The U21/U24 British Open
Sponsored by the Dedanists Society
Middlesex University 2nd -6th January 2020
U21 Singles Freddie Bristowe bt Ned Batstone
U24 Singles Robert Shenkman bt Levi Gale
U24 Doubles Shenkman & Bristowe bt Gale & Smart
The Dedanists’ Society is dedicated to identifying and supporting the best in junior real tennis. It sponsors this championship. It funds and runs the British Real Tennis Academy. It is the T&RA’s lead partner in the development of junior tennis. The quality of tennis played in the championship this year was higher than seen for some time. This is a credit to club and Academy coaches.
The tournament was organised and marked by the Middlesex University Club professionals, Chris Bray and Will Burns. Here is their report:
In the U21 singles, the playoff match to qualify for the final was between Ned Batstone and Zack Smart. The winner would play no 1 seed Freddie Bristowe in the final. Batstone had spent several months in the US honing his skills in preparation for the tournament. Would all this court time stand him in good stead for a successful tournament or could Smart under the tutelage of Nick Wood at Hampton court spring a surprise? It was a strong performance from Batstone using his effective railroad and powerful forehand to take the match 6/1 6/3. This victory set up another showdown between old foes, Bristowe and Batstone. They did not disappoint with stunning rallies and incredible points throughout the match. Bristowe started the stronger of the two by taking the first set with his silky skills and accurate target hitting. However, Batstone battled back strongly in the next set, digging in and making the points longer. He was finally able to get control of the serving end and take the set convincingly. We were down to the decider. Bristowe regained his composure and rhythm. Although Batstone kept pushing and battling away, it was Bristowe who played the more accurate tennis at the crucial moments and hit the grille with regularity to take a deserved 6/2 2/6 6/3 victory. Well played to both finalists. We’ll be hearing plenty from these two in the years to come.
In the U24 singles, we had two very intriguing semi-finals. Firstly, Ned Batstone was taking on number 2 seed Levi Gale. Gale, the newly appointed assistant at Radley, had been taking advice and practice from former world champion Chris Ronaldson in the lead up to the event. As a result, he looked in fine fettle and was confident going into his matches. This was an excellent encounter with plenty of toing and froing. Gale played in his clinical style using his excellent floor game and good movement to pressure Batstone into errors. He took the first 6/0 in quick time. Batstone finally got himself in to the match and the second set was brilliant to watch. It lasted well over an hour with Gale ahead all the way but Batstone refusing to give way. At 5 games all, Batstone chose to make his move and took the set 6/5 with effective defence of the serving end and well-placed shots under the grille. Into the decider. Gale managed to regain control, again grinding out point after point. All the games were close. However, Gale was not to be denied and he was in no mood to give anything away again taking the set 6/0.
The second Semi-Final saw defending champion Rob Shenkman taking on the talented Freddie Bristowe. This was one of the best matches in recent years at the tournament. Both players played outstanding tennis. The retrieving was mesmerising, the shot making breath-taking. It was an incredible battle which could have gone either way. At 6/5 5/3 up, Bristowe looked like causing one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. Shenkman had thrown in everything he had but it did not look to be enough. However, using all his experience, he managed to stay in the points and slowly get to 5 games all. A couple of mistakes crept in to the Bristowe game and this was enough for Shenkman to take the set. Shenkman, now full of confidence, got off to a great start in the next and was able to seal a 5/6 6/5 6/2 win. A relieved Shenkman was still alive to fight another day and perhaps take another U24 title.
The final was an intriguing encounter between two-time winner Rob Shenkman and the up and coming Levi Gale. Could Gale avenge the losses from previous years or would Shenkman continue to grow in stature and take another title? Could Gale add pace and power to complement his excellent floor game or would Shenkman be too good with his exceptional movement and fluid style? It was clear from the start that Shenkman had gone up to another level. His confidence and rhythm were at their best. There were good hard-fought rallies throughout the match. However, Shenkman was on the winning side of most of them. Gale realised that he had to take his game up a couple of gears and tried his hardest. He started hitting loose balls with fearsome power, sending a clear message that he was still in the match. Shenkman however was not to be stopped and played consistent tennis when needed and dispatched any missed forces with clinical accuracy. He secured a famous 6/1 6/2 victory and with it a hatrick of U24 titles. In the U24 doubles final, the U21 and U24 singles champions, Bristowe and Batstone, combined to achieve a convincing 6/0 6/2 victory over Levi Gale and Zack Smart. There were some exciting, hard hitting rallies to be seen in this match which pleased the crowd in attendance.
MURTC wishes to thank the Dedanists’ Society for their continuing support of junior tennis and for sponsoring the championship again this year. We look forward to next year.
Will Burns & Chris Bray
GAP Year Apprentices working at Seacourt
The Dedanists' Society together with the Dedanists Foundation and the T&RA are supporting an important new initiative taking place at the Cambridge club. The objective is to support 2 youngsters whilst they are given a 6 month insight into life as a Real Tennis professional with a view to them choosing this as a career. Currently the game is suffering a shortfall in the number of young players seeking to become professionals. It is hoped that if this initiative is successful it could become a blueprint for similar schemes at other clubs.
The 2 youngsters taking part in the scheme are Jim Ludekens and Andrew Barker. As part of the scheme and to widen their knowledge about Real Tennis clubs they have just spent a week at Seacourt where they worked alongside top professional Andrew Lyons.
Their week at Seacourt gave them an insight into how another club is run and gave them plenty of opportunity to see the Seacourt approach to coaching junior players. Seacourt were running their usual half term Sports Club which includes Lawn Tennis, Padel, Badminton and Squash as well as Real Tennis. As part of their workload, Jim & Andrew joined in with the management of this club which is open to all youngsters living on Hayling Island.
They both enjoyed their Seacourt experience and felt that they had learned many things that would be useful in possible future careers as a Real Tennis professional.
British Junior Championships 2019
We are delighted to announce that Dedanists Society performance programme attendees won the British Junior Championships titles at Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18 age groups. The Championships were held at The Queens Club over 3 days August 16th-18th.
Under 14: Bertie Vallat defeated Henry Henman
Under 16: James Medlow defeated Max Trueman
Under 18: William Flynn defeated Patrick Smart
British U21 & U24 Real Tennis Championships
Sponsored by The Dedanists' Society
Under 21 Singles
Semi-finals F Bristowe bt R Giddins 6/5 6/4, N Batstone bt E Hyde 6/5 6/2
Final F Bristowe bt N Batstone 6/3 6/4
Under 24 Singles
Semi-finals R Shenkman bt L Gale 6/2 6/3, Z Eadle bt R Giddins 6/5 6/5
Final R Shenkman bt Z Eadle 6/1 6/1
Under 24 Doubles
Semi-finals R Shenkman & E Hyde bt N Batstone & F Bristowe 6/4 6/3, Z Eadle & H Batstone bt R Giddins & C Defries 6/4 6/3
Final R Shenkman & E Hyde bt Z Eadle & H Batstone 6/2 6/0
National Schoolgirls Championships 2019
Sponsored by The Dedanists' Society and the LRTA
This was the second National Schoolgirls Tournament to be held and Sponsored jointly by the Dedanists’ Society and the LRTA. This year doubles events were added to both the U19 and U15 singles events.
Under 15 Level Singles
The U15 Singles had a wonderful 19 entrants. Three singles groups played on Friday evening and finished playing at 10.45pm and a further 2 groups on Saturday morning to feed players into the semi-finals. It was so exciting to see all the girls’ standard of play improve as they experienced more tennis.
In the first semi - finals Cesca Sweet bt Lucy Bryer (both Wellington College) and Olivia Boulton (Oaklands RC) bt Honor Hue–Williams (Wellington
Cesca v Olivia was an excellent final with some magnificent retrieving by both players. Cesca eventually went on to take the match and U 15’s title 6-2.
Under 15 Level Doubles
The U15 doubles had an entry of 9 pairs. The group matches saw lots of exciting rallies and again the rallies became longer as the girls gained more match experience.
In the semi–finals Katie Walker and Olivia Boulton (both Oaklands RC) bt Lucy Bryer and Marina Hammond (both Wellington) and Cesca Sweet and Honor Hue Williams bt Ottilie Perkins and Lily May Redshaw.
The final saw some cracking tennis with super shots hit by all four players and the level of play becoming stronger and stronger as the match progressed. Cesca and Honor proved too strong in a close final and won the title 6-3.
Under 19 Level Singles
The U19 events were played all day on Sunday. After some highly competitive group matches the semi-finals were Cesca Sweet v Lauren Gooding (both Wellington) and Olivia Boulton (Oaklands RC) v India Deakin (Cheltenham College).
India and Cesca made it through and took part in a magnificent final with the game see–sawing throughout. At 7-7all it was anyone’s match but good serving from Cesca saw her take the title 8-7. A fantastic match of superb quality and showing loads of talent from both players.
U19 Level Doubles
The U19 Doubles was an all Wellington affair with Cesca Sweet and Honor Cockcroft meeting Daisy Bristowe and Arabella Spraggs in the final. Cesca and Honor winning 8-4 to take the title and complete a memorable weekend for Cesca Sweet. Definitely one to watch for the future!
A huge thank you to Wellington College for allowing the tournament to be held on their court. A massive thanks to Dan Jones and Adam Player for all their marking throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus creating such a fun tournament. In addition, thanks to Simon Roundell for various behind the scene administration, bouts of marking and making sure that we were all plied with copious cups of coffee, super sandwiches and cake throughout the weekend. Our thanks too to The Dedanists’ Society for their sponsorship and Josh Farrall for presenting the prizes on Sunday. What an exciting weekend of tennis!
The Sparks Dedanists Pro-Am
We held the 15th annual Sparks Dedanists Handicap Doubles Pro Am on 3rd July 2019 at Queen’s. It was a great success and raised nearly £3,000 to be shared by the Sparks medical charity for children and the Dedanists’ Society’s Academy coaching programme for the best young real tennis players in the country.
