In a closely fought tie –
Last weekend’s Millennium Cup tie saw Grafton continue their successful start to the tournament with a 6-3 win over Woodfield Grove Tennis Club.
Grafton hosted the event on Saturday 6th of May in what proved to be a mixed day of weather, which included being overcast, blindingly sunny, annoyingly windy but, fortunately, not a drop of rain was felt.
All players turned up for the three first three matches, which is always a good start to the day and is a relief to the Captains and everybody who has been involved in organising the day.
A combination of GCSE revision and people being taken ill last minute meant that there had been some frantic last minute logistical challenges but both WGTC and Grafton were able to field full teams.
The first match to kick off was the 40 and Over Women’s Singles between Valerie and Julie, a last-minute stand in for Kath Bower who was sadly not feeling well on the day.
There were some really good rallies and Valerie started to find her feet in the second set with some excellently fought close games. As so often is the case, the final scoreline, 6-0 6-2, did not reflect the closeness of the match. The good news was that Valerie, her first time playing in a tournament, really enjoyed the experience and has not been put off playing again.
Meanwhile on the two other courts, the women’s doubles and the mixed doubles had also started.
WGTC was 3-0 up in the mixed doubles with some extremely solid net play from both WGTC’s Joe and Jo, but before the increasing number of spectators knew what had happened, the scoreline was 6-6 in a tie-break that saw Grafton take the first set.
Some magnificent volleying, lobs and some particularly canny play from both Murray and Emma made for a thoroughly entertaining first set.
in the second Jo and Joe put in a gallant defence but Murray and Emma raced to 3-0 before being pegged back to 3-2, but the Grafton pair, growing in confidence, ‘kept it between the lines’ to drive their victory home, 7-6 6-2, after 2 hours and many long deuce games.
It was an excellent match and must have proved to be quite a distraction for the women’s doubles, which was taking place on the neighbouring court.
Again there were some long and hard fought battles but on the day Grafton’s Rachel and Liz proved too strong for WGTC’s Amber and Andrea.
Moving in to Round 2, Grafton was up 3-0 up.
The next three rubbers promised to be entertaining with the Girl’s 16 & Under kicking off first, followed by the women’s open singles and the men’s doubles.
WGTC’s Alex and Grafton’s Naela played some text-book perfect shots illustrating to all spectators how beneficial it is to start playing tennis early. Both players are so stylish and there is no doubt that they both have incredible natural talent. On this occasion Naela took the honours, 6-0 6-1.
Meanwhile Naomi and Rosie started what turned out to be an epic Women’s Singles battle and the crowd was treated to some more first class tennis, with both players giving it there all.
The first two sets were mirror-images: in the first Rosie let a 4-2 lead evaporate and vice versa in set two.
In the second set, when the scoreline hit 4-4, both players looked physically tired but remarkably found reserves and did not give up.
Naomi just had the better legs in the decider to swing it, bringing home WGTC’s first win of the morning, 4-6 6-4 6-2.
Next door was the men’s doubles which, like the women’s singles match, was a hard slog with some excellent rallies and some serves which were just simply un-returnable.
Grafton’s Garrod was a last-minute stand-in for Tim who was injured. Poor Garrod had only had three hours sleep as his newly arrived baby did not seem to realise the importance of the Millennium Cup and kept crying throughout the night. This did not seem to affect Garrod’s energy levels and, with his partner Alex, gave Jon and Ben a real fight.
Both sides agreed to play a third set and after many long rallies, Jon and Ben managed to win 6-4 4-6 6-3, another great game which saw every player hit some fabulous shots.
So, with the overall scoreline at 4-2 in Grafton’s favour, the next three matches were to prove pivotal.
WGTC’s Dougie and Grafton’s Paul got Round 3 off to a good start, with many games going to deuce in their Men’s 45 & Over singles.
Paul’s consistency and constant ability to return Dougie’s slices was admirable. The final scoreline was 6-0 6-1, which the onlooking crowd felt did not actually reflect the tight contest but they agreed that it was certainly a well-deserved and important win for Grafton.
Harry and Finn played their 16 and Under Singles rubber in front of the largest crowd of the day, in no way intimidating either of the players as they continued to entertain the onlookers with boundless energy and some beautifully crafted rallies.
It is clear that we are going to be seeing a lot of Finn and Harry in future matches and congratulations to Finn who was the winner on this particular occasion.
WGTC was now 6-2 down and was not yet ready to concede another loss – step up WGTC’s Lev and Grafton’s Mike to do battle on the Men’s Singles court.
Lev is in the middle of marking GCSE coursework with an endless amount of paperwork to get through and focussing on tennis could well have proved difficult but he rose to the challenge and put in a blistering performance which Mike, despite his best efforts and some superb returns of serve was unable to stop. Lev took the match 6-3 6-1.
So the final result of the day was Grafton 6, WGTC 3.
It really was a great day and Grafton maintained their reputation as being a friendly and very hospitable club, much appreciated by WGTC players and supporters, many of whom carried on drinking and eating long after the tennis had finished.
Report by Jon Elwes, WGTC Captain
(Grafton names first)
Women’s Singles: Rosie Merriman lost to Naomi Anderson 4-6 6-4 6-2; Men’s Singles: Mike Bright lost to Lev Husnu 6-3 6-1; Women’s Over 40 Singles: Julie Wilson d Valerie Levaux Boulanger 6-0 6-2; Men’s Over 45 Singles: Paul Flatters d Dougie Kerr 6-0 6-1; Girls Under 16 Singles: Naela Muhammad d Alex Grozdanova 6-0 6-1; Boys Under 16 Singles: Finn Dempster d Harry Collins 6-1 6-3; Women’s Doubles: Rachel Codd & Liz Wickham d Andrea Thompson & Amber Blakeney 6-1 6-1; Men’s Doubles: Garrod Treverton & Alex Hamlin lost to Jon Elwes & Ben Davies 6-4 4-6 6-3; Mixed Doubles: Murray Sutton & Emma Webb d Joe Thompson & Jo Kiernander 7-6 6-2.