PSOBLTA v Fitzwilliam LTC – 22 February 2020

PSOBLTA v Fitzwilliam LTC

Lost 5-4

PSOBLTA and Fitzwilliam LTC teams

PSOBLTA team:
1st Pair: Matt Kirby & Tim Matthewson &
2nd Pair: Jamie Boden & Ben Rogers
3rd Pair: Jon Basell & Dom Hemy

Fitzwilliam team:
1st Pair: Sean Collins & Damon Gaffney
2nd Pair: Mikey Clarkson & Sean McCullough
3rd Pair: Daniel Burnett & Mike Johnston

PSOBLTA 1st pair: Matt Kirby & Tim Matthewson:

  • lost to Fitzwillliam 1st pair 6-7, 3-6
  • lost to Fitzwilliam 2nd pair 2-6, 4-6
  • beat Fitzwilliam 3rd pair 6-2, 6-2

PSOBLTA 2nd pair: Jamie Boden & Ben Rogers:

  • beat Fitzwillliam 1st pair 4-6, 6-0, 10-7
  • lost to Fitzwilliam 2nd pair 6-1, 5-7, 3-10
  • beat Fitzwilliam 3rd pair 6-1, 6-1

PSOBLTA 3rd pair: Jon Basell & Dom Hemy:

  • lost to Fitzwillliam 1st pair 6-7, 3-6
  • lost to Fitzwilliam 2nd pair 2-6, 4-6
  • beat Fitzwilliam 3rd pair 6-3, 6-4

This year saw a calmer start to the fixture with all of the visiting team arriving on the same flight. Once convened at Reeds School, everyone was pleased to see the recent howling tempest had left the indoor courts intact in what was to be the location for the 57th meeting between the two sides.

Both team sheets gave rise to some new pairings and in the first round of matches they had to quickly find their rhythm in the opening games. Pubs dominated this round, going up 2-1, with Ben Rogers and Jamie Boden providing a particularly impressive performance against the Fitz first pairing, in spite of the barracking from the onlooking home crowd.

The second wave of matches got off to a heated start on court three with the first ball hit being disputed, as Fitz third pair felt they had been hooked with their opening “ace”. However, this moment of tension quickly eased and was replaced by some amusing exchanges, with the Pubs coming through 6-1, 6-1 in what was certainly the most raucous match of the day. The Pubs first and third pairings unfortunately did not manage to continue the run of form from the first round which left the tie poised at 3-3 and all to play for.

After a swift match tea in the pavilion, the players returned to the courts for the final round. The Pubs third pairing managed to gain an important win to start and with Pubs second pairing being just edged out, everything was left hanging on the last match. It was the Fitz “scratch” second pairing which turned out to be a masterstroke of captaincy, with Sean McCullough and Michael Clarkson combining to form what appeared to be an age-old partnership. They eventually took the final rubber on the Champs tie-break to seal a 5-4 win overall (and managed to win all three of their matches on the day).

After a quick change / power-snooze back at the hotel for Fitz, the post-match festivities started at Queens Club with some drinks and Six Nations rugby followed by a superb dinner alongside the “Jesters”, who entertained with some lyrical after-dinner speeches.

Following the presentation of the Courtney-Salver, a committed majority moved onto a couple of other nearby venues for celebrations into the early hours.

The start to proceedings on Sunday morning was impressive with the Fitz team rising with the lark, managing a full breakfast and making it across town in good time for a second round of matches with the Pubs, at the AELTC. Offers by the Pubs to play again for the Courtney-Salver were declined by Fitz who retained a firm grip on the trophy.

The afternoon’s entertainment took place in Wimbledon Village whereupon the Irish were trying to replicate the equivalent of the rare “double” which Pubs managed last season (visiting sides winning away from home in tennis and Six Nations rugby). Fortunately for the Pubs, in what was a strange match, England clinched victory and restored some balance to the weekend.

There was some high-calibre tennis on show this year, played in particularly good spirits and both teams really committed to the weekend. Thanks must go to Reeds School for use of their superb indoor courts, the Queens Club for hosting the dinner, and the AELTC for hosting Sunday’s tennis. We look forward to next year and re-claiming the trophy!

Jon Basell (Captain)

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