* Noel Bruce 2023
Sep 10, 2023 - Sep 21, 2023 The Queen’s Club E Hyde
Cheltenham bt Winchester
Cheltenham bt Winchester 1/15 15/4 17/15 15/5 15/11
Watch the final here!
The OCs had come through a tough semi-final against defending champions, Old Haileyburians, Tom Billings and Mark Farmiloe, who they had beaten in four long games. Meanwhile, the OWs had come back from three games down against Westbury pair, Ben Cawston and Tom Foster.
The OWs started the stronger and, coming into serve at 0-1, Bailey served ten straight points in a dominant period, with Portz serving the remaining five points; to establish an early one-love lead. The well-balanced gallery was stunned, especially those from the West Country. The second game was almost a reversal, albeit in a few more hands apiece. This time the OCs surged ahead, with clever, powerful serving, especially from ADV once he was in the box. A 7-1 lead became 9-1, and then 13-4 after the next pair of hands. This was the OCs chance and Owen secured the game with two ripping serves. One game all and all to play for; 1/15 15/4.
The third game was pivotal, and the OWs made the early running. Fabulous stroke play from Bailey and Portz saw them surge ahead to lead 6-0. The OCs rallied and Owen put away some divine winners to cut the deficit 3-6, but the OWs were relentless, increasing their lead to 10-3 in the next hand. Both Owen and ADV played with greater power and precision to recover to 9-10 before Bailey’s reflexes took the OWs to 12-9. The Owen reverse boast was paying dividends as they once again came back but now pushed ahead to 14-12 and game point. Some had won points saw the OWs level and the OCs called a set to three. Portz gave the OWs a short-lived advantage before Owen levelled and then ADV served out. Great game, won 17-15 by the OC pairs to lead two games to one.
The fourth game saw the OCs maintain the momentum, with particularly accurate serving from ADV. They surged ahead to 10-2, a brief recovery by the OWs to 4-10, but once again the OCs were knocking at the door to reach 14-4 and game ball. Amazing defence by both Bailey and Portz saw them survive the game point but it was hard to close the gap and the next hand saw the OCs move further ahead, winning a decisive game 15/5.
The fifth game was now a must-win for the OWs and they made the early running, sweeping into a commanding 10-2 lead. But they lost the serve which gave the OCs a route back, which they took with no looking back, narrowing the deficit to 9-10. The match reached a tense phase and Bailey and Portz could only muster a point to lead 11-9. Owen levelled in his next hand before ADV served through to capture the winning game 15/11.
A great match watched by an appreciative gallery and the Honourable Jamie Bruce, presented the trophy. The Noel Bruce Cup was created by his grandfather in 1929 in memory of EB Noel who had died the previous year. EB Noel was Secretary of Queen’s from 1914 to 1928. Three years earlier they had jointly written First Steps to Rackets. The Noel Bruce Cup has been played every year since then, with the exception of the war years, 1981 and 2020. 2023 is therefore the 86th competition! Jamie congratulated the winners and presented the famous cup and Pol Roger champagne.
Entries are now closed - the deadline was Aug 19, 2023
Round of 16
|Sep 10, 2023 - 7:45 PM||Cheltenham II (5) bt Harrow III||15/8 15/9 17/15|
|Sep 11, 2023 - 8:00 PM||Tonbridge II bt Malvern II||w/o|
|Sep 12, 2023 - 6:15 PM||Haileybury I (1) bt Eton IV||15/12 15/11 15/10|
|Sep 12, 2023 - 7:45 PM||Cheltenham I (3) bt Eton I||15/10 15/5 15/4|
|Sep 13, 2023 - 6:15 PM||Westgate (4) bt Cheltenham IX||15/5 15/8 15/13|
|Sep 13, 2023 - 7:45 PM||Eton II bt Eton III||17/14 15/9 15/8|
|Sep 14, 2023 - 6:15 PM||Malvern I bt Rugby I||w/o|
|Sep 14, 2023 - 7:45 PM||Winchester I (2) bt Harrow II||15/9 17/14 15/6|
|Sep 15, 2023 - 6:15 PM||Winchester bt Malvern||14/17 15/10 10/15 15/12 15/9|
|Sep 15, 2023 - 7:45 PM||Cheltenham bt Tonbridge II||15/3 15/5 15/7|
|Sep 17, 2023 - 6:15 PM||Westgate bt Cheltenham II||15/6 15/3 15/7|
|Sep 17, 2023 - 7:45 PM||Haileybury bt Eton II||16/14 15/0 15/4|
|Sep 19, 2023 - 6:15 PM||Cheltenham bt Haileybury||15/9 15/5 15/12 15/7|
|Sep 19, 2023 - 7:45 PM||Winchester bt Westgate||2/15 12/15 11/15 15/11 15/4 15/6 17/14|
|Sep 21, 2023 - 7:00 PM||Cheltenham bt Winchester||1/15 15/4 17/15 15/5 15/11|