Dedanists’ v Holyport at Holyport 
 

Holyport Saturday 23rd October 2021 
By Guy Egerton-Smith
 

 

Match result Holyport 3 Dedanists’ 2 

This was the first match at Holyport with Josh Smith as the Head Professional. We all wish him well in his new RT role and I am sure that he will be a great success with the Club and will receive the support he deserves from the Club members going forward. 

 

I, as the Match Manager, was unfortunately unable to play on the day, and despite requests for photos of the proceedings and anecdotes from the team they somehow failed to adhere to the MM’s pre match instructions! Never mind I gather it was a very good day enjoyed by all despite the Dedanists’ going down 3 matches to 2. Three of the matches were closely fought affairs running to 3 sets. Results with Dedanists’ first were as follows:- 

 

David Enticknap & Andy Bishop v Andy Parkinson & Nick Parkinson 1-6 6-4 5-6 Lost 

Kim Walker & Miles Buckinghamshire v Andy Lightfoot & Steve Bowler 0-6 1-6 Lost 

Yuri Kugler & Bruce Hogarth-Jones v George Fowler & Mark Piper 5-6 6-5 6-4 Won 

Linda Sheraton Davis & John Harrington v George Fowler & Martyn Rowlands 0-6 5-6 Lost 

James McDermott & Jenny Jones v Gill Goddard & Robert Thorogood 4-6 6-5 6-3 Won 

 

£200 was collected for the Dedanists’ Society.

Dedanists’ Society v MURTC

MURTC 20th November 202112021

By Martin Village

The Dedanists match against MURTC on Saturday November 20  was drawn with two games apiece. Yuri Kugler won his singles game narrowly (ten games to nine) with a dogged display of returning everything that was thrown at him by an occasionally brilliant opponent prone to unforced errors. Then, with a classy mixture of proper real tennis strokes and experience, Julian Sheraton-Davis prevailed in his singles game by the same narrow margin against a good player twenty years his junior. At that point, with lunch very much in the offing and perhaps relaxed in the knowledge that a draw was in the bag, the rest of the Dedanists generously conspired to lose the next two doubles games to their hosts, by a stunning two games to ten in the case of Martin Village and Linda Sheraton-Davis, and in the final game Alastair Robson and Chris Marguerie went down by a slightly better six games to ten. Nevertheless, a good lunch and a very congenial afternoon's tennis was had by all on this lively court.

 

Dedanists’ Society v Manchester

MTRC Sunday 26th September 2021

By Guy Egerton-Smith

This match formed part of the Dedanists'/MCC weekend fixture away at MTRC. As with the away Dedanists’/MCC weekend fixture at Jesmond Dene a weekend earlier the respective weekend Match Managers had difficulty attracting a full team for both days. We blamed it on the uncertainties of travel due to the ongoing presence of the pandemic. Having said that our match on Sunday attracted 8 Dedanists’ (2 playing twice) which included 3 MTRC Dedanists’ which was excellent.

 

I am pleased to report that the match result on Sunday resulted in a 3-2 victory for the Dedanists'. 3 of the 5 doubles matches were very closely fought affairs running to 3 sets.

 

Mel Harding & Guy Egerton-Smith 5/6 6/5 6/5 won

Iain Harvey & James Leeper 2/6 2/6 lost

Giles Stogdon & James Leeper 6/1 6/2 won

Robin Barlow & Peter Dean 3/6 6/5 6/4 won

John Mortimer & Peter Dean 6/4 4/6 4/6 lost

It goes without saying that we were very well looked after by MTRC over the weekend which included an excellent dinner on Saturday evening in the Club dining room, with excellent wine and port from the club’s extensive seller. The evening was much enjoyed by all playing members of the MCC/Dedanists’/MTRC teams, including Iain’s wife Rose, who sat through 2 days of tennis watching overall wins over the 2 days for each team.
 
A special thanks on behalf of all Dedanists’ to Stella Heap for looking after us over the 2 days and to Darren Long for 2 days of impeccable marking from the Dedans and explaining to the assembled company the marker’s decision on the very occasional player’s quizzical call. 

 

 

Match Report - Dedanist's v Hamsters
Hampton Court Palace, 21st October 2021
By Ian Harris

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Early in the morning, on this crisp, sunny October day, there was a sound of slumbering creatures stirring in urban and suburban settings across the South-East of England. While many species were preparing to hibernate for the 2021/22 winter, the lesser spotted Dedanists and Hamsters are starting to emerge after more than 18 months of pandemic-induced hibernation. 

This was not the first Dedanists fixture since the resumption, but it was the first for many of us individuals, as it must have been for many of The Hamsters. 

