Graeme Pearson (1) vs Cedric de la Chaise (2)
Regrettably the fact the court was slippery from the overnight rain, and the occasional poor bounce had an impact on this match which was umpired by our very own LTA umpire, James McKenzie. Cedric was reluctant to run full-tilt for balls at first. Graeme has been a slow starter in previous round matches this year, and in the 2014 singles final (which he won). However, in this final he came out of the blocks like an express train, steamrollering a reluctant Cedric, unsure of his footing, into conceding the first set 1-6.
In the second set, perhaps the court was drier, or maybe Cedric now knew what acceleration it would take, because Cedric started competing more vigorously. Aided and abetted by one or two favourable bounces he leapt into the lead and maintained it to win the set 6-3.
In the third set the momentum remained with Cedric. He kept the pressure on Graeme, who made a few unforced errors, whereas Cedric hit the ball like a man on a mission, and chased everything down. Cedric took the final set 6-1 for a 1-6 6-3 6-1 victory – the mirror image in terms of sets won of the 2014 singles final. This is the first time Graeme has been outplayed by Cedric in the three year history of meeting him in the final.
An interesting child’s perspective on this result emerged later at the prize giving. Julia Abbot has very kindly donated two singles runners-up trophies for the West Heath Tournament. After the prize giving Graeme’s daughter exclaimed it was excellent that Graeme had been presented with a shiny brand-new [runners up] trophy instead of the older, battered 1905 [winners] one!!!
Now wouldn’t you think, having won, Cedric would be looking happier than Graeme? Not a chance!