Tournoi du Patrimonie

19 Oct 2010

October 1st - 3rd 2010 � Pau, France
Report by Graham Tomkinson

After the success of the Pau tournament in September 2008, Simon Berry felt that there should be another tournament this year and as several of the disciplines of the Pelote Basque World Championships were being held in Pau in early October, that this would be a good time to hold the event.� Again, the weather was warm and sunny, with temperatures in the middle and upper 20s, and for those that have not yet been to this court, it is situated in the Parc Beaumont, close to the centre of the town. The court was originally built for real tennis but has been modified for use as a wider than usual trinquet. However , it retains the necessary �profile� to make tennis very interesting and enjoyable. The court is available to real tennis on Sundays only at the moment.

As previously, 24 pairs of players had entered and there was a waiting list. It had attracted a wide range of intertest with entries, with wide ranging handicaps,� coming from Australia, the United States, France and UK. The matches were excellently marked by professioonals Chris Bray, Tom Durack, Eric Delloye and AJ Kemp in a combination of English and French! There was a two stage round robin competition which ensured that all pairs were guaranteed at least 5 matches. When the court was modified to a trinquet , the tambour was moved to the back corner of the hazard area, the grille shrunk to a tiny square and the penthouses removed at the service and hazard ends.. These days,� there are some very different flagstones at the back of the hazard end� and the� trinquet has a �tin�, �both of which had a very deadening effect on any ball that hit it!

Another aspect of the weekend was the arrival of four players from Les Pennes Mirabeau Tambourin club led by their President, Phillipe Gouneaud. Alongwith Graham Tomkinson they gave a demonstration of both the indoor and classic versions of the sports before the dinner on the Friday evening. The four players then played with partners from the Pau club in one of the groups of the real tennis tournement and progressed very well, considering it was their first experience of ��jeu de paume�

Robert Frost (RTC, Queens) and Chris Kurkjian (Queens) showed that while they did not have the lowest handicaps, they did have the ability to transfer their unique skills to this different court and defeated Bryan Eaton and Clive Turner from Prested Hall in the final.

The social side of the weekend was outstanding, culminating in the gala dinner in the Restaurant Jeu de Paume, at the Parc Beaumont Hotel. The whole weekend was excellently organised by Simon Berry with superb local help, especially from Paul Mirat and Alexander Boy and I can recommend that anybody who has not been there should try to attend the event next time.

Photo courtesy of Katie Garrod

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