Report and photographs of World Doubles Second Leg

26 Apr 2009

Stout resistance by holders Neil Smith and Mark Hubbard proved unavailing as they lost their Lacoste World Rackets Doubles Championship to Harry Foster and Mark Hue Williams by 7 games to 5. Harry Foster started the first game playing as if he had a train to catch, dominating the court. The challengers went to a 6/0 lead before losing serve. The Champions, trailing by 2 games to 4 from the first leg and by 70 aces (points) to 85, then responded well reaching 7/6 before Smith served a double, allowing Foster back in, and he and Hue Williams took full advantage reaching 12/7 in their next hand, before themselves being pegged back to 10/12. Back in the box they made sure of the 3 points needed to take the game 15/10. The second game followed a similar pattern, the challengers taking it by the same score.

Up to now the rackets had been of a patchy quality with errors being as prevalent as winners. Foster and Hue Williams had served 15 aces, Smith and Hubbard 10. In the next two games the balance was more than reversed, �Neil and Mark serving 18 to Harry and Mark�s 8. In total Foster had 20 service aces, Mark Hue Williams 8, Neil 22 and Mark Hubbard 11.

In the third game it was as if everybody had woken up, the quality of play improving exponentially, both the professionals in particular playing much better, with some rallies that left the crowd as breathless as the participants. The upshot was that Mark and Neil took the game in a set to five, 18/13. This reverse seemed to really unsettle the amateurs who began making plenty of unforced errors and the Champions went quickly to a 10/0 lead in the 4th game and then to 12/3 before closing out the game in four hands 15/7.

The fifth game proved to be crucial for the professionals. Leading at 12/5 they had wiped out the points deficit from the first leg and had the initiative, if they had gone on to win the game with the score remaining heavily in their favour, they would surely have remained Champions. Harry and Mark, recovered from their bad patch, having got back in, had a run of six points to level the score and then kept Neil and Mark pointless to win back serve and go to 14/12 and Championship point. The winning post in sight, Mark Hue Williams with, what in most situations would be a straightforward kill at the front of the court, hit a forehand smartly into the tin. The holders made no such errors, once in the box, they took the 2 points they needed to level the game score at 14 all and then the 3 points to take the set in their next hand, and win the game 17/14.

This left the match nicely poised though the challengers had an obvious advantage. Foster and Hue Williams now needed to win just 7 points to win the Championship, Neil and Mark had to win the game 15/6 or better to retain their title. It was close as far as 4/1 in favour of the holders before Harry took control with a run of five to get to 6/4. Mark made no mistake this time taking the point needed to win the title.

Report by Dudley MacDonald�

Guy Barker, Harry Foster & Mark Hue Williams, Peter Brake, Andrew Lyons, Neil Smith & Mark Hubbard

The players with John Prenn and Richard Greenwood

The victors- M Hue Williams & H Foster


M Hue Williams &�H� Foster

�H Foster

M Hue Williams

Mark Hubbard

�Neil Smith

Photos by Tim Edwards

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