Champion: Christopher Edgington
The fifteenth year of IRTA Championships saw us return to Radley for the Open tournament. This event has in recent years been limited to 16 entrants. It is played to handicap, with a format designed to ensure that even after a day’s play, on Sunday morning all players remain in contention for the title.
The handicaps ranged from about 30 to about 75, with several players participating in an IRTA event for the first time.
The closest of the first round matches was between Simon Cripps and Chris Edgington, with Cripps ultimately edging Edgington 6/5, only to be defeated by the clean-hitting Patrick Dolan in the next round. Dolan’s strong run continued all the way to Sunday’s semi-final, where he encountered Edgington, who had emerged through the repechage and whose tennis was clearly getting stronger with every match he played.
The other finalist, Richard Ramjane, had also started with a loss (4/6), but had then progressed through a series of tight matches in the repechage — indeed all of his results in the course of the weekend were 6/4 or 6/5 (or 4/6 or 5/6). The final was another very close contest, but also saw the biggest handicap difference of the weekend. Ramjane played tremendously controlled tennis against an array of handicap restrictions, and surely won the weekend’s award for sportsmanship when he explained the implications of some of them to his opponent, mid-game. Ultimately Chris Edgington emerged as the winner by the tightest of margins.
In parallel with the handicap singles tournament, players were kept busy with a doubles competition. The pairs were divided into two pools, with two pairs emerging from each pool to play semi-finals. Mark Maclure and David Lowry went undefeated through the weekend, and improved on the 6/5 result in their pool match against Mark Heffernan and Richard Dilger when they met again in the doubles final, taking the title 6/3.
The Irish Open Championship coincided with the weekend when Radley was marking International Tennis Day. International Tennis Day is an event that the IRTA has in the past supported — though never, until now, with any actual time on court. See, for example, this note on the 2014 event.
This year we were very pleased to be assisting Radley with its International Tennis Day celebration: a marathon of continuous play. By the time we arrived on court for some pre-tournament practice games on Friday evening the unbroken sequence had started, and it continued after the Championship concluded late on Sunday afternoon. The T&RA website has Radley’s report on its ITD weekend.
We are grateful to Radley for permitting us to hold our Open Championship at their court once again; to Maggie Henderson-Tew for encouraging us to get involved in the ITD marathon, and for significant contributions on the catering front; to Zak Eadle for his assistance in the course of the weekend; and particularly to Chris Ronaldson for support, advice, and assistance in planning, organising, and running the IRTA event — not least in managing to fit so many matches into the time available, while at the same time coordinating the ITD tennis marathon around the IRTA tournament.
We look forward to the next IRTA tournament: the 2017 IRTA Irish Closed Championship, which is to take place at Prested Hall over the weekend of 9–10 September.
— Roland Budd
Photos: Rustom Manecksha
Richard Ramjane and Christopher Edgington rejoined the tournament at the semi-final stages after winning their repechage events:
Players' double handicaps are shown in parentheses after their names.
Semi-final and final