Warwickshire Bickley Bowl
The annual fixture between MMTCC and Leamington TCC for the Warwickshire Bickley Bowl was played at Moreton on Sunday 13thMay; it was the third occasion when the two clubs have played for the trophy, a silver Edwardian sugar bowl hallmarked 1901 (midway between Joseph Bickley’s replacing the floor and the penthouse of the Leamington court in 1898, and his building the Moreton court in 1905).
It was won by Moreton the first year and by Leamington last year; would it return to the visitors again this year? This was a worry.
Losing the first match to Julie Levy & Norman Hyde, who, despite a close first set closed off the match easily in the second set didn’t help: 6-5; 6-3 to Leamington.
The second match was a much more reassuring affair: Moreton’s pair of mid-50 handicappers proved much more capable of court defence side-by-side compared with the Leamington pair, whose large discrepancy in handicap forced James Levy to defend the back of the court alone. 6-1; 6-3 to Moreton.
And then the showcase match of the day – Moreton’s Chairman and Tom Bomford, the Club champion, versus Robert Frost and the Leamington Captain, Allan Morrissey. There was some terrific tennis played watched by a full dedans, but more anxiety for Moreton spectators when Leamington won the first set 6-4.
This was as nothing for the Moreton match manager, however, who then discovered that the caterers had double booked, leaving food for 20, a plastic ladle and a sheet of instructions in the kitchen…but I understand that Moreton went on to win the match in three sets 4-6; 6-1; 6-4.
Surprisingly, lunch proved to be very well received - in spite of the chef having last cooked a meal on the fire at scout camp.
With two more matches after lunch, worries could not yet be dispelled, until Keith Beechener and Mark Maclure – both big hitters and accurate too – easily overcame Neville Day and Paul Brennan 6-3; 6-0 to Moreton - at last all worries over, and the Bickley Bowl returns to Moreton!
Despite the final match being a dead rubber, it was a very enjoyable game to watch and closely contested with some prolonged volleyed rests. The final results were as follows (Moreton players first):
Peter Wilson & Alastair Robson v Julie Levy & Norman Hyde 5-6; 3-6.
John Yarnall & Tony Branfield v James Levy & Clive Stone 6-1; 6-3.
Tom Bomford & Andrew Hamilton v Robert Frost & Allan Morrissey 4-6; 6-1; 6-4.
Keith Beechener & Mark Maclure v Neville Day & Paul Brennan 6-3; 6-0.
David Phillips & Bruce Paxton v Bob Compton & Kannan Nithi 6-3; 6-3.
As the host and victorious captain Alastair Robson presented himself with the bowl.