Real Tennis World Masters 2022 Update
May 14, 2022 - May 17, 2022 Paris, Bordeaux & Fontainebleau
Great Britain retained the Cockram Trophy in Paris, the Bostwick Cup in Bordeaux and the Danby Trophy in Fontainebleau.
HIGHLIGHTS: The Cockram Trophy (Over 50s)
The Cockram was played in Paris, captained by the ever-green Peter Wright. GB eased past Australia 5-0 in the semi-final, while hosts France fought a close 3-2 victory against the USA.
Another close match in the third/fourth play-off saw USA beat Australia 3-2, all down to the last match. In the grand finale, it was almost all one-way traffic, with GB again winning 5-0, but some closely fought matches including the captain fighting back from a set down.
REPORT: The Bostwick Cup (Over 60s)
Our enthusiastic travellers crossed La Manche by road, rail, boat and air to congregate just in time for the Saturday practice session and the welcome cocktails. GB performed admirably in this first challenge and still arrived fresh and fit (or as good as it gets) the next morning when, through a quirk of scheduling they faced the jet lagged Australians. Definitely a fortunate throw of the dice. The first match - the first doubles - pitted David Watson and Mark Nicholls against Matty Hayward and Richard Hince and was both the tightest match and, as it later proved, the clincher. The opening game alone lasted 15 minutes and went to the Australians but GB took the next and progressed to 5-2 with GB somehow taking key points. Nerves then set in and the Australians increased the pace forcing racquet errors from the opponents and drawing remorselessly back to 5-4. Nicholls steadied the ship to close out the first set 6/4 with some crisp volleying and firm returns. The second set was equally tight but GB somehow always just held the upper hand and took the match 6/4 6/4. Next up Richard MacAlister and Simon Talbot Williams - on paper the tightest match and one GB needed to win to maintain the momentum. The British pair played impeccable steady tennis and never looked likely to drop the baton winning 6/1 6/3.
The first singles between Maltby and Happell was a high quality spectacle with William coming out strongly retrieving and attacking with equal verve. The first set was tight - much tighter than the score line suggested with many deuces and advantages but Happell just edged the key points taking the set 6/2. The second set started in similar vein but the relentless pressure finally told and forced errors from the GB #1 as Happell closed it out – 6/2 6/0. The second singles though felt like a banker for GB with the dependable John Prenn up against Graeme Bradfield. The knock up suggested a tight match was in prospect but Prenn’s firm strokes and reliable retrieving forced errors from his opponent and he produced a near flawless display to take the game and the match 6-1,6-0 The second doubles was thus just for honour and up stepped Geoffrey Russell and Richard Compton Burnett to play Nick Carr and John Piccolo. Almost from the start it was clear that all was not well with RCB still struggling to recover from a virus and despite valiant determination and energetic court coverage by his partner the GB pair were forced to concede the match late on in the first set. Up stepped super-sub Ronald Paterson to complete the event and GB wound up winners 3-2 of a close fought contest
Day 2 saw GB take on the hosts, bright eyed and bushy tailed and despite the early hour the GB team were unstoppable comfortably winning all their matches against enthusiastic players drawn from around the country and with proven skills in Longue Paume and Pelote Basque as well as Jeu de Paume.
That evening all the teams were royally entertained chez Henri Blanchot who provided a magnificent reception at his historic “Tardis” house opening out into a wonderful courtyard garden where seemingly endless wine and appetising canapés were offered until the small hours. The GB team performed strongly in the drinks match defending their reputation as enthusiastic travellers.
The final day saw GB take on the Americans - sadly fielding a team of only 6 thus necessitating their weaker players to step up twice. The pick of the games was the first singles with a relentless Steve Hufford moving to 5-0 up against an exasperated William Maltby somehow unable to get the ball to perform as he needed. However, he dug in resolutely and battled through to a safe win 6/5 6/3.
GB proudly retained the Bostwick trophy and look forward to the next event in a venue TBA in the U.K. in 2024
Our thanks to the host Club and its Board and President Thierry and also to the excellent pro team led by Nick Howell ably assisted by his sidekick Tommy who both marked impeccably and coped admirably with the various curve balls and inevitable changes and retained their charm and good humour throughout.
REPORT: The Danby Trophy (Over 70s)
Team GB retained the Danby Trophy with a clean sweep in Fontainebleau, beating each of the other competing nations.
On the first day against the USA only six of our squad of eight could make it; 1st pair Nigel Draffan and Duncan Colquhoun, 2nd pair Jill Newby and Philip Shaw-Hamilton, 3rd pair Richard Moore and Simon Johnston. The match was won 3-0 by GB but had some very competitive games. Nigel Draffan covered the court very well for Duncan whose hip was giving him pain. Richard Moore fell badly, narrowly missing cracking his head against the side wall but bruising his hip. It was a good warm up and a chance to get to know the largest court in the world rather better than a mere practice session.
Knowing that the French were not as strong, both Duncan and Richard were retired and given the day off for the second day's match. With late comers having now arrived the team comprised 1st pair Jill Newby and Philip Shaw-Hamilton; 2nd pair Alan Oliver and Nigel Draffan; 3rd pair Jamie Bebb and Simon Johnston. We all won effortlessly since the French had insufficient strength in the o70s. It has to be noted that the French Captain - Ken Casler - was to go immediately into hospital the next day for an intensive, innovative and very costly blood transfusion and total body chemo in order to combat a form of leukemia. We all thought that he was incredibly brave to play in the 1st pair despite very obvious ill health and we wish him well. (At the dinner, nearly two weeks later, Ivan Semenoff said that he was doing well.)
The third day was effectively the final between GB and the Aussies having both beaten the USA and France. First match on were the 1st pair (Nigel and Duncan again). Having lost the first set 6/4 the Aussies (Wayne Spring and John Faull) upped their game to take the second set 6/3. Both GB players had allowed their game to lack drive and purpose and Duncan's hip looked very troubling at the end of the second set, but in the third Nigel hit the ball more forcefully and provided brilliant support keeping GB in the match and allowing Duncan to make his customary winning shots and the pair took the third set 6/2. The 3rd pair of Jamie Bebb and Richard Moore were far too steady and had no trouble against Euhana Varigos (the only female member of the Australian team) and Peter Stanley winning 6/0 6/0. Match over and won which made life more comfortable for the 2nd pair of Alan Oliver and Philip Shaw-Hamilton to cruise to a 6/1 6/1 victory over Rob Jolly and Dick Friend. GB retain the Danby Trophy beating all countries 3-0!
A fine team effort by all players.
In the individual event Jill Newby and Philip Shaw-Hamilton beat Alan Oliver 6/1 6/3 in the semis, and Wayne Spring and Simon de Halpert 6/3 3/6 6/1 in the final - so Jill becomes the first female ever to win a World Masters title. Congratulations to Jill Newby for a sterling performance whilst carrying a painful knee injury picked up after a fall in a previous singles match.
For the latest World Masters score details, click here.