Sixteen amateur players, mainly Dedanists, paid £490 each to play and donate. With handicaps ranging from 24 to 64, they were representative of the amateur game as a whole. They each played three round robin matches against amateurs of similar handicap for a place in the semi-finals - and played with four or more different professionals in the process.
We are especially grateful to the pros for playing in this tournament. Their very presence persuades amateurs to enter and donate. They moderate their play to bring out the best in amateur partners and opponents. They entertain us with the quality of their play and banter. They encourage us with gems of good advice.
The players were as follow:
Professionals. Chris Bray, Chris Chapman, Claire Fahey, Rob Fahey, Ben Taylor-Matthews, Dan Jones, Neil Mackenzie, Ben Ronaldson,
Amateurs. Andrew Lowenthal, John McVittie, Francis Moore, Stuart Rose, Willie Wilks, Josh Farrall, Luke Readman, David Phillips, David Mills, Guy Egerton-Smith, Chris Vigrass, Graham Meek, Adrian Akers, Carl Snitcher, John Saunders, James McDermott.
Markers. Howard Angus & Simon Marshall
Chris Vigrass, Guy Egerton-Smith, Josh Farrall and Francis Moore won through to the semi-finals. Guy’s performance was particularly impressive as this was his first tennis after a fifteen month lay-off. Francis Moore beat Josh Farrall in the final to put his name on the trophy alongside that of his father who won in 2012. David Mills awarded the trophy and prizes with his own blend of sharp wit and racy humour.
Thank you to Josh and Carl for organising such a splendid day.
Dedanists v Wellington@ Wellington Saturday 7th December 2019
We arranged 6 doubles matches, each lasting 60 minutes and played to handicap, with the winning pair judged on games won on the hour, which is by far the best format otherwise it would prove to be a very long day. We played 3 matches in the morning, starting at 10.00am, followed by an hour for lunch then 3 more games in the afternoon, ending pretty much on the dot of 5.00pm. As it happened there was a match at 8.30am between Simon Roundell & Francis Moore (both Dedanists!) but in this instance playing the final of the WRTC handicap level 30-39 Singles Tournament - it was narrowly won 2-1 by Francis. Danny Jones day of marking started at 8.30 and ended at 5.00pm. A long day but many thanks Danny for that and for organising an excellent lunch and overseeing Wellington hospitality as usual. It proved to be a great day of tennis and sociability much enjoyed by everybody.
Now for a bit of detail. As I have said we had 6 matches and on the basis of games won, within the 60 minute time frame of each match, Wellington won 56 to the Dedanist’s 44 but, on the usual basis matches won and lost, we were the gallant losers 4 matches to 2. Probably a fairly typical Dedanist result!
See a selection of photographs, including a photo of a 2 very weary looking players (before lunch) and one showing an open mouthed rather grumpy looking Dedanist after losing his doubles match.
Our team, as per the match pairings, comprised the following:-
Michael Llewelyn-Jones & John Beatty
Simon Webster & David Dickson
Giles Pemberton & Julian Sheraton-Davis
Julian Sheraton-Davis & David Bevan-Thomas
Charlotta Ginman-Horrell & Guy Egerton-Smith
Valerie O’Donnell & Carl Snitcher
We collected £180 on the day from our players towards the Academy programme so thanks to all our team for their generosity.
Dedanist Match Manager
Dedanists v MURTC @ Middlesex Saturday 23rd November 2019
This was a contest involving four doubles matches, and though we lost the match overall 3 - 1, every one of the games was, by general consent, very keenly fought with three of the four going to a third deciding set.
Carl Snitcher and David Mitchell-Innes started impeccably but eventually went down in three sets (6/4, 1/6, 4/6). The redoubtable Leamington duo of Miles Buckinghamshire and Alastair Robson then came even closer to victory, going to 5 all and 40 all in the final set (6/4, 1/6, 5/6). Valerie O'Donnell and I then contrived to lose 4/6, 5/6 (though, by way of mitigation, owing the opposition what turned out to be a very severe 15 in every game).
But the Deds finally triumphed, and avoided what would've been a cruel whitewash, when John McVittie and Jonathan Ellis-Miller took their match to 5 all and 40 all in the third set and... won the final point. I may say their achievement was all the sweeter to behold in view of the age difference between the sides (the Dedanists being by my calculation rather more than twice the age of the opposition) and the fact that their opponents, with much high-fiving, had been exhibiting signs of being just that little bit too confident of victory. Touché.
It was a good day of tennis, and the eight of us raised £120 for Dedanism.
I put together a team of 10 Dedanists to play in 5 doubles but was thwarted by Holyport, the home team, who could only muster 6 players, which was disappointing, but what with half term and the Rugby World Cup semi final I suppose that it was just about an acceptable excuse! It was agreed that 2 of our players, both Holyport members, Yuri Kugler and Guy Egerton-Smith (Dedanist Match Manager) would swop sides and play for Holyport to even things out to enable 4 doubles matches.
Checking our website I was pleased to see that the Dedanists won their recent match against Hamsters, following a 5-0 drubbing in the end October weekend match against Manchester (cant remember who the MM was), so it was important for us to put up a good performance against Holyport. We did.
A few of us arrived early at Holyport to watch the England v All Blacks semi-final. What a match and what a win. On the face of it it looks like the gods will favour an England win against the Springboks on Saturday. Let’s hope so. With England’s win it set us up well for the 4 doubles against Holyport, played off handicap. The Dedanists won the 1st, 2nd & 3rd matches 2-0, 3-1, 3-1 respectively and lost the 4th 0-2 to come out match winners 3-1. The Dedanist players, in order of the matches played, were Phil Devlin & Bruce Hogarth- Jones (his first match for the Dedanists), John Beatty & John McVittie, Carl Snitcher & James McDermott, Richard East & Liz Fisher. Extra congratulations must go out to our team as this was Holyport’s first defeat of the season!
Nick Parkinson provided an excellent lunch provided by his Gastropub, The Royal Oak, appreciated by all.
The players were camera shy, including Carl, so unfortunately we drew a blank here. The good news is that we raised £232.00 for our Academy programme.
We all look forward to the Dedanists Society AGM, the Lowenthal Trophy tournament and the dinner tomorrow Wednesday at Queen’s Club.
Dedanists v Holyport @ Holyport Saturday 26th October 2019
The Dedanists Society - Annual Dinner and Handicap Doubles Tournament
Queens Club Wednesday 30th October 2019
REPORT CREATED BY IAN HARRIS
(WITH THANKS ALSO TO FREDERIKA ADAM www.frederikaadam.com FOR THE PROFESSIONAL-LOOKING PHOTOGRAPHS AND TO CARL SNITCHER FOR THE OTHER PHOTOS)
I was told ahead of time that this annual event is one of the most popular in The Dedanists’ Society calendar; by the end of the day I could fully understand why.
Several of us were newbies this year; apart from me, Robin Faux, Bruce Hogarth Jones, Melvyn Plum and Giles Stogdon, the latter of whom will no doubt be amazed to see his name spelt correctly. Apologies if I have missed the names of any other newbies.
Friend Or Faux?
The details of the doubles competition was published in preview on this site, just below the Holyport match report, so it needs no repeating here. The use of the sliding handicap system made most of the matches tight. Your intrepid reporter watched two round robin matches before getting sucked into the competition himself; both of those were determined 4-4, 40-30 – it really doesn’t get closer than that.
The round robin play seemed quite fast and furious to me – possibly because most of the players are well above my “pay grade” in handicap terms. But also, I think, because pairs all felt they needed to come out all guns blazing in these short, sliding handicap matches.
My partner for the day was Tony Friend; we found ourselves pitched against Michael Shellim and Robin Faux in our first bout, which yielded the obvious pun in the above section heading. One wag suggested that most of us play real tennis but Robin plays Faux tennis. It didn’t seem Faux to me when Shellim & Faux beat us, but not before I returned a Robin Faux serve in a rather tentative, lobby fashion which somehow found the perfect length to beat a chase of half-a-yard on the floor.
Strange Case of P Cattermull and Mr Hyde
The semi-final line ups were:
Luke Readman & David Mitchell-Innes v Paul Cattermull & Norman Hyde
Johnny Saunders & Iain Harvey v Michael Shellim & Robin Faux
The first of those semi-finals, on East Court, was a rather one-sided affair; the sliding handicap failing to rein in Messrs Cattermull and Hyde, who got off to a rollicking start and just kept going. 4-0 was the score. The second semi-final, simultaneously taking place on West Court, was a much tighter affair, which could have gone either way, with Messrs Shellim & Faux prevailing 4-3; everyone loves a match that needs a deciding game.
The final was differently exciting. Once again Messrs Cattermull and Hyde got off to a flying start, metaphorically faster than even Norman Hyde himself on a Triumph motorcycle & side car. 3-0 they led, but then the sliding handicap started to take its toll, while Messrs Shellim and Faux upped their game. From 3-0 to 3-3 and once again a deciding, level game was needed to determine the outcome. In the end, it was Paul Cattermull and Norman Hyde who prevailed as worthy champions and winners of the coveted Lowenthal Trophy.
Go On, Ian, Try To Make An AGM Sound Interesting
Before the AGM, there was plenty of time for the libations and convivialities to begin. Your intrepid reporter held back from the libations at this stage, but certainly joined in the genial conversations. Valerie O’Donnell quipped that her white wine spritzer tasted like wine after brushing one’s teeth…but isn’t that what tonic water always does to wine? Fever-Tree might want that as a marketing strapline.
Anyway, the AGM, once it arrived, was unlike most AGMs that I attend. Sadly, there was very little room for rancor or debate, as Josh Farrall announced that membership was up, turnover was up, activity levels were up, the financial surplus was up and the academy results were improving year on year. I did feel like heckling out, “we can’t tolerate this! I demand failure, chaos, musing and debate”, just to liven matters up. But as a newbie I thought better of it; perhaps I’ll try some heckling next year.
