The 2016 Harrogate & District Tennis League’s Annual Tournament took place from 5-11 June 2016. Most matches are played at Harrogate Racquets Club, who sponsor the league and the tournament, and some early matches are played at Harlow Tennis Club.
A week of sunny weather meant that all 93 matches were played as scheduled before the Finals on Saturday 11 June. This tournament is organised each year by Oliver Scaife, who oversees a friendly but competitive environment. Any player whose club is one of the 19 in the HDTL can enter, with the partner of their choice, or opt for singles as this is the only singles tournament that takes place in Harrogate.
First on court were the Restricted Ladies Doubles finalists, who quickly claimed the far court, away from the crowds of spectators. A lost hedgehog was rescued and the match got underway in cloudy but warm conditions. The Harrogate Spa Tennis Centre pairing of Carolyn Rothwell and Marie Scrimger won the match over the Harrogate Racquets pairing of Emma Merrifield and Clare Beaven 6-2 6-4, the first time the club has won this event since 1980.
A noisy and close run match on the far court saw the new Academy pairing of Mat Parry and Richard Bancroft beat the Harrogate Racquets pairing of Sixth former Bill Brown and Mark Hinchliffe 7-6 7-6 in the Open Mens Doubles event. On the middle court West Tanfield’s Tim Simpson and Steve Jones beat the Starbeck pair of Chris White and Gary Saunders 7-5 6-3 in the Restricted Mens Doubles event.
Lisa Jacob from Starbeck took the court for the first of her three matches, and won 6-2 6-1 against Thirsk’s Caroline Hardy to reclaim her Open Ladies Singles title for the 4th year running.
West Tanfield then took centre stage in the Restricted Mixed Doubles, with both pairs being from the club. But Tim Simpson and Emma Hagues were the victors 6-3 4-6 6-2 over team mates Frantisec Kuchera and Dee North.
The Open Men’s Singles saw Durham University Student Adam Rider taking on his Academy teammate, Dave Brown, currently ranked 10th in the GB Seniors 55+ tennis rankings. Adam was able to put his name on the trophy again, after a hard fought 2-6 6-0 6-1 match.
West Tanfield’s Emma Hagues had a brief sit down before being back on court for a long Restricted Ladies Singles final in which she won 6-2 7-5 over Starbeck’s Alison White.
Last year’s runners- up in the Open Ladies Doubles, Audrey Henderson and Gillian Smail from Harrogate Racquets found themselves opposite the mother and daughter pairing from Starbeck of Sophie and Lisa Jacob, who won the event in 2007 and 2008. A close and tense match saw the result going to Harrogate Racquets this year 6-2 7-5.
Tierry Boero from Thirsk hadn’t played for 27 years before this season, and so it was with some trepidation that he went on court against last year’s Restricted Men’s Singles winner James Lofthouse, from Harrogate Spa Tennis Centre. James won 6-4 6-2 to keep his name on the trophy for another year.
The last match on court was the Open Mixed Doubles with Starbeck’s Lisa Jacob back on court, this time with younger brother Jasper. Facing them were the Academy’s Vanessa Cameron and Harrogate Racquets’ Mark Hinchliffe. Some hard hitting saw Jasper and Lisa win 6-1 6-1 and net Jasper his first ever HDTL tournament final win.
All the spectators and players would like to thank referee Oliver Scaife for his hard work, and the Harrogate Racquets and Harlow tennis members for their hospitality. Trophies will be presented at the Annual Dinner and Dance on Saturday 1 October.