Ten intrepid Dedanists ventured to Hampton Court Palace.  Me, plus: 

  • James McDermott 

  • Carl Snitcher 

  • Jonny Saunders 

  • Tony Friend (match manager) 

  • Yuri Kugler 

  • Giles Stogdon 

  • Iain Harvey  

  • Graeme Marks  

  • Christie Marrian 

 

On arrival, Tony Friend took a beautiful picture of Hampton Court Palace in the sunshine. Tony also managed this splendid action shot of Carl Snitcher handing the ball to Jonny Saunders while the two of them were in the heat of battle with Hamsters Michael Banks and Simon Cripps. 

 

Nick Carew Hunt was the non-playing “mega mind” for The Hamsters, pulling the strings plus, most importantly, cooking the pies. What pies they were too: 

  • Chicken Ham & Leek simply oozing with rich gooey flavour; 

  • Steak & Ale, with an onion-rich gravy. 

An assortment of vegetables accompanied those mouth-watering mains. Naturally, there was also bread, cheese and two species of yummy desert. Plenty of Sauvignon Blanc and/or Beaujolais for the brave, apple juice for motorist wimps like me. 

We even spent a little bit of our time at Hampton Court playing tennis. In my case, I got to mark a couple of matches as well as playing one of my own. Carl Snitcher captured on camera one of my marking moments. Note to self for next time – the netting in the Hampton Court dedans has many more inches of give, when struck, than the netting at most courts. Wearing one in the mouth while marking in the dedans is a mistake I’ll only make once. 

Both teams could clearly claim victory in two rubbers each, while a small panel of judges and jurists met late in the day to try and determine the result of the deciding rubber. A lot of Latin phrases flew around, until they decreed, “animus revertendi”, an intention to return, which surely would be agreed unanimously by all who had attended this most enjoyable fixture. The judges also decreed, “ceteris paribus, consensus facit legem”; that both teams had a legitimate claim to victory and therefore that both teams had won.  

In a way, of course, The Dedanists’ Society always wins its matches, financially.  Thanks almost equally to the generosity of The Hamsters and The Dedanists, this fixture raised over £400 this year.   

Following some initial polite enquiries by your investigative reporter (me), Mr Tony Friend has kindly agreed to account for and explain in full how such an unusual sum as £402.98 was reached, should anyone be crazy enough to ask him to do that. Until such time, Tuppencegate, as I am naming the affair, shall remain a mystery. 

Hampton Court Palace looks truly splendid in the evening light. I took a couple of parting shots while wishing that my tennis shots could be as clean and elegant as my photographic ones.  

It really was a splendid, invigorating and convivial way to spend a day. 

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Splendid, Hampton Court Palace in the early evening light.

1.  Alan Dallamore & Ian Wimbush WON against Ian Harris & James McDermott 6-1 6-3

2.  (EXHIBITION MATCH) Michael Banks & Simon Cripps played Johnny Saunders & Carl Snitcher/Tony Friend 2-6 5-6

3.  RIchard Wear & Maurice Beardsley LOST to Tony Friend & Yuri Kugler 0-6 1-6

4.  David Remington & Charlie Kearl LOST to Giles Stogdon & Iain Harvey 5-6 2-6

5.  Robert Frost (w/h) & Oliver Buckley WON against Graeme Marks & Christie Marrian 6-2 6-1.

 

Match Result: TIED 2-2.

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Match Report  -  Dedanists v Radley Club 

at Radley on Saturday 11 September 2021 

 

 

Match Results 

Doubles  -  1 x 8 game set  - first to 8 wins 

 

            Dedanists                             v                        Radley Club                                    Winner 

David Phillips & Giles Stogdon                          Miles Donnelly & Nicholas Kaye              Dedanists  8 – 4 

 

James McDermott & Mark Savage                    Nicholas Kaye & Tim Lancaster                 Radley  8 – 4 

David Phillips & David Weston                           M Henderson-Tew & Victor Till                Dedanists  8 – 7 

Giles Stogdon & Katy Weston                              Miles Donnelly & Julia Kent                      Radley  8 – 6 

Josh Farrall & Mark Savage                                   Nicholas Kaye & Victor Till                       Radley  8 – 6 

James McDermott & Katy Weston                       Tim Lancaster & Julia Kent                       Radley  8 – 2 

Andy Bishop & David Weston                          M Henderson-Tew & David Harris            Dedanists  8 – 4 

Josh Farrall & Derek Williams                                 Mary Joyner & Victor Till                          Radley 8 – 4 

Andy Bishop & Derek Williams                            Mary Joyner & David Harris                    Dedanists  8 – 4 

                                               

                                                                                                                                                     Radley won 5 – 4 

A sunny September day at Radley.  Everyone was especially pleased to be playing at all.  The Dedanists a little rusty but keen.  Radley won 5 matches to 4.  It could have gone either way.  Dedanists who distinguished themselves by winning all their matches were Andy Bishop, David Phillips and David Weston. 

