At Bognor LTC, superb tennis was on display at Finals Day, despite the lack of available court play during the lockdowns. Players of all ages, from under-10s to over-60s, have been competing against each other for weeks hoping to reach the finals. With bunting, barbecue food, homemade cakes and the sun occasionally peeping out from behind clouds, there saw an enthusiastic crowd of relatives, friends and members gathered. The Ladies’ Singles final renewed the rivalry between Stella Smith and Louise West. Smith won after some long rallies, 6-2, 7-5.
The Men’s Singles was won by Rob Callingham against Gary Leadston, with a final score of 6-4, 6-2. In the Mixed Doubles, after a very entertaining match, defending champions Louise West and Rick West lost to Stella Smith and Robert Goody 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. The Men’s Doubles went to a tie-break in the second set, but was won by Laszlo Sagi and Leighton Bailey 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 against Jon Towse and Gary Leadston.
The Junior Finals were a testament to the fine coaching all had been receiving. Results: 18 and under: Ethan Hope defeated Aiden Drake 6-3, 6-4; 15 and under: Joshua Taylor defeated Dawson Drake 6-2, 6-1; 10 and under: Oliver Bailey defeated Asa Pilgrim 3-4, 4-2, 4-1. Thanks went to all the players who entered the tournament and congratulations went to players who made finals day such a memorable one. For more on the club see clubspark.lta.org.uk/bognorlawntennisclub or call 01243 933105.
At Fishbourne, Harry Dry emerged triumphant after a hard-fought three-set match against Carl Pendle to be crowned Fishbourne Tennis Club’s 2021 men’s singles champion. A large crowd was enthralled by superb tennis as the pair battled it out in brilliant sunshine at the club’s Finals Day, the first time the championships have been held since 2019.
Dry and Pendle, with around a quarter of a century difference in their ages, put on a sparkling display over almost two hours, the younger man finally emerging the winner 7-5, 2-6, 6-4. It is the second time Dry has won the title, following victory in 2018. Another previous FTC singles champion, Gilly Perrin, took the ladies’ title. Multiple title-holders Sue Lord and Katy Bracher dominated in the ladies’ doubles while in the men’s doubles, a new and exciting pairing of JJ Bone and Joe Rawlings despatched Chris Gosden and Lewis Minett - but not before Gosden and Minett had won the second set.
In the mixed doubles Sue Lord and James Willson proved too strong for Phil Tite and Cressida Williams.
For the first time the club spread its finals over two days, with the Vets65 tournament playing out on the Sunday. Past men’s champion Bill Cove, playing with Nikki Scott, didn’t put a foot wrong to claim the trophy. All the trophies were presented by FTC championship organisers Jazz Kimbell and Kate Gurl. Both days attracted good numbers of members new and old who enjoyed not the tennis and complimentary strawberries, glasses of Pimms, ice creams and a barbecue.
“After having to cancel the championships last year owing to the pandemic, we decided to really push the boat out and have a proper party, in recognition of our Fishbourne members’ incredible loyalty to the club,” said FTC vice-chair Bob Murray.
“A huge vote of thanks must go to Jazz and Kate and all the other volunteers who made it memorable – and to all the players, not just the winners but everyone who took part.”
Results: Men’s Singles, Harry Dry beat Carl Pendle 7.5, 2.6, 6.4; Ladies singles, Gilly Perrin beat Faye Jones 6.3, 6.4; Men’s Doubles, JJ Bone and Joe Rawlings beat Chris Gosden and Lewis Minett 6.1, 3.6, 6.2; Ladies Doubles, Sue Lord and Katy Bracher beat Priscilla Pendle and Susy Upton-Brown 6.1, 6.1; Mixed Doubles, James Willson and Sue Lord beat Phil Tite and Cressida Williams 6.4, 6.4. Vets65 Mixed Doubles, Nikki Scott and Bill Cove beat Dick Nicholson and Sue Bargery 6.0.