Simon Roundell was the only new person to be nominated for the committee. He was sitting near to me, trying hard to damage his own chances by reposing in a Jacob Rees-Mogg style and bad-mouthing himself. He signally failed to put us off from electing him unopposed. Serves him right.
Then Graham Tomkinson explained what the academy is doing and why, which actually was very interesting and rounded off the business aspect of the evening in a very upbeat fashion.
Winners, Winners & Chicken Dinners
The Queen’s Club knows how to put on a good dinner and this dinner was no exception. Some forty of us dined and the atmosphere was very jolly, ably assisted by plentiful wines and good company. To be honest, the pictures tell this part of the story better than words.
Josh Farrall & Andrew Lowenthal awarded the main trophy to Paul Cattermull & Norman Hyde, with Josh alone doing the honours on the subsidiary prizes. I was most grateful for my “shot of the day” bottle of bubbly. By the end of the evening, when that award was made, most of the assembled Dedanists swore that they had witnessed the shot and that it was surely one of the finest shots ever played on a tennis court anywhere. That small dedans gallery on the West Court must have been absolutely ram-packed with people.
I have written an idiosyncratic account of the day on my own blog – click here if you want to read that. I have also uploaded all 33 pictures (including those shown on this page) to a Flickr album – click here – once again many thanks to Frederika Adam www.frederikaadam.com and to Carl Snitcher for those.
But my final words must be words of thanks to all who were involved in organising this superb day but in particular to Josh Farrall and Carl Snitcher who clearly did an enormous amount of work for the event and didn’t even get to play in the tournament this year. It was a truly memorable day and I shall be sure to try and be available next year and indeed whenever I am able.
The real tennis tournament starts at 12 noon. Practice courts are available from 11 am. The final is at 5.25 pm. It is a handicap doubles tournament, played for the Lowenthal Trophy ( current holders Richard East and John Mcvittie) - Please note carefully the rules of play, especially those relating to ‘sliding handicaps’ and times
The AGM starts at 6.45 pm.
The dinner starts at 7.45 pm in the Members’ Bar. It is expected to end at 9.45 pm. Dress is smart casual
Radley College v The Dedanists Juniors
Radley College 18th October 2019
Match Result: Radley College won 5 – 3.
The Dedanist team were all British Academy juniors. The Radley team were all College pupils. Radley College teams are always very competitive, especially when playing at home. And so it proved today.
The Hamsters v The Dedanists
Hampton Court Palace 10th October 2019
On this auspicious day, two new Dedanists debuted for the club: Ian Harris (that’s me!) and Simon Constantine. Coincidentally, it transpired that both of us had enjoyed playing fives at Alleyn’s School ‘back in the day’; in my case as a pupil in the 1970’s and in Simon’s case as the husband of one of the teachers in the early to mid 1980s.
Today’s match started as it meant to go on, with a nail-biting battle between Hamsters Charlie Kearl & Nick Carew Hunt and Dedanists Yuri Kugler and Robert Muir. The Dedanists prevailed 6-4, 6-5 with the handicapping system doing its job splendidly.
There was a “call of out” incident at one high-pressure stage in that first rubber, which looked close to bubbling over. I asked Carl Snitcher if it was the done thing for the fellow team-mates of the combatants to run onto the court and start fighting each other with their rackets, in the manner of ice hockey teams. “Most certainly”, said Snitch, but the opportunity did not arise again in this match. Perhaps next time.
The second rubber was between Hamsters Robert Frost & Tom Carew Hunt and Dedanists Giles Pemberton & Simon Constantine. The handicapping system did not do such a good job on this one; The Hamsters prevailing 6-0, 6-0. By all accounts both Hamsters exceeded their expectations, with Robert Frost in particular dominating proceedings. Well played.
The Hamsters also took the third rubber, with Michael Banks & Richard East prevailing over Alastair Robson & Carl Snitcher, 6-4, 6-3. This rubber must have been an ebb & flow affair, as your reporter retired from the dedans gallery with Messrs Robson & Snitcher leading in the first set and looking on course for the win, so many congratulations to Messrs Banks & East for turning the tables in that contest.
“Why did the reporter retire from the dedans gallery at a vital stage of the third rubber?” I hear you cry. In order to report on the luncheon, of course. What a splendid luncheon it was too. Magnificent pies with two mouth-watering choices (I tried both so can vouch for both):
chicken, ham & leek
steak & mushroom.
Lashings of peas, carrots and broad beans. A choice of two different sweet roulades for desert and bucket-fulls of bread to accompany the plentiful cheeses. Wine and beer aplenty also for those who were drinking (most, but not me today); apple juice for wimps like me.
Meanwhile there was a very tight first set in the fourth rubber (and I’m not talking about the waists of the players’ trousers after lunch), between Hamsters Maurice Beardsley & David Remington and Dedanists Christie Marrian & Norman Hyde. The Dedanists prevailed 6-4 in that tight set and then 6-1 in the second set, leaving the match beautifully poised at two rubbers each with two rubbers to play.
Enter your reporter, partnered by James McDermott; a gentleman I have played against occasionally but never previously partnered.
I had attempted to research our opponents, Elizabeth Woodthorpe & David Rowley, which sounds, when stated as “Woodthorpe & Rowley”, like a classic lawn tennis doubles pairing or a partnership of Jacobean playwrights.
Pursuing that line of fanciful thinking, I discovered that the Jacobean pair Middleton & Rowley wrote a tennis-themed play, “The World Tossed At Tennis”, almost exactly 400 years ago. That play was sponsored by the then Prince Charles who, five years later, became King Charles I and had the Hampton Court Tennis Court rebuilt on its current site. Things did not end well for Charles I and (at a more trivial level) nor did they end well for Woodthorpe & Rowley. Harris & McDermott prevailing for the Dedanists 6-1, 6-1. I think we did deserve our win but I feel bound to say that we had more than our fair share of luck, with many of my winners coming from the woodier parts of the racket. I did manage deliberately to land the shot that closed out the rubber on the facsimile of Henry VIII which graces the grille; I took childish pleasure in achieving that hit.
So with the Dedanists leading by three rubbers to two, the final set of combatants took to the court; Hamsters Alan Dallamore & Ian Mathers against Dedanists Iain Harvey and John Tacchi. By this stage of the day, most of the assembled party had either gone home or were enjoying the plentiful wines, so I was asked to mark the bout, which was a first for me.
But I digress. That final rubber went back and forth as frequently as a rubber band in an excitable schoolkid’s catapult. Messrs Dallamore & Mathers prevailed in the first set 6-4. Messrs Harvey & Tacchi went 4-2 up in the second set but the clock was ticking and the captains decided that the second set needed to be a “best of nine” rather than a “best of eleven” set. Dallamore & Mathers drew level at 4-4; if they were also to prevail in the deciding game, the rubber would be theirs and the fixture would be drawn. Instead, Messrs Harvey and Tacchi kept their cool and took the deciding game, rendering the final rubber a draw and the match the tightest of possible wins for The Dedanists, 3½ to 2½.
It was a splendid day in a glorious setting; many thanks to The Hamsters for their gracious and warm hospitality. Well done team for the (apparently rare) Dedanists win.
But of course, the future of real tennis always wins when the Dedanists play; this match raised £257 for good tennis causes. £180 from the Dedanist team, £57 from the Hamsters and £20 from an anonymous benefactor.
The Peripatetic Tournament
Held at Hardwick House on 28th September
12 teams entered this doubles Tournament, organised by Brigands, at Hardwick on 28 September 2019. The Dedanist‘s Society were represented by Ronald Paterson and Nick Browne. The tournament comprised 4 Groups with 3 teams playing in each Group. The Dedanist pairing faced two 45 minute games against Jesters and Hurlingham Pigeons. All 3 games were closely fought with our pairing losing out from progressing to the semi-finals by one Group point. The eventual winners of the Tournament were LRTA who beat Jesters.
The Manchester September Weekend Double Header
MCC v Manchester Dedanists v Manchester
Saturday/Sunday 28th/29th September 2019
The teams were 8 Players for the MCC match and 10 for the Dedanist match, which included 2 Manchester Dedanist members. In my capacity as Match Manager, for both days, I suggested that it would be sensible to stay in (sic) an hotel less than 5 minutes walk from the club. Most did. No-one complained at the £200 per night cost, or did they I cannot recall!
On Saturday night the team dined at the best Chinese restaurant in town, Yang Sing. A few of us had been there before. The starter, had by all, was a mixed concoction of spicy king prawns, which went down well, followed by heaps of other dishes and in the time-honored way over ordered. A group of overeaten players made their way home. Manchester was in lock down for the Conservative Party Conference but we managed it back to the hotel in the early hours.
We had one singles match all weekend and it was the first on court for MCC on Saturday with James Denham, obviously fired up by the spicy king prawns the night before, took little time winning his game 2-0. Following that match the rest went backwards & forwards with MCC winning the match 3-2.
On Saturday evening we all dined, together with 2 other supportive halves (Rose & Sarah) and some Manchester players, in the Club dining room and I am sure many of you will have experienced their excellent dinners, with an ample supply of very good wine followed by brandy and port. We retired to our hotel(s) in the pouring rain to get ready for the Sunday match.
It was quite evident to me that the invigorating effects of the spicy prawns had worn off by the time the Dedanist team of 10 were on parade on court on Sunday morning. We lost the first 2 doubles, both in 3 sets. In the next 3 matches out of a possible 36 games we managed only 15 games won. An overall match loss of 5-0. Never mind real tennis was the winner! Having said that we were at a distinct disadvantage on Sunday in that the Manchester court is constructed on a substantial slope as witnessed by the photos taken by Carl Snitcher. A definite case of home advantage.
