Telford Park lift the 2019 Millennium Cup trophy

Pipped hosts Grafton at the post, 5-4…

In near-perfect conditions, the Millennium Cup Final was played out on Sunday 30 June, a repeat of the recent round-robin fixture, but with a different winner.

Telford Park and Grafton Captains Mark Rothwell and Murray Sutton had liaised closely to level the playing field, and their plan worked. 

The first round served up three very close and entertaining encounters, resulting in the hosts Grafton nudging 2-1 ahead.

In the Boys Under 16 Singles, Zak Lavender took the first 6-2, which hinged on a very long and vital 7th game at 4-2. He was retrieving well and closed out with a drop-shot that fell like a poached egg.

The second was a rollercoaster, Michael holding his nerve in another epic game at 4-4 to take it 6-4 and move into a breaker.

Michael lost the first point but then took charge with some sensational backhands to triumph 10-6, arguably MOTD [match of the day], with a final score of 2-6 6-4 [10-6].

The Women’s Over 40 Singles pitched Grafton stalwart Kath Bower against a new opponent in Rebecca Ruff, who took a tight opener 6-3, but Kath dug in and levelled 6-1.

Rebecca has a great set of wheels on her and was all over the court to nick the tiebreak and the match, 6-3 1-6 [10-7], the considerable crowd were loving it.

The Ladies Doubles was shaping up for an epic as Grafton pair Julie Wilson & Nicky Ellison went toe-to-toe with Kate Sheehy and the hard-hitting Caroline de St Quentin, edging it 7-5, and then romping through the second without losing a game to win, 7-5 6-0.

Telford then turned it round: every brick was in Keith Lavender’s wall as he allowed Paul Flatters only three games, and Ellen Hoyle played a solid game to baguette Federica Mele 6-1 6-1. 

So a lot hinged on the Mixed…

James Drummond (a distant relation of Bulldog maybe? His tennis indicated it…) and Juliet Griffith, an untried partnership, versus Murray & Monica Parrott.

James & Juliet squeezed a tight first 6-3 but it looked like a decider was on the way as Murray & Monica took a 4-1 lead in the second, but then the Telford pair stepped up and took control.

Anything near James’ backhand was a rash move and his serve clicked in, with Juliet picking off volleys like she was on a PYO [pick your own] in Kent and, suddenly, it had slipped away for Grafton as Telford came through, 6-3 7-5, now needing just one of the last three rubbers to get their hands on the trophy.

Murray scoured the club for five loaves and two fishes and Amelia Cornish gave hope for a miracle with a powerful display to upset Avery Tidy’s tidy game, 6-1 6-3, as did Tim Bannerjee & Trevor Dunton, who held their game together well and were heading for a 6-3 6-4 win over Paolo Rebora & Mark Rothwell, sealed by two poetic drop volleys from Trevor.

But before the doubles concluded Telford newcomer Rob Treich hammered the nails into Grafton’s coffin overpowering a game Rick Jakubowski, 6-3 6-1, in the Men’s Singles.

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So a final worthy of the competition and Murray dedicated the match to Barbara Wancke and Peter Risdon, who are stepping down from running Woodfield Grove so well after several decades. 

Congratulations to Telford Park for becoming Millennium Cup Champions the seventh time in nineteen years of this unique competition.

Report by Murray Sutton, Grafton Millennium Cup Captain


Grafton T&SC lost to Telford Park LTC 5-4

[Grafton names first]

Women’s Singles: Federica Mele lost to Ellen Hoyle, 6-1 6-1; Men’s Singles: Rick Jakubowski lost to Rob Treich, 6-3 6-0; Women’s Over 40 Singles: Kath Bower lost to Rebecca Ruff, 6-3 1-6 [10-7]; Men’s Over 45 Singles: Paul Flatters lost to Keith Lavender, 6-1 6-2; Girls Under 16 Singles: Amelia Cornish d Avery Tidy, 6-1 6-2; Boys Under 16 Singles: Michael Sotillo d Zak Lavender, 2-6 6-4 [10-6]; Women’s Doubles: Julie Wilson & Nicky Ellison d Kate Sheehy & Caroline de St Quentin, 7-5 6-1; Men’s Doubles: Tim Bannerjee & Trevor Dunton d Paolo Rebora & Mark Rothwell, 6-3 6-4; Mixed Doubles: Murray Sutton & Monica Parrott lost to James Drummond & Juliet Griffith, 6-3 7-5.