Bank Holiday Monday American Tournament 29th May 2017
Late May and the last of our Bank Holidays until the end of the Summer, how better to enjoy the time with some friendly competition on the tennis court – and so it was at Wickham Bishops Tennis Club, with our second open American Tournament of the year.
The weather’s never far from our minds on these occasions and this weekend was no exception with oppressive heat and humidity building over the Saturday and Sunday but forecast to break – at about 2am on the Monday morning before the tournament. Sure enough, there was a terrific thunder storm (some are saying it was actually just Kath Welsh getting in some practice with her booming whistle, but I couldn’t comment). The storm might have kept at least one of your organisers up that night, and no doubt some of the competitors, but it did help to clear the air so come 9:30 in the morning there were near perfect conditions for tennis.
The tournament was played under a tried and tested format, with eight men and eight ladies randomly drawn into different mixed doubles pairs for each of seven fifteen minute rounds. Each round starts and finishes with the blast of Kath’s said whistle and points are simply scored as 1, 2, 3 etc. rather than the traditional tennis scoring system. These competitions always attract a good mix of members, some very familiar to the format and some new faces, and this time was no exception.
After a warm-up and rules briefing it was time to get serious with the early rounds. It didn’t take long for Harry Waldie (Singles Champion 2015) to make his mark in the men’s competition, leading the scoreboard after just one round (albeit only by a point). However, by round four Harry had built up a modest five point lead over Ed Malone (runner up in the Easter American tournament) winning each of his individual matches so far, including a narrow two point win with Muriel Stephens in a round against Ed and his wife Tamsin during which we saw what must have been one of the longest rallies in American Tournament history with Harry and Tamsin going corner to corner (the point eventually, and I mean eventually, going to Harry and Muriel)!
In the ladies competition, Jenny Cooper and Mandy Mickelsen were both off to a strong start posting the top scores in the first round, however Jenny followed it up with a disappointing round two whilst Mandy lost some ground in round three before both were back scoring in the 20’s for round four and at the top of the leaderboard come the refreshment break.
Cold drinks all round at the break and a chance to check the scores whilst munching on a very tasty strawberry or vanilla cupcake or two.
Harry Waldie 83pts
Ed Malone 78pts
Richard Brown 70pts
Jenny Cooper 77pts
Mandy Mickelsen 74pts
Tamsin Malone 68pts
The last cupcake crumbs had barely been licked off the lips and everyone was back out on court again all set for the final three rounds. In the men’s competition, Harry continued to apply his relentless pressure on the rest of the field comfortably scoring enough to maintain sufficient gap over second place and winning the competition – well done Harry! However, it was round six that was to prove a turning point for the runner-up slot with Greg Deery (partnering Mandy Mickelsen), and Peter Mickelsen (partnering Vanessa Ellams) respectively posting the highest and second highest scores for a round all morning, putting them both on the same total in joint second place and in the process nudging Ed down to fourth by just one point. So it was down to the last round, which by a twist of fate had scheduled Peter, partnering Pauline Royden in her first American tournament, up against Ed – it was Peter who came out victorious, not only winning his match but also securing the most points of all eight pairs and snatching the runner’s up prize in the process.
Round six also had a crucial bearing on the ladies competition with Mandy Mickelsen leap-frogging Jenny Cooper by virtue of that highest score, and Vanessa Ellams putting herself right in the mix. But it was the final round that was to prove decisive – no question about the winner as Mandy did more than enough to secure top spot with 131 points, making it a very good morning for the Mickelsens, well done Mandy! But it was the battle for runner-up that got the organisers reaching for the rule book. Another strong round from Vanessa right at the end had put her in a tie with Jenny on 127 points, so it was a look back across the morning to see who had won the most individual rounds – both had won 4 rounds each! Prepared for such an event, the organisers then look to points lost throughout the competition and I’m pleased to say, this did differentiate between the two with Vanessa having lost four points less than Jenny over all seven rounds she was awarded with second place – well done to both of you for making it such a close finish!
The morning concluded with the prize giving ceremony, raffle and some well-earned ice-creams. Once again, a huge thanks to Kath Welsh, Neil Salmon and Jon Gustard for all their hard work and to Jon’s wife Tess for spending a very hot Sunday afternoon in the kitchen making the cakes, without all their efforts these tournaments simply wouldn’t happen. And thanks also to everyone who participated – your quick turnaround between rounds kept the event moving and everyone’s sense of fair play made it such a great way to spend a Bank Holiday morning.
For the history books the final top 5 placings were as follows:
Harry Waldie 133pts
Peter Mickelsen 125pts
Greg Deery 120pts
Ed Malone 117pts
Richard Brown 116pts
Mandy Mickelsen 131pts
Vanessa Ellams 127pts
Jenny Cooper 127pts
Pauline Royden 115pts
Tamsin Malone 113pts
For the final results of all the box leagues, please use the following link:
W.B.T.C. Easter Monday American Tournament (17th April 2017)
With many full of chocolate and other treats as the long Easter weekend headed towards a close, what better way to spend the Bank Holiday Monday than running off some of those excess calories than on the tennis court? And to assist W.B.T.C members to do just that and on a rather fresh but fortunately dry mid-April morning, the club’s first American Tournament of 2017 was held, also raising money for Essex Air Ambulance, the club’s nominated charity for 2017.
