Vintage country house tennis at its best

Saturday 9 June saw tennis of the highest quality in the 37th Coln Valley Annual Mixed Doubles Tennis Tournament, the traditional ‘country house’ competition held each June in Chedworth and surrounding villages by Hill & Valley Lawn Tennis Club.

Seasoned competitors and several new faces were among the 44 pairs competing in this much loved event, including 81 year old Harry Waight, currently on vacation from California, and a total of five members of the Blacker family. This was the fifth year that Savills, Cirencester have sponsored the day and the company was represented by Sam Roberts from their Banbury office playing with Gill Godwin.

In a thrilling final full of awesome serving and deep and decisive reaction volleys, a critical game went to10 deuce/advantage points.  The coveted Speke Challenge Cup was eventually won for the second consecutive year by Jason Stevens with a new partner, Rachana Patel, both from Purton Tennis Club.  They defeated Julia Jamieson-Black and Adam Swan from Cirencester Club.

The winners of the Scott-Smith Silver Salver were Alexa Rutter and Ethan Gunton from Nationwide, Swindon. They defeated Katherine and Rohan Blacker who live in Withington and who were among the 13 court owners who generously lent their tennis courts for the day.

Stunning properties where the eighty eight contestants played were in Aycote, Calmsden, Chedworth, Coln St Dennis, Coln Rogers, Fossebridge, Rendcomb, Shipton Oliffe, Withington and Perrots Brook.

Hilary Swan, who ran the competition side of the day with Dee Greatorex, said: “We had a terrific turnout and there was a fantastic community spirit from the club and local organisations. We are very grateful to Savills for their sponsorship, to Chris and Janice Wright who supplied 12 dozen Slazenger balls, D&J Sports and all the other local companies who gave us  fabulous raffle prizes, the court owners for letting us use their facilities and to our willing volunteers who helped with the organisation and baking cakes for tea. Together with perfect weather and a delicious lunch by Chedworth-based Claire Booth Cooks it was all a great success.  Our only sadness was that due to illness Allison Stock, who has run the tournament so superbly for many years, was not able to be with us today.  She and her husband Graham, our chairman, were much missed by the players and organisers.  Our thoughts are with them and we all send our very best wishes.”

Next year’s tournament, which raises money for the Hill & Valley Lawn Tennis Club and for the local churches of Chedworth, Coln St Dennis and Coln Rogers, will take place on Saturday 8 June 2019.

Finalists in the Coln Valley Tournament on Saturday 9 June, left to right:

Speak Cup runners-up Julia Jamieson-Black and Adam Swan with winners Jason Stevens and Rachana Patel; Scott-Smith Silver Salver winners Alexa Rutter and Ethan Gunton with runners-up Rohan and Katherine Blacker