Thank you CJR for organising the play and doing much of the marking.  Thank you Maggie for an excellent lunch, fit for the athletes that we aspire to be.   

We raised £180 for the British Academy and junior real tennis. 

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Pleased to be playing!

A selection of players from the Match Day at Radley, 11th September 2021

The British Real Tennis Academy v MCC at Lords September 26th 2021 

The opening match of the season for the Academy representative team took place at Lords on Sunday 26th September. In the absence of Paul Weaver due to illness, the Academy team was managed by Mike Henman who is also the manager of the Academy’s Development Squad. 

Each of the MCC team captained by Nick Warner was matched by handicap to the Academy juniors. The first match was between James Denham and 10 year old Max Warner. This match could not possibly have been closer ending in a single point at 5-5 in the third set, 40-40all with match point to both players. The point was won by James and the MCC took a 1-0 lead. 

The second match saw  Magnus Garson representing the Academy playing George Bretton. A close match ended in a win for Magnus 6-2 6-4. It was all downhill for the Academy from then on with convincing wins for George Parsons and Henry Henman giving the Academy a 3-1 win in the match. 

Many thanks go out to the team captains and of course to the Dedanists Society for sponsoring the event. 

Full results:- (Academy players 1st) 

Max Warner lost to James Denham 5-6 6-4 5-6 

Magnus Garson beat George Bretton 6-2 6-4 

George Parsons beat Fred Pilkington 6-1 6-1 

Henry Henman beat Simon Talbott-Williams 6-1 6-0 

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Max and James Denham

Henry and Simon Talbott-Williams

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George and Fred Pilkington

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A few of the MCC team with Henry & George from the British Academy squad

Warwickshire weekend 4th and 5th Sept 2021

 

Enthusiasm in this the first fixture in the Dedanist’s calendar was high with 10% of the society’s membership putting themselves forward for selection!  You would think a match manager’s dream but swiftly this turned into a nightmare with 5 withdrawals from non-covid illness, injury and unforeseen events.  As they say on the stage it will all be fine on the night and so it turned out.

The day at Leamington started well with the Dedanists on time but the 167 emails to that time had inevitably brought some confusion and some of the opposition turned up late.  No problem; the batting order changed and battle commenced.  Two new society members, Liz Leach, Oxford, and Tony Branfield, MMTCC, who had got up at 6 and travelled up from London, opened the innings and valiantly fought against the well-seasoned pair of Sampson and Devis but unfortunately came second 5/6  : 1/6. 

The match manager had cleverly chosen to play with the elegant Vaughan Williams and after the first set took a comfortable lead 6/2 but then the MM lost his length on serve and Vaughan, the gentleman he is did not even flutter an eyelid as he was bombarded on his forehand 5/6.  The opposition who had the Rev James Holden, another Dedanist, sensed an opportunity and irreverently seized the moment to take the match 6/4. At least that pulled the assembled into the Dedans.

On stage step James McDermott and Giles Stogdon with a healthy combined handicap of 69.8 what could go wrong. A fierce entertaining and quality battle ensued with Giles giving his all.  Spot the fast-moving blur at the receivers end. (copyright protected).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

For those wishing to place the video on your desktop visit  https://youtu.be/OpoilqweYqY . Giles’ shot went into the dedans but unfortunately lost the point for touching the net.  As MM I feel that I must complete an incident form to complain on the smile on Ed Jessamine’s face at Giles’ plight. This fortified our resolve and the determined pair had the last laugh and took the closing match of the morning 6/5: 5/6: 5/6 keeping the Dedanists candle alight.

Owing to Covid precautions lunch was held seated in the bar area of the lounge which to the MM mind is more convivial owing to the natural light and reflections off the polished silverware. Missed photo opportunity.

To the afternoon and charged with some vino tinto Sebastian Wood and new member Chris Marguerie, MMTCC, confidently strode onto the court.  Focus was the word and neither allowed the opposition, another Dedanist of note Alastair Robson and Caroline Dixon, wife of the LTCC president, to gain any traction.  The match was taken 6/4: 6/1 to level the day.

What does every MM want to clinch victory …… a Dedanist trustee! I can hear you gasp…. After I had dusted him down, Andrew Hamilton racquet unsheathed stepped on court and after ably supported by Michael Llewelyn-Jones, who at this stage had stopped worrying about the national trade deficit, faced Matt Fattorini, yet another Dedanist, and Bill Slora. Well what a match. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left to right: Bill Slora, Matt Fattorini,                                           

Chris Aley assistant Professional, Michael Llewelyn Jones        

and Andrew Hamilton

 

 

The first set went to 3/6 with a tightening of Andrew jawline and a bead of perspiration on Michael’s forehead the second was clawed back 6/3.  To the deciding set of the day could the Dedanists beat LTCC? You have guessed 5 all in the final game. Andrew has this uncanny knack of swinging the odds in his favour and to fulfil my trust in his selection, the trustee proved himself safe as houses and brought the Dedanists a well-earned Victory against the oldest club in the world (1846).  Most will already know that.

