Report by Russell Finch
The second finals day of the summer kicked off early with a handicap doubles semi final where Jenny Partridge and Andrew Morrison took on David Stone and Mark Callaghan. Jenny and Andrew raced off to a quick 3 game lead in the best-of-9 contest. This prompted David and Mark to focus hard on cutting out the errors, causing lots of very long rallies. They ended up taking a 5-4 win in two and a half hours, probably the longest handicap match we have ever had.
While that match was grinding to a conclusion, the finals kicked off to an extremely sparse crowd. John Phillips and Emma Knowles started out as hot favourites against Russell Finch and Ravinder Norman, and they lived up to their billing by racing into a 4-0 lead. Russell and Ravinder fought back to take the next three games largely thanks to some expert lobbing by Ravinder, but this only made the favourites redouble their focus and take the next 8 games to run out 6-3 6-0 winners.
After a lengthy break to allow David and Mark’s aching limbs to recover, and Nathan to get some breakfast after a night on the tiles in London on Saturday, the Handicap doubles final kicked off in a reduced best-of-7 tie breaks format with David and Mark starting at 0-6 up to 14 against the father and son team of Martin and Nathan Osborn. The Osborns began by rattling through the first two games, only for David and Mark to find their feet in the third, catching up the handicap and going 12-10 up, only for the Osborns to fight back and take the game. David and Mark played some good stuff to take the fourth game and made up the handicap to 8-8 in the fifth game, only for the Osborns to step up with some strong forehands from Nathan and good net play by Martin to win and take the match 4-1.
The day was finished in front of a big crowd with the mens’ doubles final. Jon Blatchford and John Phillips had overcome the 2017 winners David Smith and Andy Sayer in the semi final, and began as strong favourites against Russell Finch and Mark Lardner. The two Johns showed their class in racing away to a 4-1 lead, but strong serving from Russell and Mark’s tricky variety of topspin, slices and dropshots enabled them to draw back to 5-5 and raise the possibility of a shock result. However the Johns had other ideas and took the next 7 games. One more good service game from Russell briefly held them up but they ended up taking the match 7-5 6-1.
Overall we had an enjoyable day in good sunny weather without the heat of the July finals day. See you all again next year !!