Hat-trick of successes for Orchard Tennis Club’s West

PUBLISHED: 10:35 21 July 2013

Men's singles champion James West

Men's singles champion James West


IT was a memorable Finals Day for James West as Orchard Tennis Club held their annual Finals Day.

Ladies' singles winner Clare RobinsonLadies' singles winner Clare Robinson

West reached the finals of all three of the competitions he was eligible for – the men’s singles, men’s doubles and the mixed doubles – the third year in a row he has done so.

However, although he was defending champion in men’s singles and doubles, the mixed title had so far eluded him.

Not this year though, and in an impressive display of skill, endurance and stamina on a sun-baked afternoon, West swept the board winning in all three categories.

For the third year in a row, he won the singles against his regular adversary Stuart Leach.

Struggling in the heat, Leach fought hard and the closeness of the match belied the final 6-1, 6-1 score.

West’s win in the men’s doubles competition was also the third in succession with his regular partner Danny Jordan. They beat Adam Reid and Leach.

But lastly and possibly the most satisfying win for West was with his partner Helen Gill in the mixed doubles versus Ian Adams and club coach Julia Howard.

Having won in 2011 and 2012 with her previous partner Stuart Leach, Howard and Adams were arguably the favourites.

However, they didn’t get going as quickly as they needed to against such a highly motivated opposition and paid the price losing 6-3, 6-4.

In the ladies’ singles 12 times previous winner Clare Robinson was challenged by Natalie Skilbeck. In the midday sun, they battled it out in a very close, three set epic lasting almost three hours. Almost on their knees with exhaustion, Robinson managed to squeeze a win in the third set to bag her 13th win in 18 years.

Freshly showered after her match Robinson returned to the club to play in her second final of the day.

With partner Stephanie Winfield, they took on Helen Gill and Miriam Mohns in the ladies’ doubles event. This was the first time in a final for Mohns and she found it nerve-racking but she performed well in her inaugural outing.

But experience shone through with Robinson and Winfield winning in straight sets. The former has won this event 11 times in 14 years with six different partners demonstrating her versatility and staying power.

In a major upset, the two regular adversaries in the veterans’ mixed doubles event, went out in the semi finals.

Over the last 12 years, the partnerships of Sue Neville/ Graham Barnes and Rae Walter/Paul Ketchley have dominated this event, winning every year between them.

This year fresh blood, in the form of new member Fiona McConnell and her partner Ian Adams, have reached the final, taking on Peter Williams and Gill Gunnell. This match will be played later this week.

The junior prizes were presented by club coach Julia Howard and the adult competitions were awarded by Elspeth Heywood.

But the main and huge thanks must go to the tournament organiser Steve Pantall with assistance from the men and ladies captains, all the volunteer umpires on the day and the loyal spectators.

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