Result Dedanists 3 LTCC 2.  A win for the Dedanists.

A celebratory dinner took place in the Cote Brasserie in Leamington. Nine players, two lady partners and non-playing Norman Hyde, carrying a scalpel induced wound, were present to share in fellowship with good food, wine and banter.

To Moreton Morrell on the Sunday and a bright sunny day with windows open and cheerful Tom Granville, Head Professional to greet us.  All members arrived with no flicker of a hangover or not that I could perceive when compared with my own state.  Originally, we were offered a maximum of 16 players and given the enthusiasm for the weekend I managed to balance 8 MMTCC Dedanists v 8 Visiting Dedanists but best laid plans of mice and men and all that… there were 3 withdrawals.  Thanks to local interest 3 equivalent handicap MMTCC players seized the opportunity to get on court.  The day would prove a great opportunity for those who had not yet played on the new floor which has had much acclaim. 

The first match of Tony Branfield who had only to travel 20 minutes that morning and grateful of the lie in, played with streamed lined Terence Drane for the home Dedanists v Michael Llewelyn-Jones and George Krusznskyi, visiting Deds.  It must be said the visitors had a bad start 5/0 and Michael went into overdrive and the two pulled back to 6/4.  The next set was nip and tuck and yet they were clinging on; sadly victory eluded them. 4/6: 4/6.

The second match was Mark Savage M.W. and Chris Marguerie playing for the home Deds v Sebastian Wood and Giles Stogdon for visiting Deds.  Sebastian’s back was not as it should have been so we witnessed some rather unusual floor exercises in the bar which made me think his physio had a sense of humour. Given Giles’ love affair with the net great acrobatics were expected.  Their choreography brought them to the final game of 5 all but the judge (marker) could not give them a score of 10. 5/6: 6/5: 5/6.  Hard luck and at lunch the visiting Deds were two down.

 

A splendid lunch was had in the dining room and provided by George K.  With the need to keep out alcohol levels up for the afternoon some excellent Savage wine was sampled.  The MMTCC house wine gets better with each tasting.  Thank you, Mark.  I think every club should have a Master of Wine. I was dumbstruck to see said MW holding a pint of ale and when I pointed this out, the repost was “well you would not expect me to quench my thirst with wine.”  Wise advice. I must remember that next time.  

 

Left to right: Sebastian Wood, Chris Marguerie

and Mark Savage… note the pint glass.

 

To the third match ….would the M.M orchestrate a much needed victory for the visitors.  Bring on secret weapon James Coley.

In the warm up and first set James and Vaughan Williams looked too much for the Home Dedanists, Andrew Hamilton and Rev James Holden, the visiting Deds, playing elegant tennis and the two gelling well looked like they might be too much for the home team, even the marker asked who is this ringer, James Coley. Well, this was a match for all who love to watch tennis. First set 4/6. Being a Sunday one might expect James’ game to be good and as the match progressed the home side pulled one set back 6/5. To the final set….never underestimate a trustee and man of the cloth, there was certainly no rest day here. 5 all. What a match with long rests and Andrew and James with home court confidence took the last set to win an exciting encounter.

The visitors being 3 down had to gain a victory for respect. James McDermott and MM, Deds visitors, played Alastair Robson and Stuart Hodges, Home Deds.  James, clear of all cobwebs, played like a demon and after the MM joints started to ease, they broke the opposition down 6/4 : 6/1.

                    Result MMTCC Deds 3 Visiting Deds 1. 

 

I call that a win-win for the Dedanists. I think I might become a spin doctor in retirement.

Our thanks to Alastair Robson who match managed the LTCC side, Tom Granville and Chris Aley for marking.  From the post-match emails, taking total communications to just over 200, a great weekend was had by all.  Remember to register early for 2022!!!

David Phillips -  Match Manager.

 

Dedanists v LTCC 4th September

Result

L Leach & T Branfield v C Sampson &J Devis 5/6 : 1/6

J McDermott &G Stogdon v E. Jessamine & M. Powell Brett 5/6 : 6/5 : 6/5

D Phillips & V Williams v J Holden & B Compton 6/2 : 3/6 : 4/6

S Wood & C Marguerie v A Robson & C Dixon 6/4 : 6/1

A Hamilton &M Llewelyn -Jones v M Fattorini & B Slora 3/6 : 6/3 : 6/5

 

MMTCC Dedanists v Visiting Dedanists 5th September

Result

T Branfield v T Drane v M Llewelyn Jones & G Krusznskyi 6/4 : 6/4

M Savage & C Marguerie v S Wood & G Stogdon 6/5: 5/6 : 6/5

A Hamilton & J Holden v Jj. Coley & V Williams 4/6 : 6/5 : 6/5

A Robson & S Hodges v D Phillips & J McDermott 4/6 : 1/6

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NEW FIXTURES!

