There was a buzz around the club and so there should have been … both men’s and women’s world champions were here and we were going to see them in action. There was a big crowd to watch, we had WIN TV filming and interviewing, Steve Wright had the BBQ fired up and the bar was well stocked. It was going to be a special night and we were not disappointed.
Rob Fahey, a Tasmanian by birth, has been world champion for 18 years. He’s won 41 grand slam titles and at +12 has the lowest handicap ever seen in the game. If that is not the greatest domination ever, of a sport, I don’t know what is. He has rewritten the record book and is not finished. Claire Vigrass, from Essex, is fairly early in her career but already holds the world singles and doubles titles as well as current titles in all the playing nations. She already has the lowest handicap ever held by a woman. She’s done all this by the age of twenty. We are clearly watching someone who has just begun to rewrite the record books.
Completing the trio was our own club pro Brett McFarlane. He’s not just that chap who pesters you every Monday to play during the week. Before dissolution and age took its toll they tell me he was very good. Come to think of it he still has a handicap of 5 which is way better than all those hotshots about the place. He knows the court like the back of his palm and he’s not going to let some champion Tasmanian and some English sheila intimidate him.
The first match was between Rob and Brett and with a owe 30 receive ½ 15 handicap it was going to be interesting. I think Rob was playing at full pace and I know Brett was. First time I’ve seen him sweat and that was after the first rally. It’s the power, crispness of the shots, the ability to get everything back and the court speed that’s noticeable at this level. You could actually hear gasps from the crowd as both of them played shots that looked impossible. In the end Brett wins 8-6 … maybe he’s not as dissolute as I thought.
Claire then played Rob followed by Brett. I’d not seen her play before. Tall and very athletic I imagine there is no sport she would not be good at. Like the guys the shots are crisp, she gets to everything and errors have to be earned. Not quite as much power, but just as in golf, you can identify with the brilliant technique because of that. Rob loses 7-8 in a gentlemanly display. Not quite so gallant, Brett wins 8-7. Maybe Claire was just making him look good in front of the home crowd.
Anyway it was a fantastic night. Spectators hung around and celebrated to all hours afterwards … the usual suspects had to be hosed out the door. All this just doesn’t happen and a big thanks to Black Flag rum which sponsored the night. Samples of it were handed out and the verdict was very positive. Look for it in independent liquor outlets later in the year.