Stephen Scott-Smith with Sue and John Francis, winners of the Speke Challenge Cup

For the first time since 1994, all the finalists in Saturday’s Coln Valley Annual Open Mixed Doubles Tennis Tournament were members of Chedworth’s Hill and Valley Lawn Tennis Club.  A day of fabulous tennis culminated in a final between Julie Young and Matthew Irving against Sue and John Francis, with Sue and John taking home the Speke Challenge Cup after a gap of 15 years.  The pair first won the trophy in 1989, holding on to it for the next two years, and were delighted to have recaptured it at the weekend.

Chedworth’s Carol Bailey and Fred Shaftoe also made it through to the finals of the afternoon competition for the Scott-Smith Salver but were narrowly defeated by Sally McKenna and Kit Slade, winners in 2004.

Stephen Scott-Smith with Sally McKenna and Kit Slade, winners of the Scott-Smith Salver

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Runners up for Speke Challenge Cup
Runners up for Scott-Smith Salver

Established 24 years ago, the tournament was sponsored by Far Frontiers, the tailor-made travel specialist based in Ampney Crucis.  In the opening rounds, games are played on courts kindly loaned by residents in the surrounding villages and the club was particularly thrilled this year that contestants were able to play on the recently resurfaced court in Coln St Denis owned by Edith Speke, one of the tournament’s original founders.

Commenting on the day, Stephen Scott-Smith, Chairman of Hill & Valley LTC said: “The weather was perfect, the tennis outstanding and the atmosphere today was really delightful.  So many people put in a tremendous effort behind the scenes to enable everything to run smoothly.  I would particularly like to thank our sponsor, those who donated courts and all the volunteer helpers who made puddings and cakes and worked so hard in the kitchen.”

The tournament raises money for the Hill & Valley Lawn Tennis Club and for the churches of Chedworth, Coln St Dennis and Coln Rogers.