Queen’s Birthday Handicap Doubles 2011

When the cat’s away the mice will play and with the Kool Kats all away doing their serious stuff in Van Diemen’s Land there was much uninhibited and relaxed fun at a very nice party Her Majesty gave for her birthday on Monday 13th. In the end a couple of young bandits (possibly glad to be called young but there was a septuagenarian in the comp to give perspective) succumbed to the total lack of scruple of young women playing shots that no professional taught them. Diane Rennard and Brigitte Claney were the victors against Mike Carroll and Paul Scally after coming back from a first round beating (3/6) to win 6/2 in the final. From the dedans it looked as though some manual adjustments were in order before any of us have to play any of them again off handicap.

None of the dignified ladies and gentlemen on the Limb Court for preliminary rounds ended up with a prize but a decisive early blow was struck against an ancient but canny pair that looked as though they might have gone the whole way. In his first tournament back after many years not playing our 1988-1990 President Richard Hall was giving a very good account of himself, especially with an accurately pitched sidewall serve which hugged the back wall, when a sudden movement returning serve did in a monkey muscle. And that was despite all the good advice available as usual at the RMTC about warming up, stretching, yoga, pilates, deep breathing, heavy breathing…… A cold pack and Euahna’s laser acupuncture gave hope by the end of a day spectating that Richard will be back soon as a highly desirable partner before his handicap again reaches realistic levels.

In case there should be any fears of discontinuity it should be reported that Henry Turnbull and Andrew Gould got as far as a semi-final. It will probably be Henry who occupies the sad vacancy created by John Hewson as a presumptive finalist in doubles handicap tournaments. His volleying is at least as pugnacious, not to say reckless.

Jonathan Howell and Kate Leeming helped make the day and enjoyable success, and Jonathan, standing in for Richard Hall so his partner James Guest could keep on playing, didn’t find it necessary with that partner to do too many “professional” shots to avoid embarrassing victories.

Despite talent such as Simon Carr’s heading fast towards where his father Nick used to be it cannot be said that the tribute the RMTC paid to Royalty was rewarded with auguries of a World Champion to be. But it was fun.

James Guest