Chris Wright, a keen tennis player and participant in the tournament over many years
presenting the Speke Challenge Cup to this year’s winners
Matthew Irving and Sandra Chambers

Saturday 11 June was a vintage day in every sense for the 2011 Coln Valley Mixed Doubles Tournament held in Chedworth and surrounding villages.  Ninety-six players including hopefuls from London, Oxfordshire, Dorset and Wiltshire – including a major contingent from the new David Lloyd Centre in Swindon – gathered for the traditional tennis fixture on picturesque courts in Coln St Dennis, Coln Rogers, Fossebridge, Shawswell, Withington, Calmsden, Aycote, Shipton Oliffe, Rendcomb and Bibury.

The morning rounds were played in glorious sunshine and, after an excellent buffet lunch at Chedworth Village Hall and an afternoon of very competitive tennis which was not too disrupted by showers, a large group of spectators braved the chilly evening to watch the finals at the club courts.  For the first time in many years Hill & Valley members reached the finals for both prestigious trophies.

The final for the highly coveted Speke Challenge Cup was a heroic battle, with past member Sandra Chambers and Hill & Valley’s Matthew Irving defeating Charlie Foster and Aaron Kelly from Swindon 7-5.  Chris Wright, a participant in the tournament since its inception, presented them with the trophy and spoke warmly of his affection for the event and its place in the local sporting calendar.  Hill & Valley members last won the trophy in 2006.

The Scott-Smith Salver was won by Hill & Valley’s Chrissie Kenning and Daniel Heaps who beat fellow member Jean Clarke and Charlie Jefferies (of Cirencester LTC) 6-3.

Roger Duggleby, Chairman of Hill & Valley LTC said: “It was a really successful day and we were delighted that the club was so well represented in both finals, especially since the standard of tennis was so high.  Edith Speke would have been particularly thrilled and proud to have seen Matthew win the Speke Cup as they were next door neighbours and she knew him when he was a very young boy.  The event is a one-off and I think people really like the opportunity to take part in what is a very traditional competition that is both sporting and sociable.  Its popularity is reflected in the distance that players are prepared to travel to take part every year, and plans are already being made for next year’s tournament on Saturday 16 June 2012.”

Established 29 years ago, the tournament was sponsored for the sixth year running by Far Frontiers Travel and Arcturus, the tailor-made travel specialist based in Devon.  Tennis balls were sponsored by local heating and plumbing engineers C P Jefferies, and D & J Sports donated a fabulous tennis bag and tennis accessories for the raffle. The event is the major annual fundraiser for the Hill & Valley Lawn Tennis Club which shares the proceeds with the churches of Chedworth, Coln St Dennis and Coln Rogers.   The club would like to thank everyone who loaned their court for the day, those who made puddings and cakes to fuel the competitors and all those who helped to make the day such a success.

Charlie Foster and Aaron Kelly from Swindon
salverwinners-2011 salverrunnersup-2011
Chrissie Kenning and Daniel Heaps Jean Clarke and Charlie Jefferies