After the disappointment of the unavoidable cancellation of all our matches for the 2020/2021 season let us hope that the outlook for 2021/2022 will see us all back on court, which many of us have already done so and we will hope that it continues without further restrictions. In my recent circulation to the full Dedanists' Society membership of the 2021/2022 Fixtures, I advised you all of one or two agreed decisions passed at the recent AGM relating to, inter alia, an increase in annual subscriptions and match fees collected for good causes and specifically junior real tennis, which is the Society's main raison d’être, and how successful that has been and continues to be so.

I would like to reiterate one point I made in my circulation email to you all and that is that if you would like to play in any of the matches do make direct contact with the relevant Match Manager as per the listing attached to the Fixtures list. Incidentally, there are a couple of gaps in the dates on the Fixtures list for the Trois Tripots Tournament &  the match against Queen’s. I will advise you all once these dates are agreed.

Here’s to an enjoyable new season of Real Tennis and we all look forward to visiting the many welcoming clubs who will host our matches.

Guy Egerton-Smith
The Dedanists’ Society Fixtures Secretary

The Dedanists' Society Fixtures 2021/2022

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To play in a match please contact the relevant match manager.

Match Reports

2020

Dedanists v Hatfield @ Hatfield House 14th March 2020

Adrian Akers & Mike Asplin lost to Yuri Kugler & Peter Dean 6/10

Hugh Pemberton beat Nick Brodie 10/8

James Barlow & Stuart Rose beat Jonathan Ellis-Miller & Yuri Kugler 10/2

David Wells & Carl Snitcher lost to Melvyn Plum & Michael Cotton 2/10

Liz Fisher & Sarah Sullivan beat Richard East & Valerie O'Donnell 10/5

Miles Buckinghamshire & David Wells beat Anton Eisdell & Valerie O'Donnell 10/8

 

Dedanists players in Bold        Hatfield win 4/2

Dedanists v Hurlingham Pigeons @Wellington 8th March 2020

Wellington RTC was pleased to welcome two travelling tennis teams to our court on Sunday: the Dedanists and the Hurlingham Pigeons, two teams with a long history of friendly rivalry. Matters were managed under the careful marksmanship of Andy Chinneck who brought an amount of control to the more excitable players.

 

There was hardly any unpleasantness. The HP captain, Simon Talbot-Williams, had some harsh words to say about his doubles' partner, but it transpired that he was referring to his partner at Lord's yesterday, not the goddess of tennis, Sue Haswell.

 

An excellent roast lunch and copious quantities of wine helped to smooth the day.

 

For the record, James McDermott and Charlie Enticknap, deputising for his father, lost to Matthew Page and John Deere. Peter Dean and Jonathan Ellis-Miller won narrowly on a count back of games against Richard Pettit and Nick Pellew. David Mills and Peter Dean lost to Patrick Jenkins and Nick Pellew. Graeme Marks and Simon Webster really raised their game to beat the seasoned combination of Simon Talbot-Williams and Sue Haswell. Giles Stogdon and Charles Oliphant-Callum also played well to beat Matthew Page and Richard Dalzell. Overall, a victory to the Dedanists, three rubbers to two.

 

It was good to see several new members of the Dedanists' Society taking part and contributing so much to the success of the day.

 

A sum of £165 will be collected through the Go Cardless scheme for the Dedanists' objectives in junior tennis.

 

James McDermott

Match Manager

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Dedanists v Oratory @ Oratory 22nd February 2020

The Dedanists had an excellent day at the Oratory.  A team of 10 doughty players arrived to do battle against the Oratory team.  Play started at 10 am and we had eleven matches of one 6-game set, each player having at least two games.  We started in grand style winning the first two matches and had great hopes of vanquishing the Oratory players hands down but thereafter our fortunes were more mixed and we ended the day losing by one match.  Nevertheless, the standard of tennis was good and we had the pleasure of watching some close games played with great style and panache.

 

The Oratory made us exceedingly welcome and provided us with an excellent lunch and wine – so we did what the Dedanists are particularly good at - enjoying the generous hospitality and imbibing a considerable amount of wine.

 

Our thanks to Nino and Levi for organising the day so well and for doing all the marking.  An excellent and enjoyable day which raised £150 or our junior programmes.

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Dedanists v Petworth @ Petworth 9th February 2020

It was a great day for the Dedanists. We beat Petworth and as Graeme Marks so aptly put it we also beat the weather.

