Abingdon Open Tournament 2008
An LTA Grade 4 Tournament
The Abingdon Lawn Tennis Club 2008 Open Tournament took place from Monday 11th to Friday 15th August. The Open is a Grade 4 LTA tournament for juniors, and takes place during week 33 each year. The final order of play and full draws and photos of the finalists have been posted on this web site. The results by Order of Play can be accessed using the button to the left, and details can be found by going to the Draws page and selecting the summary, picture of finalists or appropriate tournament for more details.
For the second year running, the Open was plagued by unseasonably cold and wet weather. The competitors took this all in their stride whilst their parents suffered! The medal for the longest-suffering parent must go to Julia Jamieson-Black, whose three sons Jono, Jock and James kept her out in the wet and cold almost the whole week! To some extent we were fortunate in that the worst of the weather seemed to miss us and play remained almost on schedule. However, the dire (incorrect!) weather forecasts for Saturday led to us abandoning our traditional Finals Day this year. Instead we had a long day for Friday. In order to get the matches in and allow sufficient rest for the players, all the Friday consolation matches were short sets and match tie-breaks, and all the main draw matches to two set plus a match tie-break.
Total entries this year were almost the same as last year, but with more younger but less older players (173 entries, 337 sets and 2530 games). The experiment of introducing under 21 competitions drew disappointingly little interest, and were scratched because there were only four entries. Next year we shall reinstate the family doubles so that parents will have a chance of getting warm if the weather again proves troublesome!
Monday was devoted to under 12 and under 16 matches, and Tuesday saw the early rounds of the under 14 and under 18 matches. Under 10s were played on Friday. We saw many new competitors, plus the return of some familiar faces. On Monday, Tom Geach, winner of last year's under 11s, lost a close three set match of excellent tennis to newcomer Alex McCulloch in the under 12 boys singles. Leanne Fletcher and Olivia Horn, last year's u12 finalists, both reached this year's semi-finals. They also met each other in the first round of the under 14s, where Olivia reversed the last year's under 12's result by beating Leanne in a good three set match. This year's under 12 girls winner was Jemima Potter, who beat Megan Duckett in a close two set match. Megan had the misfortune of also meeting Jemima in the first round of the u14 girls singles, but had the consolation of winning the under 14 plate.
There were many other close fought matches. Robert Monaghan prevailed over Sam Catchpole in a two hour second round match in the under 14 boys singles. On Monday, steady play by Archie Hines beat the exciting but somewhat erratic attacking play from Orlando Lloyd in the under 16 boys singles. Orlando's frustration was compounded on Tuesday by losing against some solid play by Sunil Gujral in the under 18 boys singles. Orlando finally found the consistency he had showed last year and this year won both the under 16 and under 18 plate competitions. Two further close under 18 results were Beau Schofield's win over the higher rated Craig Drummond (where Beau took both the first and third set on tie-breaks) and Stephen Piddock's three set win over George Collier.
George Collier and Craig Drummond also suffered disappointment in the under 18 boys doubles, where they managed to lose the final for the third year running. Their play seemed to lack its usual concentration and edge, a factor which they put down to celebrating the night before the match the result that they had achieved the A-level grades they needed. The final of the under 14 boys doubles was a match of high quality between the Thomas brothers and the Hines brothers. Jack and Oliver Thomas put behind them their contest in the under 14 plate, where Oliver came close to beating his elder brother in the first set, and played well together. However, the older Archie and Bertie Hines combination were just a little bit too strong for them and eventually prevailed. It was a good match to watch.
Lauren Hill, Pip Rowe and Molly Geach have all become much stronger tennis players than last year. Pip had a close three set quarterfinal in the under 14s against Lucy Ingram, and Molly Geach had an even closer match against Elyse Gallacher. Molly won the first set easily (6-1), and looked like taking the second set 6-3, but Elyse saved four match points, eventually taking the second set 12-10 in the tie-break. Molly then had two more match points at 5-4 in the third set, but eventually lost the final set and match 5-7 on Elyse's first match point. Lauren has matured into a first class player. The only set where she was seriously challenged was in the second set of the under 14s semifinal, and she won that 7-5. She overcame Pip Rowe twice, once in the under 14s final and once in the under 16s semifinal. Lauren won the under 16s final comfortably, never allowing Elyse to settle and find her range.
Pip and Molly did not go home empty handed: they won the under 14 girls doubles against Lauren Hill and Charlotte Burrows. They also contested the under 18 girls doubles final against last year's winner, Ruth Jackson and Stephanie Prew. Ruth and Stephanie initially fell behind, but eventually fought their way back and repeated last year's feat of winning the doubles in the match tie breaker.
The compressed schedule to avoid the predicted deluge on Saturday meant that players had to play extra matches on Friday, and this probably affected the outcome where players were in hard fought matches. Oliver Duffy was the dominant player in the under 18 boys, but was given a hard match by Stephen Piddock in the final. This was after Stephen had won a match tie break against Nader Murad to get to the under 16s semifinal. Stephen ran out of steam and retired in the second set against an in-form Craig Loxton in the semi-final. Craig then played strongly to win a close match against Lawence Best to take the under 16s title. However, all this effort took its toll on Craig, and at the end of the day he could not raise his game in the final of the under 14s, and retired in the first set to give Benn Dunn the under 14s title.
The ALTC Tournament Committee extends its thanks to the parents and club members who kindly helped with the day to day running of the tournament. They also thank the Mayor, Patrick Lonergan, for his support, in particular for coming a day early to present trophies. The Club extends its congratulations to all players for their good tempered but competitive play, and invite them (and their parents) to enter the Abingdon Open 2009 in August 2009!