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2009 Club Championship matches
A lot at stake here in this match between the two Williams boys. Daniel, with the Club Championship match on his mind, might have been distracted enough for Michael to sneak a win. Alas for Michael, no. Two points in Daniel made his intentions clear with a straight force that put Michael on the floor. Daniel went on to record his fourth successive Junior win (a “fourpeat??), all against different opponents, in a match that featured high quality retrieval and powerful hitting from both ends of the court. Final result 6/1 6/2.
Handicap Mixed Doubles
Husband and wife team Annie and Stuart Strange took on the brother and sister pairing of Michael and Stephanie Williams in the always controversial mixed event. Annie and Stuart were steady early using the benefit of a comfortable handicap advantage. Unfortunately, at the end of the first set Stu stopped listening to his partner and this seemed to coincide with Michael doing what Stephanie told him and the second set result reversed the first. The final set was a close battle with Stephanie and Michael managing to hold on to win the event for the first time 4/6 6/2 6/1.
Ladies Handicap Doubles
The purest of events, none of that nasty testosterone marring an otherwise controlled game, at least that’s what most of these players thought in the post match debriefing. Husbands of these players take note!! For the record Annie Strange and Alison Dugdale used the handicap advantage beautifully keeping the pressure up for the whole match against Elizabeth Williams and Claire Goodman, who were never really able to get going, particularly to win those first points of the game which are so important when conceding a start. Alison and Annie 6/0, 6/1.
C Grade Singles
Will Hoskin playing David Bruce … two B Graders masquerading as C Graders playing great tennis. The audience loved it … naturally, since it was all Will’s family. David plays aggressively but Will is frustratingly consistent … and very polite as you would expect of a junior. Will eventually won 6-3 6-4 in a result that really only swung on a few long games of countless deuces.
D Grade Singles
Ian Chambers has lost so many Club Championship finals that if they were suits he’d have enough to run a clothing shop… Fortunately for him, Liam Stringer hasn’t been a member long enough to know about Ian’s fragility under pressure! Ian in straight sets 6/3 6/3. Both players will be battling it out with the stronger C graders next year following marked improvement over the season but now Ian’s broken his duck you never know.
E Grade Singles
David Ward, (on his way to preside over a wedding) started like a man in a hurry with a string of unreturnable serves and powerful forehands, racing to a three love lead before his opponent Stephanie Williams was able to steady and using her greater experience and lower handicap set about retrieving the situation by attacking David’s backhand at every opportunity. She went on to win in straight sets 6/5 6/1.
Ladies B Grade Singles
Frequent B grade winner Cathy Faull proved too strong for Stephanie Williams in a match closer than the scores indicated. Cathy was able to win the points that mattered and exact some revenge for a controversial situation in the Mixed Doubles (just ask her!). Cathy’s win 6/2 6/2.
David Parker and Wayne Spring face off again in another of the long string of matches between these two great players. This match was as good as any they’ve ever played. Wayne started strongly winning the first few games but David came back with controlled aggression on anything served long to him and consistent length and cut on Wayne’s shorter serves. David looked too strong but was unable to capitalize on a couple of set points and Wayne raised his game again to claim the first set 6/5. Just as well too as David came out firing in the second completely dominating the match to go to a five love lead till Wayne picked up a couple of consolation games at the end but David closed the set out well 6/1. The third set started where the second left off with David executing his planned game perfectly, forcing hard and controlling the court with his volleys. Out to a three love lead and then to 4/2. What followed was the game of the day. More deuces and end changes than could be counted, David’s advantages were felt by the dedans to be effectively match points but Wayne kept digging in and seemed to be getting a new lease of energy chasing down the balls in both corners and forcing himself with great accuracy. After 20 minutes of game time Wayne prevailed which seemed to change things again and from there the old champ did what he’s done so many times before and squeezed the life from his opponent to win the third 6/4. A tremendous, dramatic affair that the spectators were privileged to witness.
B Grade Singles
The club’s two most enigmatic and unpredictable players in a match where their normal arrays of trick shots would not result in the opposite player missing the ball in astonishment but would instead try to return the ball in even more outrageous fashion. Doug Grant’s range deserted him early and Bruce Christie was able to capitalize and run out the victor in straight sets 6/2 6/4. Both will have sights set on the A grade title next year.
A Grade Singles
Two players who hadn’t picked a racket up till 3 years ago, both recent winners of Most Improved Player trophies. Mark Hartnell knocked Michael Williams out of the Club Championships in four hard-fought sets a couple of weeks before this match giving Michael a target to aim at but Mark an edge in confidence. This was a match that was fast and furious with great retrieval and court coverage from both players, some absolutely brutal straight forcing from Michael and corresponding main wall forcing for the dedans from Mark. Game for game early, Michael took a lead of 5/3 and looked solid but Mark raised his game (though with less of his usual ebullience) and went to 5/5 40-15 prior to an astonishingly uncharacteristic run of errors which saw Michael claim the first set. Chastened by that, Mark played great tennis at the start of the second, cutting with even greater precision to the corners and serving tightly to go 3/0 up. This run was halted when Michael won two short chases, first by cutting to the corner and then on a 1 yard chase hitting a straight volley force for the dedans that caused the spectators (including Mark’s Mum!) to fear for Mark’s safety. Michael went on to prevail in the second set 6/4. It is safe to say that neither player will qualify for A grade next year leaving it for the less elite amongst the membership.
Makes you proud to belong to the Club when you can see two fine athletes like David Parker and Daniel Williams play a final like this. It went for over two hours and the fact that Daniel eventually won 6-4 6-3 6-3 belies the intensity. These are two of the best volleyers in the game and the accuracy and power of their exchanges was the highlight. Daniel had the advantage that mother and coach Elizabeth Williams wanted an early return to Melbourne and extolled Daniel to hurry up at every opportunity. However David is buoyed by Ballarat and Clarendon’s brilliant VCE results. Whatever their motivation it was wonderful tennis. First time for Daniel on a Honour Board that in its 26th year has only four other names on it … David himself, Wayne Spring, Andrew Fowler and Bill Faull … elite company.