Ogilby Cup 2018
As ever, the vagaries of handicap doubles produced many surprises and tense moments in the Box games. In Box 1 Rob Stewart and Norman Hyde looked like sure-fire winners but came badly unstuck against Julian Rawstorne and Martin Harris, a pairing whose hobbling immobility provoked a deadly combination of complacency and fear amongst their opponents. Stewart and Hyde allowed their opponents to creep back to 5/5 from 2/5 and despite winning the final game, their game difference was dealt a crippling blow thus allowing Mark Leefe and James Richardson through to the quarter-finals. Andrew Hamilton and Mat Fattorini made short work of Richardson and Leefe but were also taken to 5/5 by the hobblers but went through in spite of a sound beating by Hyde and Stewart
In Box 2 youngsters Greg Bowler and Harry Walsh waltzed or perhaps more aptly ‘flossed’ their way to three victories. The tricky serves and cut shots of John Miller senior and the mercurial talents of Mark Maclure booked them a place on Sunday’s journey.
Box 3’s alliterative pairing of Hattie Hamilton and Freddie Freeman got off to a dissonant start against David ‘Snowy’ Prophet (mercifully looking a little less Old Testament prophet this time round) but missed an opportunity to go through when against Keith Beechener and Craig Swallow they essayed some loose shots which lost them the crucial final game. Thanks to Lambdon’s pugnacious play, he and Prophet lived to fight on the Sabbath with Beechener and Swallow.
Play was interrupted in the Box matches by two forlorn and lost frantically flapping small birds. As one wit pointed out ‘there were now six tits on court.’
Box 4 was honoured with a second-chance saloon appearance by Norman Hyde joining a partnerless fellow Old Warwickian Chris Creighton-Thomas (the Chairman had to endure a particularly dull reminiscence, mostly Norman’s, of halcyon days of House sport at the Almer Mater, before gently and politely taking his leave.) Once Chris had laid the main ground rule that he didn’t ‘do tactics’ the rudderless pair defied the bookies by scraping through somehow, along with David Phillips and his young gazelle Jonny Miller.
Heard in the Bar: The Chairman’s suggestion that the weekend should be banter-free, was greeted with howls of derision, in that he in particular would find this impossible to achieve. Jon Lambdon, full of bright ideas as per usual, proclaimed that the Club lacked an apt motto and that it should be in Latin. As luck would have it there was a Classicist to hand, none other than the Club’s very own Master of Wine, Mark Savage. As if by magic, a translation swiftly appeared, pinned to the noticeboard for collection …
‘DUM TALES AMICOS TENEMUS
HOSTES NUMQUAM NOS TERRENT’
Who says Latin is a dead language? However, I digress.
In the first quarter-final the fire brigade had to be called as Jonny Miller was on fire, playing error free and positive tennis, ably aided and abetted by David Phillips who served to a good length and astonished a crest fallen Chairman when he chased a cross court short ball pummelling it into the grille, symptomatic of the ease of a 6/2 victory.
‘Next up’ (never let the sporting clichés dry up) were Miller Senior and Mark Maclure who were cruising to victory 4/2 up when the bullying Miller ground out a tame force which nonetheless proved too speedy for the Snowy one who in tangled feet mode, managed to divert the ball into his eye. Cue the onsite sawbones as David Phillips, ear, nose and throat specialist turned his hand to optometry and most professionally dealt with the prostrate Prophet (of Doom). He worked a veritable miracle, stemming the tide of blood and working such a miracle that the fallen one, sight restored, picked up his racket and armed with an ice pack, engaged with the club sofa for the rest of the proceedings, without a sign of disfiguring bruising.
The wily and canny Beechener and Swallow once again brought experience and steadiness to bear on Bowler and Walsh, who despite an impressive fan base in the dedans, succumbed tamely 1/6.
The question on all lips was ‘how would the rejuvenated Norman Hyde in his newly acquired skin fare? As current jargon goes, he and Chris without a hint of strategy nearly ‘nicked’ it but Leefe and Richardson held their nerve at 5/5.
The long awaited Miller family feud was next, watched by Jo, visibly suffering from being a conflicted mother and wife. The way Miller husband and father played, he was clearly conflicted whereas Junior Miller didn’t appear in the slightest conflicted in his assumed role of reducing his father to error strewn haplessness - unable to engage with the not insignificant area above the net. Greek mythology is awash with bloody patricide – this was worse.
In the other semi-final, Leefe and Richardson proved too strong for Swallow and Beechener, securing their place in the final with a 6/3 win.
Sometimes momentum downs tools and refuses to continue its triumphant march: sadly after his wonderful tennis earlier, Jonny Miller was adversely affected by this syndrome. Richardson was particularly effective in the forehand corner at the service end and Leefe was firm and stable throughout, thus worthy winners of the 2018 Ogilby Cup.
Many thanks to Tom for rounding up 16 pairs and to Nick as well, for their excellent marking and of course a fantastic set of tennis balls.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable banterful weekend with the usual mix of schadenfreude and ridicule thus justifying fully the club’s motto, which Mr. Lambdon suggests, be pinned to the bandeau above the dedans which roughly translates as ‘Who needs enemies with friends like ours in the Club’ …