

Group B was won by Eton 1 (Braham & Giddins) with only one really close match – 6/4 over Clifton 1 (Mullan & Lidington), who also won their other matches by a margin. Tonbridge (Shields & Hyde) gave both these pairs a very decent match, winning 2 & 3 games respectively and should consider themselves unlucky not to reach the semis. They went on the beat Radley 1 6/3 to claim 5th spot.

Canford 1 (Twist & Lush) beat Radley 2 (Seddon & Boddington) in a tight 6/3 for 4th spot, though both pairs found the going hard against the better handicapped pairs. Both acquitted themselves with some honour, however, and will all be able to use this experience next year. This is also true of Eton 2, who just managed to beat Canford 1 6/5 in the 7th place playoff.

The semi-finals produced some spectacular tennis throughout. Clifton 1 beat Highgate 6/2, with Henry Mullan at his best and Sam Willis struggling with an ankle twist from the group matches. Georgie kept her end up exceedingly well, but Mullan’s retrieving and Lidington’s net coverage proved too good. Altrincham then beat Eton 6/4 in probably the match of the day, and one which really ought to have been a best-of-three for the spectators. Rest after rest of sustained excellence was on show, and, in the end, Shenkman’s retrieval and control of length with Maxwell’s consistency just proved to have the edge over some brilliant Etonian attack.

The final never quite matched these heights, though Clifton 1 reached a 4/1 lead before Altrincham pegged them back to win 6/4.

Such was the standard of play, that many pairs will have gone home feeling aggrieved at how well they played with so little reward. It was great to watch, and good to see a school from ’Up North’ doing well.

I believe that al the strongest players are due to leave school this year, so next year will open up for those who remain.

Huge thanks are due to Queens’ Club (especially to Audrey Yeung, our host) and to Andrew Lyons who marked the final stages with his usual impeccable accuracy (as well as Zak Eadle and Nino Merolo who marked the rest over a very long day).

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