The tournament was played under a tried and tested format, with eight men and eight ladies randomly drawn into mixed doubles pairs playing rounds of fifteen minutes each. After each round it’s all change and a new set of random mixed doubles pairings compete for a further 15 minutes. Each round starts and finishes with the blast of a whistle and points are simply scored as 1, 2, 3 etc. rather than the traditional tennis scoring system. It’s a really fun format that does throw up some fascinating combinations within individual rounds and it was great to welcome some new faces to the tournament and to see such a great range of abilities as those new to the game played with or against some of the club’s top players on an equal footing.
And so to the tennis, three hard played rounds in and there was a tie for the top spot for the men with Singles Champion Will Gurton sharing the lead with Ed Malone in his first American Tournament. For the ladies, Elaine Johnson, certainly one of the favourites at the start, was building a small lead over second placed Jo McCulloch and Sue Harding in third. One more 15 minute round of play against the clock before the players would receive a well-earned break.
Before we knew it, it was time for the break with competitors (and organisers alike) enjoying coffee, tea and cupcakes (chocolate and vanilla or mojito – well, even after Easter we figured we’d earned them!) In the competition, a strong Round 4 from Will put him in the lead amongst the men and whilst Elaine posted a modest score it was more than enough for her to hold on to her lead ahead of the other ladies – the top 3 men and ladies were as follows:
Will Gurton 88pts
Ed Malone 82pts
Clive Hopgood 75pts
Elaine Johnson 77pts
Jane Johnston 70pts (tied)
Jo McCulloch 70pts (tied)
With the competitors refreshed after the break they were soon back out on court again eager to make their decisive moves over the last three rounds. The men’s competition remained close as Ed narrowed the gap on Will to just 4 points after Round 5 but the last two rounds would see Will paired up firstly with Elaine and then with Vanessa Ellams who had been posting very steady results all morning and was placed just behind the top three. Consequently, Will pushed on, gaining more points than any of the other men in both of the last rounds to win the Men’s competition on 154 points. Not far behind Ed consolidated his impressive second place in only his first American Tournament just 12 points behind Will followed by a gap of 23 points to third place John Johnston.
It was a similar story in the ladies competition with Elaine posting big scores in Rounds 5 and 6 giving her a 23 point lead over Jane Johnston which would be extremely difficult to turn over in the last round. And so it was, although Elaine only gained her lowest points haul of the morning in Round 7 it was more than enough to seal the win with 142 points as Jane also posted her lowest score of the competition. Meanwhile Vanessa maintained her steady progress and a strong final round was enough for her to nip in front of Jane just when it mattered to take second place overall with 124 points.
The morning concluded with the prize giving ceremony and a raffle, which together with the competition fees, raised a total of £110 for Essex Air Ambulance, the club’s nominated charity for 2017. A very big thank you goes out to Kath Welsh and Jon Gustard for organising the event, to Jon’s wife Tess for the cakes and to everyone who played and donated raffle prizes, all contributing to making it such an enjoyable way to spend a Bank Holiday morning.
For the history books the final top 5 placings were as follows:
Will Gurton 154pts
Ed Malone 142pts
John Johnston 119pts
John Kyan 116pts
Clive Hopgood 112pts
Elaine Johnson 142pts
Vanessa Ellams 124pts
Jo McCulloch 118pts
Jane Johnson 117pts(tied)
Hillary Needham 117pts(tied)
Annual General Meeting
The Fortieth Annual General Meeting of the Wickham Bishops Tennis Club took place on Monday, 7th November 2016 at 8pm in Wickham Bishops Village Hall. To assist the “social” feel of the event wine, soft drinks and nibbles were served afterwards.
Jenny Cooper (Chairman), Clive Allenby (Treasurer) and Kath Welsh (Junior Rep) gave comprehensive reports on the year’s activities. Our President, Val Martin thanked Jenny who has come to the end of her three year term as Chairman and the committee for their hard work in organising the 40th Anniversary celebrations and throughout the year. Jenny also thanked committee members for their outstanding support and wished Bill Stephens well as the new Chairman.
We also welcomed two new committee members, Jon Gustard and Zoe Cannon.
The Littlewoods Trophy – this trophy, donated by Brian and Thelma Littlewood, is awarded to an adult member for exceptional service or achievement. This was awarded to Lisa De Rosa for organising some great social events including the Caribbean evening, helping to organise more coaching and running the Club clothing ‘shop’.
The Junior Recognition Award was presented to Holly Whitworth for her patient work with the younger juniors and general contribution to junior tennis at the Club.
The ‘Suggestion of the Year’ winner was Rhys Smithson whose idea was for the Club to create a ‘Buddy ‘ system for new members to give them a more personal introduction to the Club and the way it runs. Rhys was awarded a trophy and free membership for a year.
The Wimbledon Trivia Quiz was jointly won by Kath Welsh
Congratulations to the prize winners:
Autumn American Tournament
Report By Neil Salmon, Tournament Referee
As a break from the norm, the tournament sub-committee decided to hold a weekday American Tournament, in order to hopefully attract some new, as well as regular, entrants. The date chosen was Monday 31st October which was very fortuitous as the weather was absolutely lovely. After a knock up, a prompt 10 o’clock start was made with the mixed pairings for the whole of the tournament being decided by the random draw of the computer programme so expertly devised by Richard Hurford. We have used this programme successfully a few times before because it means that the (eight) men each play against the other seven men once and of course the (eight) ladies play against the other seven ladies once. The system of scoring is points table tennis style, rather than the traditional tennis 15, 30 etc. Each match lasts for fourteen minutes, starting and finishing with the blow of a whistle, so speed of play is of the essence.