It was a great weekend all round with the Manchester club as hospitable as ever and, from feedback from both team players, Steve Brokenshaw and Darren Long, together with Stella Heap, who is the long stand-in General Manager of the Club, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Next year the weekend of tennis will be at Lord’s.
A mention of the MCC & Dedanist players - James Denham, Iain Harvey, Norman Hyde, Simon Mansfield, Carl Snitcher, Anton Eisdell, Richard East, Guy Egerton-Smith, Tony Wedd & Mal Harding.
Weekend Match Manager
The Dedanists v Radley Club
Saturday 14th September at Radley 2019
The Dedanists won the match 6-1
From the Dedanists point of view, this match was remarkable for a number of reasons:
We won the match by the emphatic margin of 6 – 1.
The lunch and indeed the whole event was alcohol-free. New members playing for the Dedanists for the first time were surprised, too polite to comment and certainly concerned that this might be a Dedanist norm. Experienced members were shocked into playing out of their skins. Perhaps alcohol-free should become a Dedanist norm !? (ed: only joking).
Two of our players dropped out at the last minute in extraordinary circumstances. Clive Stone, who should know better, incapacitated himself tossing the caber in a mock highland games in the Borders - a toss too far! Jonathan Ellis-Miller was suddenly hospitalised with sepsis. He has, thank goodness, made a full recovery.
The Jesmond Weekend
Jesmond v MCC v Dedanists
Saturday & Sunday 21st/22nd September 2019
A super weekend of top class tennis was displayed at Jesmond Dene as a three-way match took place between the host club, MCC and the Dedanists. The match was well organised by the professional at Jesmond, Scott Blabber and Jonathan Ellis-Miller for both MCC and the Dedanists. Unfortunately, Jonathan was unable to attend at the last minute so the captainship of both MCC and Dedanists was taken over by Simon Martin. However, he had little to do due to the superb preparation carried out by Scott and Jonathan.
The format was such that each team played a total of 10 matches over the two days. Most of the matches were doubles being played as first to 10 games. All the matches were competitive and played in the true spirit of the game and all marked by Scott.
The MCC team consisted of the following players;
Simon Martin; James Coley; Carl Snitcher; Sebastian Wood
The Dedanists team consisted of the following players;
William Lewis; Michael Llewelyn-Jones; Giles Stogdon; and Chris Stanton.
Anton Eisdell and Peter Dean playing for MCC and Dedanists as required!
Highlights of the weekend are as follows;
Carl managing to miss the train from Kings X on Friday night as he is unable to read the twenty-four-hour clock!
Martin and Coley unable to win a forty all game
Snitcher excelling with his oversize banjo racket and producing the champagne moment of the weekend as he hit a bullet forehand volley straight into the dedans to the galleries amazement.
Anton managing to win two matches with a gammy hip making any movement non-existent.
Sebastian and Peter playing good steady tennis including Peter playing a singles followed by a doubles straight after and managing to remain upright afterwards.
A mention in despatches must go to Sinead Coley a student at Newcastle University and daughter of James, who has only been playing for a short time. She represented Jesmond playing off 60 handicap and won two out of her three matches. Hopefully she will be a future MCC full member and be able to represent them in years to come.
Undoubtedly the blue ribbon event of the weekend was the final match between Martin and Coley for MCC v Thompson and Spurling for Jesmond. MCC were receiving 15 in handicap but at 3-7 down this did not seem to be enough as the Jesmond pair played faultless aggressive tennis on their own court. However, after a tactical master stroke suggested by the MCC captain of abandoning the defence of the galleries, MCC gradually clawed their way back into the match to lead 9-7. After a calamitous 17th game whereby Martin managed to net 4 times from the service end the match was poised at 9-8 in favour of MCC. They gave up two hazard chases but no matter; they were easily beaten and final game won to love. 10-8 to MCC.
The final result confirmed Jesmond as winners winning 6 matches with MCC and Dedanists both winning 4.
A superb weekend was had by all, including an excellent dinner at a local restaurant attended by 14 participants. Scott and all the Jesmond members made us all feel very welcome as always and I would recommend this fixture to anyone who has not played at Jesmond. A superb court with great hospitality.
The Dedanists Warwickshire Weekend
Saturday & Sunday 7th/8th September 2019
A group of Dedanists ventured - tentatively perhaps - north of Hatfield for their annual Warwickshire weekend tour of the tennis courts at Leamington and Moreton Morrell last weekend.
Things went swimmingly initially, with local Dedanists John Yarnall and Alastair Robson seeing off the first Leamington pair, Caroline Dixon & John Devis, who both play the floor game - which is a delight to watch (and the style these days of a minority of players).
The pendulum then swung each way for successive rubbers, which included a stylish singles match between Paul Cattermull and Leamington captain, Will Carbutt-Todd, which went to three sets and eventually to Paul, despite trailing 1-4. Again, stylish floor game from both.
The final rubber of the day - at 2-2 - went to three sets and '5 games all' in the third. Norman Hyde, playing for Leamington, at 15-40 (to receivers), served two elegant faults, thus losing the game, the rubber and the match to the Dedanists. That he is a Committee member for the Dedanists is (presumably) of no relevance.
A dinner was held in the club on the Saturday evening for members of both teams: Leamington must have one of the best tennis kitchens outside London - it certainly has one of the best dining rooms.
Sunday saw six doubles matches being played on the Moreton Morrell court, which, being built two years before the (second) court at Hardwick House, is very similar in style and ambiance and floor surface. Here, the Dedanists fared not so well: the first rubber was lost, the second won, but thereafter it was downhill all the way to a 5-1 defeat…
At Leamington Sat 7 September
J Yarnall & A Robson v C Dixon & J Devis 6-0; 4-6; 6-4 W
A Eisdell & J McDermott v D Howells & B Cunningham Batt 4-6; 6-3; 3-6 L
P Cattermull v Will Carbutt-Todd 4-6; 6-5; 6-5 W
P Mason & J Ellis-Miller v B Compton & C Sampson 3-6; 5-6. L
P Dean & M Llewellyn-Jones v N Hyde & I Steele 2-6; 6-5; 6-5 W
Dedanists win 3-2
At Moreton Morrell Sun 8 September
P Mason & A Dalton v P Lewis & D Harris. 1-6; 3-6. L
M Buckinghamshire & A Robson v J Franklin & B Spratt. 3-6; 6-3; 6-5. W
M Fattorini & P Cattermull v C Swallow & K Beechener 1-6; 5-6. L
C Snitcher & A Eisdell v D Aldwinkle & G West. 3-6; 5-6. L
M Llewellyn-Jones & J Ellis-Miller v D Prophet & J Rawstorne. 3-6; 6-2; 4-6. L
N Hyde & P Dean v K Beechener & P Lewis. 3-6; 6-5; 5-6. L
Moreton Morrell win 5-1
Notice of Annual General Meeting, Tennis Tournament & Dinner
The Twelfth Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held at The Queen’s Club, Palliser Road, West Kensington, London W14 9EQ at 7.15 pm on Wednesday the 30th October 2019 in Meeting Room 1, Centenary House.
By order of the Committee, CARL SNITCHER Secretary
1) To approve the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 31st October 2018.
2) To receive and approve the Annual Report, Statement of Accounts and Balance Sheet for the year ended 31st July 2019
3) Report by Graham Tomkinson / John Farrall on Academy coaching programmes.
4) To consider and agree the Benevolent Activities of the Society under Rule 4 of the Rules & Regulations, especially the Society’s support for Junior real tennis
5) (a) To re-elect the following members of the Society’s management
committee to a further term of 3 years:
John Farrall, Carl Snitcher, John McVittie and Guy Egerton-Smith (supported by the committee).
(b) To confirm Simon Roundell as a new member of the Society’s management committee (supported by the committee).
Nominations for committee membership closed on the 2nd of September 2019. No election process is required at this time because the number of nominations (one) matched the number of vacancies (one).
6) Report on the Dedanists’ Foundation.
7) To transact any other business that by the Rules & Regulations of the Society has to be or may properly be transacted at an Annual General Meeting.
Dedanists v Cambridge
Saturday 15th June 2019 at Cambridge
On Saturday 15th June The Dedanists visited Cambridge University court for an 8 match of ‘Set to 10’ fixture. At the half way stage the Dedanists were ahead 3-1 and everyone had played the first of their two matches. We were ahead of schedule and although the games were closely fought there was nothing for the highlight reel.
That was about to change. The last 4 matches comprised 75 games. Which as I’m sure you, dear reader, will have worked out means that 3 ended up 10-9. Two of these were 40-all to boot. Here are some words from the 10-9 that ‘only’ got to 40-30…
I shall remember for some time the shot our Cambridge opponents made when we were serving at 30-40 9-9 all with a two yard chase. The ball hit the penthouse and fell dead at 1 yard. Such is the game!
In the final Singles, Cambridge were leading 9-all and 40-15, and defending a 2 yard chase. Undeterred, the Dedanists won with one of their namesake shots… into the Dedans, before taking the match. Meanwhile on Blue, not content with a single 9-all, 40-all point, we decided to go for two with the second being Hazard the Line!
While the schedule was not actually in ruins at this point, it was in a certain amount of disrepair. The fixture was perhaps fittingly was tied at 4-all and all that remained was to see if we had been left any lunch (we were) and if the strategic reserves of Rosé had been found (they had not)
Many thanks to our trio of markers and especially Peter for his tireless organisation.
A link to a Google Photos Album of the these pictures https://photos.app.goo.gl/dzCVnqY1WWV3rr9d9
Dedanists v LRTA
Saturday 8th June 2019 at Hardwick House
This popular annual fixture took place on Saturday the 8th June on a lovely day at Hardwick House.
After arriving and before the first rubber at 10.30am, Candida and Charlotta (the newest member of the Dedanists) helped Tim to clean the court.
