Roland Budd and Jack Woods represented the Irish Real Tennis Association in this year's Brigands tournament, kindly hosted by Hardwick House. Budd and Woods defeated the Hurlingham Pigeons but lost to the Ladies RTA. The Pigeons then defeated the LRTA. Each of the three pairs in our group had thus won one match, but the Pigeons proceeded to the semi-finals pursuant to the tournament rules. They were then defeated in their semi-final by the Speedbirds, who in turn were defeated in the final by the Bar (including IRTA member Peter Dean).


It was great to have many of the usual people playing and also have a number of new ones join us. As always, the play was competitive and generally closely contested, with some wonderful rests, great forces and the occasional lucky shots! A couple of individuals also showed us that top spin can be highly effective!

We had two last minute replacements due to injury: our thanks go to Peter Mawson and John Amor for stepping in — without them, the tournament would not have worked.

It was good to see the worthy Real Champions Club reach the semi-finals and past winners Hurlingham Pigeons were there too. The final was to be a repeat of last year with the Speedbirds taking on the Bar again (I think we will have to change both of their handicaps next year!). The result was also the same as last year with the Bar winning convincingly to receive the champers and have their names engraved again on the silver cup. Well done to them and to the Speedbirds who were worthy runners up, and to all who played.

As usual, our huge thanks to Lesley Ronaldson for her excellent marking and to Victoria for catering throughout the day (and to the very many of you who helped out as she was not on top form). Finally, we would not be able to hold this annual tournament were it not for the generosity of the Friends of Hardwick Tennis Court who let us use their court the whole day and evening — thank you.

—Malcolm Thorp

Full results

The full results sheet is available: