Sunday September 18 was one of the hottest days of the year and also the date for the annual Club Tennis Finals Day. Sun cream and sun glasses were the order of the day and a good crowd gathered to witness the five finals on show.
The ladies and men’s singles kicked off the afternoon entertainment with Paul Hill facing Greg Vince on Court One. Hill was once again wearing heavy strapping and this tie was poised to be a long drawn out affair with both players looking to play from the baseline. There were countless long rallies but no quarter given from both men. However Hill has a deft backhand and the ability to stretch his opponents and was able to grind down the spirited Vince finally prevailing two sets to nil by 6-1,6-2.
Over on the adjoining Court Two, current champion Helen Robinson was playing Janine Smith. These two hard hitters were content to also play from deep but the tie appeared to be going to form when the champion won the opener 6-1. However credit Smith who suddenly began playing some tremendous tennis to put the favourite on the back foot and the match was suddenly on a knife edge after Smith levelled up after a second set 4-6 success. However as the sun beat down Robinson showed her class and remaining calm was able to compose herself running out a cosy 6-0 winner for a two sets to one victory.
The men’s and ladies doubles followed with Smith and Robinson now teaming up and joining forces to play Mary Fidler and Ann Jones. Robinson was a hot favourite to double up again and she and Smith quickly gelled. Jones and Fidler were determined to give them a match though and ensured the favourites were kept on their toes before the ladies in pink won the opening set 6-3. The second set was extremely exciting with the underdogs surprising their opponents racing into a 4 -0 lead and threatening to upset the form book. Robinson and Smith came back strongly however and the set went to a tie break before a 7-6 success saw a 2-0 victory.
On Court Two Brian Thomas and Mike Triffitt were playing Greg Vince and Walter Skubiak. Vince had made a quick shirt change and was ready to do battle and pick up some silverware on the day. He and Skubiak were quickly into their stride and with Triffitt and Thomas unable to get any sort of form going the set was a comprehensive 6-0 . The second began with some cagey tennis with plenty of long baseline rallies where mistakes rather than points won were the order of the day. Ebbing one way then another Triffitt saved match point on his service game and he and Thomas edged ahead 6-5. However they were unable to press home the advantage and a tie break ensued. Poised at 5-5 Vince and Skubiak won back to back points for a 7-5 tie break score line and a 2-0 win 6-0,7-6 in a match that lasted almost 2 ½ hours. Skubiak was winning a fourth men’s doubles final which he assures me is now a club record!.
This left the last match of the day to round off proceedings with Paul Hill back on court joined by Debbie Vines to play Jill Abel and Walter Skubiak who became the fourth person of the day to play in two finals. This mixed doubles final was going to be a battle but Hill and Vines had looked strong during qualifying and went off favourites today. There wasn’t much in the first set with both couples having moments of supremacy before the favourites edged home 6-3. Hill was starting to run low on fuel after a long day and this was starting to become a war of attrition. Ebbing one way then the other the match reached 5-5 so a tie break was played. With Vines extremely consistent and keeping many a lost cause in play and Hill using his short game and unplayable drop shots to good effect,the duo won the tie break for a 2-0 success 6-3,6-5.
Special mention and a hugh thanks to Mike Butterworth who organised the event and ran the finals day. He had to endure a long day of tennis in very hot condition’s but provided trophies for the winners and a bottle of wine to all the competitors which were greatly received. Well done and your efforts were much appreciated.
Thanks to all the players who entered this year and a big congratulations to both winners and losers for making Finals day a memorable one.