Well thankfully the weather blessed finals day and all matches were completed in dry conditions. The day had begun at 10am when Richard Franks and Katie Barrett defeated Mike Triffitt and Louise Beasley in a close three setter to advance to the mixed doubles final. Those four all returned later in some capacity.
The Men’s singles opened proceedings on court one with the top two seeds Jamie Perkins and Josh Bayliss doing battle. Josh was looking to retain his crown but a match for the men’s first team in the morning left him looking jaded and despite a big effort he couldn’t contain the impressive tournament favourite Jamie. Perkins was serving big and hitting hard from deep and with some lovely forehand winners and clever backhand returns he was making things extremely tough for the champion. In a match which was very high on quality the pair entertained a good sized crowd before Perkins ran out a 6-1,6-2 winner to lift the crown.
Meanwhile over on court two Katie Barrett was taking on Anne Lillywhite and these two friends who are team mates in both the ladies and mixed teams were certainly giving it everything . Anne was using the width of the court well to stretch her opponent and with Katie unable to dominate the net like she can Lillywhite was moving ahead on the scoreboard. She took the opener 6-2 but Barrett was keen to ensure she didn’t run away with things and the second set was close throughout. Eventually Anne recorded a 6-2,6-4 success after a narrow second set success.
The show court then witnessed the ladies doubles which featured Janine Smith and Sue Perkins who took on Mary Fidler and Louise Beasley. Smith crawled off her sick bed but was looking sharp at the net especially as partner Perkins was producing some ferocious shots from deep. However Mary and Louise didn’t look fazed and the opener was very tight indeed. Eventually the favourites just edged it 7-5. Beasley made some crucial winners at the net and with Fidler battling away they were giving it everything to bounce back. However Smith and Perkins remained calm and focused and with some quality took the title after a 7-5,6-3 victory.
Richard Franks and Walter Skubiak were over on court two playing Kevin Duckenfield and Greg Vince in the final of the Men’s doubles. This turned out to be a real war of attrition with a number of long rallies dominated by the baseliners. However Kevin and Greg made the better start and with Duckenfield producing some lovely net play took the opener 6-2.
Richard ‘Duracell battery’ Franks however has a habit of winning three set matches and been one of the fittest players at the club didn’t look overly concerned. He was right to be confident as showing a very patient approach alongside the consistent Skubiak they bagged the second set 6-4. The Championship tie break to ten couldn’t have been closer and as the match swung both ways the crowd were kept on the edge of the seats watching in excitement. Finally Richard and Walter prevailed 11-9 after a real thriller.
There was no rest for Richard and Greg however as after a short rest they were back on the show court to finish the day off in the Mixed doubles. Richard paired with Katie and Greg with Anne as the girls renewed rivalry after the singles. It was no surprise to those left watching that the first set would go down to the wire with Richard and Katie taking it on a tie break for 7-6. By now the floodlights were on and as the rallies remained well contested and hard fought the match was going on well into the evening. Both pairs were fighting for their lives and finding extra energy reserves produced some tremendous play. However with another tie break looming and 8pm fast approaching, Franks and Barrett finished the stronger for a 7-5,7-5 success after a memorable display.
A big thanks to organisers Mike Triffitt and Helen Robinson who were assisted by Ellie Triffitt this afternoon.
Well done to all those on show and to everyone who came to support today. Many of the players made a big effort to complete matches during the last five weeks and that is greatly appreciated.