The first round of matches got underway with some interesting pairings and matches. Newcomers to the weekday Americans John Chamberlain and Mary McQue, were paired together to play against Paul Bluck and Jane Johnston, old hands and regulars at these tournaments. A close match ensued which Paul and Jane just won 19 – 17. This was from Paul’s view, to set the tone for the day, as he now lead the men’s section. Jane therefore lead the ladies section, but after just one round, everyone was still very much in with a chance of course. Over on court three, newcomer Alex McQue had been partnered with Wendy and they were playing against David B and Sue. After about twelve minutes, Alex had to move a lot faster than he is usually accustomed to and unfortunately sustained a very nasty injury in the process. Luckily expert help and advice was on hand as Vanessa was playing on court one, but this was the last that Alex was to see of the tournament. Hopefully he’ll be back when he’s fully fit. Kath then took Alex’s place for the remainder of the tournament and Alex made himself useful by sitting on a comfortable chair and blowing the whistle at the start and finish of each round.
After round four, everyone stopped for some well earned refreshments, which included some lovely home made cakes and biscuits supplied by Kath and Paul and some rather cheaper shop bought biscuits from Neil. At this stage, the leading scores were as follows:
Paul – 77
John J – 63
David B – 60
John C – 55
Jane – 72
Sam – 63
Mary – 62
Jill – 60
Paul and Jane had both built up substantial leads at this point and were quietly determined not to let them slip. However, the chasing packs were hard on their heels, especially in the ladies. Play resumed and three more rounds of matches were played and as the relentless sun beat down and tiredness started to set in, some extreme scores started to emerge. Highs of 23 and 21 points were recorded by some players and sadly lows of 7 and 9 were scored by others. These extreme highs and lows had a distinct bearing on the final scores and placings.
Paul held on to first place in the men’s section throughout the tournament and finished with an impressive 121 points, an average of just over 17 per match. The ladies was not so clear cut however. Due to the scores in the last three rounds, a remarkable thing happened that has not happened before, there was a three way tie! What were the organisers to do, they only had prizes for the first two! After a bit of cogitating and cake eating, they came up with an ingenious plan. The positions would be decided by individual games won and then points conceded. This meant that in her first American tournament, Mary came out on top which more than made up for husband Alex’s injury. Mary scored 110 points in total, as did Jane and Vanessa, which was amazing because after four rounds, Vanessa was last in the ladies section! They were all joint winners really but on the organisers countback plan, Mary was first, Vanessa second and Jane third.
Thank you to everyone for playing and hopefully everyone enjoyed it wherever they finished.
The final placings were as follows:
Paul – 121
David B – 113
John J & Richard H – 104
David F – 99
John C – 88
Cliff – 76
Mary & Vanessa & Jane – 110
Jill – 109
Sam & Wendy – 100
Carol & Sue – 93
The annual Autumn Cup competition at Wickham Bishops Tennis Club was contested by 16 members against a backdrop of perfect conditions last Sunday. In a two-stage event the first part followed an American tournament format with players drawn with different partners over eight round-robin rounds. Winning points against the clock during 12 minute segments of intense play ensured some exciting rallies were seen during the afternoon from all participants.
Keeping rallies to a minimum with attacking strokes seemed the best formula for success as for the ladies, Zoe Cannon and Lisa de Rosa gained the upper hand over rivals in the early exchanges by employing this tactic. However, such a game is open to unforced errors and with a more circumspect approach focusing on astute returns Elaine Johnson found herself jostling for the lead position at the halfway stage with Jane Little and Sarah Skinner just behind the other three looking for a top four slot and a place in the semi-final knock out phase of the tournament. The mens’ places were as keenly contested with an energetic yet disciplined Jon Gustard forging a path at the front closely followed by a consistent Clive Allenby employing cunning and a competitive mentality to maximum advantage. Meanwhile Greg Deery’s volleying prowess saw him emerge from the pack with a succession of smartly taken interceptions gaining valuable points. These three leaders were closely followed by Stephen Sparkes and Neil Salmon, their less consistent play in the initial rounds holding them back from the top positions.
As the afternoon wore on the heat and time on court took its toll on the older and less experienced match-play members. This combined with some players finding consistency that had previously been absent more points were being won in each round, making an inevitable difference to the Stage 1 outcome. At the end of eight rounds Zoe had consolidated her pole position amassing 120 points to lead the ladies into the semi-finals, where she was joined by Lisa (113 points), Elaine (110 points) and Sarah (101 points) just holding off Jane (99 points) for a prized place in the last four. For the men, Jon maintained his earlier form and finished with 127 points leading the way by some distance ahead of Clive (115 points), Steve (105 points) following a strong second-half performance and Greg (104 points) leaving Neil (99 points) ruing a number of missed opportunities on the day.
After a break for refreshments it was back onto court where the top eight competitors were then paired together for the second stage knockout portion of the event based on tie-break rules. The continuing high level of play seen throughout the afternoon was maintained as Stephen Sparkes and Lisa De Rosa emerged victorious after winning their two matches in fine style to ensure two new names were engraved on the Autumn Cup.