 

On a very windy and rainy day a crack team of Dedanists, which included three from Prested , one from Canford ( the chairman) , one from Oxford ( the president), two from Queens, one from the MCC, one from Wellington and one from MURTC we made our way safely to Petworth. It was good to have members from so many different clubs playing 

 

It was foul day and the rain was so severe at times that the roof leaked and play had to stop for a short while. Despite the short stoppages and the constant use of towels to dry the floor we comprehensively won the contest, as the results below indicate

 

The home team were exceedingly hospitable and Rob Southwell provided a magnificent lunch in the very comfortable dining area in the Dedans accompanied with some very agreeable wine. Many thanks to Rob for organising the day so efficiently and seamlessly. It was also good to see David Godfray, who joined us for lunch and to watch some top-notch tennis. By common consent, everyone enjoyed the day and to cap it all £165 was raised for our junior programs

 

Also many thanks to Louis Gordon for marking so efficiently and for handling the water penetration so professionally

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Dedanists v MCC @ Lord's Cricket Ground 8th February 2020

Reporter: Ian Harris

Let’s get the really important business out of the way first. This fixture was awash with Dedanists on both sides, resulting in £255 being raised for the future of our game. Carl suggests that this might be a record for a single match and who am I, a mere cub reporter, to disagree?

While still dealing with the really important business first, readers will want to know what we had to eat. There was a signature Lord’s soup (very tasty, thick with vegetables), with a choice of shepherd’s pie or mushroom strudel as the main course, served with a healthy supply of multi-coloured vegetables. Lord’s does good cheese, which sealed the deal.  My comprehensive market research, involving in-depth interviews and sampling some of the food myself, reveals that all the fare was delicious and well received.

Host captain Sam Leigh ensured that the wine was plentiful and of a fine quality.  Dedanist captain Carl Snitcher might be forgiven for occasionally slipping into the host rather than visiting captaincy role, given his vast experience of being both. Indeed a great many of the players might be forgiven for getting confused as to whether they were representing the MCC or the Dedanists, especially those who had found themselves being switched twixt the teams on a number of occasions between selection and the match day itself.

Suffice it to say that I ensured that I had an MCC shirt and a Dedanists shirt in my kit bag for the day, just in case there was a further, late switch.

But this report is about a hard-fought tennis match. Such matches deserve a crowd and this match had a crowd. Brian Sharp, Peter Luck-Hille and Janie. Three’s a crowd; everyone knows that. So many thanks to the entire crowd.

I’m going to report the tennis itself in reverse order, for reasons of my own. I played in the last rubber, partnering Martin Village against the slightly nobbled pairing of Sebastian Wood & John Thirlwell. Our opponents’ idiosyncratic formation took a bit of working out, but once we worked it out, I thought Martin & I did rather well as a novel pair who had never even seen each other play before.  6-3, 6-2 to the Dedanists.

Some say the most watchable tennis of the day came in the fourth rubber, in which Peter Dean & Giles Pemberton representing the MCC took on Dedanists Johnny Saunders & Linda Sheraton Davis.  The latter pair prevailed for the Dedanists 6/4, 6/4 and I must say that, having observed the conclusion of that rubber, I concur that the play was fine quality and very exciting to watch.

Giles Stogdon & Carl Snitcher representing the MCC prevailed over Dedanists James McDermott & David Enticknap 6/2 6/4. Eagle-eyed readers of this report might wonder why the Captain of the Dedanists was representing the MCC in this match. Grill Carl on that point, if you dare. I’m moving on swiftly to the second rubber.

Sam Leigh & Simon Martin for the MCC defeated Dedanists Simon Webster & Rodger Davis 6/4 6/3 in a hard-fought contest, as indeed were all of the rubbers I observed.

So, working backwards, we have MCC 2, Dedanists 2, with only the result of the first rubber yet to be reported.

This is where matters get a bit difficult, because Janie and I arrived during the second rubber, having left strict instructions for other capable folk to keep careful notes for me on the first rubber.

Unfortunately, everyone I interviewed, not least the players themselves, had subtly different stories about what exactly had passed in the first rubber. Everyone agreed that it was a very close match.  Everyone agreed that Tony Friend & Paul Cattermull representing the MCC had narrowly defeated Dedanists Yuri Kugler & Julian Sheraton Davis, winning the deciding set 6/5. Everyone agreed that the MCC had started the match well, winning the first three games, while then losing the first set 6/4.

But beyond that, the details of the match were subtly different from each person I interviewed. I was told that the Dedanists had match points in both the second and third sets. But I was also told that the MCC won the second set 6/4.

