Owen Saunders writes:
Rozier-Pamplin Stays In First Gear But RTC Bandwagon Rolls On
RTC’s Brodie Cup team swept past Prested Hall to reach the final for the first time in living memory. Given a favourable home draw against a Prested side renowned for being much weaker away from home, RTC prevailed 4/1.
Non-playing captain Dick Cowling marshalled the team superbly, fielding an unchanged side except for the return of Alex Rozier-Pamplin at the expense of Paul Wright. The captain’s signature lunch – ‘dick curry’ – was splendid.
Performance of the day came from the returning Alex Rozier-Pamplin in the 30+ singles. Awesome against Hatfield in Round 1, but unavailable for selection against Hardwick in the quarter-final, Alex showed us again what a phenomenal talent he is. He never really had to get out of first gear, comfortably winning 6/2 6/4. Watching Alex felt like watching a vintage V8 Bentley Continental just coasting round the Kingston one-way system in first gear, occasionally dabbing the accelerator to remind the Nissan Cherry in front what lurks underneath his bonnet. Fortuitously, Alex remains eligible for the final, so we’ll have an opportunity to take the Bentley for a spin and see what it really can do.
The team had been led off by Isabel Candy and Paul Newton in the 45+ doubles. Candy, hot from a long run at Melbourne’s Boomerang Cup, continued her good progress, underlined by rock solid volleying and sound tactical decision making. The team were paired against the quadruple-barrelled Richard Lidstone-Scott and James Lloyd-Roberts. The Prested pair, bearing more than a passing resemblance to TV chefs The Hairy Bikers, got better as the game progressed, with Lloyd-Roberts’ left-handed railroad and power-volleying especially effective. Candy and Newton went ahead but often gave away the service end too easily and then fed Lloyd-Roberts’ too often, letting slip a 3/0 lead in the final set to go down 6/5 4/6 3/6.
Comeback of the day was indisputably from Martin Daly in the 40+ singles. Up against the rapidly improving good Will Hunter, Martin was crushed 0/6 in the opening set, apparently believing that the knock-up was still in progress. After being informed that the match had started, he then found himself at 5/5 and 15/30, having to attack chases better than 4 and better than 3 to save the match. Finding inspiration, Daly forced errors to win both chases at the key moment, then galvanised himself by shouting a few of his trademark barbaric yawps. Spectators were confused by Daly’s tactic of playing an entirely new game of pit-pat tennis, as if the ball was a grenade that would go off if he ever hit it hard. Daly also seemed intent on picking out the spectacularly coiffured Hunter’s backhand, despite this being a clear strength. Daly went on to win the decider 6/4. A clearly disappointed Hunter was lost for words afterwards.
Doug “The Butcher” Sheperdigian continued his phenomenal season, chopping up Vince Lucey 6/1 6/0. Off the back of similar results earlier in the competition (6/1 6/0 -vs- Hardwick and 6/2 6/1 -vs- Hatfield), Doug has now ruled himself out of selection for 50+ singles in the final, as his handicap is too low. The frontrunner for being the player of the tournament, The Butcher has laid waste to his dispirited opponents, and is now being hunted by the police in Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Essex for the violence and injury done to their citizens.
Owen Saunders and Elvira Campione paired up once again for the 35+ doubles, safe in the knowledge that RTC had already won. Up against Clive Turner and “the other” C Vigrass (dad Chris), the match should have been a formality with the Prested pair giving up 10 handicap points to Saunders and Campione. The RTC pair controlled the first set, making very few mistakes en route to a 6/1 win. Vigrass and Turner fought back in the second set, playing with less caution, and got to 4/2 before going down 5/6. Saunders and Campione are getting better as the tournament goes on, showing a good understanding of eachother’s play, a necessity given a) Campione’s proficiency at playing ‘crazy tennis’ shots from mid-court at first gallery and b) Saunders’ proficiency at hitting the ball into different areas to those he intended.
Many questions remain unanswered as the team continue their hunt for glory and sporting immortality: will skipper Dick Cowling select himself ahead of Alex in the 30+ singles rubber for the final? How will the team cope with the loss of The Butcher in the 50+ singles grade? Will Candy shine in the final, and make it easier for the newsletter editor to conjure up an amusing, pun-laden headline? These questions, and many more, will be answered at Hyde Bridport on March 13th.
|45+ Doubles||Isabel Candy / Paul Newton||lost to||Richard Lidstone-Scott / James Lloyd-Roberts||6/5 4/6 3/6|
|30+ Singles||Alex Rozier-Pamplin||beat||Chris Lindsey||6/2 6/4|
|40+ Singles||Martin Daly||beat||Will Hunter||0/6 6/5 6/4|
|50+ Singles||Doug Sheperdigian||beat||Vince Lucey||6/1 6/0|
|35+ Doubles||Elvira Campione / Owen Saunders||beat||Clive Turner / Chris Vigrass||6/1 6/5|