The Round Robin Stage – Points Scored
Zoe Cannon 120 Jon Gustard 127
Lisa De Rosa 113 Clive Allenby 115
Elaine Johnson 110 Stephen Sparkes 105
Sarah Skinner 101 Greg Deery 104
Jane Little 99 Neil Salmon 99
Sam Smoker 85 John Kyan 87
Hilary Needham 85 Alan De Rosa 79
Julia Deery 79 Rod Kendall 76
Stephen Sparkes/Lisa De Rosa 12
Jon Gustard/Sarah Skinner 8
Clive Allenby/Elaine Johnson 12
Greg Deery/Zoe Cannon 8
Stephen Sparkes/Lisa De Rosa 20
Clive Allenby/Elaine Johnson 17
Autumn Cup 2016 photos – see scrolling gallery at bottom of front page
Caribbean Evening – 10th September
Limited places left – please see Club Facebook page
or contact Lisa on 078111 117185
Bank Holiday Monday American Tournament 29th August 2016
Report by Jon Gustard, Tournament Organiser.
Clearly someone had forgotten to tell the weather that it was a Bank Holiday as come 10 o’clock on Monday morning we had 16 expectant competitors poised and ready for battle bathed in beautiful warm late Summer sunshine.
The last Bank Holiday tournament of the year was played under the tried and tested rules, again with seven mixed doubles rounds of fifteen minutes each, starting and stopping to the blow of Kath’s faithful whistle.
Patterns often start to emerge quite early on with this format, and two rounds in Neil Salmon and Richard Brown were putting a marker down in the Men’s competition with only one point between them to Neil’s favour, and with Richard six points ahead of Simon Jesney in third. For the Ladies, Elaine Johnson was stretching out an early lead of seven points ahead of Lisa De Rosa who in turn was five points ahead of Julia Deery with Tracy Mapes, one point further back in fourth. All the while the temperature was rising as cries rang out of “When’s the refreshment break – was that seriously only Round Two we just played?”.
And so it continued for two more rounds before the break with charges being posted in both the Men’s and Ladies competitions – Richard B notched up 42 points in two rounds to Neil’s 25, whilst Tracy recorded 36 points to Julia’s 27, Elaine’s 25 and Lisa’s 24. Kath and Jon worked out the arithmetic as everyone took a break for teas and coffees, cup-cakes and Kath’s very popular speciality of Bara Brith, a traditional Welsh fruit loaf (thanks Kath, Carole Mugwanya and Mrs G for all the baking). So, with four rounds played here’s how it looked at the top:
Richard B 80pts
Neil S 64pts
Richard Hurford and Simon J 60pts
Elaine J 67pts
Tracy M 65pts
Jill McN 60pts
Back out into the heat of battle, and the heat of the August sunshine, Neil had two strong rounds whilst Richard B couldn’t repeat his high scores from earlier in the tournament leaving Neil just 5 points behind going into round seven. And here was a crowd pleaser – the random pairing generator had thrown up a gem with the top two, by now some way out in front, going head-to-head for the tournament in the last round. But the randomizer also paired Richard with an in-form Vanessa enabling him to bag 24 points to Neil’s 9 and securing him the overall win, in the end by a very impressive 20 points – congratulations Richard!
Arguably, the Ladies competition was even more tantalising with Tracy continuing her impressive run but with Lisa putting in a late charge leaving just two points between Tracy, Lisa and Elaine with one round to go. Tracy did more than enough in the final round to take the win – congratulations Tracy! But remember the 24 points above that Vanessa and Richard B won in Round Seven? Well they propelled Vanessa right up the rankings all the way to 109 points overall, tied with Lisa! Out came the rule book and some consultation between Kath and Jon, the tournament referees, who agreed that in the event of a tie the placings are determined by points lost – so this time around… deep breaths… Vanessa had lost 97 points to Lisa’s 94 – second place to Lisa!
Once again a huge thanks to Kath for doing all the hard work on the day and sourcing the prizes; thanks also to Richard Hurford for supplying the software which really does make organising this format a bit of a breeze. And thanks also to everyone who participated, a really lovely group and some terrific tennis!
Unfortunately no photos this time but the final top 5 placings were as follows:
Richard B 131pts
Neil S 111pts
Greg D 108pts
John K 104pts
Steve M 102pts
Tracy M 114pts
Lisa D 109pts
Vanessa E 109pts
Elaine J 105pts
Jill McN and Heather D 98pts
The Club celebrates its 40th anniversary today 30th July – with children’s activities, tea and cakes this afternoon and a barn dance in the evening. Members past and present have been invited to take part and celebrate the Club’s achievements and facilities.
Successful Club Finals Weekend- by Bill Stephens
Results – see ‘Championships’ page
Photos are being rotated through the Gallery
Back in 1982 when Wickham Bishops Tennis Club first held its Finals Day only three doubles finals (Mens, Ladies and Mixed) were contested. Fast forward to 2016 and this had increased to an incredible 28 finals, embracing adult (main tournament and plate) and junior competitors ranging from Under 10 boys and girls singles through to Mens Super Vets (Over 65) doubles matches.
Including juniors in the programme for the first time to engender an inclusive and family atmosphere meant the finals were spread over two days on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July with four courts in use to accommodate a full schedule and umpires in place for every match. The event was coordinated by Neil Salmon (Tournament Referee) assisted by an enthusiastic band of helpers and glorious weather throughout ensured there was no disruption to the planned running order.
