Full Report on Mixed Doubles Event

Report by Craig Robinson

A week late, but with improved weather and a much expanded field of entry, Saturday 10th September saw CLTC’s annual mixed doubles tournament. With the coveted prize of the Burton Shield on offer, the competition was friendly but determined. The field was split into two groups who took to the courts with news balls in hand and freshly strung rackets, strung specifically for the local weather conditions. No stone was left unturned in the degree of preparation which had been undertaken. The handicapping scoring system prompted initial head scratching for some but remained a source of confused expressions right throughout the afternoon for others. 

Despite this, the levels of play was high and very few balls posed dangers to passing birds or low-flying aircraft. Lobs were out and powerful forehands and backhands were in! Side to side. Forwards and backwards. No parts of the courts were left un-explored as players were sent scurrying from one corner to the other. Tournament veterans and newbies locked themselves into up to 7 games of unparalleled sporting combat.

Despite the best efforts of the handicappers, two strong pairs emerged from each field. Group ‘A’ was won convincingly by the established pair of Ruth Barton and Simon Darmon. With a -40 handicap, many points had to be won in order to arrive at the top of the pile. The runners up in this group were Di Dyson and Richard Shipton who confounded their opposition with ‘match savvy’ shot placement and unconventional spin.

Despite a -40 starting score each game, Group ‘B’ was predictably won by the strong pairing of Beth Hitchen and Matthew Parker. Their youthful exuberance and power play won out as they laughed in the face of the handicappers! Emma Walton and Joe Buckley proved worthy runners up in the group – nobody seeming to mind that their games were being honed throughout the day by intense practice sessions with John Kenwell and Kim Bennett on court 4! 

The first semi-final saw Beth and Matt take on Richard and Di. Remarkably insightful handicapping resulted in a hard fought game which could, in the end, have gone either way. In the event, Di and Richard just edged it with a 4-3 victory. The -40 handicap coupled with the inherent tension at the business end of the day was perhaps too much for Beth and Matt to overcome. Tennis is a beautiful mistress but also an undoubtedly cruel one!

The second semi-final was waged between Ruth and Simon on one hand and Emma and Joe on the other. A high quality game was played, and at 3 all, as Ruth served for the match, it seemed that Emma and Joe could have unseated the current holders of the ‘Burton Shield’. However, in the end, Ruth and Simon could not be held off and they prevailed 4-3. 

The final was therefore played out between Ruth and Simon and Di and Richard. A high quality match was witnessed on court 1 by those of us privileged enough to secure tickets. In the end though, despite their handicapping, Ruth and Simon proved their credentials and successfully defended their title with a 4 -1 win. Di and Richard fought valiantly but the established pair were too strong. Maybe Martina Hingis and Leander Paes need to be recruited next year to prevent a hat-trick of wins in the event for Ruth and Simon. 

Who can stop them next year? Who will rise to the challenge? Who will write their phone number on the entry forms? Who Knows! Be at CLTC in September 2017 to find out! 



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