Tournament Report – Friday 15 July

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, 2016 Tournament, Tournament

whdraw16_RosJulia_20160715_184418Up first on the West Heath turf were Julia Abbott and Ros Norkett in their quarter final match-up. The first loomed towards a tie-break but Ros clinically saw this off, to snatch the first set 7-5. There were some long rallies and well placed balls in the second set as well. Julia just couldn’t quite get her nose in front, and lost the second set 6-4 in a tight contest. The post-match media obligations were significantly delayed, however, due to hair malfunctions. Thankfully these were ironed out in the end!

whdraw16_MoiraBruceLesleyJames_IMG_3386The evening’s second fixture was a mixed doubles quarter finals scheduled for Court 3. Moira Duncan and Bruce Rigall, after their epic victory in the previous round, were pitted against Lesley South and James McKenzie. Bruce was vociferously supported by his son, Joseph, who had been knocking up with his father on Court 2 in preparation for the tie.  Lesley, continuing her form from last year, arrived with a portion of macaroni cheese and a malt loaf. She is well aware of what happens to James when his carbohydrate quotient is depleted.

Having won the toss and elected to serve, Lesley put James into bat first. It was almost a bad move as James struggled to get his serve and ground strokes firing; plenty were splayed into the net. Throwing (figuratively, that is) a few serves out wide saved a couple of break points and finally the service game was held. Lesley and James repelled all that Bruce and Moira could throw at them, and recorded a 6-0 victory in the first set. They raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set before some determined returning from Moira and Bruce got them a game on the board. Thankfully for the first seeds it was just a minor stutter, and they continued unfazed to a 6-1 second set score.

Marcio and Jasper played out the evening’s last fixture*. From the spectators’ perspective it looked a close match with Jasper going toe-to-toe against the much-fancied 3rd seed. The scoreline, however, did not bare this out with Marcio ruthlessly securing a 6-0 6-1 victory.


*Another match did take place, but this is currently under embargo.

Tournament Report – Thursday 14 July

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, 2016 Tournament, Tournament

Anna Ganev and Susan Grossman played Moira Duncan and Lesley South in the ladies doubles. Anna and Susan got off to a flying start and broke Moira’s serve to storm to a 3-1 lead. Sources reveal that Susan was clinical at the net during this period, and put many volleys away. This was a team effort, my source reveals, and Anna was no slouch. She put in solid ground strokes and made effective use of the lob to leave their opponents shaking their collective head. 3-1 is a precarious score line as the psychological difference between 4-1 and 3-2 is enormous. Lesley and Moira were not phased by this and cooly restored parity to the scoreline and clawed their way back to 4-4. These games no doubt contained some hard hitting and long rallies with the occasional volley interception by the net players. Once they had got all four of their eyes in, the more experienced pair of Moira and Lesley were in no mood for hanging around. They became more clinical, taking the first set 6-4 and got off to a flying start in the second. In spite of the efforts of Susan and Anna in the second set, they could not combine as effectively as they had done at the beginning. Plaudits must go to the second place team in this fixture for their steely determination and a convincing first set performance. Congratulations also to Moira and Lesley for their spirited comeback, and they march into the semi finals.

 

whdraw2016barbarajanejuliajo

Jane and Barbara took on Jo and Julia in the evening’s early fixture. It was a close run match, from what was observed from the embankment. There were plenty of good shots from all protagonists, which were sportingly applauding by partners and opponents alike. In the end, Jane and Barbara prevailed 6-4 in the first set and won 7-6 in the second.

James and Greg, the second seeds took on the highly experienced Mark and Peter [though they can’t remember having played together competitively before – Peter]  in the men’s doubles quarter finals. The tone of the match was set during the first point when, in a single swing, Peter managed to hit the ball at least 3 times and place it delicately away for a winner.

2016-07-14 20.44.32After James’s opening, and troublesome, service game in the sun, James and Greg slowly pulled away from their opponents. There were some hefty rallies and delicate volleys throughout the first set. Peter managed some lovely angles and a few more framed shots whilst Greg became alarmingly consistent by double faulting in each game. He should however be heartily applauded for intercepting skilfully at the net and saving James’s back. Mark was no slouch either, and delivered some hefty ground strokes and was pin-point accurate in his service games. A highly enjoyable fixture, with a second seeds prevailing 6-2 6-3. [More critical analysis required!]