Upwards of 100 players, Club members, relatives and friends attended on each day and they were awarded with some splendid tennis. A free BBQ proved popular with a seemingly endless supply of burgers and dogs prepared by Alan and Lisa De Rosa on Saturday with Tony and Trudi Easter and Paul Cooper taking over at the grill on Sunday. This fare was supplemented by the availability of cold and hot drinks on request with cakes donated by members and the infamous Strawberry tea a highlight on both afternoons all managed under the watchful control of Jo McCulloch and her team in the Pavilion.
We would like to extend special thanks to Joe and Becci at The Chequers Public House in Wickham Bishops who once again kindly sponsored the whole Summer Tournament and provided beer on the Finals weekend which was gratefully received by those present.
The matches themselves provided some memorable moments and the two blue-ribbon adult Singles events saw new names engraved on the trophies. In the Mens Final, Will Gurton seemingly found the transition from Junior to Senior to his liking as in a display of sustained hard hitting from all parts of the court he overcame the solid resistance and guile of Neil Strachan (the Club’s current Singles Ladder champion) to claim the title in two straight sets.
The Ladies Single title was won by Tracy Mapes in what was probably the outstanding match of the weekend, as she wore down the equally determined defending champion Julia Waddilove in an energy sapping three hour marathon played out in scorching conditions. This Sunday morning masterclass saw Tracy’s aggressive stroke play eventually overcoming Julia’s resolute counter attacking style, as she won 6-4 in the deciding set to enjoy a first Finals Day success.
Some defending champions did hold on to their trophies including Marian Harpur who ended up victorious in three finals. The first saw the retention of her Mixed Doubles title with Steve Taylor in another three-set thriller against the formidable pairing of Neil Strachan and Jenny Cooper, with many fine points being won by a put-away volley in true doubles style. Marian also found success once more with Peter Mickelsen to keep possession of their Mixed Vets Doubles title against first time finalists Brian Stafford and Lorraine Kimber, who showed sufficient glimpses of class to suggest they could be potential winners in the future.
Marian’s third success came in the inaugural Ladies Vets Doubles event where she partnered Jan Rochester to victory over Kath Welsh and Jenny Cooper in a delightful exhibition of court craft and placement depending more on finesse rather than ferocity to win the points. Special mention must be made of Jan’s victory as her name appeared on the trophy as a winner in the very first Ladies Doubles event in 1982 and here she was achieving the same outcome 34 years later. She is a very special player indeed.
Clive Allenby was also successful in three events, first defending his Mens Vets Singles title against old adversary Brian Stafford in a match that swung one way then the other with many long rallies testing the resilience of both players. The second win saw Clive team up with regular partner Graham Lewis-Taylor to overcome past winners Bill Stephens and Neil Salmon to lift the Mens Vets Doubles trophy with a score that belied the closeness of the contest. The support was fairly vocal in this encounter and produced the only Mexican wave of the weekend.
In the two other main finals, last year’s Mens Doubles winner Alex Peperell partnered Steve Southern this time around and they found themselves facing accomplished opposition in the form of Neil Strachan and James Coman. This proved to be an exceptionally high quality match with the four participants seeking net position whenever possible to gain advantage. A fine exhibition of serving, retrieving and volleying from all players drew prolonged and well deserved applause from the spectators throughout the encounter. In a tight three-set match, Steve and Alex eventually prevailed coming back from a set down to win 7-5 in the third.
The last match on court on Sunday was the Ladies Doubles which has traditionally provided a feast of good tennis and we were not disappointed once again. In the event Jenny Cooper and Julia Cloughton retained their crown against Jo Batley and Kath Welsh with many excellent exchanges being seen. With two unorthodox ‘lefties’ on court some unique shots were displayed which defied the laws of physics, but only added to the overall enjoyment and entertainment of the occasion.
The Junior finals were all played in a most sporting and good natured way. The high standard seen was testament to the hard work and dedication of Kath Welsh and her team of coaches that has instilled core standards of behaviour as well as teaching the fundamentals of the game. Highlights included a most mature performance by Fred Barnett in winning the Under 18 Boys Open Final, suggesting an exciting future ahead and double victories for Lily Sokhi in the Under 12 Girls and Under 14 Girls Open Finals, Holly Whitworth in the Under 16 Girls and Under 18 Girls Open Finals and Max Wiley in the Under 12 Boys and Under 14 Boys Finals.
May Bank Holiday Monday American Tournament
Report by Jon Gustard, Tournament Organiser
With the start of week two of the French Open suffering only the second day in its history without a single ball being hit, there was only one tennis tournament to be watching on Bank Holiday Monday – the W.B.T.C. American! Looking at the forecast, it was going to be a bit touch and go for us with the weather too, but whilst our intrepid competitors had some strong gales to contend with, thankfully the morning did remain dry bar the odd spot of rain in the air.
The tournament was played under the tried and tested rules, with seven mixed doubles “sets” of fifteen minutes each, starting and finishing with the blowing of Kath’s “ACME Thunderer” (any of you living within a ½ mile radius of the courts may have heard it!), and points being scored as 1, 2, 3 etc. It was great to welcome some new faces to the format and see some more experienced ones playing for the first time in a while, including Neil who has done such a great job on the “other side” organising so many of these events in the recent past.
