Four out of six finals went all the way to a deciding third set at Stamford Tennis Club’s annual championships.
The men’s singles saw last year’s runner up, 15-year-old Felix Beech, take on the somewhat more experienced Nick Crowson on a day of strong cold winds, with a couple of heavy showers and not a glimmer of sunshine.
This was a classic match of two contrasting styles, Felix going on the offence, taking an attacking and aggressive approach, against Nick’s defensive grinding rally style.
Strong winds are generally seen to favour the defensive rallying player who tends to have greater margins for error and indeed Nick took the first set 6-4.
The second set was fairly even at first before Felix settled into his game to produce a good array of winners, taking the set 6-4 to even up the match.
The third set was a little more one-sided and Felix closed the match 6-2 to take the title.
The ladies’ singles between regular first team players Lucy Watts and Emily John-Davis was perhaps not up to the usual high standard both players are capable of, with spells of excellence interspersed with occasional bouts of unforced errors from both players, the weather undoubtedly a factor.
Nothing if not determined, however, both dug their heels in to take the match all the way to a third set tie-break.
In the end it was Lucy who claimed the title 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, even the tie break going long, 16-14.
The men’s plate was very evenly balanced, Karol Sulej playing Kevin Tassell.
Both settled into a high percentage style of shot-making in an attempt to wear the other out in long rallies.
Honours were even after two sets, Karol taking the first set 7-5, Kevin battling back to take the second 6-4.
In the final set Kevin tried to switch to a more aggressive style but Karol proved more than a match, taking the final set 6-2.
The men’s doubles final saw singles finalists Nick and Felix on opposite sides of the net, Nick partnered with Alex Smith and Felix paired with Jurgen Wurfel.
Alex and Nick always looked in control, Felix and Jurgen battling in vain as they lost 6-3, 6-2.
The ladies’ doubles final always looked it could be close, all four finalists knowing each other’s game inside and out.
Penny Waite and Stefania Beech took the first set but then saw their fortunes reversed in the second. They put in a strong finish against Susie Archer and Helen Warner to take the title 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
The mixed doubles finalists were Shay Ginat and Emily John-Davis against Richard Hernaman and Susie Archer in the last match of the day. A very close first set was eventually won by Shay and Emily 7-5, who closed out the match relatively easily, taking a second set 6-1.
While the weather was a little unkind on the day, the tennis was excellent and working hard behind the scenes, Felix’s dad, James Beech, proved to be a dab hand at fuelling the spectators (and some of the players) with some truly superb bacon baps along with tea and cakes provided by some of the club members.