A swinging time at doubles event

PUBLISHED: 11:58 03 May 2007 | UPDATED: 11:49 06 May 2010

The Comet s column in association with Letchworth Tennis Club contains all the news, views and future events at the club Letchworth Tennis Club hosted its annual Ralph Swingler Doubles Tournament at the weekend. Named after the club s former president, t

The Comet's column in association with Letchworth Tennis Club contains all the news, views and future events at the club

Letchworth Tennis Club hosted its annual Ralph Swingler Doubles Tournament at the weekend.

Named after the club's former president, the tournament is the club's traditional curtain raiser to the summer season.

Letchworth's Janine Stanton and Natasha Pitman retained the ladies' doubles trophy, overcoming Christine Hildreth and Natalie Sutton from Bedfordshire 6-3, 7-6 in a close final.

The men's doubles title went to the Bedfordshire county pair of Mark O'Keefe and Tony Woolf who beat the scratch Letchworth pairing of Tim Fitzpatrick and John Garland 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in a final of high quality.

Both pairs had reached the final without dropping a set.

The teenage pairings of Sam Button and Jamie Lau from Cambridge and Ross Neary and Fraser Cummings of Bedfordshire performed admirably to reach the semi-final stage.

* Letchworth's men's first team look certain to qualify for the regional knockout stages of the National Club League, the country's premier inter-club competition, after edging past a strong Radlett team.

With the match tied at three rubbers apiece after the singles and doubles, the match was decided by a tie-break shoot-out.

Critically, club number one Dominic Ross-Hurst beat his Radlett counterpart in the shoot-out having earlier been beaten by the same opponent in the first round of singles matches.

Club coach and team number three James Thomas saw the team home with a nail-biting 11-9 victory in his singles shoot-out.

The men's team is hoping to emulate the feat of the ladies which last year gained promotion to the National Division of the competition.

* Letchworth are this year's men's over-35s veterans county champions.

The club's team of Jerry Rose, John Garland and Dave Withers recovered from the loss of the opening singles and doubles rubbers to beat St Albans' Townsend club team in the final.

Top 10 UK veteran Jerry Rose thrashed the Townsend number two 8-0, 8-2 with Letchworth winning by the narrow margin of four games.

John Davies, John Bennett, Neil Blake and John Mariano made up the rest of the Letchworth squad.

* Following superb victories over Batchwood and Gosling Tennis Centres, Letchworth boys' under-14s took one step closer to becoming the club's first ever junior team to reach the regional qualifying stages of the National Junior Club League with a resounding 6-0 victory over Cassiobury club from Watford.

Harry Gough got the team off to a superb start with an excellent victory over Cassiobury number one Ed Beak and James Doherty marked his first appearance for the club with a three-set victory at number two.

Davis Nicholson and Ben Wilsher had comfortable victories at three and four, while Ed Ringe and Mohammed Haniffa teamed up to win the number two doubles rubber.

The under-12s also look set to qualify for the regional stages of the National Junior Club League after easy victories over Berkhamsted and Broxbourne.

They now need to emulate the achievement of the under-14s and beat Gosling and Batchwood which have dominated this competition in Herts for several years.

* Josh Sapwell battled through the qualifying draw of the National Boys' U12 Clay Court Championships at the weekend to reach the national finals to be held later this year.

Sapwell, who trains at the Letchworth club with New Breed coaches Neil Claxton and Wayne Dumpleton, beat older and higher ranked players without even dropping a set on his way to qualifying.


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