After only two rounds Will Gurton and Clive Allenby had already started to make their mark by opening up a gap to the rest in the men’s competition; and in the ladies Jill McNulty, Janet Richardson and Vanessa Ellams were establishing a lead. After the first four rounds, we stopped for the customary coffee, tea and cup-cakes (strawberry milkshake or mojito, courtesy of Mrs G) at which point there was only one point in it between Clive and Will in favour of Clive, and Janet five points ahead of Vanessa in the Ladies, with the top 3 in each competition as follows:
Clive A 84pts
Will G 83pts
John K 73pts
Janet R 79pts
Vanessa E 74pts
Jill McN 69pts
The tea and cakes barely had time to settle and everyone was back out on court again eager for the last three rounds to battle it out for both prize and glory. The men’s competition remained on a knife-edge with Clive and Will matching each other with 21 points in Round 5, then Clive adding a single point more than Will in Round 6 to leave him 2 points ahead going into the last round, at which stage John was still in third place but with a lot of work to do being 15 points behind. In true Allenby style, Clive showed no mercy in the last round winning 23 points to Will’s 21 resulting in Clive winning the men’s competition by just 4 points.
In the ladies competition Round 5 was to prove to be crucial with Vanessa picking up 21 points to Janet’s 13 putting Vanessa 3 points ahead. Vanessa stretched her lead to 6 points after Round 6 and secured a well-earned victory with a strong performance of 21 points in the final round and an overall win by 8 points.
A huge thanks to Kath for doing all the hard work and sourcing some terrific prizes including a couple of towels actually used at Wimbledon 2015 (professionally laundered, which did lead to some debate!). Thanks ever so much to Richard Hurford too for supplying the software, the hardware and his precious time to run the 7 round scheduling and scoring throughout the tournament. Thanks also to everyone who participated – your quick turnaround between sets meant that we could keep the event moving and everyone’s sense of fair play and sportsmanship made it such a pleasurable way to spend a Bank Holiday morning!
For the history books the final top 5 placings were as follows:
Clive A 145pts
Will G 141pts
John K 121pts
Alan P 116pts
Neil S 110pts
Vanessa E 132pts
Janet R 124pts
Jill McN 118pts
Carole M and Tanya P 106pts
There are some photos of the morning in the Gallery
Easter Monday American Tournament
Report by Neil Salmon, event organiser
The long awaited first American tournament of the year looked like it was going to be awash out due to the wet and windy weather on Easter Monday morning, but the forecast was for it to improve in the afternoon. The forecasters were right as the wind duly died down and the rain stopped so a revised start time of 3.30 was chosen. The sun started to shine and although the wind was still blowing, it was more of a strong breeze rather than the gale we had in the morning! All but one of the original sixteen participants could make the revised start time so John Kyan stepped in as first reserve.
The tournament was played under the usual rules, with seven mixed doubles “sets” of fifteen minutes each, starting and finishing with the blowing of a whistle and points being scored as 1, 2, 3 etc. rather than the normal 15, 30, 40 etc. After the first four rounds, we stopped for refreshments and ate the home made cakes baked by Jo and Carole, mmm, lovely! The scores at this stage were very close in both the mens and ladies sections and the leaders were as follows:
Ed 80 points
Greg 80 points
Rod 70 points
Lorraine 73 points
Christy 71 points
Jo 71 points
We then tackled the final three “sets” with the wind dying down a bit but still the sun was shining. After round five, Greg had just edged ahead of Ed by two points in the men’s and Jo’s large score meant she leapfrogged both Christy and Lorraine into first place with an impressive eight point lead. Both Ed and Jo got high scores in round six which meant that barring disasters for either of them, they should end up being the eventual winners. There were no disasters and Ed duly won the mens by an impressive 23 points and Jo the ladies by a closer margin of seven points. Greg was runner up in the men’s and Lorraine secured second place in the ladies.
It was good to see some “first timers” in an American, namely John Barrett, Steve Mapes and Rod Kendall in the mens and Christy in the ladies, as well as many of the regulars. My thanks go to Kath for getting all the prizes, Jan for the balls, Jo and Carole for the lovely cakes and to Tom (Sam’s son) for being our (busy) ball boy for the afternoon!
I hope everyone enjoyed the tournament and I was particularly pleased that we got it played and didn’t have to give in to the weather.
The top five final placings were as follows:
Ed 147 points
John K 121
Steve M 119
Jo 136 points
Saskia Clark – Essex Sports Personality of the Year
A great night was had by all at the annual Club Quiz in Totham Village Hall. 14 teams battled it out for the honour of winning a newly commissioned trophy. Many thanks to Jo for organising the event and to the Quiz Management Team, Bill (Quizmaster), Muriel and Ian (Scorers), and Kath and Sue (for collecting answers and updating the scoreboard). Thank you also to those who supported the event so enthusiatically and those who donated prizes for the raffle. Surprisingly the mystery prize, in an envelope, undoubtedly the star prize, was left by prize winners to last. On opening, it turned out to be an invitation to join Kath and Lisa for tennis with scrummy afternoon tea! The lucky winner will remain anonymous (Ed.)! The event raised about £550 for the Club. A photo of the male members of the winning team is in the Gallery (the ladies were being modest about their achievement!)
