Details from 1 May 2018 – 30 April 2019
Men’s Singles Tournament – 3rd June 2018
(Report courtesy of Mark Wasilewski)
2018 Men’s Singles Champion: Alexander Wasilewski
2018 Men’s Singles Runner-up: Grant Maly
2018 Men’s Singles Sore Loser but Proud Dad: Mark Wasilewski
The hot, humid morning start could not have been a more stark contrast to the 2017 final which Grant Maly had won in a downpour that mere mortal tennis players would not have endured. In 2018, with the sun on his back, was the defending champion a man for all seasons, eager to take on all comers – even if three of them were Wasilewskis?
Grant’s first match was against Dad Wasilewski aka Mark. Even at 13 stone, you would not call Mark a heavy drinker, well Chris Taylor wouldn’t. This is not so much a reflection of Chris’ first-hand knowledge of Mark’s inability to stay awake to have a third drink, it’s just that he knows Vanessa quite well now, and she sets a different bar when it comes to imbibing alcohol. Anyway, enough of Mr CT who could not even be bothered to enter!! Mark’s mistake, apart from not being a better tennis player, was to invite someone who candrink for a meal the night before.
Neither a couple of Ibuprofen’s nor indeed possibly a couple of bleary, dodgy line calls, could help Mark gain more than just one game in Grant’s opening 4-1 win.
Meanwhile, Court 2 saw 2 other Wasilewskis in action as younger brother Todd beat over-confident elder brother 3-2. On walked the youngest and shortest player in the mix, 12-year-old Oliver. Todd lost 3-2, and on coming off the court, gave some sage advice to his older brother: “Don’t underestimate him”. Alex didn’t and secured a 4-2 win.
Next up for Alex was tournament organiser, Jim, but that was entirely Jim’s own fault. With 13 entrants, Jim had divided the players into 3 groups. One of which contained all the youngsters: Oliver, Alex, Todd, Harrison and yes Jim. [Come on Jim who areyou trying to kid?] Alex’s competitive streak kicked in. He knew that having lost to Todd, and Todd to Oliver, Alex would need to amass a lot of winning games to try and get through to the final on games won, as matches won would be tied. Alex needed cannon fodder, and this is where Jim came in. Jim’s 7-0 loss to Alex not only reflected Alex’s superior tennis skills, but also Alex’s aim to win points as quickly as possible.
Winning points as quickly as possible was not a feature of the third group. This involved Mark A, uni Ed, and Mihai. This was the metronome group of long rallies, despite the sweltering sun.
The final would be between the 2 of the 3 group winners, and this is where things became complicated, apart from Grant that is. He won all his matches, not only against MW but also Julius and Ollie’s dad David thus securing his place in the final. Todd, Alex and Oliver all won 3 of their 4 matches. Alex and Todd both won 18 games, several more than Oliver. But Todd had lost 2 games more than Alex, so Alex was this Group’s winner. But because this group had contained 5 players, their last matches were ignored when comparing this group to the other groups to see who would get to the final. So Alex had an adjusted 2 victories the same as Ed but had won one more game and thereby securing his place in the final to face Grant.
Was complicated an accurate description?
In a blink of an eye, a shrug of the shoulders, a shake of the head and a bemused look all of which came from Grant, Alex stormed into a 4-love lead. Grant pulling a game back did not stop the home crowd leaving in droves to beat the Sunday afternoon crush at the Thrapston Co-Op no doubt. The slight blip in the match soon vanished as Alex ran out the 6-1 winner. If the crowd had stayed, Alex would no doubt have been riotously applauded off the court.
But this was only the start of the controversy. Alex posed (something he’s better at that even sport) for the Cup presentation. He then loitered before asking does he not actually keep the cup, you know, to take it home? “I didn’t even get my name engraved” piped up Grant: “People will forget about my win last year!” Caroline, all soothing and oozing chocolate dipped strawberries and chocolate brownies (see it is worth entering M Taylor) promised to secure Grant’s place in Thrapston and District Tennis Club history hall of fame, by getting the Cup engraved. The Club may now have to fork out the engravers cost for ‘Grant Maly’ but surely risk the more severe financial liability (on a per letter basis) of adding Alexander Wasilewski too – Alex again beating Grant on a letter-count 19-9.
