Hatfield House the setting for tough competition in real tennis tournament

PUBLISHED: 14:09 21 February 2019

Action from the final of the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles tournament at Hatfield House Real Tennis Club.

Action from the final of the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles tournament at Hatfield House Real Tennis Club.

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Hatfield House Tennis Club once again hosted the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles tournament - and as with previous years there were some incredibly close and entertaining matches.

Katie Leppard (Oxford) and Simon Talbot-Williams (Holyport) were the winners of the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles tournament at Hatfield House Real Tennis Club.Katie Leppard (Oxford) and Simon Talbot-Williams (Holyport) were the winners of the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles tournament at Hatfield House Real Tennis Club.

The invitational event brings together the best 16 ladies in the country in the centuries-old sport of real tennis.

They are then paired with men of a suitable standard to give each pair an even chance of winning the title.

And despite it being a national event, the host club provided 10 of the 32 players, with two of them being involved at the semi-final stage.

Jill Newby, and her partner Owen Saunders of Hampton Court, as well as Alistair Hunter and his partner Nicola Doble, another from the Hampton Court club, both reached the last four.

Natalie Barber (Oxford) and Fred Satow (Hampton Court) were the runners-up of the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles tournament at Hatfield House Real Tennis Club.Natalie Barber (Oxford) and Fred Satow (Hampton Court) were the runners-up of the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles tournament at Hatfield House Real Tennis Club.

Nick Brodie and Amy Pye of Prested Hall, Jonathan Fisher and partner Clare Bucknell (Oxford) plus the all-Hatfield pair of Sophie Dannreuther and Steve Brewerton made it as far as the round previous.

Newby and Saunders were up against Katie Leppard (Oxford) and Simon Talbot-Williams (Holyport).

They got off to a slow start losing the first set 6-1 but having decided to switch which server they took in the second set, the contest became much tighter.

Newby in particular was as solid as a rock and controlled both the serve and return well.

Katie Leppard (Oxford) and Simon Talbot-Williams (Holyport) were the winners of the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles tournament at Hatfield House Real Tennis Club.Katie Leppard (Oxford) and Simon Talbot-Williams (Holyport) were the winners of the Billy Ross-Skinner British Mixed Doubles tournament at Hatfield House Real Tennis Club.

They took the second set 6-5 to set-up a decider that was nip and tuck all the way but in the end it wasn’t their day and they lost 6-4.

Hunter and Doble had battled through a titanic quarter-final, winning 3-6 6-4 6-5 and that appeared to have taken it out of the pair as they lost their semi-final 6-0 6-3 to Natalie Barber (Oxford) and Fred Satow (Hampton Court).

The final was won by Leppard and Talbot-Williams 6-2 6-3.

To find out more about Real Tennis, Hatfield House Tennis Club is having a recruitment evening on Thursday, April 11, starting at 6.30pm.

The rules will be explained and there will be an exhibition match between the two Hatfield professionals before people will be given the chance to have a go.

Food and drink will be laid on throughout the evening and the cost will be £20.

To find out more call 01707 273391 or email hhtc@gotadsl.co.uk

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