Here is Peter’s version of events though you could form your own opinion from the time-lapse video at the top of the match from a rather low position!  It might have helped to know beforehand that Greg and James have lost zero sets in two years while playing together for the West Heath second team which must have helped considerably in getting promotion before playing all their matches this season (congratulations guys).  In the first three games of the match Peter and Mark were not well warmed up, ceding a 3-0 lead before Peter held his serve.  Thereafter the more aggressive net play of Greg and James allowed only one more game to the challengers.  In the second set Peter and Mark had their eye in, but Greg and James swapped service ends, which was effective.  Greg seems to know exactly where the dead spots are on the clubhouse end service box of court 3 and hit them consistently, allowing no chance on the return.  Meanwhile James’ “leftie” slice serves away from the clubhouse were enhanced by a little wind and the downhill slope at that end, making it very difficult to keep the returns away from the lethal Greg at the net.  Peter hit a couple of winning lobs and one great reaction shot  and Greg double faulted twice in one game to get broken, but Peter and Mark could not hold consistently, and Mark’s hard-hit groundstrokes were well fielded by the opposition when at the net, which allowed for a 6-2 6-3 victory for the seeds.

whdraw16walterlogansamphilipAnother men’s doubles fixture brought together The Two Reids (Walter and Philip), who were pitted against Sam and Logan. The Reids had got the better of the Rigals in a close fought battle on the Wednesday, but (according to Philip) this had left his father somewhat exhausted.  Logan brought a large cadre of his family to the fixture, for what he no doubt promised to be a rip-roaring display from Logie Bear*. Reids Junior and Senior fought the good fight, but ultimately were outclassed. Sam and Logan took the spoils with a 6-2 6-3 victory. For the Father and Son this refrain from Cat Stevens has never rung more true

It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to know

whdraw16markjillrachelphilip_2016-07-14 19.11.13Prior to this match, Philip had been in male/female on male/female action in a tie in the mixed doubles round of 16. His partner, (new) Rachel is a recent addition to the club and has been readily adopted into the Ladies’ first team. They were pitted against Mark, another new member, and Jill, a West Heath stalwart. Philip and Rachel got off to a good start with a break to love which Rachel consolidated with the loss of just a single point. Another break to Philip and Rachel left Philip serving at 3-0. Philip is known for his range yet somehow couldn’t put that convincingly into play; he found himself facing a break point and the panic on his face was palpable. This was snuffed out with a ruthless serve, and it was his last jitter to speak of. Mark and Jill fought valiantly but couldn’t deny Philip and Rachel a 6-0 6-2 victory.


* Whether Logie Bear lived up to his billing is, as yet, unknown.

Tournament Report – Weds 13 July

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, 2016 Tournament, Tournament

In the mens doubles match two father and son teams battled it out – Philip & Walter Reid versus Bruce & Joseph Rigal.  Although Walter was easily the elder of the two fathers, he played well during the very tight match.  There were no breaks in the first set, taken by the Reids on a tie break, and in the the second set only Bruce was broken for a 7-6 7-5 victory for the Reids.

The consequences next day of the effort by Walter Reid were that he was rather tired for the next round against Logan Mair & Sam Evans, the third seeds.  See Thursday’s match report for the result.

 

 

Men’s II v Templars

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, League, Men's II

The Tuesday evening fixture against Templars was always going to be interesting. At not quite the last minute, Philip, the team’s Templar’s bête noire, decided that his physical fitness wasn’t high enough to compete at Templars. Instead, the eminent Takuya was drafted in as his highly capable replacement. He was paired for the evening with Sam in the third pairing; perhaps an oddity that both are full time Templars members themselves. Marcio and Tim, the latter of whom causes the Captain such headaches with his “who’s with who” petulance, made up the first pair to give them much needed tournament practice and also the desired challenge against the tough Templars first pair. Greg and James were happy to cede the first pairing due to their not insignificant dislike of the Templars courts.

The weather itself has become a continuous theme this year. The heavy rains during the day resulted in watery courts, but the evening thankfully brought no further showers. Greg ensured himself an early win by gambling with Edward (a former WHII denizen) that the match would go ahead; Greg knows perfectly well that the captain does not favour rearrangements.

With the first, second and third WH pairs lined up and ready to face the opposition, the first job was to get the opponents in right place as well. Having finally succeeded in a new game of Musical Courts, Greg and James got off to a quick start and provided their third pair with nothing but a bagel. Upon asking Tim how the first pair were progressing (against their 2nd), to not inconsiderable surprise, Tim stated that the score was a mere 2-1 due to rather an epic game. Just as an FYI, 18-deuce games are not encouraged; thankfully for Tim and Marcio they came out on the right side of the advantages to win the game and then the set 6-2. Meanwhile, Sam and Takuya were making a good meal from their efforts against Templar’s first pair. Some excellent shots, from both pairs, were easily observed during James’ and Greg’s lengthy observation round. The Heathens put in a good effort, but ultimately succumbed to the strong pair recording a 3-6 loss.

