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British Closed Grass Court Championship Report 2021, 15-22 August


We were delighted to return to the beautifully kept grass courts of Aorangi Park for The British Seniors Closed Grass Court Championships, played from 15 - 22 August. A very welcome return to competitive Seniors tennis for many and, as before, we were made to feel very welcome. We were fortunate with the weather for the majority of the Championships, although rain arrived on Saturday, forcing some matches indoors at the National Tennis Centre. Thankfully, we were able to complete the Championships on schedule, on the grass at Aorangi - a fitting conclusion to a marvellous week of tennis.

As advertised, draw sizes were set to allow for the Championships to be played on 14 courts and 455 players were accepted, which exceeded the 373 players we had been able to accept into the 2019 Championships.

The first title to be decided was the Women's 35 Singles, which was played in a round robin format and won by Debbie-Louise Hale.

In his first Seniors' competition, Simon Roberts was the victor in the Final against Zane Cheeseman, who had been runner-up in 2019. Zane also reached the Men's 35 Doubles Final with his partner Simon Wheatley, who were defeated by Hugh Jaques and Jim May.

The Women's 40 Singles event has possibly the largest of the Women's trophies and Maia Dunn retained her title, beating Sumitra Sam Fox in a close fought Final.

Bridie Amos took to the court against her doubles partner, Jane Hunter in the Women's 50 Singles and won the title, in another closely fought Final. Bridie missed out on 'doing the double' when she and Jane were beaten by World Champions, Theresa Catlin and Siobhan Nicholson.

In his first National Championships at this level, Gordon Armstrong came through the draw to beat Mark Beim in the Final of the Men's 45 Singles. Mark took home some silverware, when he teamed up with Nick Adams to win the Men's 45 Doubles, beating Andrew Smith and Andrew Voss in the Final.

Seb Jackson has moved up an age group into the Men's 50's, but retained his winning ways of 2019 when he 'did the double' by winning Singles and Doubles this week. His opponent in the Singles Final was defending Champion Andy Phillips and he then partnered with David Collins to beat Charles Durham and Ian Udal in the Doubles Final. Special mention to Charles and Ian for modelling the runner-up bandana prizes after the match!

In the Men's 55 Singles, Chris Hearn defeated Linden Hardisty for the title and the Doubles in this age group was won by Neil Howitt and Andrew Hutchinson, who had been finalists in 2019.

Gillian Brook defeated Hazel Lindfield, who had reached the same stage in 2019, to win the Women's 60 Singles and on the adjoining court, Jane Rushby won the first of her two titles when she defeated Dee Smith for the Women's 65 Singles title. Jane later teamed up with Patricia Wire to prise the Women's 65 Doubles title from defending Champions, Pauline Fisher and Shirley Fox.

Richard Jackson won the Men's 60 Singles event, overcoming his doubles partner, Martin Gillam in the Final. Richard was denied 'the double' when Stephen Walter and Bruce Young beat them in the Final, 11-9 in the match tie-break.

A familiar name on the Men's Singles trophies over recent years, Henk Nijeboer has moved up into the Men's 80's category this year and was off to a winning start, defeating Roger Taylor in the Final on Saturday morning. The weather took a turn for the worse, as expected, so Roger played his Men's 80 Doubles Final alongside partner Roy Henderson later that afternoon at the National Tennis Centre. Winners of that encounter were Hussain Shaida and Terry Stevens.

Another player taking home two sets of silverware was Richard Tutt, who won the Men's 75 Singles with a defeat of Nigel Barker and then partnered Chris Ornstein to the Doubles title.

Earlier in the week, Joan Hassell won the Women's 80 Doubles title with partner Mary Walkderine and took to the court on the final day in the Women's 80 Singles Final against Carol Davies. Joan was the victor, thereby 'doing the double' in this age group. Carol had also played in a Doubles Final earlier in the week, partnering Phyllis Bentham to the 75 Doubles Final, where they lost out to the Women's 70 Doubles Champions from 2019, Fran Maclennan and Jenny Waggott. 2019 beaten finalists in the Women's 70 Doubles, Marjory Love and Christine Windmill, went one step further this year and won the title, defeating Jane Ling and Rosemary Wilson in the Final.

Anne Clark had won the Women's 60 Doubles in 2019 with Patricia Wire, but defended her title after teaming up with Susan Bartlett, by beating Sara Butler and Jenny Chin in the Final.

Niall Sweeney came through a long 3 set Final to win the Men's 70 Singles, against Boyd Brackstone and Paul French continued his winning ways by defeating Martin Cornish to take the Men's 65 Singles title, having won the Men's 60 Singles title in 2019.

Allan Thompson replaced his Men's 70 Singles title of 2019 with a win in the Men's 70 Doubles with Rennie Johnstone, beating the pairing of Michael Cubitt and Brian Mardling.

Another player 'doing the double' on the grass was Leonard Phillips in the Men's 85 age group - he and partner Lennie Lawrence won the round robin Men's 85 doubles event and then defeated 2019 finalist, Gordon Oates, to take the Singles title.

In a repeat of the Final and result of 2019, Marjory Love took the Women's 70 Singles crown in a long 3 set match against Shirley Fox in the final Final of the tournament - this win gave Marjory the 'double' as she had won the Women's 70 Doubles with Christine Windmill earlier in the week.

Presentations were made throughout the week to the Singles and Doubles Finalists and there is an array of photographs from these presentations available on STGB Social Media Channels.

Full results are available on the ITF website and also on our Seniors’ Competitions page.

Hot on the heels of these Championships will be the British Open Seniors Indoor Tennis Championships, to be played at The North Wales Regional Tennis Centre, Wrexham from 24 September to 3 October. Entries are open now, will close on 14 September and I hope to see many of you again there!

By Sarah Wooding, Tournament Director