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Club Championships 2017
Double for Simon, Mark and Andrew retain their doubles titles, Glen wins another mixed title and Sue and Sarah are first time ladies doubles champions
The 2017 Club Championships once again brought out the fighting spirit in our players, with a series of very closely fought matches ending on finals day on 30 September. Many matches resorted to the championship tie-breaker- a nail biting end to play needing nerves of steel and with momentum usually favouring the winners of the second set.
Simon Sluszny once again reigned supreme, winning both the Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles titles, and completing the third consecutive year of such an impressive feat. We think those detailed tactics sheets are what make the difference! Mark Pendlebery, has proved to be an excellent partner to Simon and too has been Men’s Doubles Champion for the past three years. Congratulations to both- a great achievement. Commiserations go to Tim Gill, beaten in the Men’s Singles and the Men’s Doubles finals, partnered by Michael Chase. The men are now plotting how to defeat Simon and Mark- something involving stealing those tactics sheets or alcohol the night before the final!
There was no Ladies Singles competition this year as the sole entrant was the holder, Pamela Reid. Pamela thus remains as champion until there is formal challenge for her title.
There are new Ladies Doubles winners as Sue Hoey and Sarah Baker defeated holders, Pamela Reid and Eileen Greenall, in a closely fought match that went to 10-8 in the Championship tie-break. Both Sue and Sarah are first time club champions so many congratulations to them.
Partners in the Mixed Doubles were again selected by drawing out of a hat meaning partnerships are decided by luck and a tactic favouring the strong men of the club. Two strong partnerships stood out when the draw was made and these combinations made it to the final, albeit with some closely fought matches en route. Andrew Nurse retained his mixed title, partnered by Glen Hickson but they needed a Championship tie-break to defeat Michael Chase and Sarah Baker in a thrilling match played in tricky, windy conditions.
The end of the club championship also closes a phenomenal year for the club. We remain very fortunate that our strongest men continue to represent Aston Park and not Halton in the Aylesbury and District League and they have succeeded in significantly raising the standard of the competition on the men’s side. Not to be outdone the women have achieved exceptional league success, and witnessed a “changing of the old guard.” We have also been able to field three women’s teams, something we could not have done ten years ago when we struggled to fulfil fixtures with one ladies team.
Of course wins and promotion also mean we have to play better opposition in higher leagues. However, we now have strong pools of players who have tasted significant success and are very keen to build on this. And the Championships have also allowed the next generation to showcase their skills. Tom Pendlebery and Josh Hoey (yes- they are related to the men’s and ladies doubles champions respectively) challenged their more experienced opponents in all competitions. Katharine Charlton and Francesca Charlton showed the significant improvements they have made over the summer to be serious contenders for third team places. Exciting times for team tennis at Aston Park!
Katharine Charlton and Francesca Charlton were jointly named as most improved women players for the year. Eric Jayarajah was named as most improved male player. Congratulations to these three players.
As another club championship draws to a close, organiser Club Chair, Barbara Wilkinson, breathes a sigh of relief. We once again need to thank Barbara for ensuring we completed the matches ahead of the forecast heavy rain. Thank you Barbara for all your efforts on our behalf. Organising the Championships is a lot of work and you have to deal with some difficult scheduling requests. However, you always say it is the “players championship” and we must do all we can to play matches even if that means some rescheduling to fit with players’ real life commitments.
The roll call of winners for 2017:
Men’s Singles- Simon Sluszny
Mixed Doubles- Andrew Nurse and Glen Hickson
1 October 2017