WBTC Quiz Results
1 Team Salmon 133 points
2 Team Kyan 132
3 Team Watson 130
4 Team Rochester 127
5= Team Sweeting 125
5= Team Hopgood 125
7 Team De Rosa 123.5
8 Team Welsh 121
9= Team Ellams 119
9= Team Gildersleeves 119
11 Team Waddilove 118
12 Team McCulloch 103.5
13 Team Cornes 101
14 Team Davis 94
Men’s/Ladies Club Sessions – Suspended
The Club has introduced a new Club Session on Wednesday evenings which alternates each week between men and ladies. The forthcoming dates are:
Men 2015 – 18 Nov, 2, 16, 30 Dec; 2016 – 13, 27 Jan, 10, 24 Feb.
Ladies 2015 – 25 Nov, 9, 23 Dec; 2016 – 6, 20 Jan, 3, 17 Feb.
Annual General Meeting
The Thirty-nineth Annual General Meeting of the Wickham Bishops Tennis Club took place on Monday, 2nd November 2015 at 8pm in Wickham Bishops Village Hall. To assist the “social” feel of the event wine, soft drinks and nibbles were served afterwards.
Jenny Cooper (Chairman), Clive Allenby (Treasurer) and John Kyan (Junior Rep) gave comprehensive reports on the year’s activities and our President Val Martin expressed her amazement at the success the Club had enjoyed and the way it had developed over the last thirty-nine years. She also thanked successive committees for their hard work which has made it possible.
The Littlewoods Trophy – this trophy, donated by Brian and Thelma Littlewood, is awarded to an adult member for exceptional service or achievement. This was awarded to Neil Salmon for organising the summer tournament, Autumn Cup and American tournaments and becoming the tournament referee.
The Junior Recognition Award was presented to William Jesney for his positive attitude, outstanding effort and general contribution to junior tennis at the Club.
The ‘Suggestion of the Year’ winner was Jon Gustard whose idea was to stimulate interest in singles in the Club by organising an online ladder and running a Fast4 format singles club session on Sunday evenings, both of which have been very successful, Jon was awarded a trophy and free membership for a year.
Kath Welsh was presented with the Jack Petchey Leaders Award.
The Wimbledon Trivia Quiz was jointly won by Lisa De Rosa and Matt Watson.
There are photos of the prize winners and trophies in the Gallery.
Jack Petchey Awards Ceremony
Congratulations to Theo Wolf and Jack Salmon who recently attended the Jack Petchey Awards ceremony and celebration at the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford, together with other award winners. They were presented with medals and certificates in acknowledgement of their outstanding contributions to the Club and assisting the junior section in particular. They are also both now Level 1 Tennis Assistants. Photos of the presentations are in the Gallery.
Autumn Trophy and Bench Presentations
Report by Neil Salmon, Tournament Organiser and Referee
Unlike the weather for our recent August Bank Holiday tournament, it was sunshine all the way for the 2015 Autumn Cup. This is an annual competition where players compete for a trophy kindly donated by Bill & Muriel Stephens. Unfortunately Bill & Muriel couldn’t be there this year, however, in their absence, a great tournament took place.
The afternoon started with the unveiling of the club’s benches, acknowledging the support of individual sponsors for each bench. The four benches have very kindly been donated by Jan & Bernie Rochester, Cherry & Graham Lewis-Taylor, Susanne & Clive Allenby and Jenny & Paul Cooper. Thanks go to all these individuals for these lovely new club benches which all have plaques appropriately engraved.
The tournament then got underway with the first round of matches starting with Carole blowing the whistle. Four rounds of matches lasting ten minutes each, took the players up to a much needed refreshment break. Home-made cakes baked by Jane Johnston and Paul Bluck went down very well. Although the majority of players didn’t want to know the scores at the half-way stage, the leaders were as follows:
Janet Richardson 69
Elaine Johnson 64
Jo McCulloch 62
Lorraine Kimber 62
James Coman 63
Ed Cannon 62
John Kyan 62
Paul Bluck 57
Jon Gustard 57
Play resumed after the break and the next four rounds of matches took place. After all eight rounds had been completed we ended up with the final positions and our semi-finalists who would proceed through to the knock-out stages. However, it was very close and Hilary had to be called in as an adjudicator to verify the scores!
The final placings and points scored for all the ladies’ and men’s competitions were as follows:
Lorraine Kimber 132
Zoe Cannon 127
Jo McCulloch 120
Janet Richardson 115
Elaine Johnson 115
Hilary Needham 94
Mia Alexander 90
Jane Johnston 88
Janet went through to the semi-finals by virtue of her victory over Elaine in their only head to head match.
Jon Gustard 127
Ed Cannon 122
James Coman 119
Graham Lewis-Taylor 111
John Kyan 111
Paul Bluck 108
John Johnston 93
Richard Brown 90
Graham went through to the semi-finals by virtue of the fact that he’d won more matches than John K.
The semi-finals took place with Lorraine & Graham playing against Jon & Janet and James & Zoe playing against Ed & Jo. This meant that there would be a Cannon in the final! As it happens, both matches ended 12 – 8 with Lorraine & Graham and James & Zoe coming out on top. So, after eight rounds of matches and the semi-finals, we arrived at the final. All the finalists certainly deserved to be there after playing a lot of tennis.
