CONTACT - Christmas 1972
Let me tell you a story which should make anyone nudging retirement feel a few feet taller, and those of us under 35 want to hide our faces in shame. The Club once again had a gentlemen's Doubles Tournament with a record of 11 pairs entered. One of the surprise entries was that of W Gray and C Batstone, who felt they had to show these youngsters a thing or two.
In the first round they beat Michael Crofts and Trevor Quinn 6-0, 6-2. In the next round they beat Terry Hinz and John Mace 6-4, 6-3. As the score suggests this match was a little harder, but they still triumphed without losing a set!
On reaching the Semi-Finals their opponents were Graham Capener and myself. Before playing this game Graham and I discussed it in detail and came to the conclusion that it would be no pushover - little did we think we would be given the run around! After 2˝ hours we lost by 9-7, 8-10, 6-4. I can say it was the greatest game in which I have ever been involved and cannot wait for a return!
Unfortunately, I am sorry to say they did not win the Final. In this match they played the Club's 'terrible twins', John Ordish and John Britten, going down 6-2, 6-2. John Ordish after the match said it was a good job that he and John Britten hit top form otherwise it might have been a different result. The two Johns are to be congratulated on their win, when it is remembered that in the Semi-Final they beat Michael Bourke and Roger Garner 6-2, 6-2 just 24 hours before the Final.
The Club this season has had a Singles Knockout Tournament for the first time, with the Final being between John Ordish and John Britten. They reached the Final in the following fashion:
John Ordish beat Michael Bourke 6-2, 6-1
Eddie Stokes 6-2, 6-3
Graham Capener 6-0, 6-0
Roger Garner 9-7, 6-2
John Britten beat Peter Aston 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Ken Prentice 6-2, 7-5
Larry Sharrard 6-3, 6-4
In addition to these domestic disputes our two teams have been doing sterling work in the Birmingham Metropolitan Lawn Tennis League. Division 3 was dominated by our 1st Team from the start, finishing unbeaten with 17 points out of 20. After the 2nd fixture had been played it was obvious they would be champions, and the only doubt remaining was who would gain promotion to Division 2 with them. The team has been awarded a plaque which they hold for a year.
The 2nd Team started the season well with two good wins, but fell away afterwards and had to be content with 4th place in Division 5. This is an improvement on 1971 and with luck they also could be promoted at the end of the next season.
Finally, if you enjoyed the Buffet Dance last May, just tell Roger Garner or me and we might arrange another.
CONTACT - Summer 1973
The Club in 1973 has flourished very well in every respect, but one. The two teams have once again played in the Birmingham Metropolitan Tennis League, each having stepped up a division, the 'A' team in Division 2, and the 'B' team in Division 4. Should the 'B' team perform well enough to stay in Division 4, this would leave the way open for a 'C' team to compete in Division 5 next year. The possibility is more than a pipe dream, for the club this season has sufficient members to run two different line-ups of equal strength as a 'B' team.
The two Gentlemen's Knockout tournaments this year had record entries, with 19 contesting the singles, and 12 pairs the doubles. Both tournaments have progressed steadily, with John Ordish and John Britten still in contention, but I am sure they would be the first to admit the competition is becoming stiffer every year.
The mixed doubles, which was won by F C Batstone and Norah Cory, with an entry of only four pairs highlighted the club's one big weakness, the shortage of lady members.
When the club was formed there was almost as many ladies as men in membership. Since then the ladies section has dwindled, for all the usual reasons, without new members coming to make up the numbers. Why should this be? I keep asking myself, when it is remembered that tennis is the game girls play at school in the Summer, but boys very rarely progress beyond cricket.
Could it be they detest having it forced down their throats at school and subconsciously decide never to play again when they leave. This I feel is both possible and understandable but I do hope it is not a case of shyness that has kept anyone away.
To try and counter for this, and also for the benefit of those who have not been to one of the club evenings, on a Tuesday, but would like to do so, here are a few details.
We play on the courts of Stechford Hall Park, at the Fox and Goose, Ward End. Play commences at 18:00, and continues until 20:30, or when the light fails. Dressing room accommodation of a reasonable standard is available. The only equipment the players have to provide is a racket, as the balls are brought by the club. The next thing is the cost of membership, which is 50p annually, to be credited to account number 66-133223-14 at Sheldon Branch, and 15p every time a member attends a club evening.
These figures have hardly altered since the club was formed in 1962, which is remarkable when one considers the raging inflation since that time. Tribute has to be given to the Staff Association whose yearly grant has made this possible.
Although I have concentrated mainly on the ladies this does not mean we cannot find room for more young men. We will be pleased to see anyone who has an interest in playing whether they be the rawest novice, or a potential Wimbledon champion.
Should more information be required this can be obtained by telephoning me at Dunlop branch any day between 11:00 and 14:00
CONTACT - Christmas 1973
Mr W G T Gray, who has recently retired, was the Club Chairman from 1962 - 1972. During that time a firm foundation was laid, so that any doubts about the Club lasting more than a season or two were dispelled very quickly with the lusty infant of 1962 maturing into a very strong individual. Much of the credit for this has to be given to Mr Gray who was always on hand to help in every way - from giving advice or taking part in the occasional match to make up the requisite number of players. He has now been replaced by Mr Batstone who can be relied upon to continue in the same manner.
The burning question of the moment is: "Where shall we go in 1974?" The 'A' team became 1973 Division 2 champions with 16 points, but were chased home by three teams who finished with 15. The final placings were in doubt until the result of the last match. If, instead of winning by 3 rubbers to one, we had only drawn, the championship would have been split four ways. In such an event the League Secretary would have needed a course in advanced calculus to decide which team had finished on top! The implication of this cliff hanger finish, after the way we romped home in the Division 3 Championship in 1972, is that Division 1 in 1974 may be the point where we find our level.
The 'B' Team have done very nicely, winning two of their five matches in fine style. This ensured a Division 4 place for 1974. Their main object next season will be to win sufficient points to gain promotion to Division 3.
The Club Members who represented the Bank in 1973 were:
Norah Cory, Carol Gaffney, Elizabeth Troup, John Ordish, John Britten, Graham Capener, David Turner, Michael Tarver, Larry Sharrard, Peter Aston, Eddie Stokes, Roger Bond, David Chapman, Ken Prentice, and Roger Garner.
The three ladies named played in the Senior Cup match against Allendale, a very strong club with League teams in the Premier and First Divisions, but surprisingly, not in the Ladies Division. This match should have been Mr Batstone's debut, but he was prevented from playing by unforeseen circumstances. His replacement was John Britten, and who can say that the Club is not fortunate to have someone of his calibre to fall back on.
The Club has held its usual quota of tournaments with the following winners:
Mixed Doubles American F C Batstone and Norah Cory
Gentlemen's Doubles Knockout John Britten and John Ordish
Gentlemen's Singles Knockout John Ordish
Next season, subject to the exigencies of the Bank (computer, etc) an experimental Singles League within the Club will be tried. More details will be circularised later.
Tennis Club Secretary