Percy Finch and AUS Am Doubles 2012
If you ventured into the club over the Labour Day weekend just gone you would have seen the RMTC doing battle with the Hobart RTC for Percy Finch honours. With both Percy Finch teams (1 & 2) seemingly evenly matched it came as no surprise that the team scores seesawed one way and then the other. On Day 1, Saturday 10th, Richard Hince opened the batting against Hobart’s perennial Percy Finch warrior Graeme Bradfield. Between Richard’s baseball styled hitting and Bradders’s sometime fluky shots which have always been affectionately known as coupe de bradders, neither team captain was locking in a win. When the score line eventually read 6/3 4/6 6/5 in Hince/RMTC’s favour it set the tone for a great weekend of intense good spirited tennis. Patrick Dunne had a good win for Hobart and Hilton Booth beat Bret Richardson for the first time to continue his good run (Ed. – he defeated the U.K.’s Connor Medlow in the recent Limb Trophy). In the Percy 2 Paul Rosedale anchored the team on Day 1 logging two victories.
Day 1 Percy results:
Hince (Melb) def. Bradfield 6/3 4/6 6/5
Dunne def. M. Williams (Melb) 6/5 6/5
H. Booth def.Richardson (Melb) 6/4 4/6 6/5
J. Gould (Melb) def. Rackham 6/3 6/4
Percy Finch 2 results:
Rosedale (Melb) def. Kerin 6/2 6/1
Legg def. Pagone (Melb) 6/1 2/6 6/2
Flower/Howard def. Carroll/Hayball (Melb) 6/4 4/6 6/5
Rosedale/Wood (Melb) def. Holloway/Rooke 6/3 4/6 6/4
So we went to dinner at the end of Day 1 at 2-all in both Percy’s. For the first time in many years we had a large Percy gathering in the club for dinner as players, partners and even the odd gate crasher (Ed. – if only we were all as relaxed as Isabelle Carr) enjoyed the evening magnificently organised by Alistair Curley. Before I forget, thank you to Alistair as well as the Kininmonths and Hamers for your organising and billeting respectively.
Day 2 started badly for the RMTC as Hobart won both the early matches to take the lead in both Percys. Nick Rooke won another close tussle beating Amy Hayball and the Booths comfortably accounted for Bret Richardson and James Gould – it has to be noted that as the obvious 4th man on court James played extremely well. It wasn’t until the afternoon matches were played that we were able to take the lead again. The Williams brothers were as ruthless as the Krays in their heyday as they dispatched Dunne and Ramsay; Ronnie and Reggie did’em 6/0 6/0! Mike Carroll also did us proud by defeating Jonnie Howard, a known Collingwood supporter, convincingly.
Day 2 Percy results:
Booth/Booth def. J. Gould/Richardson (Melb) 6/1 6/5
Guest/Hamer (Melb) def. Bradfield/Rackham 6/0 6/5
Williams/Williams (Melb) def. Dunne/Ramsay 6/0 6/0
Percy Finch 2 results:
Rooke def. Hayball (Melb) 6/1 4/6 6/4
Carroll (Melb) def. Howard 6/1 6/1
Wood (Melb) def. Flower 6/3 6/5
So as we entered Day 3 the scores stood at 4-3 to the RMTC in both the Percy Finch and PF2 (5 wins are required to secure victory) and the Hobart crowd were dreaming of a victory on Melbourne turf, something that since 1965, when the event was first played, had yet to occur. Wally Cockram made his first appearance for the weekend and promptly stamped his authority on proceedings by easily accounting for Graeme Holloway. Big Railroads, big forehands, big win, PF2 to RMTC. In the main event, all eyes were now on Dan Williams as the defender of the RMTC’s honour. Victory over Al. Ramsay was required. It is true that there was still one more match to play, Mike Happell vs. Kieran Booth in the afternoon, but given Mike’s wife Tatty’s response to being told Mike would have to play this match following the AUS Amateur Doubles Final was “oh my god!” we got the feeling that Dan needed to be our man. Dan started slowly as Al. won the first game to love and then the second game went for 10 minutes as each player played a little cat and mouse. The margin between the two players isn’t great, both have hearty forehands and reliable railroads but Dan’s backhand is a little steadier than Al.s even if less spectacular. Dan gave his younger brother Michael (Ed. – that would be Ronnie) a lesson in composure as he slowly but surely took control of the match against Ramsay and secured the Percy Finch for the RMTC.
Dan Williams was the RMTC’s player of the Percy and in the PF2 honours were split between Paul Rosedale and Wally Cockram. Well done and thank you to all the players, markers, helpers and supporters (Ed. – not the Collingwood ones, you know who you are) on a fantastic tournament and we look forward to renewing hostilities along with hospitalities next year in Hobart.
Day 3 Percy results:
D. Williams (Melb) def. A. Ramsay 6/1 6/4
K. Booth def. Happell (Melb) 6/4 6/1
Percy Finch 2 results:
W. Cockram (Melb) def. Holloway 6/0 6/2
Cockram/Pagone (Melb) def. Kerin/Legg 6/3 1/6 6/0
By comparison the Australian Amateur Doubles could seem like a tame affair and yet both divisions produced good matches and worthy winners. In the B division final the brothers Williams continued their brutal assault upon Ramsay and Dunne and in doing so can now claim to be the clear third best amateur doubles pair in AUS at the moment. The main draw saw the Booths seeking to defend their title, won last year for the first time in Hobart, against the old firm of Happell and Richardson. With the improvement made by both Booths in recent times a victory in Melbourne did not seem farfetched. With Happell producing his usual guile and experience and Bret always a threat at the net, the Booths had to find the right mix of rallying and brute force, and this they did, but only narrowly, winning the first set 6/5.
The second set saw the match lean towards the old firm as Mike and Bret’s doubles understanding started to shine through. They won the second 6/4 and raced to a 4/1 lead in the third only for the match to lean again back the way of the Booths. One might say that the Booths comeback in the third set, which they won 6/4, ultimately decided the match but it wouldn’t be true. The fourth set was also very close, decided only by a few forced errors along the way. Well done to Kieran and Hilton for winning back-to-back Aus Amateur Doubles titles and to Mike and Bret for continuing to provide such competition.
2012 AUS Amateur Doubles Final:
K. Booth/H. Booth def. Happell/Richardson
6/5 4/6 6/4 6/4
AUS Amateur Doubles Final – B Division:
D. Williams/M. Williams def. Dunne/Ramsay