Hertford Cup Division 1 is the show match of the day to decide the Club Champion and it had been a while since the top 2 seeds and perennial doubles champions Nick Lloyd and Simon Heck faced off in the final and this time it was Simon who managed to roll back the years and pretty much control the match from start to finish as he ran out a 6/2 6/2 winner. This was Simon’s 8th time as Club Champion but his first for 4 years and it was undoubtedly his best performance in the event for some time. He got the perfect balance of attack and defence and while Nick will feel he definitely made more mistakes than he should have done, this was largely due to the pressure he was put under by Simon.
Hertford Cup Division 2 saw the HHTC Chairman Steve Brewerton take on Jonathan Fisher in what proved to be undoubtedly the closest and longest match of the day. It didn’t look like that was going to be the case when Steve stormed through the first set 6/1. The tide very much turned in the second set though as Jonathan raced to a 5/0 lead only for Steve to claw it back one game at a time to level it up at 5/5, at which point he even had a match point to claim the title. Jonathan though managed to win that point and go on to take the set which took them into a deciding set. Jonathan managed to get his nose in front early and though Steve kept battling back it remained that way until they reached the almost inevitable 5/5 to bring the match down to a deciding game. Steve was unlucky on the first point as his force for the dedans ricocheted off the top and bottom ledge of the target, before sitting up nicely for Jonathan to put away and from that point on Jonathan kept control of the game to run out a deserved 1/6 6/5 6/5 winner and take the title for the first time after a match lasting nearly 2 hours.
Hertford Cup Division 3 was a battle that on paper looked like being a very tight affair between Don Fahrenheim and Roger Trigell but in the end the score would suggest that was not the case. Don ended up running out a 6/0 6/3 winner but that score does no justice at all to Roger or the performance he put in. 5 of the 6 games in the first set went to deuce but Don managed to take every one of them. The second set started better for Roger as he took the first two games and led 3/2 but Don knuckled down well and managed to get back on top to eventually close the set out 6/3 to claim the Division 3 title for the first time.
Hertford Cup Division 4 was being held for only the 4th time and the first since being renamed in honour of our ex Club Chairman Basil Henson, who sadly passed away last year. Basil would undoubtedly be delighted with the eventual winner as Sarah Sullivan, who Basil knew well and was a good friend of, managed to overcome John Tacchi in the final 6/1 6/4, despite John being some 5 points better on handicap than Sarah. Both players showed some signs of nerves at the start in what was a very tight match, the first set score of 6/1 not fairly representing how tight it was. In the second set the score was more reflective of the type of battle it was, as the game score was always close but it was Sarah who won the big points, in the big moments and undoubtedly played well above her handicap rather than it being John having a bad day.
The Peter Brodie Trophy (Handicap Singles) final saw an incredibly tight see-sawing battle as Chris Handley (handicap 35.3) overcame Tim Harper (handicap 41.7) 6/5 6/5 despite giving away Owe 15 – Rec ½ 15. The first set saw Tim race to a 4/0 lead, before the crowd were asked to keep their volume to a minimum, which appeared to help Chris to concentrate as he managed to claw 2 games back before Tim made it 5/2. Slowly but surely though Chris took game after game before levelling it at 5/5 and crucially taking to final game to lead 1 set to love. Amazingly almost exactly the same thing happened in the second set, Tim moved to a 5/1 lead this time and surely lightening couldn’t strike twice! Unbelievably Chris took the next 4 games though to level it up again and maybe due to the confidence from the first set, or possibly due to tiredness for Tim, he closed it out for a very impressive 6/5 6/5 win! We were delighted to see Jan Brodie, wife of the late Peter Brodie who the trophy was named after, there to support her son Nick in the Club Doubles. So it was wonderful that she was able to present the trophy, as she had done the first year it was held.
The other handicap tournament played on Finals Day was The Tufton Racket and is the only match of the day not played over the best of 3 sets but instead being the first to win 8 games. The knock-out stage of the event had taken place the day before, with some very close matches throughout but it was Damian Hanbury and Steve Brewerton who would contest the final. The timing of the final couldn’t have been worse for Steve as it directly followed the Hertford Cup Division 2 Final which he had lost after 2 hours of play. Sadly this, combined with the nasty handicap he was giving away of Owe ½ 30 – Rec 30 meant that it was fairly one-way traffic throughout. This is unfair on Damian who played incredibly well and way better than his 49 handicap and would have been incredibly hard to beat, even without Steve’s prior exertions. Despite a few of the games going to 40 all though Damian ran out an 8/1 winner to defend the title he won last year, only the third time that has happened in the event’s 34 year history.
The final match of Finals Day was for the Club Doubles title and it had an all too familiar ring to is as Nick Lloyd & Simon Heck ran out the winners for the 13th time (Nick’s 18th as doubles champion) with a hard fought 6/4 6/2 win over Nick Brodie & Martin Richards, who were playing together for the first time. The first set was very close with Martin’s powerful forces and Nick Brodie’s control and consistency making life tough for the defending champions but on the crucial points they had just that little bit more to offer and closed it out 6/4. The second set again started closely but from 2/2 Nick and Simon took control to keep their iron grip on the title. Can anyone beat these two…..
The only Club Tournament Final not played on Finals Day was the Handicap Doubles tournament for the Rosenthal Cup, which was played the following day. The match was between last year’s beaten finalists Andrew James & Tim Harper and Martin Richards & Andy Lloyd with the handicap being Rec 15 – Owe 15 in Andrew & John’s favour. The final was a really tight affair with all 4 players making some great shots and some superb retrieves, especially some of Andrew’s volleys when the ball was being thumped at him by Martin, who hits harder than anyone else in the Club. Andrew and James took full advantage of the handicap start to clinch the first set 6/4 and after a very tight start to the second, eventually ground down Martin and Andy to take the second set 6/3 to claim the title they had just missed out on last year.