Champion: Henry Henman
Doubles champions: Richard Ramjane and James Rossiter

The IRTA returned to Radley for its 2019 Open Championship, which took place over the weekend of 7–9 June. Play started on the Friday evening, and continued through Saturday and Sunday, with plenty of tennis for all: entrants participated not only in a handicap singles tournament but also in a doubles competition.

The handicaps ranged from 29 to 76, but almost all of the players were within 20 handicap points of one another, between 35 and 55. Numerous familiar faces returned for this year’s tournament, but we also welcomed players to their first IRTA event. The singles tournament followed the repechage system, with the programme of play organised such that on Sunday morning everyone was still in contention; the doubles pairs were divided into two, with four pairs emerging from Friday and Saturday’s group matches to play semi-finals and a final on Sunday afternoon.

Friday evening saw Renaud Besnard play very consistently to defeat Rustom Manecksha (6/4). Patrick Dolan, fresh from Heathrow and hitting his first real tennis balls in almost 12 months, improved throughout his match against Jenny Jones as he re-acclimatised to the game, but ultimately Jones emerged the winner, 6/3. Saturday morning saw further singles matches, with William Wilks, Roland Budd, James Rossiter, and Henry Henman all progressing (Henman, significantly, with a win over Jenny Jones, 6/4). Wilks continued his form of earlier in the day to defeat Budd (6/0), and Rossiter was too powerful for the more measured Henman (6/3), so Wilks and Rossiter qualified for Sunday afternoon’s semi-finals, with their opponents to be determined according to the outcome of Sunday morning’s repechage.

The repechage saw some close matches, not least Patrick Dolan’s win over Tony Penny (6/5), and Mark Maclure’s over Rustom Manecksha (6/4). In the final round of the repechage the hard-hitting Maclure was convincingly overcome by Henry Henman (6/1), and Jenny Jones — in a match that see-sawed from 3/0 to 3/5, and required intense concentration by Mark Heffernan who acted as marker — ultimately defeated Roland Budd 6/5.

In the semi-finals Henry Henman thus met William Wilks, with Jenny Jones taking on James Rossiter. Henman, with his concentration, careful serving, and speedy movement around the court, defeated Wilks (6/2) in spite of the latter’s accuracy and consistency. The clean-hitting Rossiter then faced a challenging handicap difference against Jones, who maintained her composure to take the second semi-final (also 6/2). The finalists had met in the second round, when Henman had won, 6/4. The final was a fascinating study in careful and conscientious tennis, with Jones serving and returning serve well, but Henman using the corners of the court very effectively (in spite of a handicap barring his use of the tambour) to win, 8/3.

A doubles competition was played alongside the handicap singles tournament, with the lowest handicap player paired with the highest, the second-lowest with the second-highest, and so on. The pairs were divided into two groups, with two pairs emerging from each group to play semi-finals. Richard Ramjane and James Rossiter went undefeated through the weekend, emerging at the top of their group; defeating William Wilks and Mark Keogh in their semi-final (6/3); and then Renaud Besnard and Tony Penny in the final (8/3).

We are grateful to all the players and supporters who joined us at Radley in the course of the weekend; to Radley for permitting us to hold our Open Championship at their court once again; and particularly to Chris Ronaldson for support, advice, and assistance in planning, organising, and running the event – not least in devising the draw and playing programme in such as way as to fit so many matches into the time available.

— Roland Budd


(Photos courtesy Rustom Manecksha via the @realIRTA twitter feed.)

Singles results

Richard Ramjane (h’cap 38·1)Wilks
William Wilks (h’cap 44·6)6/0Wilks
Mark Maclure (h’cap 35·8)BuddHenman
Roland Budd (h’cap 29·2)6/4Budd6/2
Rustom Manecksha (h’cap 37·2)BesnardHenmanHenman
Renaud Besnard (h’cap 37·2)6/48/3
Peter Dean (h’cap 48·6)Heffernan
Mark Heffernan (h’cap 43·1)6/3RossiterJones
James Rossiter (h’cap 48·9)Rossiter
Mark Keogh (h’cap 48·5)6/0 Rossiter
Henry Henman (h’cap 50·0)Henman
Tony Penny (h’cap 50·5)6/4Henman
Patrick Dolan (h’cap 55·6)Jones
Jenny Jones (h’cap 76·2)6/3

Henry Henman and Jenny Jones rejoined the tournament at the semi-final stage having emerged from their respective sides of the repechage:

Henry Henman
Richard RamjaneRamjane6/1
Renaud Besnard6/3Maclure
Rustom ManeckshaMaclure
Mark Maclure6/4
Jenny Jones
Peter DeanKeogh
Mark Keoghw/oJones
Tony PennyDolan Jones
Patrick Dolan6/5Heffernan6/5
Mark HeffernanRoland Budd

Doubles results

Players’ doubles handicaps are shown in parentheses after their names.

Box A

Roland Budd (30·6), Jenny Jones (75·1) — A311
Richard Ramjane (36·8), James Rossiter (52·8) — B777
Rustom Manecksha (37·4), Henry Henman (52·0) — C745
Mark Maclure (36·3), Patrick Dolan (57·5) — D737

Box B

William Wilks (39·9), Mark Keogh (47·8) — A48
Renaud Besnard (41·2), Tony Penny (43·4) — B88
Peter Dean (48·5), Mark Heffernan (37·4) — C32

Semi-final and final

Richard Ramjane, James RossiterRamjane, Rossiter
William Wilks, Mark Keogh6/3Ramjane, Rossiter
Renaurd Besnard, Tony PennyBesnard, Penny
Mark Maclure, Patrick Dolan6/3