Once the Tomalins had decanted the mountains of food, Pam prepared her now famous Blood Mary and one or two members of the Dedanists team sampled the very tasty mixture but no one remembers who the other(s) were!! The clue is that the one person who did, was the person who normally travels to matches chauffeured by the Chairman but because of the Chairman’s move to Henley, had to drive himself !!
After Tim and Jonathan won the first rubber with a very tight second set, the Dedanists generously lost the next two rubbers in two . John McV and Julian played very well to beat Juliette and Linda in two with a very close second set, which was touch and go. That set up the match with winner takes all in the 5th rubber which in the end Rosie and Di won, to clinch the match This final rubber was expertly marked by Richard and made more complex with a handicap difference of rec 1/2 15 owe15 .
The ladies deservedly won the contest 3-2
Dedanists v Prested
Sunday 28th April 2019 at Prested
Annual General Meeting 2019
The best of eight rubbers Dedanist win 4-3 (with a drawn doubles.)
The Dedanists got off to a flying start with wins in the singles from Robert Muir and Ben Martin, followed by a win in the doubles by John Tacchi and Robert Muir, this was too good to be true and was followed up with losses in the singles by John Tacchi and father and son combination of Simon and Ben Martin in the doubles. Simon resurrected the himself after a distinctly 'iffy' doubles (not helped in the first set with a coughing and spluttering Ellis-Miller as a partner) performance to win his singles match. Ben Martin had to play a further singles match, as Jonathan Ellis-Miller could not play due to illness and was beaten. The final doubles match was something of a rarity, Ben Martin Aged 26 and Amy Pye (swapping sides) Aged 17 (total age 43 must be the youngist combined doubles age of any Dedanists pairing ever!)) drew the final rubber and secured the fixture win.
It was a great day out for all, the Prested folk are very friendly and welcoming. There was some really outstanding tennis. Many thanks to Rob Fahey and Ged for excellent marking and organisation. We look forward to returning next year under the stewardship of Chris Vigrass.
The award for "the person of the match" goes to Pam Tomalin, who didn’t play, but provided a delicious lunch. Once this little secret gets out, we will be inundated with members wanting to play
It was a happy fun day at the beautiful Hardwick court, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Well done to the ladies!! "
Dedanists v Hatfield
Saturday 16th March 2019 at Hatfield
A very enjoyable and well contested match took place at Hatfield House on Saturday. A large contingent of nine Dedanists put up a strong showing but, alas, went down two rubbers to four against a spirited Hatfield side. I confirm that I have transferred £135.00 to the Dedanists account to cover the nine Deds' players supplements for junior tennis. Carl - who, incidentally, was on fine form both on and off court - took some photographs which are below.
Martin Richards vs Nick Brodie 6/5 6/2
Adrian & Jill Akers vs Jonathan Ellis-Miller & Carl Snitcher 6/4 0/6 4/6
Adrian Akers & Stuart Rose vs Michael Llewellyn-Jones & Doc Wyse 6/4 3/6 6/4
Alex Brodie vs Yuri Kugler 6/5 6/0
John Longhurst vs David Mitchell-Innes 6/4 2/6 5/6
Ros Emrys-Roberts & Robin Aley vs Clive Stone & James McDermott 6/4 6/3
Dedanists v Pigeons
Sunday 10th March 2019 at Wellington
A thrilling encounter at Wellington saw a rare Dedanists' triumph by four rubbers to one. Such was the strength of the Ds that three of the games were won in straight sets. Paul and David led the way with a resounding victory over S T-W and Patrick, much to Simon's dismay. He did not stop talking about it for the rest of the day. Vaughan and Michael provided the closest encounter, nicking it after one set all, and five all in the last set. The Ds borrowed a talented Paul Spraggs to help Norman to victory. John and Jonathan were clinical. To avoid a vale of tears from the Pigeons, Jonathan and James came a creditable second in their match in their usual sporting fashion, thereby averting a whitewash.
Any sense of competition evaporated over an excellent lunch and copious quantities of wine. Dan Jones, as ever, marked scrupulously and there were no pitch invasions.
Paul Cattermull & David Enticknap beat Simon Talbot-Williams & Patrick Jenkins 6/4 6/1
Vaughan Williams & Michael Llewwlyn-Jones beat Paul Spraggs & Patrick Jenkins 6/4 4/6 6/5
Norman Hyde & Paul Spraggs beat Donald Carse & John Deere 6/2 4/6
John Beatty & Jonathan Ellis Miller beat Barbara Carse & Matthew Page 6/5 6/4
Jonathan Ellis Miller & James McDermott lost to Andrina Webb & Richard Pettit 6/5 2/6 3/6
Petworth v Dedanists
Sunday 3rd March 2019 at Petworth
David Fortune meticulously prepared the running order and pairings for what turned out to be a delightful day at Petworth. Most of us had not seen the new dressing room facility and club area which is extremely comfortable and convivial.
The Dedanists' pair ,Julian Wilkinson and David Mills ( treasurer and Chairman of the Dedanists Foundation respectively) got us off to a splendid start, and when Josh and David F drew the next rubber, we thought that we might be in for a good day. but sadly they were the only pair to win.There were three drawn rubbers and the rest were lost , some very closely. But it was great fun and £165 was raised to support our junior programs
David F and his wife Caroline provided a sumptuous lunch, ( she has promised Babotie next time we play there, and for those who don’t know its a traditional South African dish ) and the Petworth members , who were there for the whole day, were all splendid hosts.
Louis Gordon had a marathon day marking expertly and consistently. So a big thank you to him. The match was played in good spirits with lots of good humoured banter from the Dedans, with the home team winning convincingly
After a long but a very good day we all left for our respective homes in the middle of a rain storm and in very windy conditions.. At the time of writing this report it seems as though everyone made it back home safely. Rod Taylor heroically played three times!! Just as well he lives around the corner from the club
Chairman Josh drove his supercharged Volvo back to London expertly in the driving rain and approaching darkness, and made it back in an hour and a half ........ in world record time, only waking up when startled by his passenger , the secretary of the Society , blurting out the name of a tennis player they were both having difficulty remembering
An excellent day in the country it was too.
Results (Petworth names first)
Robert Dolman & Simon Armstrong lost to Julian Wilkinson & David Mills 3-9
David Bevan-Thomas & Robert Muir drew with David Fortune & Josh Farrall 6-6
Allan Adair & Alan Chalmers bt Richard East & Chris Stanton 9-4
Anthony Palmer & Helen Linfield bt Rod Taylor & James McDermott 9-2
Simon Armstrong & Robert Muir drew with Julian Wilkinson & Josh Farrall 6-6
Robert Dolman & Alan Adair bt Richard East & David Mills 10-2
David Bevan-Thomas & Alan Chalmers drew with David Fortune & Chris Stanton 6-6
Ed Braham & Helen Linfield bt Carl Snitcher & James McDermott 8-6
Allan Adair & Anthony Palmer bt Simon Armstrong & Rod Taylor 9-5
Match Result Petworth 6 Dedanists 1 (3 matches drawn)
Oratory v Dedanists
Saturday February 23rd 2019 at Oratory
Results (Oratory names 1st)
Georgiana Seigneur (55.3) bt John Yarnall (59.2) 6/4 6/3 Owe 15 Love
Peter Buckley & Mark Keogh (49.3) bt John Beatty & Phil Devlin(48.2) 6/3 6/0 Level
Robin Russell & Maggie Gibbs (71.8) bt Carl Snitcher & Adam Lawrence (68.6) 6/4 6/0 Level
Linda Sheraton-Davis & Maggie Gibbs (59.3) bt Simon Armstrong & Clive Stone (54) 6/1 5/6 6/4 Love Owe 15
Calum Maclean & Julian Sheraton-Davis (45.8) bt John Miller & Jonathon Ellis-Millar (56.9) 6/0 1/6 6 -5 Owe 15 Rec 15
Oratory win 5-0
The Seacourt Silver Racket took place in early February and had 24 entries. There was a qualification event in which 4 players qualified for the main event.
The Dedanists Society programme featured 5 individuals from our performance programmes and the results of those on the Individual Academy programme are shown below:
In the Qualification event , WILLIAM FLYNN (aged 16) firstly defeated Nick Warner 6/3 3/6 6/1 and then defeated Freddie Dixon 6/3 2/6 6/4. Two full 3 set matches in one day. A great result for William. He then lost to Lea van der Zwalmen in the main event.
NED BATSTONE went straight into the main event and defeated Nino Merola ( Professional from Radley) 6/5 1/6 6/4 (Nino started on – ½ 15) . This is the first time an Under 18 player has beaten a senior professional in a National Tournament!!! Ned then lost in the quarterfinal to Freddie Bristowe.
LEA VAN DER ZWALMEN , won 2 rounds of Qualification event , and having defeated William in the first round of the main event , then beat Tom Weaver 3/6 6/3 6/1 – a superb result for her. She then played Neil Mackenzie in the semi-finals but lost 2/6 1/6.
Overall , a great set of results for our 3 young aspiring players – well done to Seacourt for a superb tournament ( Drew Lyons and Aaron Flippence)
The Seacourt Silver Racket
January 30th - February 3rd 2019 at Seacourt
Ned Batstone (left) & Freddie Bristowe
Lea Van Der Zwalmen & Neil Mackenzie
Dedanists v MCC
Saturday 9th February 2019 at Lords
The MCC fixture is always very popular and this year was no exception. Of the 24 players in six games of doubles on court there were originally 21 members of the Society. In the event three had to withdraw for injury and /or family reasons but despite that 18 members participated . We were very pleased to welcome David Enticknap and Simon Webster who had joined recently. We hope this will be the first of many.
The first Rubber was at 10 am and we didn’t finish until approximately 6 pm, with a short break for lunch. The reason for the very long day was exceptionally that every rubber went to 3 sets. . Although the Dedanists team triumphed by 5 to 1, every match was very close and could have gone either way.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the day in part due to the conviviality of the Lords hospitality and general ambience . Good food and good company, good chats and lots of banter from the Dedans!!