Ladies’ Doubles Tournament – 3rd June 2018
Due to lack of interest for a ladies singles competition, the event was changed to a doubles tournament for the 8 participants whose names were drawn out of a hat to form 4 teams of players. After playing a set against each of the other teams (mathematicians will quickly deduce that each team played 3 sets!), the victors were Judith Wildman and Caroline Arkell who won all 3 of their sets. Nearest rivals were Hilary Basely who was teamed with Jane Welman.
Men’s Doubles Tournament – Sunday 8th July 2018
(Report courtesy of Mark Wasilewski)
2018 Men’s Doubles Champions: Keith Stockley and Alexander Wasilewski
What a weekend for fans of top, top sport. Not only did Thrapston and District Tennis Club hold its annual doubles tournament on this blistering hot Sunday, but the weekend also witnessed: the British Grand Prix at Silverstone; the culmination of the rowing at Henley Royal Regatta; England win an apparently important football match; and tennis of at least no worse a standard, in SW19. What an unimaginable treat for British sports fans. Surely this weekend could only be bettered if the World Professional Darts Championships at Lakeside could persuade their elite athletes to risk overheating (as we tennis boys did) at the oche, by moving its championship from January?
In one of the first matches, Grant and Jim took on familial pairing Mark and Todd. A tight start was followed by the loss of serve by Grant, to leave G&J trailing 2-3. At the change of ends, Jim announced he realised he had not brought along a towel. Mark enquired whether this indicated Jim was already ready to throw it in? Mark offered Jim his towel to throw keeping the gauntlet he normally throws down out of sight, whilst out of Todd’s bag fell a sock, something he apparently gives to opponents and proceeded to do now. Whether the laundry situation unnerved Jim is hard to tell, but M&T then ran out 5-2 winners.
Chris and Paul played some good tennis to finish second including a tight match against the eventual winners which saw just 5 games played in the allotted time. Peter won all the arguments of the day since he was on both sides of them, and Richard’s family turned up to watch the closing stages and help reduce the lemon drizzle cake on offer.
The event was again smoothly organised by Jim with 5 pairs taking part in the round-robin event. Jim put some thought into the pairings. Jim confided in us that he had seeded the players strongest to weakest and then matching up strongest with weakest and so on down the list. He then suggested during the prize giving, that this ranking was justified because the middle two, Alex and Keith, had won. Jim is not renowned as a man who often utters nonsense, but he managed so on this occasion. If the rankings had been accurate, all pairs would have had an equal chance and more than likely scored equal(ish) points. Churlish though it may seem, or even pedantic, but nevertheless accurate, to point out that Alex and Keith won all their games whilst Jim and Grant lost each of their 4 games, undermining not only Jim’s logic but also Grants chance of getting his hands on the trophy.
Anyhow Mark, Alex and Todd then spent the journey home trying to work out the rankings Jim had used. At least it meant Mark felt more useful than he did on the tennis court, and the kids were entertained.
But rather than dwell on the randomness of mathematical theorems, we should celebrate Alex and Keith’s victory. In fact, Keith was a late substitute, for which the other 9, of course, would normally be grateful for. But substitutes are not supposed to walk off with the silverware – that’s left up to what are termed ringers. (Keith if the shoe fits…)
Indeed, Keith was so nonchalant about his success, that at one point he bemoaned the fact that he was forsaking the opportunity of drinking Pina Coladas in his back garden for all this sweat and toil in the heat watching Alex beside him hit winners on the tennis court. How the other ‘arf live.
But celebrate the nation did, as witnessed by this photo. There was so much Prosecco thrown into the air at the final result that you probably find it hard to identify the Thrapston Tennis club members easily in this photo – bar Vanessa of course, who is the one with her head back and tongue sticking out trying to waste not want not.
