2016 Champions secure a 6-3 win over Norbury Park –
The 2017 Millennium Cup kicked off with an action replay of last years’ final under cloudless skies on Saturday 8 April, pitching trophy holders Grafton against finalists Norbury Park, with Grafton once again hosting the tie.
Grafton fielded four debutantes and Norbury two, which added to the occasion, and after the first four matches, all long, gruelling contests, the tie was level at two rubbers apiece.
The two new boys, Norbury Park’s Ryan Papazov and Grafton’s Finn Dempster, were toe-to-toe in the tight first set but then Ryan teased errors from his opponent to take the match, 6-4 6-1.
In what was one of the best matches of the day in front of a considerable crowd, Grafton’s diminutive Jennae Manning kept her head after losing the first set tiebreak on a let cord against Monica Wiszowaty to win 6-7 6-2 [10-3] thanks to more accurate groundstrokes, with Murray ‘Solomon’ Sutton umpiring the latter stages.
Grafton’s Maureen Kenny just got the better of Carole Watson in the Women’s 40 singles, which came close to a match tiebreak decider, 6-2 7-6.
The men’s doubles was equally well-matched: Grafton’s Alex Hamlin and Tim Bannerjee felt that they let this one slip after a convincing opening set but full marks to Terry McGanaghan and Tom Brown for digging in to take the match tiebreak for Norbury, 10-5.
Marek Stzrelichowski then proceeded to bamboozle Paul Flatters (again) in inimitable fashion, 6-1 6-1 to nudge Norbury ahead, so much hung on the women’s doubles.
Julie Wilson and Mary Prickett’s experience saw them over the line 6-4 6-4 but Lisa Patient and Anne-Marie Bowden made them work hard for the win.
Newbie Matt McInerney did well to tame Kelvin Douglas-Gordon’s booming serve to claw another tight one 7-5 6-3 and take Grafton to a 4-2 rubber lead, while Kath Bower sealed the tie in Grafton’s favour with a gritty performance to beat the stylish Charmaine Boyd, 6-2 2-6 [10-6].
That left the two team captains Murray Sutton and Nigel Flay to battle out an entertaining mixed finale with their respective partners Rachel Codd and Colleen Dodds, who impressed on her debut with her booming forehands.
Murray and Rachel went to sleep in the second but re-focused sufficiently to claim the match tiebreak to secure a vital rubber.
Glasses were then raised to celebrate the start of another enjoyable Millennium Cup season, Grafton pocketing the 6-3 win and topping the opening leader board.
Report by Murray Sutton, Grafton Millennium Cup Captain
Grafton d Norbury Park 6-3
(Grafton names first)
Women’s Singles: Kath Bower d Charmaine Boyd 6-2 2-6 [10-6]; Men’s Singles: Matt McInerney d Kelvin Douglas-Gordon 7-5 6-3; Women’s Over 40 Singles: Maureen Kenny d Carole Watson 6-2 7-6; Men’s Over 45 Singles: Paul Flatters lost to Marek Stzrelichowski 6-1 6-1; Girls Under 16 Singles: Jennae Manning d Monica Wiszowaty 6-7 6-2 [10-3]; Boys Under 16 Singles: Finn Dempster lost to Ryan Papazov 6-4 6-1; Women’s Doubles: Julie Wilson & Mary Prickett d Lisa Patient & Anne-Marie Bowden 6-4 6-4; Men’s Doubles: Alex Hamlin & Tim Bannerjee lost to Terry McGanaghan & Tom Brown 3-6 6-4 [10- 5]; Mixed Doubles: Murray Sutton & Rachel Codd d Nigel Flay & Colleen Dodds 6-3 4-6 [10-4]