Mark Ryan the head pro was in marking duty for the whole day and was in excellent form. A big thanks to him and the MCC for a great day
Sam Leigh 43/ Foreman Wickes 33 v Simon Webster 30/ John Whiting 41 6/4,3/6.4/6 D win
Ben Martin 54/Tony Friend 45 v Yuri Kugler 46/ David Enticknap 45 2/6,6/2.3/6 D win
Rod Taylor 63 /Chris Stanton 60 v Richard Wyse 53/ Iain Harvey 51 4/6,6/3,5/6 D win
Ben Martin 54/ Rodger Davis 41 v John McVitte 49/ Julian Sheraton Davis 42 6/3,5/6.3/6 D win
John Thirlwell 66/ James McDermott 66 v John Miller 69/ Adam Lawrence 70 6/4. 4/6,4/6 D win
John Farrall 57/Jonathan Ellis-Miller 52 v Carl Snitcher 64 / Linda Sheraton Davis 55 6/3, 4/6 6/4 M win
Dedanists v Jeu de Paume et Squash, Paris
Saturday 27th January 2019
After a long evening of eating and drinking (and for some a very late night’s drinking) we all traipsed to the court (one or two with sore heads) for our own Dedanists’ doubles tournament, with the obligatory (and much sought after) Dedanists’ tankard awaiting the winner.
It was played according to some novel rules: one point each for the winning pair, and a bonus point for any player hitting the grille. Each player played three 6-game sets with a different partner, with a rolling handicap, and two guests from the Paris club were invited to participate: Remy Martin and Francois Menage. To the Dedanists’ chagrin, Francois Menage (3 wins + 1 grille) ran away with the trophy - although there was, allegedly, considerable unspoken delight that David Phillips, last year’s winner (1 win, 2 grilles) and Norman Hyde, pot hunter ‘extraordinaire de nos jours’, (3 wins), together with Carl Snitcher (3 wins + many commiserations) were runners up.
So ended a memorable weekend in Paris for nine Dedanists (plus Pat Farrall). And a wonderful time it was too: good food in restaurants carefully and bravely chosen by Alastair to be within walking distance of the tennis court and hotel meant that the longest journey undertaken was to find a late night drinking establishment which was actually functioning on a Saturday night: odd, perhaps the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ were making proprietors keep their heads down.
The only person to make contact with the ‘GJ’ was the Chairman’s wife, who had ventured further afield to 'Les Grands Magazins’, and who was firstly soaked in a massive downpour before being locked into a building on her way back to the court - but that is another story!
This was the second successful year of this contest, which has all the makings of becoming a regular and enjoyable fixture in the Dedanists’ calendar; we are already thinking off ’tweaking it’ for our next visit in late January 2020.
0940 Snitcher & McDermott v Magnet & Zolidis lost 6/8
1020 Village & Robson v Risterucci & Schwab won 8/4
1100 Hyde & McVittie v Xavier & Thibaut lost 5/8
1140 Whiting & StJean Webb v Boulter & Zohari won 8/5
1220 Farrall & Phillips v Schwab & Salmon won 6/1
1300 Snitcher & McDermott v Munoz & Restericci lost 5/6
1340 Village & Robson v Melchior & Illegible win 8/2n
1420 Hyde & McVittie v Kressmann & Chappelier win 6-3
1500 Whiting & StJean Webb v Benline & Girod lost 4/8
RESULT: DEDANISTS WIN (6 - 4)
Marker: Rod Macnaughtan - all matches marked in French and English from the marker’s box
Dedanists vs Hardwick House
Hardwick House on Sunday 12th January 2019
Dedanists 5 - Hardwick 1
Dedanists win for the first time in five years. Trumpets sound.
The match was played on its scheduled day in January a cold but clear day. A blazing fire and various heaters kept the 24 players warm and the red wine chambré’d on the mantelpiece. As always the court was in lovely condition, the balls were first class, and players shed successive layers as play, if not the court, heated up. As you can see from the results below - which hopefully bear some resemblance to reality - the Dedanists scored a rare and hard fought win by five matches to one.
The records show that there was a 2-2 draw back in 2013. Since I took over as match manager in 2014 we, the Dedanists, have suffered loss after loss - until this year. You quite rightly may well conclude that this is a result my lack of management skills. I have always thought that the excellent hospitality offered by Hardwick has reduced our resistance and ensured our downfall.
After the match had finished there was very sad news about Colin Butler. After playing in the first match and while marking the second match, Colin became ill. He was treated by paramedics and then transferred to Reading Hospital where it was confirmed that he had suffered a serious stroke. All our thoughts are with him and his family. At the time of writing the reports were that he was still in hospital not being able to stand safely with other effects of the stroke also hindering his recovery.
The main features of the Match was first that 19 of the 24 combatants were Dedanists and second that five of the Matches – the ones that the Dedanists won, all went to a third and short (4-4) or very short (5-5) third set. The first match played off level paired Colin Butler and Fergus Brownlee - a most formidable local pair against Julian Sheraton-Davis and John McVittie. Julian and John had form in previous matches in the sense of defeat being snatched from the jaws of victory. After winning the first set and losing the second it all came down to 4-4 all in the final (short) set. After losing the next set to go 4-5 down, the Dedanists roared to victory by winning the last two sets.
The second match was expected to be very competitive. The well-established pair of Wise and Wyse were off the pace in the first set but came alive in the second. But, by that time, their opponents, Michael Seymour and the host Ian Whittaker were well entrenched and although the standard of play rose it was too late and the match ran out 6-1, 6-3 to Hardwick. One all!
The third match between Peter Harding and Sarah Whittaker for Hardwick against Linda Sheraton-Davis and Richard East was well balanced with Linda doing the running and Richard contributing to the score whenever the ball came near him. A very well chosen pair! The match could have gone either way but the Dedanists won out in the end.
Dedanists v Newmarket
Sunday 20th January 2019
Sometimes it is an advantage to have a very small Club building. On an icy day in Newmarket the Club was soon warmed up by the hot air generated by the players on both sides. There was a slight inconvenience in that it caused some of the overnight condensation which had iced on the rafters to melt and require regular mopping in one or two spots on the floor, but it did not affect the quality of the matches or the bonhomie. It did allow Chris Stanton to demonstrate his acting skills with a perfect "Prat Fall" as he was the only player to hit a wet spot but like a true thespian he made it look deliberate !
Six matches - 3 Singles and 3 Doubles - were played with Newmarket prevailing with a 4-2 win.
John Burnett v Dominic Tomalin 4-6, 1-6
Jonathan Ellis Miller V John Shneerson 6-1, 6-4
Chris Hollingsworth v Ken Smith 6-5, 2-6, 5-6
Josh Farrell & Chris Stanton v John Crawley & Jeremy Barnett 5-8
Chris Stanton & Carl Snitcher v John Crawley & Hazel Dunn 7-8
Josh Farrell & Carl Snitcher v Jeremy Barnett & Hazel Dunn 8-1
Dedanists v WRTC
Saturday December 8th at Wellington College
Six doubles matches were arranged for this fixture which always attracts a good response from our members. WRTC are very welcoming and in its short lifetime we know the fixture to be an excellent day of tennis, hospitality and friendship. Wellington like to break off for lunch to give everyone a chance to sit, imbibe and natter to enjoy a very good luncheon. Showing undeniable Dedanist form we put up a fight but alas at the end of the day we lost 5-1. Sole winners were Willie Wilks & James Denham who were the only pairing to take the opposition to 3 sets (6-2, 5-6, 6-5 from 40 all). Our team players, along with Willie & James, were Paul Cattermull, Sebastian Lyon, Carl Snitcher, Anton Eisdell (played twice) Oliver Wise, Candida Nicholls, David Mitchell-Innes, Richard East and Sarah McGivern. They all played like true Dedanists - magnanimous in defeat (bar 2). We raised £200.00 from our team for the Dedanist cause which was excellent. A post luncheon photo is attached which includes a somnolent Dedanist post luncheon!
Non-Playing Match Manager
Dedanists v MURTC
Saturday November 24th
A kind of match did arise out of the ashes of a sudden cancellation, only four days before the event, by the Middlesex club's fixtures secretary (only the second time a home side has cancelled, at least in Norman Hyde's experience, in the last 35 years). After a robust exchange of emails and by popular demand, four Dedanists (Richard East, John McVittie, Carl Snitcher and Martin Village) took on four MURTC members playing doubles in different configurations in a series of single sets, all unmarked, over a period of nearly five hours. Some games we actually won, some we regrettably lost - the result was about even - but everyone had a good hit and the occasional pleasure of a moment of sheer brilliance. The atmosphere in the back of the dedans was extremely convivial, leavened as it was by Josh Farrall and Graham Tomkinson and the presence of a large TV screen showing the England/Australia rugby international. A very good afternoon's sport was had by all.
Tournoi des Trois Tripots
South of France October 2018
Le Tournoi des Trois Tripots 2018 took place in South West France between the 11th and 16th October. It was played on trinquet courts, converted for real tennis, mainly in Bayonne, Urrugne and La Bastide-Clairence - and also in Pau.
The Dedanists Omega team consisted of Carl Snitcher (captain), Rod Taylor, Graham Meek, William Lewis, Tony Cooke, Ian Wimbush and Anton Eisdell. We played marginally better off the court than on ! Our capacity to serve double faults when defending chases of a yard and better was a significant handicap.
But Omega faired considerably better than the Dedanists Alpha team which consisted of Josh Farrall (captain), Ronald Paterson, Simon Martin, John Beatty and John McVittie . Omega won two matches in the group stages (which was two better than Alpha) - and was beaten in the knockout stage by the Jesters. True to Dedanist traditions, both teams were unstinting in their efforts to give opponents a good game and help them win.
