Categories
2016 League Men's II

Men’s II v Templars

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.

Categories
2016 2016 Tournament Tournament

Tournament Report – Monday 11 July

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?)

Categories
2016 2016 Tournament Tournament

Tournament Report – Sunday 10 July

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]

Categories
2016 2016 Tournament Tournament

Tournament Report – Saturday 9 July

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.

Categories
2016 2016 Tournament Tournament

2016 Tournament Rules

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.

 

Categories
2016 League Men's II

Men’s II v Totteridge III

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.

Categories
2016 League Men's II

Men’s II v Farm Walk I

The original fixture was cancelled pre-emptively due to impending weather. The rearranged fixture was moved to Farm Walk to take advantage of their more-weather courts. Their hospitality and welcome was well received by all of the West Heath team.

However, the weather wasn’t quite what was planned. The optimists among us (i.e. the two captains) were adamant that the fixture could start at 7pm prompt. After all, that was what the weather forecasts forecasted. However, à la Tim Henman and Goran Ivanisevic in 2001, the stop-start nature of the match (“why are we playing in this!”) was doing little to keep toys in prams and tempers unfrayed. Some rain later, the actors returned to their courts’ centres and managed to complete the full four sets before the impending darkness swallowed man and ball to the NW11 night.

The rain and delays clearly caused some trouble to The Heathens. James and Greg struggled to a 3-3 position in the first set against the third pair before the last of the rain delays. Upon resumption, they got their act together to win the next triumvirate of games and take the set 6-3. The first pair of Philip and Marcio struggled against the tough FW 2nd pairing, losing it 2-6. Equally struggling to find their feet were Sam and Tim whose loaf just didn’t rise enough in the end; they went valiantly down 4-6.

For the second round the visitors found their feet with the conditions and produced a performance much more reminiscent of their previous matches. Philip and Marcio baked the first of the evening’s two bagels whilst the other pairings each took their set with a two-to-one game ratio, i.e. 6-3. Crumbs!

Philip and Marcio put in a good effort against the first pair of Theo and John. They took the first set 6-2 but unfortunately could not capitalise on it and succumbed 4-6 in their final set. No such problems for James and Greg who managed a flattering 6-2 6-1 victory, whilst Sam and Tim let slip one game for a 6-1 6-0 bagel-baked finish.

Post match refreshments of beer and pizza went down a treat, and the 18-6 scoreline was just what was kneaded (why not continue the bakery theme). It puts the Men’s II team in a comfortable position at the top of the division. With a cushion of 23 points, the next fixture against the division’s second-placed team may make or break the season for both teams.

Roll on July 4th. Aha!

Categories
2016 League Men's II

Men’s II v Brondesbury III

The weather put a dampener on this fixture, with it being played instead on the hard courts. Whilst the weather wasn’t exactly perfect, it was certainly a relief to complete the fixture’s 12 sets.

James and Greg started out on the reserve court and took a while to find their feet. But find them they did, and recorded a 6-2 start. Meanwhile back at the club Tim and Sam came up against the tricky first pair, but bagged a point for a 6-6 effort. Philip and Takuya, playing his first match this season, got off to a strong start with a 6-2 victory.

The second round of matches produced a clean sweep for the West Heath gentlemen, with 6-3 / 6-2 / 6-3 shorelines recorded (although perhaps some of the set scores make the encounter look a little more one-sided than in reality).

James and Greg’s final round was certainly prefixed with an interesting episode, but it did not fully deter them. They recorded a 6-1 6-3 scoreline, and were certainly made to work for some of the games with some exceptional hustling by Jon.

Sam and Tim did exceptionally well to record a 6-1 6-2 scoreline against the tricky second pair, and Philip and Takuya also performed meritoriously to turn around a first set loss with a convincing final set. Their final score of 5-7 6-1 totalled a good evening for West Heath II. A 21-3 victory sets the team up nicely for the next fixture against a handy-looking Farm Walk.

Thanks also to Marjan for her menu; good food and drink was enjoyed very amicably by both teams after the on-court formalities were completed.

Categories
2016 2016 Tournament Tournament

Prolific Champions

The graph below shows who has won the most titles at West Heath over the years. Jane is way out front…

The graph below shows multiple title winners from the year 2010 onwards. Who will add to their total this year?

Categories
2016 League Men's II

Men’s II v Brampton III

The second team’s second match was another away fixture at Brampton, against their 3rd team. The match took place directly opposite the sun, which had just about disappeared behind a building in time for the fourth and final set. Even Philip, in spite of his protestations about being too chic for sunnies, was seen sporting a fetching pair.