Ladies’ Doubles Tournament – Sunday 8th July 2018
Six ladies took part in the doubles event held in the afternoon of Sunday 8th July. This was in fact the second such occasion this year on account of the fact that the singles intended for 3rd June turned into a doubles tournament due to lack of support for a more personal event! Following random (out-of-a-hat) pairings of players, each pair played one set against each of the other pairings. The clear winners – winning both their sets 6-2 and 6-3 – were Caroline Arkell and Dawn Brown seen here being awarded their trophy by Judith Wildman (organiser) and runner up with Susan Pentelow. Making up the third pair were Emma Poole and Rachel Danby.
Veterans’ Trophy – Sunday 16th September 2018
(Report courtesy of Mark Wasilewski)
The morning after the night before, was not a good time to hold a veterans’ competition at Thrapston due to the overlap of attendees of former Vets Champions Chris and Vanessa’s wedding and competition participants. Wisely, therefore, Martin Welsh organised kick-off for 1pm, providing anyone who potentially could be suffering from bleary-eyed syndrome, the opportunity to Red Bull themselves to the service line.
The format required pairings to have combined ages of 85 or over (as can be seen in these photos). A couple of participants clearly tried to reach this target on their own, whilst more than one felt as if they had reached this target on their own.
Seven elderly (by definition) pairings gathered on a fine afternoon in this quiet corner of Northamptonshire. With the past Champions crying off with some lame excuse about wedding reception clear ups, breakfasting with family members who had to travel, etc., etc., the silverware was more accessible than normal, although it turned out to be glass.
But Martin was clearly in a hurry to find out who would win, by putting the top two pairings to face each other in Round 1. This saw the top mixed pairing of Martin & Hilary against uber
competitive and unmixed Grant and Peter. The latter’s winning intentions clear by the fact that neither normally wears a dress (Ed: Fact checking).
The score-line favoured the slightly more tosstossterone-rich pair, G&P, winning 6-2.
Other challengers to G&P’s dominance came and went, but none went after collecting more than two games.
But Martin had dreamt up a consolation competition. This involved factoring in the ages of the pairs. Games won were multiplied by the combined age of the pairing. So, if M&H were not quite good enough to win the main trophy, they were old enough to win the half bottles of Champagne. Compared to the inedible glassware on offer, this seemed to me at least, a decent prize. Respect for Martin’s forethought grows.
Honourable mentions must go to Caroline and Jim. A competitive threat for future years as they are already the oldest pairing and thanks to coach Peter, J’s tennis is also on an upward trajectory. It is also worth noting that one of the ‘juniors’ playing, Joanthan, managed to keep most of his swear words under his breath – well done Lisele, keep up the training. Keith and Emma challenged J&C for the oldest pairing and Judith and Rachel for the wooden spoon, which they in fact secured.
The afternoon finished off in style. C&V turned up for the Prosecco, beer, BBQ and prize giving in that order. The cake was scrummy in both meanings of the word: its taste and the crowd gathering round to grab a piece. The BBQ also went down a treat (thanks Jim and Judith), even the Halloumi! I know, go figure.
A very enjoyable afternoon’s competition and company was well organised by Martin in what is a wonderful memorial to Ferrers LeMesurier, Martin’s father-in-law.
Results of the Northampton Lawn Tennis Summer League
Men’s A Team – Div 3 Henry Spencer’s team – came top of their division with 56 points followed by Corby C (51) and Duston United C (42). Well done!
Men’s B Team – Div 5 Simon Hossack’s team – came top of their division with 67 points followed by Heyford A with 66 and Earls Barton B with 48. Well done!
Mixed A – Div 1 Hilary Baseley’s team – came 9th out of 12 teams avoiding relegation. The overall winner was County A.
Northampton Lawn Tennis Awards Dinner – 13th October 2018
(An abridged version of the report by Mark Wasilewski who attended along with Chris & Vanessa Taylor and Simon & Caroline Hossack)
An uneventful evening was had by all at the Collingtree Hilton, as silverware, plaques and salvers were dished out to the deserving of Northampton Lawn Tennis League. Thrapston was desperate to put a respectable team out but instead relied on Team B Captain Simon Hossack and his undeserving wife Caroline. The Taylors, Vanessa and Chris, wererevisiting the occasion of their first date which has now descended into matrimony, whilst Mark Wasilewski also turned up. Not only were Chris and Vanessa making a trip down memory lane, but Chris’s car was needed to ferry back the swag (see opposite) that will at least temporarily belong to Thrapston and District Tennis Club.
