National Interclub Tournament
Rugby internationals are as welcome to organisers of MMTCC’s National Inter Club Competition as a hole in the head and a 15 minute drubbing in the Amicus Cup. So what could we worse than a World Cup Rugby Final involving England on the Saturday morning? Organiser Tony Branfield sensibly decided to hold back all operations until 11.00 when happy, full-English-breakfasted fans could slip into their games of tennis with a warm golden after-glow of patriotic fervour.
First into action at MMTCC, overcome by a wave of despondency after England’s post All Black cluelessness, Jeremy Hawkins produced more winning openings in his first game than England did in their entire match. (Enough of the Rugby, just be thankful for that magnificent nail-biting World Cup Cricket Final on that balmy and barmy day at Lord’s in July. Ed.)
Tony had successfully cajoled 12 teams of three into taking part including visitors from Jesmond Dene, Radley, Cambridge, Oxford and Leamington. The MCC team had a Moreton sounding ring to it, as did the two T&RA outfits and the Dedanists’ team which also boasted local post codes.
Thanks to the late start, play did not finish till late on Saturday evening. Eight teams had emerged from three boxes to provide quarter finalists on Sunday. Leamington 2, John Lillee and Henry Bryan, quickly disposed of ‘lucky box losers’ Moreton Morrell 2’s Bruce Paxton and Terence Drane 6/2. The Radley pair Nick Gordon and Tim Roberts made short work of Cambridge’s David Pimblett and Christie Marrian 6/1. MCC’s Mark Leefe and MMTCC Chairman made heavy weather of beating T&RA 1, the Organiser and Bob Compton 6/5 and Keith Beechener and Jon Lambdon weren’t at their best against the canny Norman Hyde and John Yarnall who had scraped through having won only one box match, losing 6/3. This did mean, however, that Lambdon could orchestrate the dedans banter thereafter, suffering a shock when having turned his back on the Chairman’s knock up and receiving a sharp blow to the backside from the Chairman, a blow that failed to halt the all- pervasive (verbal) hot air.
The Radley pairing was definitely looking ominously dangerous off a combined handicap of 52. Freed now from his royal duties Tim Roberts asked too many questions of Lillee and Bryan easing through 6/3. Hamilton and Leefe hauled themselves back to 4/4 from 2/4 but had a disastrous 9th game courtesy of a Hamilton double fault and allegedly a self-inflicted teapot pose and thus handing victory to the Dedanista pairing 4/6. The final was a closer affair than many others with Radley’s Nick Gordon and Tim Roberts winning a tight and exciting final 6/5.
In the Singles competition, Tony Harrison, supporting us once again all the way from Jesmond Dene suffered an early morning whoopsie against T&RA 2’s James Richardson going down 6/5 having had his chances to proceed into the semi-final. He could now console himself with a bottle of MMTCC’s Ferocia et Fraternitate Best Red. In an all Oxford affair Freddie Freeman, nonetheless representing MCC, was involved in a cracking match against, despite his surname, Kiwi Frazer MacDiarmid which went Freddie’s way 6/5. Several lesser players were green with envy that Frazer had only had 2 lessons up to this point. T &RA 1’s Jeremy Hawkins was looking dangerous as he cruised past Cambridge’s Ben Geytenbeek 6/2. Mat Fattorini of Leamington 2 just missed out in the third quarter-final 6/5 scoreline to Moreton Morrell 1’s Craig Swallow.
Freddie Freeman played exceptionally well against the dangerous James Richardson to squeeze through 6/5. Against Craig Swallow, Jeremy Hawkins could do no wrong and when 4-0 up the dedans door opened and there was a Glastonburian cry of ‘OOOO Jeremy … Hawkins’ thought to have been the dulcet tones of the tournament organiser. OOOO Jeremy brushed aside such inanity and sent Swallow dipping out of the tournament. Freddie looked a trifle shell-shocked after having conceded so many high handicap differences on his journey to the final but once again battled gamely with a heavily strapped leg and even more heavily strapped racket. The dedans was taking bets on which if either would make it to the end of the final. Freddie faltered and with a borrowed racket went down 0-2 before the match see sawed 3/3, 4/4 and for the third time he reached 5/5 but OOOO Jeremy held his nerve, played some rasping shots to the forehand corner and deservedly took the Singles trophy. The wheel of fortune had turned full circle – having set the tournament off at 11a.m. on Saturday he was the last to take a bow and leave the stage at the end of such a superb final.
So the last year’s domination by Leamington was brought to a shuddering close with the Doubles trophy going to Radley, Singles to T&RA 1 and the destination of the Ernst and Whinney (now E and Y I’m told) Team trophy? Thanks largely to the efforts of OOOO Jeremy Hawkins, the organiser Tony Branfield was able once again to claim half a handle of an interclub trophy for the second year running with the help, of course, of Bob Compton.