Jesmond Dene court interior
J.D. court interior

A party from the IRTA were delighted to visit Jesmond Dene Real Tennis Club, in Newcastle, UK, over the weekend of 16th–17th September, for plenty of very enjoyable tennis. The court was built at the end of the 19th century, and has a particularly striking interior, with a very light and open feel. The IRTA weekend was a relaxed affair, consisting of many friendly singles and doubles matches, as well as some singles matches between the IRTA and Jesmond Dene players. The final scorelines of the fixture matches, played over both days of the weekend, were as follows.

Jesmond DeneIRTAResult
Martin KellawayKaren Hird1-6 5-6
Chris ClarkeBen North6-1 6-1 5-6
Jonathan SparhamDoris Siedentopf6-1 6-5
Simon HarrisRoland Budd6-2 3-6 6-3
Peter GordonDavid Lowry2-6 2-6
Jane HayesSarah Hird6-5 5-6
IRTA player Roland Budd
Roland Budd

The overall result was therefore a victory for Jesmond Dene by 3 matches to 2 (with one match drawn) — congratulations to the hosts! All matches produced some good tennis and were watched by local and IRTA supporters from the dedans. On Saturday night, a group of players and supporters enjoyed an evening at a local restaurant and pub, and talked over the news in the real tennis world, including recent developments with the Dublin court.

IRTA players Ben North (L) and David Lowry (ctr) about to receive a lesson from Jesmond Dene pro Peter Wiegand (R)
Ben North, David Lowry, Peter Wiegand

IRTA players were also given coaching by Jesmond Dene pro Peter Wiegand first thing on the Saturday morning, and tried to put the theory into practice over the next two days. Both lessons and play were welcome for the IRTA players, who have to travel abroad for their court time.

We are very grateful to the pros at Jesmond Dene, Peter Wiegand and Simon Harris, as well as to the organisers of this fixture, Sarah Hird, Doris Siedentopf, and Roland Budd, and to the Jesmond Dene members who gave up their club for the weekend and joined us in playing the fixture. We look forward to a rematch soon!