Sunday afternoon means nice weather and the mixed third team in house match as the series continues with more new faces on show this week. Tony Cutler was back from vacation to skipper Tony’s Tigers whilst Ann Jones captained Jones Jaguars who featured two debutants including one playing his first ever game of doubles!
The Tigers opened with Tony and regular partner Katie Barrett, who was making a welcome return to action in the mixed, and they faced Bradley Triffitt and newcomer Andy Howden. Andy joined earlier in the year and despite little experience played in the singles competition this summer and is keen to improve with coaching. He was incredibly playing his first doubles game ever but in youngster Triffitt had a nice understanding partner. Cutler and Barrett are a vey useful duo at this level and were soon ahead 4-1 but the Jags fought back to level at 4-4. Andy was enjoying the action and hitting some nice returns and his court coverage was impressive. The Tigers kicked on but the Jags took the last rubber and were pleased to only narrowly lose 7-5.
David Rhodes and Anne Lillywhite are another experienced pairing and they entertained Arun Manoharan and another debutant in Claire Carvis. Claire has caught the eye during her run to the semi-final of the summer mixed doubles competition and is bubbly and easy going on court. Arun continues to improve each week and has enjoyed his competitive matches. This always looked a close match to call and so it proved. Little between the pairs and fittingly a 6-6 draw meant smiles all round.
Tom Harrington is another regular and he teamed up with Marise Richfield who is a long standing member at the club and played many mixed matches in her career. They faced newcomer Alex Comerford, who joined in the summer, and the wily Ann Jones who is a standing dish these Sunday fixtures and brings a wealth of experience to the table. Alex is a strong server and hitter but would have his work cut out to combat the elusive Harrington who always keeps his opponents guessing with a concoction of well executed and nicely disguised winners. Marise is a very consistent performer and despite Jones keeping many rallies alive it was the Tigers with too much firepower in running out 9-3 winners and giving the hosts a 22-14 opening round advantage.
Brad and Andy improved again in their second round match but needed too with David and Anne on the other side of the net. However this was another close and competitive affair but the hosts had more consistency and despite Triffitt hitting some big winners they once more fell to a narrow 7-5 reverse.
Tom and Marise were playing like a well-oiled engine and relentlessly pounding away producing many winners as they took on Arun and Claire. There were many long rallies and numerous deuce games and each player enjoyed some memorable moments. However once more the Tigers were too sharp and roared to a 8-4 victory.
Tony and Katie moved down to court three and perhaps were taken by surprise as Alex and Ann were quickly out of the traps and smartly into stride. Alex was using spin to bamboozle Tony at this own game and Ann was certainly giving everything as always. Tony was equally effective with spin and with Katie having success at the net this rubber went down to the wire. No complaints however as it finished all square at 6-6 which extended the Tigers lead to 43-29.
It was going to take a mammoth effort for the Jags to somehow pull off a miracle but Brad and Andy were determined to make the winners enclosure in their third try. They raced into a 3-0 lead and were looking confident. However Tom and Marise had been so impressive and soon fought back with some intelligent tennis. They used the width of the court and found space to take the lead and despite their best efforts it was a third successive 7-5 reverse for the Jags and an impressive 24 point haul for the hosts third pair. A big thanks to Andy for taking the leap of faith and throwing himself in at the deep end and his backs to the wall efforts were rewarded with a honourable 15 points.
Tony and Katie also ensured they would be involved in three tight matches as they enjoyed a cracking rubber with Arun and Claire. Claire was playing extremely well with some lovely controlled tennis but she wasn’t quite able to prevent Tony and Katie running out 7-5 winners.
David and Anne also rounded off a good nights work as they took the finale 8-4 with Alex and Ann to record 21 points tonight. Another well done and thanks to Alex for taking the plunge at mixed team tennis level.
Therefore the Tigers were able to celebrate a 65-43 success but so many positives on the evening and once again these matches proving a great opportunity to hand new members a taste of competitive mixed doubles.