The 2017 Winter Finals was another great day of tennis at HLTC. A good crowd had arrived when the matches started despite the promise of rain.
The first match on court 1 was the men’s Winter Singles. Young Dan Vowles took on the club captain Andy Bickell. Dan seemed nervous at the start and Andy looked quite relaxed. Andy soon took the lead and held it throughout the match to win 6 – 1, 6 – 2 under the officiation of club coach Adam Paterson. I expect Dan will push Andy a lot harder the next time they meet. I wonder who does the summer draw?
At the same time on court 3 the mixed handicap got under way. Paul Herring and Jane Imray (-1/2 15) took on Keith Vowles and Kate Bennett (0). The close handicap proved very accurate eventually. In the first game Kate and Keith broke Paul’s serve to go 1 – 0 up but then Paul and Jane settled down and rapidly got to 5 – 2 up. The first set was going to be over in record time. Oh no it wasn’t! Keith and Kate battled back to 5 – 5 and then two holds of serve took us to the tie break. The tie break got to 5 – 5 then, 6 – 5 to Kate and Keith before Paul and Jane took three points to win it 8 – 6. Well that was the first set over!
The second set was a complete reversal, nearly! Kate and Keith powered to a 5 – 2 lead then Paul and Jane fought back to force the tie break. Kate and Keith again got to set point a 6 – 5 but again Paul and Jane took three points to win 8 – 6.
A great game watched primarily by Ken Thompson in the chair, who thoroughly enjoyed it and went to bed saying "deuce, advantage Jane, deuce, ….”. Final score: 7 -6 (8 – 6) 7 – 6 (8 – 6) to Paul and Jane.
Once Kate had finished on court three she was in action on court one in the ladies doubles. Kate Bennett and Michelle McKinnon versus Maddy De’cort and Jemma Maskell. The experience of Michelle and Kate kept the youngsters on the back foot but the score of 6 – 1, 6 – 0 did not do reflect the quality of Maddy and Jemma’s play. Final Score: 6 – 1, 6 – 0 to Michelle and Kate.
Meanwhile on court three, father and son, Keith and Dan Vowles (- 15) took on Paul Skinner and Graham Herbert (-1/2 15). Despite the slightly heavier handicap Keith and Dan quickly got to a 4 – 0 lead before Paul and Graham got off the mark but then each player held serve for Keith and Dan to take the set 6 – 2. The second set was very similar. Keith and Dan got to 3 – 0 then 5 – 1 before Paul and Graham fought back to 5 – 3. However Paul was broken in the final game to lose the set. Final score: 6 – 2, 6 – 3 to Keith and Dan.
The next game on court one was the Men’s Doubles. Andy Bickell and Kevin Eley versus Adam Paterson and Kyle MacDonald, umpired by Trevor Paterson. With the only real rain of the day having little effect on play, this was a game of experience versus youth. The youth had the edge on power which gave them control of most points. Kevin was broken in the first game then service was held until 5 – 3 to Adam and Kyle. Kevin served to stay in the set but Adam and Kyle gave them little hope and they won the set 6 – 3. Adam and Kyle increased their dominance in the second set with Andy and Kevin only holding serve once each. Adam and Kyle took the set comfortably at 6 – 2. Final score: 6 – 3, 6 – 2 to Adam and Kyle.
The last game of the day was the mixed doubles. Andy Bickell and Kate Bennett versus Adam Paterson and Michelle McKinnon with Paul Skinner in the chair. With both Kate and Andy having played three matches the power and control of Adam and Michelle was too much. Initially Andy held his serve but then the set slipped away 6 – 1. Andy managed to hold his serve twice in the second set but it was not enough to prevent them losing it 6 – 2. Final score: 6 – 1, 6 – 2 to Michelle and Adam.
Thanks to the bar staff, the tea staff, the umpires, the players and all the spectators for another great days tennis. See you at the summer finals if not before.
On behalf of the tournament committee,