And a good job it did him and his partner, Dan. The third pair got off to a terrific start, against their 1st pair, by winning the first set without dropping a single game. The rubber came to an end, and was heralded by Dan’s cry of ‘yes!’ as he framed a deft volley away for a winner. Their second rubber was a little less one-sided than the first, but it was taken for West Heath by a score of 6-3. In the final rubber, Philip took a nasty tumble, and grazed his knee on the carpet/sand courts. Nevertheless he soldiered on, and with Dan’s elbow a little ropey since the off, the invalided pairing comfortably closed out the final two sets 6-1 6-1. A loss of just 5 games is an excellent statistic for a previously untested partnership.

In a very much tested partnership, Greg and James were mostly ruthlessly efficient throughout the four sets. Against the third pair they recorded a bagel and were disappointed to lose a game against the first pair. However, James is certainly blaming a little bit of that on the wicked sun. Not sure who Greg is blaming… But in spite of such gut-wrenching disappointment they warmed themselves up after rather a pause and claimed 6 unanswered games against the second pair. Second set languidness prevailed again at the beginning of the final set, but they contrived to close the rubber out 6-0 6-2. It gave them plenty of time to admire, with beer in hand, the other two matches in action. As requested by Marjan (congratulations on the golf!), we stayed on court until the allotted time of 8.30pm to give her time to hotfoot it from Muswell Hill and get the excellent supper on the go.

Marcio was put with the recently recruited Sam, who was making his début. A steady hand to calm the nerves expected from a debutant entering a body as august as the West Heath Men’s II team (NE Division 5 don’t you know!). They got off to an excellent start (like the other two pairs, in fact) and recorded a 6-0 victory against the second pair. They continued well against the third pair and conceded just the one game to win 6-1. They then faced the skilled, if erratic, first pair but prevailed with consistency and flair. Recording a scoreline of 6-2 6-3 they performed as requested from the captain, and continued the winning ways of the first pair.

2016-05-14 13.29.15

The top slot in the second team had been occupied almost exclusively by the Greg/James partnership throughout the 2015 season, and the captain’s relinquishing of it was meditated by having lost to Sam and Marcio in a 5-set thriller on Saturday. It was so thrilling in fact, that the participants had a break for a hasty cup of tea after the first set. This was followed by three more sets, which were then followed by pizzas and more tea. The deciding set, with the 1st pairing up for grabs, was the opening match of the West Heath grass court season. Sam and Marcio prevailed in that deciding final set, and earnt their right for the top spot against Brampton. And well deserved too!

Congratulations to all the team for recording a 24-0 victory. It puts us in an excellent position ahead of what will be a testing encounter against Brondesbury III. We played against their fourth team last season, and now have the pleasure of inviting their third team to play on the grass on June 1st.

Categories
2016

Grass Courts Open!

The grass courts were officially opened on Saturday 14th May, with social tennis kicking off a little bit before 2.30pm. They have been extensively remodelled this year, with new grass, more soil, less soil and even more new grass. They are a great to play on, and will only improve as they get a little firmer with usage.

However, the courts must not be played on outside of allocated hours. Starting too soon and playing too late will damage them, which will result in poorer courts for the rest of the season. The current playing times are between 2.30 – 8.30pm (assuming that they are dry).

The courts were enjoyed by many, and a sumptuous tea was served by Lesley to kick off the tennis and tea season.

The groundsmen errect the nets and prepare the courts.
The groundsmen errect the nets and prepare the courts.
Many lawnmowers are needed to prepare high quality grass courts.
Many lawnmowers are needed to prepare high quality grass courts.
Maciek returns serve with aplomb.
Maciek returns serve with aplomb. Meanwhile, on the far court, Jeff’s stretching for one.
Categories
2016 League Men's II

Men’s II v UCS Old Boys II

The men’s second team’s first match of the season was an away fixture against the Old Boys of University College School. The match look place at the UCS playing fields in moderately clement weather with only occasional breezes.

The match was played entirely in good humour, in spite of the unusually sandy courts which both teams took a while to get used to. On the plus side it was easy to see where the balls landed due to the slight eruption from the court.

Philip continued his winning ways (since 2005).
Philip continued his winning ways. (2005)

After a slight tiff the night before, Tim and Philip combined wonderfully on court. They put their differences to one side for the sake of the second team, and recorded an almost faultless performance. They came up against one of this season’s new rules: no tiebreaks at 6-6.

Having been out of action due to shoulder injuries, Marcio made his comeback with Dan. They both performed excellently well – in a previously untried partnership – with Marcio’s serve surprisingly being his most consistent shot in spite of a month of shoulder massages and not raising his arm above the horizontal… They dropped just one set 5-7 against the tricky second pair, but picked themselves up to romp to a 6-3 6-0 victory at the end.

James and Greg started strongly, which was a relief. The first two sets were won with the loss of a single game. The third set was delicately in the balance at 4-4 with opportunities for UCS to steal a march and go 5-4 ahead. Having overcome this little wobble, Greg and James closed it out in typically ruthless style. Beers were waiting.

The second team’s next fixture on May 16th, is another away match, this time against Brampton III.

The league results for all four teams can be seen here.

