Update: Photos available
A selection of pictures from the weekend is now available. (The pictures page contains about 150k of images, which might take up to one minute to load over slower links.)

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Investor Select Advisors
Over the weekend of 31st May and 1st June, the IRTA held its first Championships at the Bristol and Bath Tennis Club. We ran an Irish Championship, with participation limited to those with Irish affiliation, and an Open Championship. We had 16 entrants for the tournaments, which were played on a handicap basis, ensuring good quality matches. Five newcomers to the game were given coaching by Kevin King, B&BTC head professional, and also had the opportunity to use their new skills in friendly matches. Players came from Ireland, the UK, and the USA.

The Irish Championship was won by Mike Bolton (Ireland) in a closely contested match with Clarence McGowan (resident in the USA). The Open Championship was won by Brian Rich, overcoming a severe handicap in the final to beat Jackie Blackwell two sets to one.

Players and supporters in front of the dedans.
Players and supporters
B&BTC chairman, Peter Probyn, organised an excellent social evening on the Saturday at a local pub. About 40 people, both players and supporters, enjoyed a barbecue and beer. Mike Bolton, chairman of the IRTA, spoke briefly about the history of the Dublin Court and its current situation. Many players expressed great excitement at the idea of playing real tennis in Dublin, and we are certain that there would be a steady stream of international visitors to a Dublin court. Clarence McGowan, representing the United States Court Tennis Association, read an enthusiastic letter of support for the Dublin court from the USCTA's chairman.

The weekend provided an opportunity for members of the IRTA to meet fellow real tennis players from the UK, and discuss the idea of a playable Dublin court over lunch. James Wyatt, the Chief Executive of the Tennis and Rackets Association, joined us to watch the semi-finals and final, and give the T&RA's support. Brian Rich, as well as emerging the Open Champion, gave a fascinating illustrated talk on the history of the game, including the Church's strong disapproval of the game in centuries past!

We would like to express our grateful thanks to the B&BTC, its committee (in particular Nick Ponsford, Kevin King, and Peter Probyn) and members, for allowing this hugely enjoyable event to take place; to the sponsors, Investor Select Advisors; and to everybody who took part, making the weekend such a success.

The weekend consisted of two tournaments (Irish and Open), coaching sessions for beginners, and friendly doubles matches.
The Bristol and Bath Tennis Club
We could not have held the Championships without the help and support of the B&BTC. The club is relatively young, yet has quickly developed an active membership.
If you are curious, you can see a representation of the poster we sent round the world to generate interest for our first championship.