The Richmond Hill Silver Racket Handicap Singles, open to the top 16 entrants, was held over the period of 12 – 14 August and we fielded the strongest player group in many years.  No less than two World Champions took part (Rob Fahey and Claire Vigrass), more than half the field had a handicap of under 20 and the tournament’s backmarker Andrew Gould was handicapped at 28.  Given the format of best of 3 set matches the winner was always likely to be someone with young legs – the winner was required to win 4 such matches without much time for recovery.

In the top half the draw Andrew Gould led a charge as he accounted for Nick Shelton in straight sets, World Champion Rob Fahey in 3 sets (5/6 6/5 6/5) which included the saving of 2 match points before he fell to Paul Rosedale in another 3 set marathon. Rosedalehad made it through by beating baby G 6/5 5/6 6/5 followed by Alistair Hill in straight sets.  In the lower half Owen Guest survived until the semi-final stage by accounting for Peter Estcourt and Hamish Welsh in straight sets before succumbing to our young professional CJ White.  CJ so far had had a relatively blessed run with straight set victories over Ed Welsh and Wally Cockram.

The final between CJ andRosedale(the 2009 winner of this event) was close.  Both players were playing near their best and neither was expected to favour subtlety over brawn during the match.  Early in the matchRosedalehad the ascendancy as his crisp forehands and Railroad sorted CJ out to the tune of 6/3 in the first set.  However, from then on, andRosedale’s legs told his brain how tired they were, CJ took control.  CJ played the ball from side to side grindingRosedaledown to win the match 3/6 6/3 6/1.  CJ’s win playing off 18.8 (Rosedale16.7) was we trust another step in the right direction in his journey to becoming a club/tournament professional.

Owen Guest