Categories
2016 Web

New Website

West Heath has a new website. It is a little different to the old one. If you have any comments, then please get in touch.

But if you have any photos that you think would improve the website, then please send them to me!

Categories
2015

New Grass Growing

The new grass at West Heath has been growing well over the exceptionally mild winter. Long may it continue, and we look forward to the improved courts come the new season!

[Photos to follow!]

Categories
2015 League Men's II

Men’s II – League Champions

The Men’s II team topped their league after completing a victory against The Drive III. They now move into the heady heights of Middlesex North East Division V!

West Heath II 5 Aug 15
Categories
2015 2015 Tournament Tournament

Finals Day 2015

After some heavy rain during the night, the day was clear, but not particularly warm. The courts were still slightly moist when the singles matches began, though there was no risk of rain for the spectators. These included our international social member, Blake Fillion, who is now working in San Francisco but came to visit us for the second week of the tournament.

The Finals Day Tea was as sumptuous as the occasion demands, and everyone is still finishing off various cakes.

Congratulations to Cedric de la Chaise on a clean sweep of events, repeating his performances of 2005, 2006 and 2011.

2015-07-21-22.07.39
Categories
2015 2015 Tournament Tournament

Ladies’ Doubles Final 2015

Ladies’ Doubles Final – Marjan Denis & Elena Valarche (1) vs Carine & Margaux Valarche (2)

whdraw15marjancarinejuliamargauxelena300x289
Umpired by Julia Abbot, this match involved no less than three Valarches for a needle contest of mother, Elena, vs daughters Carine (18 and off to Cambridge if she gets her A*, A*, A) and Margaux (16). Marjan and Carine brought some heavy ground strokes to the table, while Elena and Margaux are both very comfortable at the net. Carine has less experience of match-play doubles than the others as she is the one who does not spend all available leisure time playing tennis. On the other hand, returning on the backhand, she has a heavy cross-court return which can set up the point for Margaux to win at the net. The youngsters had the edge in the first set, which they took 6-3.

The second set was a much closer affair, reaching 6 all to give the youngsters a target of winning one of the two tie-breaks (set tie break and champions tie break) to take the match. However, they only needed the first tie-break which they won 7-3 for a 6-3 7-67-3 victory. Hopefully Carine and Margaux will defend their title next year.

The more perceptive among you will already have realised, but in any case Elena would want me to point out the change of outfit between the singles (turquoise) and doubles (white top with blue pleated skirt) finals. That’s to make her feel a little better after losing both finals – to her doubles partner and her children respectively.

Categories
2015 2015 Tournament Tournament

Men’s Doubles Final 2015

Cedric de la Chaise & Peter Fitzgerald (1) vs Sultan Gangji & Graeme Pearson (2)

whdraw15graemesultanedjamescedricpeter300x257
Again, under the eagle eye of LTA umpire James McKenzie this year’s final was also the third final in a row that these pairs had contested, Cedric and Peter getting the upper hand in 2013 and 2014.  The courts must have dried out considerably by the time of the doubles final, because Peter seemed to have no qualms about throwing himself around the courts with customary abandon when putting his all into getting a shot which might have otherwise been out of reach.  From the perspective of Sultan and Graeme, the fact Graeme had clocked up his first loss in the West Heath singles final in the immediately preceding match might have been a little dispiriting.
Another factor may be that Graeme’s solid topspin baseline game has less impact in a doubles match.  And while Sultan played very well in the doubles semi-final, he was not on top form right at the start of this match.  These factors combined with great play by Cedric and Peter, and some bad bounces, allowed the title holders, Cedric and Peter to increase their winning margin from last year to win the match 6-1 6-1 (last year was 6-4 6-1)

Peter is unlikely to compete and win with Cedric in next year’s tournament, as his company has asked him to go on a prestigious two-year assignment to Japan in early August.  We wish him all the best in his new role, and hope he will be returning to play at West Heath at the conclusion.

Categories
2015 2015 Tournament Tournament

Ladies’ Singles Final 2015

Marjan Denis (1) vs Elena Valarche (2)

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In a repeat of the 2013 and 2014 ladies’ singles finals, Marjan Denis and Elena Valarche squared off to each other for the third year in a row, umpired by Greg Lim. The match tactics went pretty much as you would expect. Elena would chip and charge the net at every opportunity, and the outcome of the point depended mainly on whether Marjan could withstand the pressure and hit the ball cleanly and precisely on the first passing shot.

In the first set, Marjan executed very well, allowing Elena very few winning vollies, and resulting in Marjan taking the set to love. However, in the second set Marjan started missing, allowing Elena into the match for the first time. At one point it looked like the match might go to a third set. But Marjan regained her concentration, starting to hit the passing-shot winners once more, and winning the second set 6-4 for a 6-0 6-4 victory.

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2015 2015 Tournament Tournament

Men’s Singles Final 2015

Graeme Pearson (1) vs Cedric de la Chaise (2)

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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!