A good time was had by all. The Dutch team eventually won the tournament by beating the French in the final.
The most talked about incident was a motorway accident involving the Omega team. Having beaten Moreton Morrell on the Urrugne court, we were en route back to Bayonne when the car in front hit the central reservation, flipped and came to a halt,billowing smoke. Three adults and a child climbed out unharmed. The driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. Our car, driven by Graham Meek, unavoidably hit debris and punctured a tyre which took forever to repair (the wheel nuts were so tight that we couldn’t shift them and had to wait for assistance). So, no harm done - and a timely reminder to ‘carpe diem’.
Dedanists' Society Annual General Meeting
Queens Club 31st October 2018
The event started at 1 pm with a handicap doubles tournament for 24 players / 12 pairs played on both courts at Queen’s. Each pair played 5 short matches. Low and high handicap players were paired together. A sliding handicap ensured that most matches were close. At 7 pm, John McVittie & Richard East played Iain Harvey & Tony Cooke in the final. Iain and Tony took a 3-0 lead. But John and Richard, with help from the sliding handicap, playeddoggedly on and achieved quite a comeback to win the Lowenthal trophy 4-3. Congratulations to them !.
The AGM, chaired by Josh, went off without hitch. Sarah McGivern and John Whiting were elected to join Andrew Hamilton as trustees of the Society. Norman Hyde, Freddy Adam and Graham Tomkinson were re-elected to the Committee for a further term John Whiting retired after completing two terms. No members put themselves forward to replace him, so the Committee will seek candidates in due course. Graham Tomkinson reported on the Academy coaching programmes that the Society funds and runs for the best young players in the country. Graham was thanked his excellent work in this regard. Finally, David Mills reported on developments at the Dedanists Foundation over the last year.
The AGM ended at 8.10 pm. Twenty five of us then retired todinner and prize giving in the Members’ Bar. A good time was had by all.
Dedanists v Manchester
30th September 2018 at MURTC
The annual double header between MCC at Lord’s on Saturday 29th September (MCC won 4-1) and The Dedanists at Middlesex University (MURTC) on Sunday 30th September against Manchester (MRTC) proved to be a competitive and most enjoyable weekend of tennis played in the true spirit of the game. Manchester produced a strong team and 4 doubles matches were arranged for the Sunday encounter. We had agreed 5 matches but unfortunately a slight misunderstanding led to one of the Dedanist team members, also a MRTC member, heading off to his home court on Sunday morning only to find his team were playing away something short of 200 miles due south! A bit of player re-arrangement sorted out the problem. The first 2 doubles match produced absorbing tennis with, in both cases the matches going to 3 sets with 40 all one point for the match. Manchester took the first 2 matches to go 2-0 ahead but the Dedanists fought back bravely to take the match to a 2-2 draw with another very close final 3 set match going down to the wire.
Tony Friend and John Mcvittie change ends in the Dedanist final tense match against Manchester at MURTC on Sunday 30th September before going on to win 6-4,5-6, 6-5 to level the match 2-2
11.10am Paul Cattermull (38) & Simon Martin (35) v. Jamie Bebb (30) & Robin Barlow (35) 6-1, 5-6, 4-6 (40 all 3rd set) to MRTC
12.20pm Johnny Saunders (48) & Kerry Knight (68) v. Dave Moran (56) & James Barlow (51) 4-6, 6-2, 5-6 (40 all 3rd set) to MRTC
1.30pm Jonathan Ellis-Miller (54) & Tony Friend (46) v. Dave Moran (56) & Paul Seakins (41) 6-2, 6-4 to Dedanists
2.40pm Tony Friend (46) & John McVittie (46) v James Barlow (51) & Terry Jones (39) 6-4, 5-6, 6-5 to Dedanists
Result: Match drawn
£140 was collected to support Junior Tennis
Dedanists' weekend in Warwickshire
8th/9th September 2018
The first weekend of the season started at the Leamington Tennis Court Club with a blistering display of tennis by the mercurial Matt Fattorini, whose affiliations on the day were for LTCC. Despite valiant efforts by James Holden, guest and prospective Dedanist, he had no option but to graciously admit defeat. Alastair Robson and John Yarnall followed with some fine calculating tennis. The exciting encounter provoked Henry Bryant to protect the net and when the ball passed his sizable frame the agile Will Todd played a strong floor game; eventually the opposition pair prevailing.
A fine lunch followed and with 2 games down the match manager had to gently point out that the Dedanists were not used to changing in the ladies changing room; the men’s being in a state of disrepair following collapse of the ceiling. He mused that this may have had a bearing on the morning results.
The afternoon saw the ever perennial Josh Farrall play with new member James Leeper, who in the morning had travelled 200 miles from Cumbria. Despite a strong start the hard hitting home opposition proved too much. The excuses of a fixed flexion deformity of the knees following James’ journey, the shock of having to change in the ladies and the unfamiliar bounce of the Leamington court could have used but James and Josh remained ever cheerful in the true tradition of the Dedanists. Having accepted defeat, the match manager and Yuri Kugler fortified by wine and gay abandon had a blistering performance lead by Yuri who gave a lesson in volleying and returned almost every ball. At last a win to prevent the dreaded white wash. James Mc Dermott and Alastair Robson, the later playing his second game and who I have never heard decline a game of tennis, played the tricky Devis and McWhirter. Despite great efforts by both, they were overpowered leaving the Dedanists loosing 4 matches to one. Thanks were extended to Will Todd for the clubs hospitality and to Ben Taylor Matthews for marking.
We retired for dinner at La Coppola Ristorante where Josh regaled the history of the Dedanists to the younger members whilst we drank modest amounts of Italian wine. The dish of the evening Sea Bream, oven cooked in salt, Dorada al sale was highly memorable.
A ten am start at Moreton Morrell brought the predictable comments from Anthony Parmiter, who was slightly aggrieved by the early hour and disruption to his breakfast. Despite the grumblings, James McDermott was in fighting mode. Both played valiantly and were outplayed by John Franklin, relatively new to the game and wearing a sombrero! Smiles were maintained through gritted teeth.
Match manager and James Leeper sprang onto court and just about won the warm up. Sadly at 3 all a good match was expected but misunderstanding about front and back by the match manager broke the rhythm which lead to over hitting and the inevitable loss. Then to enter the Moreton Morrell Chairman, Andrew Hamilton, who initially wasn’t sure which side he was playing for but when the mists cleared teamed up with Yuri Kugler. A cohesive and classic game ensued even with a late comeback by Keith Beechener and Richard Seymour Mead, the Dedanists duo came out winners, just about breaking sweat. A pre-lunch photo on court took place where RSM wished to express his admiration or even ownership of AP’s pectorals!
Another good lunch and banter was followed by a nail-biting clash. Josh Farrall served perfect drag serves one after the other and John Yarnall gave his all but left handed David Prophet and canny Terence Drane brought matters to a head at 5 all in the final set. Unfortunately the pressure told and despite being at the serving end the hopes of Dedanists first team victory of the season fell away. Alastair Robson and Miles Buckinghamshire played the dead rubber, both Dedanists playing great tennis. Alastair returning some quality serves from Stewart Hodges, playing balls tight to the back wall and beating chase 2 or better. A pairing to watch out for the future! Thanks were extended to Keith Beechener for a most enjoyable day and to Tom Granville for marking.
In line with the Dedanists credo it is the playing rather than the winning prevailed. I have yet to find a tennis player who admits he didn’t want to win, even amongst the ranks of the Dedanists, fortunately there is always the next match!Match manager and James Leeper sprang onto court and just about won the warm up. Sadly at 3 all a good match was expected but misunderstanding about front and back by the match manager broke the rhythm which lead to over hitting and the inevitable loss. Then to enter the Moreton Morrell Chairman, Andrew Hamilton, who initially wasn’t sure which side he was playing for but when the mists cleared teamed up with Yuri Kugler. A cohesive and classic game ensued even with a late comeback by Keith Beechener and Richard Seymour Mead, the Dedanists duo came out winners, just about breaking sweat. A pre-lunch photo on court took place where RSM wished to express his admiration or even ownership of AP’s pectorals!
Another good lunch and banter was followed by a nail-biting clash. Josh Farrall served perfect drag serves one after the other and John Yarnall gave his all but left handed David Prophet and canny Terence Drane brought matters to a head at 5 all in the final set. Unfortunately the pressure told and despite being at the serving end the hopes of Dedanists first team victory of the season fell away. Alastair Robson and Miles Buckinghamshire played the dead rubber, both Dedanists playing great tennis. Alastair returning some quality serves from Stewart Hodges, playing balls tight to the back wall and beating chase 2 or better. A pairing to watch out for the future! Thanks were extended to Keith Beechener for a most enjoyable day and to Tom Granville for marking.
In line with the Dedanists credo it is the playing rather than the winning prevailed. I have yet to find a tennis player who admits he didn’t want to win, even amongst the ranks of the Dedanists, fortunately there is always the next match!
World Junior Real Tennis Championships 2018
The Dedanists' Society is delighted to be the main sponsor of the Inaugural World Junior Real Tennis Championships which were held at Seacourt on August 20th/21st 2018.
The top 16 players in the world were invited back in January to take part and all 16 accepted that invitation and the opportunity to be the first junior to win this coveted title. The draw included 6 players from the USA.
The first days’ play saw very few upsets but contained several performances where young players rose to the occasions and played their best ever tennis. In particular, William Flynn (Seacourt) and Harry Purton (Radley) can be very proud of their performances.
The same pattern continued on Day 2 with outstanding tennis from losing quarter-finalist Alfred Backhouse (Radley) and losing semi-finalist Ned Batstone (Radley).
