It's the real thing as Hatfield House hosts British Championships

PUBLISHED: 18:27 01 February 2009 | UPDATED: 21:30 26 October 2009

Real tennis action from Hatfield House

Real tennis action from Hatfield House

HATFIELD House Tennis Club is set to host the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles Invitation Championship next weekend. The event is scheduled to take place from Friday, February 6 until Sunday, February 8 at the stately home. This year s play will b

On court at Hatfield House Tennis Club

HATFIELD House Tennis Club is set to host the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles Invitation Championship next weekend.

The event is scheduled to take place from Friday, February 6 until Sunday, February 8 at the stately home.

This year's play will be sponsored for the first time by Neptune Investment Management.

They have replaced the British Land Company PLC after 10 years as principal sponsors of Real Tennis in Britain.

Real tennis

The championship is open to the top 16 ladies that are available in the world, with their male partners selected from a spread of clubs.

This is aimed to provide balanced pairings, each with an even chance on paper of winning the title.

Several of the leading ladies will be missing this year, however Holyport's Karen Hird, the holder, who has since moved up into fourth place in the world rankings, and seventh-placed Freddy Adam of Oxford will be competing.

Seacourt's Alex Garside, a former world doubles champion, will be joined by Elli Harris from Oxford, Queens' player Jo Sinclair and Jill Newby, also of Holyport, who are all former winners.

Catherine Walker will be the only Hatfield House lady in contention, but Jonathan Fisher and Nick Brodie will be representing the host club.

Colin Dean, a twice former winner, will be emerging from semi-retirement to partner Freddy Adam.

The leading contenders amongst the men will be Martin Higney of Seacourt and Cambridge player and holder Andrew Petrie.

Former winner Oxford's Anthony Clake and Harvey Rawlings from Petworth will also be fighting to impress.

Others competing will include chairman of the Bristol and Bath club David Pigott and Holyport hitter John Lumley, who at just 16 will be the youngest player in the competition.

John is the son of Colin, a former world-class professional, and Penny Lumley, the former numerous times world ladies' champion.

He is a great prospect for the future.

Unusually, there will also be an Australian pair from Tasmania participating.

Hardwick's Susan Castley, a former assistant professional at the Oratory, will be partnering Ted Alexander from Hobart, an assistant fund manager with the sponsors.

The championship starts at 11am on Friday and will continue through to the final, which is scheduled to be played at 4.30pm on Sunday, February 8.

Visitors will be welcome at any time and should approach the club via the Fore Street entrance to Hatfield House.

This is an ideal opportunity to see this remarkable medieval sport played to a very high standard.

For further details contact head professional Jon Dawes on 01707 273391.

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