IPSOBLTA team: James Marsalek, Harry Lazell, Ben Zuckerman, Ben Rogers, Rory Smith, Tom Colautti
Fitzwilliam LTC team: Cal Craven, Sean Collins, Peter Fleming, Brendan Demsey, Rob Dudley, Dan Barnett

The legendary Courtney Salver clash kicked off the year, with Fitzwilliam LTC making the trip over the Irish Sea for the annual showdown against the mighty PUBs. With its blend of on-court charm and off-court camaraderie, this event is always a delight, and this year was no exception. This year’s rendition included a fine-tuned format featuring the Fitzwilliam squad attending the Annual Dinner at the AELTC and the match taking place at Raynes Park Community Tennis Centre, but the traditions of tennis, pints (of the black stuff) and lively banter remained the hallmarks of the occasion.

The PUBs were determined to reclaim the trophy for the first time since 2019 and etch their names into PUBs folklore! Both team sheets boasted familiar faces alongside newcomers and fresh pairings, adding to the excitement. As the match commenced, there was an electric atmosphere, fuelled by standout performances from Ben Zuckerman and Tom Colautti, securing a victory against the Fitzwilliam 1st pair. With a strong start, the PUBs charged towards victory, maintaining momentum in the second round as all three pairs stepped up to capture wins. A special mention must go to Harry Lazell and James Marsalek for their partnership, rising to the occasion and clinching victory in all three matches on the day. After an unforgettable day of tennis filled with thrilling matches, it was the PUBs that emerged victorious with a 7-2 triumph. A fixture characterised by excellent sportsmanship and high levels of play from start to finish. Despite the tennis disappointment (for Fitz), spirits remained high as a committed majority traded their rackets for local brews and ventured out into London for a well-deserved dinner and some post-match revelry. With tales of epic volleys and missed serves echoing through the evening air, the companionship between the players only grew stronger as they shared laughs, memories, and perhaps a few too many rounds of drinks.

The Fitz team strategically aimed to prevent any further embarrassment as not only did they forget to bring The Courtney Salver, leading to a lack of formal presentation, but they also had to catch an early flight back for a league semi-final match, causing them to miss the England vs Ireland rugby game. This decision proved wise, as attempting to salvage the weekend would have been futile after England’s impressive victory secured the long-overdue English double (winning in tennis and Six Nations rugby)! Regardless of the outcome on the court and the pitch, the true victory was in the bonds forged over a shared love of tennis and a mutual appreciation for good company. It is a reminder that sometimes the best moments on the court are the ones that elicit laughter long after the final point is played. Here’s to another unforgettable clash next year and the friendships that continue to thrive and transcend borders and competition.

Ben Rogers – Captain


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