A good supportive crowd stayed to watch an excellent match. In the end James & Zoe won by 20 points to 12 and perhaps the younger legs of James had the slight advantage or was it the fact that he had his own fan club there? However, it was a great match to finish off an excellent tournament. Many congratulations to Zoe for winning in the first American-style tournament that she’s entered and to James for winning this trophy for the fourth time! It was good to see Zoe and Ed in their first American tournament as well as Richard and I hope that these and everyone else enjoyed themselves.
Many thanks to everyone for participating (and not giving me any problems!) and also to Kath for getting all the prizes sorted out and to Paul and Jane for baking cakes. Also, many thanks to Carole for the whistle-blowing, time-keeping, refreshment-sorting and the awarding of the prizes. It was a lovely afternoon, roll on the next one!
Ed. – Many thanks to Neil and Carole for running such an enjoyable tournament. Photos of the afternoon can be seen in the Gallery.
Junior Finals Day
In spite of a grim forecast, Kath managed to run a very successful Junior Finals Day, with only a few raindrops dampening procedings. The standard of play from the youngest to oldest (10 – 18) was exceptional and all matches were well contested. As expected the behaviour and sportsmanship of the players was exemplary. Congratulations to all the winners – you are the Club Champions. Congratulations too to the runners-up for reaching the finals – there’s always next year to go one better! Kath would like to thank all the umpires and hopes they will volunteer again next year. Thanks also to friends and family who turned up to give highly valued support.
The results can be seen on the Championships page.
Halstead League Presentation Evening
American Tournament – 31st August
Report By Neil Salmon, Tournament Organiser
The weather was not kind to us on Monday, for the August Bank Holiday Americantournament. We were due to start at 10.00 but eventually got under way at 10.30 with everyone happy to give it a go as the rain had eased up and virtually stopped by then. The eight men and eight ladies included some very welcome new faces. In the men’s section we had Malcolm and Simon making their first appearances and in the ladies, we had Mia and Julia entering for the first time.
Finals Day Sunday 19 July 2015
Report by Jenny Cooper, Chairman.
In keeping with Wimbledon, our finals day was a week later this year on Sunday 19thJuly and was sponsored by The Chequers PH, Wickham Bishops. There were 15 finals played starting at 9am and finishing at 8.30pm. There were many new faces as well as many familiar ones. The first match saw defending champions and ex-juniors Harry Waldie and Alex Peperell playing previous winners Steve Southern and Alex Cane in the Men’s Doubles Final. It was a close match with Harry and Alex losing the first set. However perseverance paid off and they went on to win the next two, winning 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. In the Ladies DoublesFinal, defending champions Jan Rochester and Marian Harpur took on Julia Cloughton and Jenny Cooper. The defending champions got off to a great start with a lead of 5-0. Although slow to get started, Julia and Jenny won this set 7-5 going on to win the second 6-4. Julia adding her name to the trophy that features her Mum Jean an honorary member of club winning it several times previously. The last match before lunch was the Ladies Singles Final. Julia Waddilove was defending her title against Lisa De Rosa. This pair was equally matched. Julia’s experience helped see her win 6-3, 6-3 in a hard fought match.After lunch defending champions Steve Taylor and Marian Harpur almost met their match against Neil Strachan and Julia Cloughton. This kept the spectators entertained with Steve and Marian winning 6-4, 7-5. Equally entertaining was the Men’s Singles Final, which saw the experienced Steve Southern pitched against ex-junior Harry Waldie. Harry ran away with the first set 6-1, but Steve and changed tactics winning the second 6-3. However youth won over experience and Harry really dug deep to win the third set 6-1. Anyone who stayed to watch the final match enjoyed Graham Lewis-Taylor and Vanessa Ellams play Peter Mickelsen and Marian Harpur. This was another three set thriller. Peter and Marian eventually winning 2-6, 7-5, 6-1. The tournament referees Neil Salmon and Bill Stephens featured in the Veterans Men’s Doubles Final played on court 3 losing out to Graham Lewis-Taylor and Clive Allenby in straight sets. Clive had earlier won the Veterans Men’s Singles Final against Brian Stafford 6-2, 6-3. Also played on court 3 was an epic Men’s Doubles Plate Final. The plate competition features all the players who are knocked out in the first round of the main tournament. There were lots of spectators who moved over to watch Alan De Rosa and Ed Cannon lose their first set to Steve Taylor and Phil Le Grand only to see them win the next two sets 6-2, 6-4.
Again we were really lucky with the weather as I wasn’t sure if this would be the case when it rained overnight. Thank you to everyone who came to support all of the competitors. It makes a huge difference when you are playing to feel your support. Bill and Neil did another great job in making sure that everyone who should be there was there and that the order of play ran smoothly. It really is a huge task and they both did an excellent job. We had more volunteers who umpired this year and I would like to thank them very much. Having umpired myself, I know it is not always an easy task so thank you to everyone who did. The BBQ was very popular again this year so thank you to Paul Cooper, Tony & Trudi Easter for giving up their Sunday to do it again this year. Especially as there was golf on the TV!! The cream teas were devoured too. Thank you to all the helpers and washer uppers on the day.
I would especially like to thank Joe at the Chequers for sponsoring Finals Day this year and very kindly providing two barrels of beer which were enjoyed by everyone. The Pimms seemed to be a hit too and will be repeated next year. Results of all the matches are on the noticeboard in the pavilion.