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British Open Seniors Clay Court Championships 2022 Report


It was wonderful to be back at West Hants Club after our two-year hiatus and we were made to feel very welcome by the staff at the club. The club looked resplendent, decorated for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Special mention must go to the ground staff for ensuring the courts were in the best condition possible, even when we experienced 'challenging' weather conditions!

Some interesting statistics to share show we had 386 players enter, 437 entries in total, with 863 sets and 7348 games played across the 38 age group events – all of this over the course of 8 busy days.

The first title to be decided was the women's 75 singles. In a repeat of the 2017 final in the women's 70 singles age group, Ellie Krocke defeated Christine Lockhart. Christine didn't leave Bournemouth empty-handed as she teamed up with Christine Baron to take the women's 75 doubles title, which was played in round robin format.

Sarah McFadyen added the women's 40 singles to the indoor title she won in February, with a win over Johanna Tyreus Stanley. On the same day, Mary Walkerdine took the women's 80 singles trophy, emerging victorious over Carol Davies. Carol and Mary faced each other over the net alongside their respective partners, Marcia Ackers and Dorothy Bamber, in the women's 80 doubles final, with Mary completing the double. Pamela McGrath took the women's 85 singles title, in an event played in round robin format. 

The first doubles title of the week to be decided was the men's 85 doubles title, with Peter Boshier-Jones partnering Alan McNeilage to victory, with a win over defending champion Gordon Oates and his partner Ashley Wilson. Gordon returned the next day to take a very special title, the inaugural men's 90 singles event, defeating Leonard Lawrence in the final.

In the men's 80 doubles, Julian Tatum added to his title from the Indoor Championships earlier this year, teaming up with a new partner, David Trew, for this round robin competition. Robert Milner won the men's 85 singles title, beating Leonard Phillips in the final. On the same day, Tom Wride retained his men's 40 singles title from 2019, in a repeat of the Indoor Championships final against Zane Cheeseman. Zane did take some silverware home from Bournemouth, after partnering Stephen Weatherall in the men's 35 doubles to defeat Joe Cooper and Gavin Mason, who were playing in their second national seniors final of the year.

James Smith was another player who added the Clay Courts title to the Indoor Championships title from 2022, winning the men's 45 singles title in a close fought final against Laurent Wels.

A number of players had moved up age groups since the last Clay Court Championships in 2019 – Chris Ornstien had won the men's 70 singles title in 2019 and added the men's 75 singles title to his collection, with a win over Olly Rogger in the final. Chris 'did the double' when he teamed up with John Spratt to win the men's 75 doubles.

Paul French had won the men's 60 singles in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and continued his winning run by taking the men's 65 singles with a win over Malcolm Bryant in the final. Another player to 'do the double', Paul then teamed up with Alec Allen for the men's 65 doubles trophy. Their opponents in the final were Jasper Cooper and Tony King, who’d also reached the final of the Indoor Championships this year.

Henk Nijeboer had also moved up to the men's 80 singles age group, having previously won the men's 75 singles title on three occasions. His opponent in the final was Roger Taylor, with Henk the victor.

A new champion in the men's 35 singles event was crowned, with Ricki Foster defeating indoors runner-up Jamie Taylor in the final on Ricki's birthday – no doubt a cause for celebration!

It was fantastic to see the support for local players during the tournament from West Hants Club members and friends and they weren’t disappointed when Matt Coombes and Andrew Phillips continued their 40-year doubles partnership with a win in the men's 45 doubles final against Charles Durham and Ian Udal. Matt added the men's 55 singles trophy, thereby completing the double, beating David Shann in the final, having beaten the No.1 seed in the semi-final. 

Andrew Phillips was defending his men's 50 Singles title from 2019 and faced Seb Jackson in a very competitive final, with Seb adding the title to the indoors title he won this year.

A few players managed to complete 'the double' on the last day of the Championships – Siobhan Nicholson edged a close match against No.1 seed, Susan Espley to take the women's 55 singles title, after having teamed up with Debra Schmidt for the women's 55 doubles title against Patricia Watson-Miller and Emma Wilson the previous evening. Emma Bowen, who’d been runner-up at the Indoor Championships, went one step further and took the women's 60 singles title, playing Rhian Griffiths in the final. Emma teamed up with 2019 defending Champion, Hazel Lindfield, to defeat Rhian and her partner, Susan Mitchell, in the women's 60 doubles final. Chris Hearn won the men's 60 singles title, against his opponent, Stephen Walter and then teamed up with Graham Watt to defeat Graeme Adams and Rajiv Batra in the men's 60 doubles final.

There was also a 'double double', courtesy of the women's 45, 50 singles and women's 45 doubles - Mili Shah won the women's 45 singles title, beating Clare Hudson and Julie Sinkins defeated Jo Shepherd for the women's 50 singles trophy. Mili and Julie then teamed up in the women's 45 doubles event and were victorious over Isabelle Bramhall and Michelle Dutton.

David Shann and Anthony Illingworth completed the men's 55 doubles indoors, after rain stopped play, with a victory over Neil Howitt and Andrew Hutchinson. Similarly, Anne Clark and Patricia Wire defeated Ann Brown and Dee Smith on the indoor courts for the women's 65 doubles title. Doubles partners Dee and Ann faced each other on the opposite side of the net the following day, with Dee taking the women's 65 singles title. In another doubles final played indoors, Pauline Fisher teamed up with Rosemary Wilson, to take the women's 70 doubles, having previously won the women's 65 doubles with Shirley Fox between 2017 and 2019. Their opponents in the final were Marjory Love and Christine Windmill, who had won the Indoor Championships together this year. Revenge was Marjory's the following day, beating Pauline on clay for the women's 70 singles. Marjory had previously won the women's 65 singles on 3 occasions and been runner-up twice.

Niall Sweeney added the men's 70 singles title to his collection, but his opponent, Godfrey Evans, didn’t go away empty handed. He later teamed up with Boyd Brackstone to win the men's 70 doubles title in the last match of the tournament against Barrie Gilbert and Rennie Johnston. Trophy presentations were made throughout the week to the singles and doubles finalists and there’s an array of photographs from these presentations available on the Seniors Tennis GB Facebook and Instagram pages. ­

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