Men's Over 65 County Report
Cambridge 65’s had a mixed year, but before I write about our County Cup matches, I should mention that we were very fortunate that our friends from Norfolk were as keen to get back to some form of competitive tennis as we were, so as a follow-up to our friendly against them indoors back in September 2020, Cambridgeshire took a team of eight players to Cromer on the 5th of August to play Norfolk in a double’s match outside on the grass. Sadly, on this occasion, Cambridgeshire lost.
Arranging matches this year was difficult because none of the opposition, apart from Norfolk were keen to commit as no one knew if the Country would go back into lockdown. Even worse, with the advice to book outdoor venues and even use the Fast4 format, if necessary, brought nothing but flat refusals, with some Counties citing that Newmarket, which is only 15 minutes away from Cambridge was just too far to travel.
Fortunately, lockdown eased, and I was able to book David Lloyd for the home matches. First up was Lincolnshire. The final score might show a 4-1 defeat, but we were so unlucky not to have won the match 3-2. Mark, displaying his fitness and speed around the court, had an inspired match against Allan Thompson, their No 1, where following a long and brutal match, finally succumbed to the 4.2 rated player 11-9 in the tiebreak. Likewise, the Cambridgeshire doubles pair of Phil Eaves and Philip Jenson also narrowly lost their first rubber match tiebreak, leaving the partnership of Jim Hunter and Mark Sanders to secure the only win for Cambridgeshire that day with a resounding win, losing only a handful of points on the way to victory.
Bedfordshire invoked their right to play only doubles. Fortunately, despite them bringing the President of the LTA as their No 1 player, Cambridgeshire won the match 3-1, preventing any headache trying to record a score in an age group that is not set up to record just doubles.
Our next match saw us visit Harpenden to play outdoors against Hertfordshire. Once more, Mark showed his prowess by taking on Willian Cathcart, another 4.2 rated player. This time though, he emerged the victor, firstly by squeaking through a tie-break and then overpowering him 6-2 in the second set. Although the partnership of Jim and Mark stood up to another test, our doubles pairing lost their first rubber in another match tiebreak lottery, so Bedfordshire gained a 3-2 win that could so easily have gone the other way.
Because Nottingham withdrew before the matches even started, our last match was away against Norfolk, only this time, instead of just doubles, it was the full Monty. On this occasion, Cambridgeshire proved to be far too strong and came out 4-1 easy winners.
This year’s campaign used only five players, Mark Sanders, Mike Dakin, Phil Eaves, Philip Jenson, and Jim Hunter (Capt.). Considering that this year’s regionalisation meant that 3rd Division Cambridgeshire were pitted against a few 1st Division teams, the 65’s punched well above their weight with each player giving 200% to the cause and showed themselves as true ambassadors for Cambridgeshire Tennis.
The league table might show two wins and two losses, but it’s worth noting that Mark won five and lost only two sets in his singles matches, and those were against a much higher rated GB player. In the doubles, Jim and Mark’s partnership produced a 100%-win record. Losing only one set and twenty-seven games over all four matches. Even Mike, Phil and Philip stepped up to the plate and won rubbers against all the odds.
Although not necessarily relevant to the report, I would like to say that the honesty and sportsmanship shown by all the teams we met was absolutely tip top and the hospitality shown at the away venues fantastic. I’m just so glad that we used the restaurant at David Lloyd’s for post-match refreshments as I do not believe we could have matched the food otherwise.
I won’t mention the difficulty encountered trying to enter results as you already know all about them and I would like to thank you for your help in this area.
Although tournament entries were sparse this year, Bob Harrower did manage to enter a few:
- Bob and Jim Hunter lost in the 65’s doubles final at Cromer
- Jim Hunter lost in the 65’s semi-finals at Cromer
- Bob lost in the 70’s final at Tunbridge Wells
- Bob lost in the 75’s semi-finals at Wimbledon
- Bob Lost in the 75’s final at Eastbourne
For the sake of completeness, to show support, there are a few of us that have entered the Newmarket tournament.
Jim Hunter (Capt.)