We have reported recently on a series of tournaments for the juniors of Rye Tennis Club against juniors from other nearby clubs. Last Sunday, June 24, it was the turn of the other end of the age spectrum when head coach Frances Candy put together a team of older players for a doubles match against The Green Tennis Club from Hastings. The Rye team consisted of two pairings: John Spencer (with Viggie Litchfield taking over from him later) and Caroline Carver in team 1 and Margaret Coltman and John Minter in team 2. Each individual match consisted of two sets and, if needed, a final tie-break to decide the winner.
On the immaculately-maintained grass courts and under blue skies with, for once, only a light breeze, Spencer and Carver started the day off against the number 2 pair from the Green. Some accurate serving and good returns kept the Rye pair in command from the start and they took the match 6-1, 6-0.
On the next door court Minter and Coltman took on the Green number 1 pair. It was a close-fought match; the first set went to Rye but in the second set the Green reversed the result, taking the set 6-4. The tie break then came into play. This is complicated with doubles games, all four players taking it in turns to serve. At 4-1 to the Green, the match looked over but the Rye pair fought back to 5-6 leaving their opponents to serve for the match. A poor return into the net by Rye at the end of a short rally gave the final point, and the win, to the Green.
The teams then swapped over with Rye 1 playing the Green 1 and the two number 2 teams playing each other.
Litchfield took the place of Spencer and, once again good play from both sides resulted in a close match and with one set each, they went into the tie break. The Green, however, just had the edge and with the tiebreak ending at 5-7, managed a narrow win.
Minter and Coltman worked hard against some good serving by their opponents but, although taking a number of games to deuce, could not quite find the winning shots and with a few points thrown away with double faults, the first set went to the Green. It had been a long set and time was running out so it was decided to go straight to a tiebreak. It was won by Rye and this match was declared a draw.
With the final result 2-1 to the Hastings club and one drawn match, they were declared the winners as both sides retired to an excellent tea in the summer pavilion. It was a friendly and enjoyable match and a return was proposed for September in Hastings when a Rye team will attempt to even the score.
There are a number of very good players at the tennis club and they have their own series of matches throughout the year culminating in the summer Open Tournament, but the Club is not just for the experts, there are also a good many, of all ages, who are either new to the game, haven’t played, perhaps, for many years or have reached no great standard but just enjoy playing their equals from time to time. For these there are group coaching sessions which recognise the fact that tennis is not necessarily a life and death event, but a game to enjoy and have fun with and an opportunity to socialise and meet players of similar standards with whom to play on other occasions. Anyone interested in taking part can contact head coach Frances Candy (firstname.lastname@example.org) or go to the Club’s website.
Photos: Frances Candy