Blackburn & District Handicap Tournament Week 18-22nd November, 2019
In the men’s singles a very healthy group of six gents battled it out as one group. At the end of it, the last man standing was Tyler Allen from Blackburn Seniors, with Graham Robinson from Westholme, close at his heels and looking like he could go on playing! Unfortunately, the ladies’ singles had to be cancelled as only two ladies had entered the competition.
In the ladies’ doubles, the Westholme ladies went head to head in group one as the cousins, Lucy Gallagher and Jenn Trethewey, faced Mum and Auntie, yours truly, with Jenny Brookfield. The promising Blackburn Seniors youngsters, Amie Gregson and Ciara Hickey, were also in this group. The second group of ladies comprised two Blackburn Seniors pairings, Claire and Honey Edmundson, and Mel Rushton and Helen Shanks; joining them were Val Bertenshaw and Kath Riley from Goodshaw. Both groups played best of three, with many games going to three, often right up to the wire. In the final, Jenny Brookfield and Claire Banfield from Westholme, met Claire and Honey Edmundson, in a repeat of last year’s final. The handicapping was spot on as the game again went to three, this time with the Westholme ladies coming out on top.
The men’s doubles tournament had a similar six pairings split in to two groups, each playing the best of three games. In group one, father and son, Nigel and David Holt from Goodshaw, played Luke Quigley and Lewis Gregson from Blackburn Seniors, along with the College pairing of Paul Ainscoe and James Aldred. In the adjacent group, another Goodshaw couple, Dean Bertenshaw and Steve Grantham, took on a second pairing from College, Will Pang and Josh Li, along with Sam Ashton and Peter Elliott from Hit & Miss. As in the ladies’ tournament, the excellent handicapping resulted in many close games going to three. In the final, Nigel and David Holt faced last year’s losing finalists, Sam Ashton and Peter Elliott. The first two games could not have been closer: 21,20 and 19, 21, before the Goodshaw couple romped home to victory in the third game.
In the mixed doubles’ tournament (fortunately on the next day as I struggled to get out of bed!) ten couples from: Blackburn Seniors, Westholme, Goodshaw, Hit & Miss and College were divided in to two groups, this time just playing one game. Group 1 consisted of the following players: Chris Peel and Mel Rushton; Rick Smith and Claire Edmundson; Luke Quigley and Helen Shanks; Hefin Parry and Claire Banfield; and the ever smiling Nigel Holt and Kath Gillan. In group 2, the reigning champions, Abdul Malik and Julie Bates faced David Holt and Becky Hayes; Joe Lambert and Becca Grimshaw; Matt Shuker and Amie Gregson; and Paul Ainscoe and Cecile Planque. There were many competitive games, played in the best of spirits during this mixed tournament. Dive of the day certainly goes to Chris Peel: I was lucky enough to capture this on film if you look in the gallery. As he picked himself up and dusted himself down, Chris’s words were, ‘I owe it all to Steven Smith’ (whose birthday it happened to be that day – Happy Birthday, Steven!
Despite some close games, the players and spectators were not surprised to see the Clash of the Titans as Rick and Claire, winners of their group, played against Abdul and Julie in the final. Bandaged to the hilt, the Hit & Miss old stalwarts (I’ve known them a long time; I know I can get away with that…just!) gave those who had stayed to watch (and I think this was most of us!) a final worth waiting for. In the last moments of the match, Julie told Abdul how to serve before finishing it off with a punishing cross court winner.
Thanks must go to Claire Edmundson for organising the tournament so efficiently. Also for the unspoken support from Mum/Grandma Prue. I’ve spent a long time typing this up rather than just giving you the results of each tournament. I feel it is important to recognise the teams: Blackburn Seniors, College, Westholme, Goodshaw and Hit & Miss who supported these tournaments, and the players who gave their time and effort to participate.