Now, call me old-fashioned, but I can’t be having with the idea that a pair who won only four games in a set of tennis, had a match point in that set. “Ah yes”, said one witness vaguely, “the second set must have been 6/5 then”. “Perhaps there were match points in two different games of the third set,” said another eye-witness, with the sort of vacant look that only a third glass of Ned Pinot Grigio can induce. But the only blush visible was that juicy-looking glass of Ned, not the face of the vague witness.

There was nothing else for it. If I was to prove myself as an incisive reporter for the Dedanists, I would need to resort to high-tech investigative journalism techniques. Here is a link to the CCTV footage of the conclusion of the first rubber, joining the match in the second set at 4-4.  Silent witness but good viewing. Proof positive that the MCC won the rubber 4/6, 6/4, 6/5 and thus the MCC won the fixture, narrowly, by three rubbers to two.

If there is anyone left out there who still wants to know more about this fixture, I have reported the day from a personal perspective on my own blog, Ogblog, where you can also find links to some more photos and CCTV evidence from each of the five rubbers.   

It really was a most enjoyable day at Lord’s. Many thanks to all who attended, especially Sam Leigh and Carl Snitcher for organising the day.

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Dedanists v Club de Jeu de Paume @ Paris 24th-26th January 2020

On Friday afternoon the Dedanists team of  Alastair Robson , John Farrall ,John McVittie ,Adam Lawrence , Martin Village , Carl Snitcher, Jonathan Ellis miller and David Philipps made their way together  by Eurostar to Paris sitting in different parts of the train and eventually arrived at our hotel opposite the club in rue Lauriston where it was generally agreed that the hotel Pastel was  a massive improvement on where we stayed year - this was the first of many improvements and innovations. 


Secondly our first and only French member François Manage’ was part of the our  team but was unable to play as he was injured . But he came to support us and was at the  dinner On Saturday . 


The third improvement was the extraordinary  performance  on Sunday of  the  ever youthful Adam Lawrence who was the joint winner of the Dedanists' Paris trophy ( a bottle of  champagne ) shared  with Rémy Salmon from Paris . The consensus was that  the standout  performance of the weekend  belonged to Adam. Not only did he miss his first match  ( which was rejigged) as he had  overslept but he still  scored 18 points as did Remy. Adams' victory followed swiftly on from his  success in winning the Racquet d'or  in Paris some 56 years ago in 1963/ 1964  when he lived there while training as a medic .And at the age of 87 still going strong - " too  damn strong " were the words muttered sotto voce by some members of the team  some 30 years his junior. Well done Adam.

 

A great dinner at the Petit Retro a  local restaurant with  wonderful  art nouveau decor on the Friday night. On Saturday we were all up bright and early for the match against the locals starting at 9am.. There were 8 rubbers with each Dedanists playing twice with different partners against 16 locals.  The Dedanists characteristically and generously allowed  the home team to won by 6 rubbers to 2 .With 1 set of the first to 10. Paris won by 71 games to 51 overall!! 

 

On  Saturday evening 28 of us including members of the Paris club and their very fragrant other halves went to another local restaurant recommended by Francois . We had a terrific  meal in a private room  all on  round one large table .  Excellent service with everyone getting precisely what was ordered on time with many bottles of very good value wine , ensured we were all well fed and watered in the most agreeable of circumstances.


After dinner ,as it was Burns night,   good looking Rod McNaughtan, a Scot, and his better looking partner Lucy Friday who were  our guests at   dinner . ( Lucy was very busy on the Friday  with some complex aeronautical problem  so was unable to  make Friday ) took some of us to a bar miles away where more then half the team drank  blended scotch and  then  some very expensive Laphroiag  ( courtesy of Alastair whose father was born in Aberdeen, as was Adam ). With the Scottish connection established  and  well oiled many glasses were consumed into the very early hours !!

 

And then to the Sunday match amongst ourselves with some French members participating (Remy , Jean Paul and Gil ) which was jointly won by Adam and Rémy , It was all about the medical profession  it seemed ,as a  photograph shows (Dr) Robson presenting the coveted prize to (Dr )Remy Salmon and (Dr) Adam Lawrence with (Dr)David Phillips just missing the cut ( too many docs ... ed)- after that to the Gare du Nord, a quick bitette  and a soporific trip back to Blighty , again on the same train but not sitting together 

 

A great weekend in great company and some great tennis - and the final improvement . According to those who had been in all three trips, this one was the best so far

 

A Massive thanks to Dr Robson for doing a lot of the spade work and his oh so long speech at the dinner on Saturday night  but he said it all , to  our Paris Colleagues for making it all work so well and finally to good looking Rod McNaughtan who  marked so professionally and accurately and good humouredly for nearly two days without a break 

 

A terrific weekend ..... yet another successful Dedanists  gig !!  

