Champion: Roland Budd
Photo courtesy The Oratory
Following a highly successful Irish Championship weekend at The Oratory in 2011, the IRTA returned to the same venue over 15th–16th September 2012. The programme echoed that of 2011: on Saturday 15th we played the 2012 Irish Closed Tournament, and on Sunday 16th there was a match between the IRTA and The Oratory Real Tennis Club.
The 2012 Irish Closed tournament attracted a draw of 12 players, who were divided into four groups of three. Two qualified from each group for the knock out stage, with the third proceeding to a Plate competition. The handicaps ranged from the low 30s to the low 60s, and each match was a single set, played off half the handicap difference.
Richard Ramjane topped the first group, with wins over Roland Budd and Stuart Baxter. Mark Heffernan emerged undefeated against Rupert Derham and Johnny Borrell in an extremely tight second group (all three matches ending 6/5). The third group saw David Lowry beat Mark Keogh and Paul Brennan, while Dave Keane had particularly convincing wins over Mike Bolton and Jack Woods in the final group.
Only two of the group winners progressed beyond their first matches in the knock-out stage, however, with Paul Brennan taking Richard Ramjane to 5/5 before finally losing out 5/6, and Mark Heffernan looking as consistent as ever in overcoming Jack Woods more emphatically, 6/2. The half-handicap favoured Rupert Derham and Roland Budd, runners-up in their respective groups, with Rupert conceding only two games against Dave Keane, and Roland maintaining concentration to eliminate David Lowry, 6/3.
The upset of the tournament came in the first semi-final, when Rupert Derham caught Richard Ramjane (up to then undefeated, albeit winning each of his matches, 6/5) 6/1. In the second semi-final Roland Budd put an end to Mark Heffernan’s run of wins, 6/3. In the final Rupert played consistently, but was unable to reproduce his semi-final form, and Roland retained his title, 6/4.
Having lost each of his group matches by the closest possible margin, Johnny Borrell emerged a strong winner of the Plate competition, defeating Mike Bolton 6/2 and then Mark Keogh 6/3.
Following a short presentation ceremony at the court the group dispersed, some for an additional short spell on court at Hardwick House, nearby, by way of apéritif, and others directly to The Highwayman’s Inn, close to the school, for dinner.
On Sunday morning the IRTA group was back at The Oratory for croissants (thoughtfully provided by the pros), and for a day of matches against local players, the overall result of which was a draw (full results below).
Abundant supplies of lunch were organised by The Oratory on Saturday, and by the pros on Sunday, served in the club room behind the dedans, and enjoyed throughout the afternoon (on both days!).
The IRTA is most grateful to The Oratory School and Real Tennis Club for allowing us to visit once again, and for providing opposition on Sunday; to Andy Chinneck for organising the programme for the weekend; and to Andy and Liam Taylor for marking over the 2 days, and for their warm welcome. We hope to be back soon!
Photos courtesy of Mark Heffernan.
Results: Closed Championships
The knock-out stages
Plate knock-out stages
Results: Match Oratory vs IRTA
Played Sunday 16th September.