Please make sure you have plenty of fluids with you if playing Monday or Tuesday. Temperatures are likely to reach all time UK records on these days.
There was a good crop of five matches today, including some very entertaining matches watched by a large crowd in the evening.
The early afternoon match was a ladies’ doubles between Gavriella Epstein-Lightman & Terry Heller, and Jen Ehr & Katie Baston, the first team players and top seeds. Gavriella is 14 and hadn’t played doubles matches, and hadn’t played on grass before, which takes some getting used to, while Terry felt she was not playing at 100%. Meanwhile, Katie and Jen are an experienced doubles pair, both with decent serves, and both Gavriella and Terry had difficulty in intercepting and returning them. Further, while Terry’s strength is at the net, the passes and weight of shot from Jen and Katies did not give her much chance to hit volleys from there. In the first set, Gavriella and Terry claimed 2 games, but gained no more in the second set, with Jen and Katie winning 6-2 6-0.
As always, with a younger player the rate of improvement is always spectacular, and Gavriella’s level of comfort on grass improved considerably, both during the match and during a subsequent friendly hit. So watch this space next year!
In the evening, there were a couple of men’s singles matches, and a mixed and men’s doubles.
According to bystanders, Charles Rubinstein and Alex Vallmajor, seemed to be focusing on relaxed conversations during changeovers in a match where the tennis might just have been a subsidiary factor. Since Alex plays regularly for the teams and is the sixth seed, quite possibly Charles had resigned himself to the inevitable and was probably needing an extended breather after chasing shots from Alex.
Charles is adept at awkward placement and made Alex run around a bit, but Alex is super consistent and well capable of running down balls. He did not need to use a lot of pace, so there were some good rallies. But, once he got to a ball, Alex always had the upper hand in terms of placement. Alex won the match 6-0 6-0.
Gideon Stone and Nic Sweeting had a close ding dong battle in the first set. Gideon appeared to be on his way to winning the set when he went a break up for 5-3. However, Nic fought back to take it to 5 all, then 6 all for a tie break. Nic then took the first 6 points of the tie break and won it 7-1. Nic then adopted a wider variety of tactics in the second set, which gave him the upper hand for a 7-67-1 6-2 victory.
Gideon and Nic are scheduled to play against each other again in the men’s doubles. Gideon is partnered with Geoff Isaacs, and Nic will be playing with Eugen Belin.
In the mixed, Lesley South & David Hirst took on Posy Frederick (and supporters) & Logan Mair, the third seeds. Lesley executed a number of signature angled shots to win points to great applause, and David hit some impressive forehand winners, also to great applause. But sadly David had to force the pace to get past the seeds, with some resulting errors. The seeds played solidly throughout and were convincing winners 6-2 6-0.
The final match of the evening turned into a late night thriller, with no spectators able to tear themselves away from the entertainment. Exhibitionist Jasper Tresidder & “tich” Paul O’Flynn played brothers Philip & Marc Reid. Runner up in the singles last year, Philip just hasn’t been playing that much. As a former junior member, Philip is still our only ever and thus reigning junior champion. Marc was also a junior member, but has not been playing at West Heath as an adult, until he re-joined the club this summer. Jasper and Paul play regularly against each other, and the match was expected to be competitive, provided they could keep their over-enthusiasm for hard hitting under control.
There were some great rallies and wonderful shots. Jasper restricting his inner Kyrios to a small number of underarm serves and hotdogs. Marc was overheard to say later than his serve had let him down. The first set was a warm up for the main act, and was won 6-4 by Jasper and Paul. Mid way through the second set, it looked as if this set was going to go identically, but the Reids resisted to take the score to 5 all, then 6 all, to force the tie break. Again, Jasper and Paul took an early minibreak lead, but got pegged back until the score reached 8 all, at which point a delighted Jasper and particularly Paul sealed a memorable victory (any pictures of the hug?) 6-4 7-610-8
If it does not play immediately, click on the video above!!
Of course, during the tournament, the regular Middlesex team league matches have still been going on. On Friday, here are the third pair, Moira Duncan and Jane Boyle helping out the West Heath ladies first team, who are more typically “under 30s” nowadays, captained by Jen Ehr. We draw more attention to the matching attire in the picture, rather than the fact Moira and Jane won games, but not sets, against South Hampstead. Overall, the West Heath team won 3 sets out of 12 for 6 points out of 24.
On Friday evening the Cumberland were confident of whitewashing the West Heath men’s first team. But our heroes, in the photo below, played superbly to hold them to a 12-all points draw.