North Kent  LTA – Cup Competition –  Finals Day – Sundridge Park, Sunday August 15 2021

After a grey start to the day, and a threat of drizzle in the Bromley area in mid-morning, the weather gods chose to smile on  Lawn Close for the mid-day start to the 79th staging of – to give the tournament its full and historic name – The 2021 Club Singles and Pairs Championships of the North Kent Lawn Tennis Association.

With opening rounds completed by the late-May deadline, all was ready for the concluding episode of the nine section of the competition, with proceedings opened by the Ladies Doubles, Men’s Singles and Veteran Ladies Doubles being played concurrently on the fine grass courts in front of a growing and appreciative crowd, with club groupings gathered to support their competing finalists.

Court 3 staged the Men’s Singles as the opener, with Bexley (Ravi Sahl) against hosts Sundridge Park (Josh Ward). Josh took the first set 6-2, only for Ravi to draw level with a 6-4 second set, then gain further confidence and ultimately the trophy with a 6-4 final set.

Court 4 saw a further enclave of home supporters for the Ladies Doubles Final, with Sundridge pair Jo Robinson and Suzy Russell against the sister pairing from Bromley Wendover in  Jacqueline Darby and Catherine Edwards (Nee Darby), and while the first set was closely-fought to a tie-break conclusion, the second set ran away from the home pair with a 6-0 scoreline and victory for Bromley Wendover.

Court 5 featured two closely-matched pairs in the Veterans Ladies Doubles, Shooters Hill folk gathering to support Ros McKeown and Diana Roberts while Crescent Sidcup were represented by Mandy McWhinnie and Sharon Hayes. In a game of some protracted rallies and keen  net play, the Shooters Hill pair claimed the trophy with a 6-3, 6-3 scoreline.

The next round of finals brought the Ladies Singles to Court 3, David Lloyd Dartford with Katy Taylor and Shooters Hill with Simone Jensen. Katy’s experience paid dividend s in the first set with a 6-1 scoreline, but Simone fought back in determined fashion only to go down by the narrowest margin of 6-4.

The Mixed Doubles took to Court 4 for what turned out to be the closest battle of the afternoon. Sundridge Park, with Tim Schoenert and Daisy Carpenter, and Bexley, with Gareth and Aimee Jones, added to the mid-afternoon sunshine with a three set epic. The first set went to a tie-break, with Bexley edging the 7-6 score, Sundridge Park battling back to level in similar fashion, then using the psychological impetus to edge ahead in the final set for a 6-3 victory.

Court 5 was a showcase for the younger generation, the Boys U-14 event with Eduardo Cavallo from Bromley Wendover and Kenzo Harnaid from Blackheath, the latter proving too strong on this occasion with a 6-2, 6-1 win, followed on the same court by the Girls U-14 singles, Park Langley represented by Stella Florrdia Ngounou and David Lloyd Dartford by Anvi Karode. A competitive match ensued with David Lloyd Dartford adding to their trophy shelf as Anvi won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1.

Two durable battles closed out the afternoon, the Men’s Doubles with Bromley Wendover – Alex Juniper and David McGonigle – and Sundridge Park- William Everett and Ben Robinson- on Court 3, first set to Wendover by 6-2, a battling fight-back by Sundridge to level with 6-3, and the final set going right to the wire as Sundridge edged to victory in a 7-6 tie break. Concurrent with this was the Veterans Men’s Doubles on court 4, Tony Garrett and Dave Butt for Crescent Sidcup and Gary La Pla and Daragh Nott for Sundridge Park. The honours looked to be heading for Sidcup with a 6-2 first set and a 4-1 lead in the second, but, as we all know, tennis is never won or lost until the final point. The second set went to a tie-break, with Crescent holding match point more than once, but was taken by Sundridge who, in the cooling late afternoon air held their resolve and clung on to take the final set –and the trophy- with a 6-3 score!

The Tournament Referee was Lisa King, under whose wing proceedings went like proverbial clockwork (is that still a valid analogy in this digital era?), ably assisted by Jeff Richards with the order of play and public address, and by trophy manager Mark Smith, with presentations handled by North Kent LTA President Denis Costelloe and Chairman Clive Richardson. Congratulations to all who organised and took part in this landmark event, the veritable jewel in the crown of local tennis.

Clive Richardson

Chairman & Public Relations, North Kent L.T.A.  – August 2021.

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