With dispositions massaged by introductory drinks, mood lighting and music, it was palpable how the excitement grew. Questions spun around everyone’s head: did I order Mozzarella or Fish Cakes? Did I order Chicken or Filo Filled Veg? Why is there not enough custard to go with this apple crumble? If I pour all the custard on to start with, will the second half just become too dry? In the main, the Thrapston group held their nerve and were served pretty well. Chris went for the full custard pour, which in these conditions was a mistake. Mark adopted a safety-first strategy, playing to his taste buds’ strength by taking a little bit of crumble on his spoon and directing it mouth-wards, then dipping the spoon in the custard holder and quickly catching up the soon to be ingested crumble. The strategy paid off – the proof was in the pudding.
With the edible sustenance behind them, it was prizegiving time. Our compere for the evening, Dominic Sefton, began proceedings by awarding Rushmere the winner’s trophy for Division 7, but since they were not there, the first up to collect an award was our very own Simon who led the Men’s B team to the Winter Division 6 championship. Simon would have to make two long walks to the collection point and the ‘I promise to return it’ signup sheet.
County was next up – one of seven trips for them, before it was Thrapston’s turn again as Mark collected the trophy for the Men’s A team winning Winter Division 4. As the seasons progressed, Simon was back on his feet collecting the Men’s B team trophy for winning Summer Division 5. Chris decided to get in on the fun by collecting the trophy for the Men’s A team winning Summer Division 3. Trophy handouts went smoothly before the clatter of Mark dropping a trophy lid silenced the room (except for the continuing echoes of metal on metal and glass and, err, giggles).
Mark decided to take a leaf out of Martin Welsh’s book, by trying to devise a system where Thrapston’s performance would look even better. Martin for the Vets competition ensured victory for himself and Hilary by multiplying combined ages with games won, so he and Hilary could plunder the champagne prizes. Mark is excellent at maths and working with numbers and eventually, after numerous attempts and permutations, worked out that there was no way, in fact, to pull off Martin’s trick, which increases Mark’s appreciation for the said feat. The various permutations all placed Thrapston’s haul 3rd behind County and Dallington.
Late success was almost secured though, when Dominic learnt from his table companions, that Thrapston had a tendency to offer post-match Prosecco to visiting teams. This information was too late to sway the award for the most hospitable team. In truth, it would have been a bit misleading anyway, since Dominic did not know that such pleasantries were only offered when Thrapston were the winning team – it keeps costs dramatically down. But Well Done to all who contributed to winning those trophies! It has been a very successful couple of years competition-wise for Thrapston.
Results of the East Northants Summer League
Thrapston A Men’s Division 1 – Martin Welsh’s team – came 3rd, behind Kettering A and Corby A.
Thrapston C Men’s Division 2 – Jim Arkell’s team – came 7th out of 10 teams. Ferrers & Rushden A were the overall winners.
Thrapston A Ladies – Vanessa Woodhead’s team – came 3rd with 49 points, just behind Corby C with 51. The overall winners were Corby A with 61 points.
Thrapston B Ladies – Judith Wildman’s team – came 6th overall.
Thrapston Mixed Division 2 – Chris Hutchinson’s team – came top with 34 points, ahead of Kettering B with 33. Well done!
East Northants Tennis League Social Event – 19th October 2018
The East Northants Tennis League social event was held in Kettering on Friday 19th October. The guests included a lively group from the Tennis Cub in the guise of Judith and Mike Wildman, Mark Alewood and Val, Peter Kirk, Grant Maly and Caroline and Jim Arkell. Although we didn’t win any prizes for the quiz (coming third), we did rather well in the raffle and collected on behalf of Chris Hutchinson (the Mixed Doubles captain) the Division 2 Trophy seen here with some of the attendees who had played in the team. Well done Thrapston!