Ogilby Cup 2019
This year’s Ogilby Cup proved to be an entertaining event with some enjoyable tennis. The highlight of the boxes came on Saturday afternoon with the encounter between Philip Shaw-Hamilton & Craig Swallow and Bernie Spratt & Peter Wilson. even with a tournament handicap limit set to 65 Philip and Craig still found themselves facing one serve, banned tambour, banned chases worse than 3&4, service end conceded after one chase and banned hazard chases when playing off chases. This was a first for Craig but not for his partner hoping to add the Ogilby Cup to his World and national doubles titles. The pair managed to avoid service faults and kept well away from the tambour however they did find the galleries on more occasions than they might have liked gifting points to their opponents. Wilson and Spratt were able to return the favour playing the occasional ball they might have left from chase 5 in between some effective strokes. in a testament to the handicappers art it proved to be a tight match with the coup de gras being served by Wilson and Spratt as Wilson managed to convey his message to his partner at the second time of asking that his current course of action, careering to chase six with the sole intention of wellying the ball back over the net to Philip, might not be in the best interests of the team. Raising his racket in the nick of time the ball was left to land short of 3&4 giving the match to Spratt & Wilson 6-4.
In the first box on Friday John Miller & James Richardson fought a hard match against Bruce Paxton and Tony Branfield. With the higher handicap pair taking a 5-3 lead and failing to convert a couple of match points Miller & Richardson were able to fight back taking the match down to a single point at 5-5 40 all. In the final point Paxton ran forward to latch onto Richardson’s return of the Branfield serve employing a forehand volley the style of which Etchebaster, Ronaldson and Fahey seem to have omitted from the tennis literature. A strange omission given the way the ball flew into the winning gallery much to the surprise of Richardson and Miller. And Branfield. And the marker. And those watching from the dedans. And quite possibly Paxton too.
The second box was notable for the fact that the normally tough to beat savage Franklin pairing did not qualify for the knockout stages. This despite taking a 3-0 lead in their first match before starting on a 9 game run without a win. While their failure to qualify may have served to soothe some nerves amongst those that did qualify it is worth remembering that it will also re-set their handicaps for future competitions.
On Sunday morning it was pleasing to see that the juniors Gus and Alex had made it thorough for the first time although they were not able to progress further falling to the eventual winners.
The first semi-final was contested by the much fancied pairing of Jonathan Lambdon and Keith Beechener against John Miller and James Richardson. Initially it was a nip and tuck affair but as the set progressed Miller’s effective (annoying) giraffe serve put the opponents under pressure and despite some weak shots into the net, Miller, ably supported by hard-hitting cack hander Richardson, pulled through 6/3. In the second semi the lower handicapper also triumphed, Alan Moug playing with great consistency against vice chairman Bruce Paxton and Tony Branfield both of whom played some unorthodox but effective tennis. Surprise packet of the tournament was Moug’s partner Peter Lewis who had never played up at the net before but displayed an unerringly fine judgment of what to play and what to leave. A 6/3 result took them through to the final.
The final was an excellent spectacle with the bulk of play being between Moug and Miller. Good serving by ‘Bibury Blaster’ Richardson was responsible for a 2/0 lead but Moug and Lewis fought back to 3/3. Thereafter Moug was particularly consistent and severe on any loose ball, powering the unlikely pairing to a 6/3 victory and the Ogilby Cup, named after Colonel Ogilby who bought the court from Charles Garland in 1921. In his acceptance speech, Alan modestly claimed it was his first trophy only for it to be pointed out that it was his second! He thanked his partner for the quality of his play at the net and Tom and Lloyd for marking the 3 days of excellent competition.