A party of real tennis enthusiasts, ranging in standard from first-timers to seasoned regulars, enjoyed a very pleasant weekend with the Bristol and Bath Tennis Club, who were excellent hosts. Five made the early morning Saturday flight from Dublin, with another four joining the group from various parts of the UK. Play started at 10am on Saturday with a brief lesson for those newer to the game, including beginner Kate Bullman. The court was occupied throughout the weekend with the IRTA contingent keen to get as much time playing as possible.
The newer players, Suresh Kumar on only his second IRTA outing, and Robbie Woods on his third, settled in quickly, their squash skills assisting with their quick adaptation. They were soon able to compete with the more experienced players Mike Bolton and Doris Siedentopf, and a bit of mixing around provided some close matches.
It was early afternoon before the higher calibre players took to the court. A fantastic lunch was provided by the B&BTC and with full stomachs there was plenty of support for the games against the hosts to begin. Roland Budd played a smashing and very evenly-matched game (to handicap) against local Simon Caple, while David Lowry just about managed to get the better of B&BTC Chairman Julian Hemmings. IRTA member Doris Siedentopf produced a very commanding performance against Denis Mullan, an Irish B&BTC member.
The IRTA at Bristol Airport after the weekend at the B&BTC (L–R: Mike Bolton, Robbie Woods, David Lowry, and Roland Budd).
After the day on court, a group of IRTA and B&BTC players enjoyed an excellent evening at a pub in Clifton. In spite of a relatively early night on Saturday, an early start on Sunday proved too much for Suresh Kumar as he succumbed to defeat against Denis Mullan. Suresh showed great promise, however, on what was his second weekend of real tennis (see the report of the IRTA trip to Moreton Morrell and The Oratory in December 2007 for his earlier exploits). Roland Budd produced another entertaining game against local player David Pigott, while Ian Hird avenged his previous day’s loss with a convincing win over David Lowry in an all-IRTA match-up played off scratch. An enthralling game between Doris and Patricia Moffat preceded the final competitive match, in which Roland had a close game against Freddie Kalfayan, an up-and-coming local schoolboy (with Irish grandparents!). The day was rounded off with some enjoyable doubles and the group parted ways, some back to Dublin and others to corners of the UK. I hope it will not be too long before another IRTA group convenes, and that there continues to be an influx of new players to challenge the older ones!
Many thanks to the hosts (particularly Eleanor Beale!) and to the B&BTC Professional, Kevin King, for their time and efforts to make the weekend thoroughly enjoyable, and to Roland Budd for his organisation of another fantastic IRTA excursion.
— Robbie Woods, 2011-03-02
Results from matches were as follows. If no handicap is noted, the match was played level.