The second round saw Tim and Marcio take on the third pair. They demonstrated that Greg and James were provided with no fluke score line, serving up a bagel themselves. It gave them plenty of opportunity for them to watch James and Greg take on the strong Templars first pair. Keen observers of the Middlesex Tennis Summer League North East Division 5 would have noted that this was an important rubber as both pairs had won every set that they played together. There was a lot riding on this match, and there could only be one winner. That’s the way the scoring in tennis works.

Greg and James got off to a good start by breaking the Templars coach, with the first point of the game setting the tone. Greg returned excellently to stun the opponents with a perfectly crafted point. As the Heathens changed ends they were pumped up and ready for a fight back. The second game was a protracted affair with many deuces on the Greg serve; the Heathens prevailed to consolidate the break. Templars put their feet down in the next two games and the Heathens found themselves back at 2-2 with the coach serving. He made no mistakes during his second service game and they took a 3-2 lead. The change of ends brought the best out in Greg and he dutifully held the game to level the set. Another break for West Heath against the (slightly) weaker Templars serve gave James the opportunity to serve for a 5-3 lead. With some skidding serves, fabulous forehands and versed volleys James and Greg conspired to hold the game and leave the Templars pair to opportunity to serve to stay in the rubber. At 15-30, James got the rub of the net with a thick net cord to set up two set points. Duly taken, the Heathens came out on top with a 6-3 victory. It was a highly enjoyable fixture to play, with plenty of solid rallies, and good sportsmanship.

Whilst all that was going on, Sam and Takuya faced off against the tricky second pair. They traded games all the way through but unfortunately couldn’t hang on to a 6-5 lead at the bitter end. The fixture was tied at 6-6; with no tie break, the protagonistic pairs claimed a single point each.

The final round of rubbers saw Sam and Takuya take on the third Templars pair. In the first of two sets they came out on the other side of a 6-5 lead and avoided the draw with a 7-5 score line. In the second set they put their feet down (carefully though, to avoid slipping) and made easier work of it. A 6-3 score meant that the third pair contributed a hefty 5 points to the WH total. This is a strong showing for a third pair, as a season can be made or broken by their results.

Tim and Marcio took up the baton against the first pair. Clearly spurred on by the tour de force of Greg and James, with a proven lefty/righty combination, they advanced the scoreboard to 5-5. A bizarre interlude followed, where the Heathens confirmed that tie breaks are neither played at 5-5 nor 6-6 in this league. WH were not deterred by this incident and cooly claimed a point with a 6-6 first set score line. The second set had the potential to be another proper ding-donging humdinger; Templars had other ideas. They were the Murray to West Heath’s Tsonga in the 2016 Wimbledon Quarter Finals. No mistakes in the final set resulted in a perhaps unfair 1-6 score on the door.

Greg and James were making hard work of their final match, and from a dominant position in the first set their backs were up against the wall. James was missing volleys and Greg took a fall on the courts. With a badly twisted ankle, the prospects were not good. Greg, however, continued gamely on, and found himself serving at 4-5. Having drastically adapted his service motion to feature exactly no jumping (and the painful landing), he was not helped by some wayward volleying from James. Serving at 30-40, this was the first set point that they’d been on the wrong side of in two years. Having come so far without losing, Greg and James dug deep to see out the service game and level the set. A break against the Templars serve spun the set back around, and with Greg’s ankle limbering up a little, James had the opportunity to serve for the set. Duly taken to win the first set 7-5, they were in no mood for falling at this particular hurdle. In the second set at 3-1 they managed to break again for a hopefully decisive three-game margin. Greg served with his feet firmly on the floor for a 5-1 lead, and Templars held the subsequent game to give James the opportunity once more to serve for the set. A mercifully straightforward game, topped off beautifully at 40-0 with an ace out wide. A highly enjoyable way to win a set, and maintain the unbeaten streak with a 6-2 victory.

It was a tough evening of tennis, from which West Heath emerged 18-6 victors. Congratulations to both teams for a hard-fought contest and an enjoyable evening with perhaps two of the largest pizzas available in north west London. Philip’s persona non grata status was discussed just a couple of times, as was the impending (or not) predicament facing the Templars members in the near-ish future.

The result leaves WH guaranteed a top-two finish this season (unless the Captain’s done the maths wrong), and only 3 points required for a mathematically certain 1st place (ditto). The team’s final match against Finchley Manor is an away fixture on July 25th, against the only other team with a prospect of winning the league (and promotion hopes of their own no doubt).

