The last Saturday in September saw the IRTA return to Holyport to defend its title in the annual handicap doubles tournament for peripatetic clubs organised by The Brigands. The prospects of a successful defence were not looking good for the IRTA pair — Roland Budd and David Keane — after a loss in their first group match to The Brigands. However, when The Brigands were themselves defeated by the Old Rugbeians, an opportunity emerged. The opening games of the match between the IRTA and the Old Rugbeians were shared evenly, but in the later stages the IRTA managed to pull away sufficiently to top the group and qualify for the semi-final.
In the semi-finals the Old Tonbridgians overcame the Ladies’ Real Tennis Association 6–4, and the IRTA defeated the Speedbirds (a pair of pilots), 6–5. In an exciting final the IRTA (owing 15) saved a number of match points against the Old Tonbridgian pair (receiving 15) to come from behind and win by the narrowest of margins.
Many thanks to Holyport RTC; to Malcolm Thorp of the Brigands for organising and running the tournament; to Victoria for providing various delicious meals for the participants and supporters through the day; and to Lesley Ronaldson for all that marking.
Report from Malcolm Thorp (Brigands Tennis Club)
The full results sheet is available:
Photos courtesy Malcolm Thorp and Paul Heaver.