 

Photos in part by Patricia Gallagher  to whom also many thanks

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Dedanists v Newmarket @ Newmarket 19th January 2020

Match Result:  Newmarket won 5 - 2

Match Surplus:  £125

Match Managers:  Charles Granville & Josh Farrall

 

Well played Ruadrhi Duncan, Steve Milton and John Savile for winning all their matches for Newmarket - and Jonathan Ellis-Miller for doing the same for the Dedanists.  Thank you to Andrew Knibbs for marking and clearing the on-court droplets of melting frost.  Altogether a bracing experience for the Dedanists.  On a cold and sunny January day, Newmarket were just too good.

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Dedanists v Hardwick House @ Hardwick House 11th January 2020

Dedanists 3 1/2 - Hardwick 1 1/2


The match was played on a warm (for January) day. As always the court was in lovely condition, the balls were first class, and lunch provided by our hosts, Sarah and Ian Whittaker was superb.

 

One of the best aspects of the Match was to see Colin Butler playing after his trauma in the Match last year. He looked in fine form and his play produced a good draw as you will see later in this Report.

 

The first match pitched Valarie O’Donnell and Giles Stogdon against the fearsome ladies from Hardwick, Caroline Fox and Chantelle Harding. Giles apparently pleased to be on court with three ladies. The Dedanists pair were receiving R15/O15 and used their large handicap to good effect in the first set, winning 6-4. Caroline served brilliantly from the right hand side of the court finding a way for the serves to die on the back wall (I never knew you could do that at Hardwick). After winning the first set the Dedanists tired and lost the second set 3-6 possibly because Hardwick switched the receiver of serve. This cunning plan did not work in the third (short) set and the Dedanists ran out 6-5 victors. A very close match!

 

In the second match Robin Faux – a newish Dedanist - and your scribe were up against the well-known pair of Ian Whittaker and Colin Butler. The Dedanists started slowly (not unusual) and were soon 2-5 down but fought back to 5-5 all at which point Ian suddenly woke up and delivered two winning shots. Hardwick 6-5. In the second set the Dedanists started hitting the ball closer to the centre of the racket and with Robin playing inspired tennis won the set 6-3. The spectators then pointed out that the match had gone on forever and lunch would have to be delayed. This threat news galvanised the players into agreeing to an honourable draw.

 

Michael Llewelyn-Jones and Ian Hawkey (another newish Dedanist) came up against Michael Seymour (a Dedanist preferring to play for Hardwick!) and David Fox. Both extremely elegant players. The handicap was O15 in favour of the Dedanists. With Michael’s unique serving action and Ian’s steady play the Dedanists shaved the first set 6-5. The second set showed the youngsters (the Dedanists in case you were wondering) at their best and they ran out 6-3 for a two set win. The highlight of the match was Hardwick showing the youngsters how to lay short chases – much admired from the dedans.

 

The fourth match between Peter Harding and Sarah Whittaker for Hardwick against Linda Sheraton-Davis and Jonathan Ellis-Miller (a well matched pair in the length of their surnames but not in height), The Dedanist scraped the first set 6-5 after a well fought battle. The second set reached 3-3 then 4-3 to the Dedanists. Hardwick fought back to 4-4, the Dedanist got to 5-4. In the final game the Dedanist had a piece of outrageous luck at a critical point with a shot just hitting and toppling over the night. Obviously due to clean living.

 

The last match had Carl Snitcher playing for Hardwick. He was warned by the MM to make sure that he engineered the right result. He was partnered by with Sarah Brownlee who kindly played at short notice. They were up against the fast moving pair of doctors Alastair Robson and Adam Lawrence. Your scribe was marking so can’t remember a huge amount about the match except that Carl ignored the instructions about how he should play and Hardwick triumphed 6-4, 6-3 for a two sets to none win.

 

So the result was Hardwick 1 ½ and the Dedanists 3 ½. For a second year in a row a win for the Dedanists. Wonders will never cease! Your scribe is far too modest to tell you who was the only player to hit two winning galleries...........

 

The Surplus for Junior Tennis

On the day, we raised £210 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.   John McVittie for the Dedanists.

 

Results (Hardwick players shown first).

Caroline Fox & Chantelle Harding lost to Val O’Donnell & Giles Stogdon 4-6, 6-3, 5-6 (D)

Ian Whittaker & Colin Butler drew with John McVittie & Robin Faux 6-5, 3-6 (Draw)

Michael Seymour & David Fox lost to Ian Hawkey and Michael Llewelyn-Jones 5-6 3-6 (D)

Pete Harding & Sarah Whittaker lost to Jonathan Ellis-Miller & Linda Sheraton-Davis 5-6, 4-6 (D)

Carl Snitcher & Sarah Brownlee beat Alastair Robson & Adam Lawrence 6-4, 6-3 (H)

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