The last Saturday in September saw the IRTA return to Holyport to defend its title in the annual handicap doubles tournament for peripatetic clubs organised by The Brigands. The prospects of a successful defence were not looking good for the IRTA pair — Roland Budd and David Keane — after a loss in their first group match to The Brigands. However, when The Brigands were themselves defeated by the Old Rugbeians, an opportunity emerged. The opening games of the match between the IRTA and the Old Rugbeians were shared evenly, but in the later stages the IRTA managed to pull away sufficiently to top the group and qualify for the semi-final.

In the semi-finals the Old Tonbridgians overcame the Ladies’ Real Tennis Association 6–4, and the IRTA defeated the Speedbirds (a pair of pilots), 6–5. In an exciting final the IRTA (owing 15) saved a number of match points against the Old Tonbridgian pair (receiving 15) to come from behind and win by the narrowest of margins.

Many thanks to Holyport RTC; to Malcolm Thorp of the Brigands for organising and running the tournament; to Victoria for providing various delicious meals for the participants and supporters through the day; and to Lesley Ronaldson for all that marking.

Report from Malcolm Thorp (Brigands Tennis Club)

The final was won for a second consecutive year by the redoubtable Roland Budd ably supported by the great serving and net play of the young David Keane, both of the Irish Real Tennis Association. Roland flew from Dublin to be with us, which he has done for the past three years — a great supporter of this tournament and a well deserved second win for him and the IRTA. They only narrowly beat the Old Tonbridgians, comprising the seasoned campaigner Richard Dalzell and the young and talented George Nodder.

It was great to have new teams represented from the Army and the Speedbirds, with the latter reaching the semi-finals and so nearly the final.

Lesley Ronaldson marked stalwartly and well throughout a long day of matches, for which we very much thank her.

We also very much thank Holyport for allowing us to host the event at their club.

Full results

The full results sheet is available:


Photos courtesy Malcolm Thorp and Paul Heaver.