The Owen-George early round to sort out some wheat from chaff was held on Wednesday evening, a box of 4 playing a one six game set (surely two 3 set matches next year? Ed.) Alan Moug and John Miller gave the chaffing Chairman and Martin Trees the opportunity to sit in front of a warm fire on a freezing Friday afternoon. Which wasn’t a bad option, given that Alan Moug only managed 2 games against the ever-green Philip Shaw-Hamilton and John Miller’s infamous giraffe serve couldn’t coax a single game against a remorseless Tom Lewis, who after a long lay off due to injury, was back to prime form.
The highlight of the tournament was unquestionably the battle between 28 year old Tom Lewis and 18 year old Vaughan Hamilton which boasted a somewhat unusual score line and some high-octane tennis. Tom cruised to a 6/0 first set win buoyed by a railroad that was hugging the wall below the winning gallery with unerring accuracy. In the second set he was advantage up in the first game but dozily served a double fault (don’t we all at some crucial stage!) and psychologically his mindset teetered which allowed Vaughan to take control and return the compliment with a 6/0 win. He then eased into a 5/2 third set lead but he too went ‘awol’ and let Tom back into the game and at 5/5 tension was high. Much previously had depended on serve, so it was to Vaughan’s advantage that he was serving; Tom made two unforced errors which, after a magnificent battle, handed a place in the final to Vaughan.
The other semi was between the somewhat olderTom Bomford 38, and Philip Shaw-Hamilton who recently celebrated his 67th birthday. Tom has had some outstanding results in recent times having beaten single figure handicaps, admittedly at fortress Moreton Morrell, so it was unsurprising that Philip found it a tough ask, but nonetheless there were some fine rests before Tom breezed through to a 6/2, 6/0 victory, thus booking his place against Vaughan.
And what a final it was and much admired from above no doubt by Roland Owen-George who would have wondered at the athleticism and speed of the modern players. They traded long, fast and skilful rallies in the first set; a long opening game was won by Tom who then went 3/0 up. Vaughan came back well and at 2/4 was pressurising Tom who, nonetheless went 5/2 up. Vaughan clawed his way back to 3/5 and was sowing some seeds of doubt in Tom’s mind who managed to take the set 6/3. The relentless pressure exerted by Tom was beginning to tell in the second set and he cruised through relatively easily to triumph in the Owen-George Cup for another year. As he pointed out, it won’t be long before he will have to hand over his crown to the young pretender!
It was most appropriate that the Owen-George Cup was sponsored by Blythe Liggins LLP, which was from 1952 to 1988 known as Blythe Owen-George. Many thanks, therefore, to Richard Thornton and Kevin Mitchell, partners in the firm, for their generous first year of sponsorship which we hope they will repeat next year!