We are looking forward to the season finale!


Update

With Finchley Manor only achieving a 15-9 victory over Brampton III this week, this leaves them unable to top the division as they have two games to play and are more than 48 points behind. It confirms that West Heath II are, for the second year in a row, the Divisional Champions. The race is very much on for second place: Brondesbury, Totteridge and Finchley Manor could all scoop the second spot and with it promotion to Division 4.

Tournament Report – Monday 11 July

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, 2016 Tournament, Tournament

whdraw16_WhHollyhocksMihika Joshi is a junior member with adult playing rights. She is only 11 and not that tall right now.  Nevertheless she can play very good tennis as she proved against Rachel Savin, who joined West Heath this year and is playing team tennis.  The match was very tight, with good rallies and net play.  Mihita took the first set to 5-all but Rachel broke to take it 7-5.  Mihika also forced 6-all in the second set to take it to a deserved tie break though Rachel won this for a 7-5 7-6 victory.

If you would need a decent player to make up the fourth in your ladies, mixed or funny fours at social tennis then don’t forget to ask Mihika. And look out for her progress (which is likely to be rapid) in future years.

In the mixed, Barbara Thomas & Sam Evans beat Susan Grossman & Richard Wu 6-1 6-0.

In the mens singles Tim Simpson beat David Cohen 6-1 6-0.

(Did anyone take any pictures?)

Tournament Report – Sunday 10 July

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, 2016 Tournament, Tournament

After some threatening drizzle in the morning, the weather cleared up nicely and two matches were played today.
Carol and Michael Clarke provided their excellent annual tea which is generally regarded as the pinnacle of the West Heath social tennis tea season to which everyone should aspire.

In a tight match Moira Duncan & Bruce Rigal beat Vandana & Dhananjay Talwar in the Champions tie-break .  Vandana played well at the net and Dhananjay’s serve improved as the match went on.  And it was one of those matches where the losing side won the most games.  Bruce and Moira started a little nervously but played consistently to take the first set on the tie-break.  In the second set the Talwars were rampant and took it 6-2.  But Bruce and Moira then played consistently and calmly in the Champions tie-break in which they led 7-2 at one point.  But the Talwars came back to level at 8 all before Bruce and Moira stopped their momentum to seal the match with a 7-6[7-5] 2-6 [10-8] win.

Jasper Tressider and Mark Webb had a two-hour battle in the singles.  Jasper took the first set 7-5 but Mark was then warmed up and took the second set 6-3.  In the final set Jasper pulled ahead to 5-2 before Mark broke back to 5-4.  Mark then had a point for 5-5 but missed his backhand pass down the line, eventually giving Jasper a 7-5 3-6 6-4 victory. [final set score corrected to 6-4 from 6-3]

Tournament Report – Saturday 9 July

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, 2016 Tournament, Tournament

whdraw16WhTeaSat9July2016Today four matches were played and one wasn’t.

Paul O’Flynn and Joseph Rigal had a good battle in the singles.  Paul appears to have warmed up first (I bet he had already played that day) and took the first set 6-4.  However, Joseph did a good demolition job in the second set to take it 6-1.  Despite Paul’s attempts to slow down his momentum, Joseph then took the third set for a 4-6 6-1 6-3 victory.

Geoff Isaacs has a slight injury and has pulled out of the singles, giving Bruce Rigal a walkover.  Geoff will still play his doubles matches.

Eugene Belin tried to get games off Sam Evans in their singles match, but to no avail in the first set.  He did win one game in the second though, giving Sam a 6-0 6-1 victory.

Dudley Leigh and Richard Wu played their scheduled match early.  We know Dudley won, but there was no record of the final score.

whdraw16PeterAlbertoAlberto Zanatta and Peter Davies had a 2 hour 45 minute singles “war of attrition”.  With the wind and West Heath bounces making timing difficult, hitting winners was a high-risk strategy, and both players had good movement and consistency so points were hard to win.  That’s the same time it took Andy Murray to beat Raonic the following day to earn his second Wimbledon singles title.  Except that Andy is in his twenties, Alberto in his forties and Peter in his sixties.  Peter took the first set 6-3 and had high hopes with a break in the second, but Alberto dug in and forced a tie-break which he won 7-5.  In the third set Peter relaxed to hit the ball better, and despite good pressure from Alberto, broke and managed to hold on to it to take the match 6-3 6-7[7-5] 6-3.

2016 Tournament Rules

Posted on Posted in 2016, 2016 Tournament, Tournament

The draws for the tournament have been made and can be found here or on the clubhouse door. The rules for the tournament, such as the schedule and the match format are shown below.


