Last night the final of the Alan Hamer Club Doubles Championship was played by reigning title holders Mike Happell and Bret Richardson and the challengers Julian Snow and Chris Sievers.  The first set was a tussle with the 6th game taking more than 10 minutes.  Happell and Richardson started strongly going to a 4-1 lead with Happell returning well and playing the forehand corner at the service end with guile allowing the ever ominous Bret Richardson to dominate the net – and true to type, Bret could be found anywhere at the net from the Door Gallery to the main wall.  Julian was as ever always competitive; in particular, his backhand proved to be a significant weapon as the match progressed.  However, despite Snow and Sievers being able to win the long game and take the score to 4-2 Happell and Richardson’s superior team play allowed them to close out the set 6/3.

The second set progressed in similar vein to the first and ended in the same score line, 6/3 to Happell and Richardson.  In both sets Sievers began serving to Happell which left Snow to serve to Richardson.  Needless to say, all four players had many moments in which they showcased their superior abilities, all four have won club doubles titles and in Julian Snow’s case a World Doubles Championship, but if one player stood out on the night as having made the difference it was Bret Richardson.  His aggressive returning of serve, railroads and volleying often brought a swift end to a point.

Still, at two sets to love down Snow and Sievers made it clear that they were in for the long haul if given the opportunity.  And sure enough, as the players tightened just a little, the third set proved to be the closest of the lot.  Snow seemed to find a little bit extra as he took every ball at the receivers end that was not destined to find its way into the Grille – unlike most poachers he made every shot count for the betterment of his team.  For a while it seemed as though every reste went backwards and forwards from Snow’s backhand to Happell’s forehand with the end result being a Snow bound Dedan either direct or via the main wall.  In taking the set 6/4 the match now threatened to keep those watching up later than expected, ah well, it was better than watching Wimbledon anyway.

Despite Snow’s backhand prowess and Richardson’s menace, and Siever’s excellent bobble serving and protection of the Grille, shot of the night as acknowledged by Snow after the match had to go to Happell.  From deep in the backhand corner at the service end Happell, despite heavy cut from a Snow forehand, managed to lob a ball into the Grille notwithstanding Sievers appearing to be almost sitting inside the Grille in his attempt to stop the errant grenade.

The fourth and what proved to be the final set was still tight but all the big points were being won by Happell and Richardson.  Happell and Snow were both showing a few signs of fatigue and under these circumstances the team work of Happell and Richardson proved the better fit than the Snow driven combination.  Final set score 6/1.

Result for Alan Hamer Cup Doubles Final:

Happell/Richardson def. Sievers/Snow

6/3 6/3 4/6 6/1

Owen Guest