General

World Doubles Challenge 2011

05 Apr 2011

Alex Titchener-Barrett and Tim Cockroft beat World Doubles Champions Mark Hue Williams and Harry Foster 4-2 at The Queen's Club to become the new World Champions.


Rackets World Championships Doubles

Match report from Dudley MacDonald

Tim Cockroft and Alex Titchener-Barrett took the second leg of their World Rackets Doubles Championship Challenge, beating holders Harry Foster and Mark Hue Williams by four games to two 17/15, 18/13, 15/5, 8/15, 13/18, 15/5.  Having won the first leg at the Montreal Racket Club by four games to three, 5/7, 15/17, 11/15, 15/8, 14/17, 15/10, 15/10, Cockroft and Titchener-Barrett won the World Doubles Championship by an overall count of eight games to five.

In a match played in an extremely competitive spirit with some interesting interaction between the players the winning pair always looked to have the edge, although after winning the first three games they seemed to lose their way. They conceded the fourth game rather tamely, and despite twice gaining the upper hand in the fifth at 7/1 and 13/11, they lost it again 5/0 in the set to five. Throughout the entire match no single player dominated in the service box, Foster serving the most aces with 21, Cockroft with 20, Titchener-Barrett with 18 and Hue Williams, 16.

In many ways this was a rather unsatisfactory match, as although all players produced some sparkling play at times there were only a handful of rallies when they all did so at the same time.

The match started with an ace by Harry Foster, but the first game was pretty level with all the players a touch tentative, perhaps unsurprising given the occasion. Cockroft and Titchener-Barrett seemed to spend rather a lot of the game on their wrong, or back-hand sides, but despite this kept ahead to reach game point at 14/12 when Cockroft served a second serve onto the back wall giving Foster an easy kill. Foster and Hue Williams reached 14-all and then took a 1/0 lead in the set to three. However, Cockroft and Titchener-Barrett reasserted their dominance, and having got back in the box took the game with their next three serves including an ace from both players.

The second game saw the Challengers take a 13/4 lead before again letting the Champions draw level at 13-all, which they did in one hand, Foster winning six points with three aces and Hue Williams serving three aces to again go to set, this time to five. This time Titchener-Barrett and Cockroft allowed Foster and Hue Williams no respite, taking the set 5/0 and the game 18/13. The third game went to Cockroft and Titchener-Barrett 15/5 and most of the gallery thought this was the beginning of the end. So far, although there had been plenty of rallies with some very good kills, particularly from Titchener-Barrett and Foster, most of the play had been rather loose, with many unforced errors.

The fourth and fifth games witnessed a complete reversal of form to the first three. Cockroft having served an ace was put out and then Hue Williams and Foster then took a 10/1 lead including five aces from Foster and one from Hue Williams. The challengers then won four points, the champions in their turn won four points to reach game point, and although Cockroft and Titchener-Barrett managed to reach eight they could not prevent Foster and Hue Williams taking the game with their next turn at serve. The fifth game might have gone either way, Cockroft and Titchener-Barrett leading all the way before once more allowing Foster and Hue Williams to catch up at 13-all, and then take the set to five without losing a point.

A rather anti climactic sixth and final game went to Cockroft and Titchener-Barrett 15/5, and it looked rather as if Foster and Hue Williams had used up their energies winning the fourth and fifth games. On the balance of play, a fitting result and some consolation for Alex Titchener-Barrett after his defeat by James Stout in the World Championship in November.

The final score was 17/15 18/13 15/5 8/15 13/18 15/5. The match was streamed live and can now be viewed at http://www.realtennis.tv/. This ground-breaking broadcast for Rackets was viewed by almost 400 others on-line, thanks to the Real Tennis TV team led by Paul Brown and Freddy Adam - and special thanks to James Coyne and Mark Agate for a lively and highly entertaining commentary.

The match was sponsored by John Prenn, a generous benefactor to Rackets for over 31 years. He was on hand to present the prizes aided by T&RA President Richard Greenwood.

Alex Titchener Barrett and Tim Cockroft led 4-3 after the first leg of their WorldDoubles Challenge against current champions Mark Hue Williams and Harry Foster. After an extrordinarily long match lasting almost 3.5 hours the challengers prevailed 15/7 15/17 11/15 15/8 14/17 15/10 15/10.


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