Many thanks to Mark Heffernan and his wife for bringing this to our attention.


Real Tennis May Be

Revived In Dublin

Dublin's Only Court

The Fitzwilliam club squash rackets players who visited Manchester last week-end were interested spectators of a real tennis match between Peter Kershaw, the amateur champion, and D. Hodgson, who also ranks among the leading players in England. For most of the Dublin men it was their first sight of a first-class display of the oldest rackets game in the world, and afterwards there was some discussion as to whether it could be revived in Dublin. When Lord Iveagh made a gift of his town property to the State a few years ago the tennis court, which is situated on Earlsfort terrace, went with it, and is now used for storage purposes. It would not, I gather, be a matter of undue difficulty to have it restored for its original purpose, but the cost of reviving the game might prove too great an obstacle.

Professional Essential

The actual equipment would not cause much worry, for the balls probably are stored away, and with care can be made to last almost indefinitely. Rackets, which look like the most primitive of lawn tennis weapons, are not unduly expensive, and also are built to last, but the game cannot be played without a professional to act as marker. The complex nature of the scoring makes it impossible for the players to score their own match, and the stroke play is so different from other rackets games that coaching is absolutely assential. There are, however, a number of professionals in England who combine tennis and squash coaching, so that difficulty might overcome if sufficient people were interested. A Dublin man, Guy Jackson, who is an international lawn tennis player, is first string for Oxford University at real tennis, while another who has played the game is Sir Basil Goulding, who gave a surprisingly good display against a Manchester opponent on Saturday afternoon. A point strongly in favour of real tennis is the age up to which a fit man can retain first-class skill. The present holder of the world's open championship, Pierre Etchebaster, is fifty-four, yet he is proving too good for his English challenger, Jim Dear, in the present series of matches for the title in New York. Manchester's most famour player, E. M. Baerlein, has only recently retired form championships at an age of over sixty.

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