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  • Jo Davies

Spirited and inspired tennis shines at Box League finals day

Jennie and Bill rockin' their win in the friendly doubles social tournament that kicked off the day's events

Sunday 25th September 2022 saw the finals day for the club's annual summer Box League competition.

The day was a culmination of no fewer than 53 entries in total for the four competitions:

  • men's singles

  • men's doubles

  • mixed doubles

  • ladies' doubles

The day got off to a flying start from 9am (ish) on courts 2 and 3 with four pairs taking part in the informal social mixed doubles tournament. Jennie and Bill finally triumphed, but some very strong performances from other teams featured too, namely Charlotte and Gerard, and Steve and Wendy.

High drama on court 1

Meanwhile, there was high drama and stunning power play on court 1, as Matt Last and Andrew Skitch battled out the men's singles final. So fast were the services from both players that some of us on courts 2 and 3 were somewhat distracted from our own games as we gawped in disbelief. It was a close game, and the performances from both Matt and Andrew were truly impressive. Andrew prevailed after a tough three set fight, to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

After the match, Andrew said: "I've been inspired by my hero Roger Federer since I was six." Little doubt then, had he been in Saxmundham on Sunday rather than at the Laver Cup, that Federer would have been pretty impressed by this particular protégé's performance.

Men's 2022 singles Box League champion Andrew (right) is handed his trophy by Frances Paul, club chairman

Onto the mixed doubles

With barely a moment to catch his breath, Matt then joined partner Jo Davies for the mixed doubles final versus club legends Bill Camplin and Fiona Foreman.

Matt and Jo with their prized mixed doubles trophies

Faced with Bill's powerful baseline shots, backed by his earlier win, and Fiona's discombobulating, acutely-angled backhand slices - especially on some devastating returns of service - Jo struggled to make any headway on many points in the first few games. But fortunately, Matt's solid reliability - and inimitable ability to be here, there, and everywhere on court and still get 99.9% of his shots in - saved them the first set, winning 6-3.

By the second set Jo had luckily remembered how to use a tennis racket, and started to make up for her earlier performance by putting away a few tidy volleys.

But it was Matt's deftness and super-sharp skills that particularly paid off again. (He really ought to consider a career in tennis coaching.) And, despite more of Bill and Fiona's consistently strong and devilishly tricky shots, Matt and Jo clinched the second set 6-0, taking the match.

Power play raises the game

Not satisfied with having already played five sets of tennis, Matt then went on to join his partner-in-power Ewan Threadkell in the men's doubles final versus Chris Hirst and Anthony Tolman. All four of these players are already stars of the men's 1st team - you can read more about their previous successes here - but most club members never have the opportunity to see them in action. Today was that day!

Matt (left) and Ewan (right) warming up for the men's doubles final

The two teams treated a keen crowd to an absolute corker of a two-set match, and the final scoreline belies the battle that was played out.

Service games that could launch a rocket ship, smashes to rival anything put away in an ATP tournament, and clean volleys at the most unlikely angles landing sweetly inside the lines. It really was great to watch tennis of such a high standard at our club, and it's no surprise they've played so well in league games this season.

Chris and Anthony won, 6-2, 6-3 and left the court to a well-deserved round of applause.

Chris Hirst (left) and Anthony Tolman (right) with club chairman Fran (centre) and their well-deserved trophies after a thrilling men's doubles finals match

Ladies' doubles final upcoming

As an eagled-eyed reader of this website you will have noticed there was no ladies doubles game played yesterday. This was due to diary clashes, but well done to Barbara and Fran, and Sharon and Jill for making it to the finals stage. We look forward to finding out the result of your finals match, which is due to be played over the next week or two.

A big thank you must go to three people in particular for making sure the day went so well. Matt, for organising the tournament, playing in all three matches, and procuring the splendid trophies. Fran, for conjuring up an exquisite buffet that was soon devoured by hungry players and spectators alike. And Fiona, for providing a dazzling array of delicious homemade cakes that kept everyone happy and crucially, sugar levels high.

See you next year!

There will be another summer Box League competition for 2023 and all club members are warmly encouraged to take part.

It's a friendly, sociable tournament that culminates in a great finals day and a chance to have a get-together.

Keep an eye on our events page for details early next year.

Demolished: what was left of the delicious buffet, kindly supplied by club chairman Fran

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