James Eadie & Hugh Sayer (Radley) v Lennox Johnston & Asher Ward (MURTC)
Our two MU students opened the batting for MURTC after a pleasant run down to Radley and 45 minutes acclimatising themselves to the court. They started very well, considering this was the earliest either of them had been up on a Sunday morning in years. The Radley pair were still in their proverbial pyjamas as Lennox and Ash took the first set 6-1 and an easy victory looked on the cards. However, the Radley pair suddenly woke up, changed into their tennis whites, and in a flash they had taken the second set by the same score. And so it came down to a the final set decider. It was tight for the first few games but the superior guile of the elder pairing saw them home 6-3.
Ned Batstone (Radley) v George Lewis (MURTC)
This was a top quality match which tested George’s pain threshold (and my captaincy) to the very limit. The younger player (unusually, not George) had a handicap of 28.6 so George (35ish) was up against it. The first set went Ned’s way, 6-3, as George struggled with his return of serve and made too many unforced errors. Then early in the second set George damaged his lower back causing him intense pain and restricting his movement. Naturally, this improved his game immensely and he took the second set 6-2, with the help of some Voltarol applied (by a somewhat reluctant captain) to the affected part. The final set saw George yelping with pain whenever he stretched for a shot. He fought on manfully, but, ultimately in vain, as Ned took it 6-3.
Giles Fitzpatrick (Radley) v Mark Heffernan (MURTC)
My preparation for this one was not ideal. I had been out of the country and hadn’t played for 10 days, and was suffering from a dose of man-flu. Excuses aside, Giles did serve really well, particularly in the second set. The first set was tight, going to 5-5 deuce, with Giles taking it at the death. Unfortunately (for me) Giles had by then worked out that I was having real difficulty with his backhand serve which kept tight to the side wall. It made laying chases difficult and I was spending too much time at the receiving end. The second set was close, but he deservedly edged it 6-4.
Ian Williams (Radley) v Yuri Kugler (MURTC)
Cometh the hour, cometh the man! And fortunately for us, that man was Yuri Kugler. We were 0-3 down in the tie, so this was a dead rubber. But “dead rubber” is not in the Kugler lexicon. Yuri’s opponent was an awkward customer, happy to chip the ball in to the corners to a good length, and frankly our man struggled in the first set, going down 2-6. But Yuri wasn’t going to lie down and he came out fighting for the second set. At one point Yuri (at the service end) played a backhand stroke but lost hold of his racket (which ended up at the bottom of the net). Loss of his racket was not going to stop him though, and he attempted to continue the rally by kicking the ball over the net. (Radley 0 Stoke City 1). It was nip and tuck in the second but Yuri edged it 6-4. So, we had a final set decider on our hands! Yuri was behind from the start and Ian led 4-1 at one stage (I think), which then became 5-3. Yuri’s back was to the wall but he just wouldn’t give up. He clawed his way back to 5-5, but he was at the receiving end. At 30-30, 2 well cut chases by Yuri saw him regain the serve and close out the match 6-5.
Benedict Yorston & Harry Purton (Radley) v Mark Gillespie & Frank Goulbourn (MURTC)
Let’s get the stats out of the way. The combined ages of the Radley pair was lower than, not just Frank’s age, but Mark’s singles handicap. The big question on everyone’s lips was whether the two small children would be intimated by the Goulbourn power game? Unfortunately the answer was no………..not in the least! Goulbourn & Gillespie took a 2-0 lead in the first set……..and then lost the next 6 in a row. The teenagers were virtually faultless….on the floor, overhead, backhand or forehand, everything came back and the MURTC duo began to make mistakes. There was a glimmer of hope in the second set as Frank and Mark raced into a 4-0 lead………but for the second time, Radley won 6 in a row. Game, set and match!
45 doubles: James Eadie & Hugh Sayer (Radley) v Lennox Johnston & Asher Ward (MURTC) 1-6 6-1 6-3
30 singles: Ned Batstone (Radley) v George Lewis (MURTC) 6-3 2-6 6-3
40 singles: Giles Fitzpatrick (Radley) v Mark Heffernan (MURTC) 6-5 6-4
50 singles: Ian Williams (Radley) v Yuri Kugler (MURTC) 6-2 4-6 5-6
35 doubles: Benedict Yorston & Harry Purton (Radley) v Frank Goulbourn & Mark Gillespie (MURTC) 6-2 6-4