The top 4 seeds got through to the semi-finals with Erik Barker (1) from Washington playing Freddie Bristowe (3) from Wellington. The final itself was junior real tennis played at the highest level with some extraordinary rests and retrieving that Camden Riviere would be proud of! After a hard fought first set that went to Erik the pendulum swung and Freddie somehow found another gear to overcome his opponent in the final two sets. A great final in front of a huge and appreciative crowd.
Many thanks go out to tournament sponsors The Dedanists’ Society for their support of this event and for all they do for junior Real tennis.
Freddie Bristowe (Wellington) bt Erik Barker (Washington) 4-6, 6-1, 6-0
Dedanists v Cambridge
At Cambridge Saturday 16th June 2018
Things started brightly for the Dedanists on Saturday in the match at Cambridge. For a start everyone (all 10) showed up on time even if there was a bit of grumbling at the complexity of the arrangements (It was really quite simple, find letter corresponding to you first match in the Table on the top left and then the time and Court in the Table to the right. Repeat in reverse to find you partner and opponents. Repeat in the Match 2 column to find your second match... Simple, right!).
Through a master-stroke of planning the pairs in each of the 10 matches were within 2 handicap points of level, so off level we played (with full deuces). On Court the brightness continued for the Dedanists continued as we romped to victory in the 1st two matches. Well, romped is perhaps a bit misleading as on the Blue Court, myself and Simon Mansfield produces an almost Lazarus worthy comeback from 4-2 down to win 8-7. On the other Court, Josh Farrall and Chris Stanton took an entirely different approach. They got their noses in front before starting a seemingly endless series of deuces. The marker finally took pity on the players (and the spectators) by calling the game 6-3 to the Dedanists after the 50 minutes allocated time... We had long finished our 15 games by this point.
However at this point things clouded over Dedanistwise. There were some notable attempts at fightbacks without unfortunately actually winning and spirited attempts to get on with winning or losing (actually losing) as quickly as possible to get the schedule back on track. And so alas the Dedanists early lead evaporated as the match finished 8-2 in favour of the Hosts.
However the main business of the day was by no means over. Not only was there an excellent lunch but also we had a true masterclass on joint replacement and pain management (both before and after). I had no idea about the possibilities out there and I learnt that my (single) hip replacement along with a couple of Ibuprofen before venturing out seem positively amateurish compared to what can be achieved.
Yet again we eschewed the traditional team photos and instead focussed on some action shots off (and on) Court. A selection below...
LRTA v Dedanists
At Harwick House Sunday 10th June 2018
"The weather was very kind to us on Sunday. As the tennis was so exciting and closely competitive and played in such good spirit most of us spent the day in the Dedans watching eating and drinking. Pam Tomalin put on a magnificent spread. As Paul Danby says it was reminiscent of a day at Hardwick some 50 years ago!
The tennis was closely fought as the results indicate.. Every match bar one went to three sets. We were pleased to welcome new member David Fortune ( resplendent wearing his brand new tennis shirt) , in his first game for the Dedanists . Partnering Johnny Saunders they won in three.The other games were close with some quality tennis in parts.
The hospitality was simply the best and a big thank you to Pam who not only provided a sumptuous lunch but also some strong Bloody Mary's from her own mixture which accounted for some squiffy shots played by one or two players . No name no packdrill.
Every one had a wonderful day at Hardwick in its most relaxing and comfortable surroundings . Paul Danby , who also did some high quality marking, wrote the attached letter which gives a flavour of what is was like 50 years ago. Not much, if anything has changed.
The result on the day was an out of character win for the Dedanists as the attached match card shows.
Attached are a few random photographs of what was going on inside and few taken by Tony showing the beautiful surroundings in which the court nestles and reminding us that its also known as Toad Hall.
Once again a big thank you to Pam and the LRTA for hosting such an enjoyable day in the country and to the Dedanists who played . We raised £165 for our junior programmes.
Letter from Paul Danby:-
50 years on
Robin Sligh was a very enthusiastic MCC tennis player in the 60,s, 70's, and
80's etc He was also a cousin of the Rose family and arranged occasional
It must have been in the late 1960's that he organised a Match at Hardwick.
I arrived before lunch. Lady Rose and daughter were shucking peas on the
lawn so I joined the work. Delicious cold salmon lunch followed in the
Howard Angus and I changed in one of the bedrooms and then played - after
mopping the court floor!. He won comfortably, it is a good railroad court
(for my excuse).
Later I wandered round the house to thank Lady Rose, heard noise in the
cellar, and found her doing the washing up! She said I could only help if I
stopped calling her Lady Rose, she was Phoebe from then on. So charming
would not let me leave before a cup of tea and her cake!
So I have always enjoyed playing there.
Yesterday must have been about 50 years on. Again salmon lunch - quite
delicious, thank you Pam
Thank you for organising, Carl. Well played, too. The balls were so good,
There was always great affinity between Seacourt and Hardwick. My brother
Felix and Julian Rose, current owner, played each other at alternate courts
for several years until Felix had to give up in 1974
GB Juniors v USA Juniors
Wellington College on August 15th/16th 2018
Fellow Dedanists Committee Members ,
This week saw the match between the GB Juniors and USA Juniors , the team of GB Juniors being made up of current ( and one past) attendees from our Junior Programme.
The result was a 13-7 win for GB. The match consists of Singles and Doubles ( although as you know we focus on singles) and was held over two days at Wellington. The matches all consist of single set , first to 6. In 5 of the7 matches that GB lost , the score was 5-6 against GB. So winning those 5-5 games would made the score 18-2!! However that would have been unkind to a very skilled USA team !
Since the formation of the Academy programme, GB has not lost to any of the other 3 nations at team level ( ie up to the age of 26!). It has been very close but that is the record over the last 13 years!!.
FYI, the GB players were Max Wetton, Max Jones, Hugh Thomas, Harry Purton, Zak Ramjane, Ned Batstone, Ivan Barker and Ed Crowston – all of whom played their part in this win.
Please follow the link below for a one minute video which features the game between Erik Barker (USA) and Ned Batstone (UK).
Dedanists v Hardwick House
Hardwick House on Sunday 20 May 2018
Dedanists 1 1/2 - Hardwick 3 1/2
Dedanists lose again. Lack of killer instinct.
The match was played on a beautiful May day with glorious sunshine. This was the first time in living memory that the Dedanists have played at Hardwick without a blazing fire being employed to keep the players warm and the wine chambré’d. The attached photograph shows how the wine was warmed to the right temperature. This was a match rearranged from January and as a result some of the potentially winning Dedanists players were no longer available (this is of course pure speculation). On the other hand the court was in lovely condition, the balls were first class, and nobody needed an overcoat.
The first match played off level paired Colin Butler and Ian Whittaker - a most formidable local pair against Julian Sheraton-Davis and John McVittie. Julian and John had form in previous matches in the sense of defeat being snatched from the jaws of victory and so it duly happened again. After winning the first set and losing the second it all came down to 5-5 and deuce in the third and final set. Colin then put two successive unplayable shots (that is by your Dedanist colleagues) into the tambour to claim victory.
The second match was well balanced with Michael Seymour and Vaughan Williams facing Norman Hyde and John Beatty. The Hardwick pair remained ahead during the first set with Norman scraping up floor shots (good Leamington experience coming through) and serving across the court from the forehand side. In the second set the same pattern repeated itself with the Dedanists pair firing into the dedans (most appropriate) but not getting ahead. The intensity of the play was proved when Norman fell over John (or possibly vice versa) with the rally continuing while Norman struggled to his feet and continued to play. Vaughan was striking the ball very well – a living example of the worth of Specsavers - and also firing the ball in the dedans (luckily he is already a Dedanist). The second set was closely fought but despite all the efforts the Hardwick pair ran out 6-4, 6-3 winners.
In the third set Hardwick sent out a pair of ladies (Caroline Fox and Sarah McGivern) to do battle against James McDermott and Carl Snitcher. The Dedanists duly won the set 6-1 at which point the ladies appealed the handicapping with the match managers. Faced with powerful arguments it was agreed that the next set would be played 2 handicap points better to the ladies. Alas this turned the match around and the ladies won the second set 6-5. At the beginning of the decider, Carl’s back stiffened up – possibly from having played two matches the day before – and he had to retire on medical grounds. Hardwick very generously offered a draw which was eagerly accepted.
The next natch was mixed doubles with David Fox and Sarah Whittaker facing Iain Harvey and Pam Tomalin. This proved to be well matched on handicap and despite Iain wearing dark glasses throughout – it was a lovely sunny day – Hardwick prevailed in a hard fought battle 6-5 6-5.
The last match was an opportunity for the Dedanists to make the score a bit more respectable. Fergus Brownlee and Tim Tomalin were up against Chairman Josh Farrall partnered by Richard East, the survivor of many a tough battle. The match went first one way and then the other. Hardwick won the first set 6-2 while the Dedanists were lulling them into a false sense of security. In the second set matters turned around with Richard serving from the forehand corner and winning the set on an unreturnable serve that slid down the back wall. 6-4 to the Dedanists and one set all. Josh was using his backhand “slider” serve to good effect and the score went 4-3, 5-3 and finally Josh hit a brilliant shot down the wall to make it 40-owe 15. Surely the Dedanists could win this match! With the dedans urging on their fellow Dedanists the final game was won for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Sarah and Ian Whittaker were perfect hots and produced a wonderful lunch. Our thanks to them for looking after us so well and also arranging for the weather to be beautifully warm and sunny. The red wine turned out to be chambre’d just correctly but surprisingly for a Dedanist match not all the bottles were finished. Something we must take up next year if we are, as we all hope, invited back.
The Surplus for Junior Tennis
On the day, we raised £240 for the Dedanist fund for Junior and Academy real tennis. Many thanks to all Dedanists and Hardwick members who donated.
Match Managers for the day
Ian Whittaker for Hardwick House. Johan McVittie for the Dedanists.
The Dedanists very much look forward to next year’s match and hope to win for a change! It has been a long time coming.