Friday, 22 October 2021

Roberts edged out in open final

PHYLLIS COURT’S Chris Roberts finished runner-up in yet another national circuit tournament last weekend.

His fall at the final hurdle was at the top flight East Anglian Open at Colchester where he couldn’t cap a fine overall performance with victory in the final against Welsh captain Ian Burridge.

Roberts finished in a strong fifth position at the end of Saturdays ‘all play all’ block phase and avoided a quarter-final tie against top seed and former Women’s World Champion Rachel Gee, British Open winner Aston Wade and Burridge.

Instead Roberts tangled with former Phyllis Court player Raouf Allim, now playing for High Wycombe Club.

Roberts had the psychological advantage of having beaten Allim 7-4 on day one but Allim got quick revenge by reversing that score line in the first game of the two best of three quart-final.

The next two games were nail-biters as Roberts crept into the semis by the narrowest of margins, 7-5 and then 7-6, when Allim hit a 25-yard game saving clearence but then missed the next from less than a quarter of the distance.

Roberts then had an equally tough semi-fianl against surprise package Tony Butcher, who had knocked out top seed Gee.

The pair shared the first two games 7-6, 5-7 before Roberts’ experience showed at the sharp end of the deciding game when he gambled that Butcher’s nerves would get the better of him on the brink of his first major final and Roberts was able to capitalise on two errors by Butcher to win 7-5 with a deft in-off.

Roberts competed well enough in the final against Burridge, but the UK number five showed his worth at that rank with only one missed 14-yard clearance all match and he came from behind in both games to win 4-7, 4-7.

For Roberts, his season’s tally so far, of two second places and one third in the top tier championship series, coupled with one second a two third places in the next tier open series, is a consistency that is new to his game and bodes well for him in the national selectors ‘eights’ weekend next week.

Also on the road this past week was a Phyllis Court friendly team that visited the All England Club, Wimbledon, on Tuesday where, amongst the croquet, they were treated to a tour of the famous tennis venue as guests of host team players Jonathan Smith, the former Davis Cup player and John Barrett the former BBC tennis commentator.

The following day, Phyllis Court C, contested a close match with SCF Advantage League title rivals Blewbury D but the match ended in uncertainty with some results being compromised due to an honest error with one player’s handicap and, separately, an incorrect score line being reported by one game.

It seems likely that the match will have to be replayed if the league title is at stake.

Also last week, Roberts won his AC class block at Hurlingham but time defeated the manager’s ability to stage a final play-off, and so the deciding match will be played at a later date, and Phyllis Court clubmate Raghu Iyer came third in his class at the same tournament and won some Hurlingham glassware.

The Phyllis Court internal season-long competitions are now closing in on the last few rounds, and Alan Henderson became the first player to reach a final this season with 7-4, 7-4 win over Tony Peperell in the 10+ singles event.

CAVERSHAM chairman Charles Briggs won all three of his matches as the C team beat Dogmersfield 4-1 to retain their GC Single Court League title with a 100 per cent record.

But Caversham A finished their Advantage League North campaign on a disappointing note, going down 9-7 at High Wycombe Kestrels despite three more wins for Briggs.

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