HDTL 2015 The Harrogate and District Tennis League Annual Tennis Tournament took place from 7-13 June with finals day on Saturday 13 June basking in sunshine, a far cry from the predicted washout weather.
Held mainly at Harrogate Racquets, with early rounds of some Ladies events held at Harlow Tennis club, the event has grown to accommodate over 105 players with 14 clubs being represented from the 20 member clubs of the league. There is an Open and a Restricted category, with all the usual events, and it's an opportunity for parents to partner their children, brothers partner sisters, friends and couples join forces, all with the aim of being on court on Finals Day. Age is no barrier to entry, and on finals day players aged from 10-60+years were on court. Bacon butties, tea and lovely cakes were served by the Harlow pairing of Rosemary Carter and Pauline Knight, whilst spectators sat in the sun enjoying some fantastic local tennis, played in a friendly but competitive spirit. Referee Oliver Scaife continues to organise a much respected tournament for the HDTL, and everyone appreciates his good humoured efforts.
First on court on Finals Saturday was the Restricted Men's Doubles event with the father and son pairing of George Brown and Dave Brown (Academy) who took on fellow Academy players Jarrod Robinson and Mark Roberts. George is a Year 6 Oatlands Junior school pupil, and his Dad coaches at the Academy, but Jarrod and Mark put into practice all their well laid plans to win 6-4 6-4.
On the next court the familiar Open Ladies Doubles pair of Frederique Brown and Gillian Smail (Racquets) took on the new Starbeck pairing of Lisa Jacob and Lynne Garne. Lisa's athleticism and Lynne's racquets' experience ensured their 7-5 6-4 win.
The Restricted Ladies Doubles event had the mother and daughter pairing of Angela (Academy) and Becky (Harlow) Stevens taking on Academy players Christine Troy and Chantal Wilkinson. Mother and daughter lost a nervy first set 5-7 but went on to win the next two and the title, 6-4 6-3.
Hot footing onto the next court was Lisa Jacob again, this time in the Open Ladies singles where she won 6-0 6-2 against Thirsk's Caroline Hardy, retaining her title for the 4th time.
The Open Men's Singles event saw tournament newcomer Alex Wilkins (Academy) take on Dave Brown (Academy). Alex, a law student, had already beaten last year's winner Adam Rider, and was able to see out his first victory to win the title 6-4 3-6 6-1.
Jennifer Dilley (Bedale) was on court on the Restricted Ladies Singles, playing Sarah Rider, a Year 11 student at Ashville College. A long and hard fought match saw Jennifer taking her first HDTL title 6-3 7-5.
Sarah's brother Adam Rider (Academy) was on the next court partnering Sofie Woon (Academy) against Mat Parry and Victoria Lapthorne (Academy) in an attempt to retain their Open Mixed Doubles title from last year. A close, hard hitting display of high standard tennis was put on for the spectators as they sat in the sun, and Adam & Sofie held their title 7-5 4-6 6-3.
James Lofthouse (Spa) returned to the tournament in the Restricted Men's Singles to try and recapture his title from 2013. On court against Steve Jones (West Tanfield), James, who is studying Finance at Burnley University, held on to win his 2nd title 6-1 6-3.
The last match of the Tournament was the Restricted Mixed Doubles with last year's runners up Peter Smith and Lesley Bowling (Boston Spa) taking on Matt Waters and Sue Bowden (Academy). The match went the three set distance with Matt and Sue winning their first HDTL title 7-5 1-6 6-4.
Unfortunately the Open Men's Doubles event could not be played so a walk over was handed to Adam Rider and Mat Parry (Academy) allowing them to retain their title uncontested. The spectators did however enjoy an exhibition match of hard hitting tennis won by Mat and Adam 7-6 against the new HDTL Men's Singles Champion Alex Wilkins and Harrogate Racquets Head Coach, Mark Hinchcliffe.
Sadly two stalwarts of the HDTL and tournament, Graham Parker and Trevor Nuttall were unable to be on court as they passed away earlier in the year. But their team mates and fellow tennis colleagues remembered them and their achievements over the years. In addition, scrapbooks and trophies from the HDTL 1950-1966 were on display and much admired by spectators and players, with thanks to the relatives of the Ellis family for their loan.