Glorious weather for festival of tennis at Seaton
- Credit: Seaton Tennis Club
Proceedings began at Seaton Tennis Club Finals Day with the Ladies’ Singles between 2020 winner Jo Little and rapidly improving youngster Amelia Smith.
Amelia edged the opening set 6-4 and was ahead most of the way through an attritional second set, coming within just a couple of points of victory. But boosted by noisy support from her watching family, Jo showed all her experience to hang on and take the set 7-5.
So, it was the first championship tie break of the day with nothing in it until Jo nudged ahead in the match for the first time at 6-5, before holding her nerve to close it out by 10 points to 6.
Next up was the Men’s Singles between club coach and former winner Kevin Davis (39) and newcomer Stuart Loudwell (52), who had previously deposed last year’s winner, Iain Horlock, in a tense quarter final.
In a high quality match, with Kevin firing a barrage of ground strokes off both wings and his serves regularly exceeding 100mph on the speed gun, Stuart hung on gamely but was unable to make enough impact, losing the first set 6-2. In the second set, Stuart set off with a more aggressive game plan and opened up a 2-1 lead, only for Kevin to respond with even more firepower and take the second set 6-2 and with it the title.
The third event was the Men’s Doubles, featuring Kevin again, partnered by Matt Jobson (47), remarkably back in a final for the first time in twenty years, and also Stuart partnered by Pete Moroz (59).
A high octane battle of wham bam tennis followed to the delight of the thrilled crowd as both pairs sought to dominate the net with volleys in the face of blistering ground strokes from their opponents. In the end, tennis often just comes down to who wins a few key points and this match was no exception as Stuart and Pete prevailed 6-4 and 7-5, the laconic Stuart celebrating his revenge with a muted “Yes!!” and a slightly understated fist pump after the final point!
The final event was the Mixed Doubles which pitched Jo Little again and partner Barry Follett (64) against husband and wife team Jen and Chris Rose (45), beaten finalists four times in the last 6 years.
In a fairly comfortable opening set, Jo was solid from the base line and Barry worked the angles effectively from the net as they quickly established a 4-1 lead before closing out the set 6-3. The tables seemed to be turning in the second set as Jen and Chris raced into a 3-0 lead, but their lead evaporated and it was neck and neck to 5 all when Barry and Jo broke serve to lead 6-5.
A marathon service game followed for Jo with 8 deuces and 5 match points but the Roses broke back for the tie break, then levelling the match 7-3 in the breaker. The first to 10 championship tie break would decide the winners and the emotion was almost too much for Jen and Chris with racquets being thrown in despair at missed opportunities.
In a nerve shredding finish, Chris and Jen finally ran out winners 15 points to 13, with Chris astonishingly reclaiming a title he last won 27 years ago.
The Ladies’ Doubles winners were Jo Little and Susan Green, though the final was a walkover as their opponents were unable to play owing to family holiday commitments.
Chris’s dad Den (76), tournament organiser and well respected veteran as well as former club captain said, “What a great advert it’s been for Seaton Tennis Club today.” Club Chairman Simon Prior (58) agreed, adding that “Finals Day has capped a great summer season for Seaton Tennis Club with Ladies B, Ladies C, Men’s B and Mixed D all winning promotion from their respective divisions. And the crowning glory may well be the Mixed A team becoming Champions of the East Devon League with everything hinging on their last two fixtures in Division 1.”