There was a record-breaking entry for the centenary Garland Cup tournament and the winner 100 years ago (G Hedges) looked down on some excellent tennis. Such are the quirks of the round robin system that in the first group George Kruszynskyj qualified with the best game difference of 3 players on 1 win, whilst in Group 2 the defending champion Tony Branfield was eliminated with the worst game difference of 3 players to achieve 2 wins. Alan Moug bossed group 3 with new-comer Alex Oswald impressing to take second.
In Group 4 Jon Lambdon revved up the random shot generator to good effect. Though the Chairman was among its victims Simon Hobson did also get through. In Group 5, behind Paul Smith, Peter Wilson did well to qualify, edging John Strachan despite throwing away a 5/0 lead but winning 6/5 in a 3 player group. Group 6 was also down to 3 players; dominated by Broom, Hamilton also got through at the expense of Norman Hyde.
In Group 7 as in 6, previous tournament success counted for little as Trees and Murphy were eliminated by West and Harris. Richardson was a surprise departure in Group 8 where Miller’s serve dominated except in his match against group winner Marguerie.
In Group 9 John Franklin battled the capped handicap without complaint, but alas also without success. Recently crowned junior champion Harry Walsh was untroubled as group winner. Ian Gambles quietly sneaked through as runner-up whilst Richard Marmoy exited noisily having thrown away a 4/1 lead in the key match. In Group 10 Doug flew the Holden flag (James having been eliminated in Group 3). Doug was sporting his lovely new MMTCC sleeveless sweater and testing his handicap which has now got below 25.
There followed a knock-out round of one set to 6 amongst most of the runners-up. The highlight was one of those ‘you never can tell with tennis’ matches where Peter Lewis was cruising to victory at 5/3 v George K only to not win 5/6. I marked it and I’m still not sure how it happened; perhaps it was George’s new non-slip shoes?
Last 16: Some close ones with Ian Gambles beating Bernie Spratt 5/4 and Jonny Miller edging a valiant David Phillips by the same score. Others through were Walsh, Lambdon, Smith, Kruszynskyj, Harris and Hamilton. In the quarter finals Smith won another 5/4 to beat George K and Ian Gambles defeated Jonny Miller. The Walsh v Lambdon match was not only a battle of the entertainers but, you felt, a key contest in the context of the tournament. Harry Walsh squeaked home 5/4. Not literally obviously, although I guess his relentlessly moving shoes did squeak. I digress… Andrew Hamilton won the final QF ousting David Harris in the process.
Ian Gambles is relatively new to the club and great to see him reach the semis. But he made it no further as Walsh made mincemeat of him. Not literally. In the other semi, Andrew Hamilton showed Pablito Smeeth what it is to play calm handicap tennis. Literally.
And so to an intriguing final of youth v experience. Youth charging about like a loony. Experience hanging in there. In the end Harry Walsh was too strong for the ex-Chairman (6/4). A fine tournament it was with congratulations to Harry and to all who competed. Thanks to Tom for organising the event to fit numerous individual schedules and for providing food on finals’ day. It was a pleasure to mark, almost without exception.
Tournament report by Lloyd Pettiford