  1. The Tournament officially begins on THURSDAY 8th JULY and the FINALS will be played on SATURDAY 23rd JULY. If rain prevents play, the FINALS will be played on SUNDAY 24th JULY. The Draw will be up by TUESDAY 6th JULY to allow competitors to arrange matches during the week. First round matches must be played before or on SATURDAY 9th JULY.
  2. A chart of available court times is drawn up and competitors are asked to book the courts they intend to play on.
  3. The players whose name appears in the top half of the bracket are initially responsible for challenging their opponents.
  4. The tournament is to be played on all the courts, apart from the semi-finals and the Finals, which will be played on grass, unless the weather does not permit. In the event of disagreement between the opponents on the surface to be chosen, this will be decided by the spin of the racket.
  5. New Balls will be provided for the FINALS.
  6. All rounds are to be played within the scheduled time indicated at the top of each draw sheet in order to allow smooth progress. Extensions will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and with permission from the joint Referees.
  7. All matches will be the best of 3 Tie-Break Sets except the DOUBLES EVENTS which will have the 3rd set as a MATCH TIE-BREAK (i.e. Champions T/B with a Team reaching 10 points with a margin of 2). The rules of the Tiebreak are displayed.
  8. All matches must be continuous and appeal for bad light will be considered after 9.00pm.
  9. Please give your Entry Fees £3/£5 to Moira or Marjan.
  10. Competitors are expected to volunteer to be lines persons on Finals day.
  11. Mixed Doubles Final will be scheduled for Thursday 21th July
  12. The schedule for 2nd week is fixed with Gourmet Dinners.
  13. The Joint Referees are Marjan and Sultan whose decisions will remain final.

 

Men’s II v Totteridge III

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, League, Men's II

Monday 4th July was arguably the second team’s most eagerly anticipated match for two reasons. Firstly it was against the team’s main rivals – Totteridge III – who are currently lying in second position in the league. Secondly, but more significantly, it was the team’s only opportunity to play on the grass, with the previous two home matches having been relocated; one to the hard courts and the other to the opposition’s club.

Two of the team’s regular players were missing with James calling the lines at Wimbledon and Philip recovering from a mysterious operation. James therefore drafted in two of West Heath’s more experienced players, both former captains of the second team, Jeff Fine and Mark Webb. The puzzle of the pairings however caused James a bit of a headache as most of the team were nervous about the prospect of a friendly summer evening of tennis turning into an inevitable series of squabbles over line calls. So James wisely decided to partner Jeff with the Sam, the only person that had never met him. That left the undefeated Greg to partner the always steady Mark Webb in the second pairing. The first pair consisted of Marcio partnering Tim, a previously untested partnership (some suspect that James is keen to prevent them from having too much practice together in advance of the summer tournament).

In a match that seemed to last for well over an hour Greg and Mark narrowly lost out 5-7 to Totteridge’s strong first pair. Jeff was cool calm and collected in their first set against the Totteridge second pair and with Sam serving nicely they managed to pick up 2 points for West Heath. Despite some nervy play at times, Marcio and Tim managed to hold things together to win their first set 6-1; a scoreline that was flattering with all things considered.

In the second round of matches Greg and Mark picked up 2 points for WH winning 6-3. Jeff and Sam played some good tennis but lost to the first pair and Marcio and Tim started to find their game, winning 6-2.

In the final round Mark was playing very consistent groundstrokes and Greg demonstrated why he’s currently the MVP in Middlesex Men’s NE Division 5. They easily won 6-0, 6-3. Marcio and Tim saved the best till last and pulled out 2 sets of glorious tennis, much to the delight of the growing crowd, 6-2, 6-2 the result. The most intriguing match up however was between the 3rd pairs: a pair that Jeff had previous history with. Having already played 2 sets on his best behaviour it was only a matter of time before Jeff’s patience would begin to wane. No-one quite knows what happened but line calls were challenged, an offer to play a let was refused and at one point Totteridge were even called up for foot faulting (on a serve that was out anyway). After a sustained period of arguing heard by most of Hampstead it felt like the tennis may get in the way of a good old fashioned punch up. In the end the first set was shared 6-6 after Jeff managed to get under his own skin and serve 3 double faults. However the emotions were channelled more effectively in the final set and West Heath sealed the final set with another 2 points to wrap up the tie 19-5 and all but guarantee themselves promotion for next season.

Marjan once again pulled out all the stops, cooking a delicious feast that was enjoyed by both teams in what somehow turned out to be a very good natured post match meal, despite the on court shenanigans.