Eighty-four keen competitors turned out on a very dreich morning for the start of Saturday’sColn Valley Annual Mixed Doubles Tennis Tournament.  However, although many of them had to play the first round in their waterproofs, spirits remained high throughout what proved to be another vintage day of glorious tennis.

The owners of 11 beautiful properties in Withington, Coln St Denis, Coln Rogers, Perrott’s Brook,Calmsden, Rendcomb, Colesbourne and Aycote kindly loaned out their tennis courts for the day to make the event possible.  In addition to regular faces and players from local clubs, some of the contestants travelled from as far afield as Dorset, Hampshire, London and North Oxfordshire to take part.

The coveted Speke Challenge Cup was won by last year’s runner-up Ben Langley whose partner this year was Sylvie Darrieumerlou, both from Purton Tennis Club.  They defeated Matt Pickles and Briegeen Dolby from North Oxford Tennis Club in a fast and furious final which many players stayed on late to support.

The Speke Challenge Cup
, left to right:Winners Ben Langley and Sylvie Darrieumerlou
with runners-up Matt Pickles
and Briegeen Dolby

The final for the Scott-Smith Salver was an all-Chedworth challenge, in which Sarah Calder and John Boughey fought off hopefuls Claire Watson and Dominic Chesmorewho had taken an early lead.

The Scott-Smith Salver
, left to right: runners-up Dominic Chesmore and Claire Watsonwith winners Sarah Calder and John Boughey.

Commenting on the day, the club’s Tournament Coordinator Allison Stock said: “I was amazed how everyone just got on with it despite the murky morning weather.  From the many emails and messages I have received I believe everyone had a great time and I want to thank them all for taking part and playing in such superb spirit. Good to see some new faces and the level of tennis was excellent as ever.  We are hugely grateful to Savills for their sponsorship of the event, to D&J Sports for their raffle prize of a spectacular tennis bag and accessories and to everyone else who donated prizes.  Above all, we wish to thank the court owners and all the volunteer helpers who worked so hard on the day and prepared food prior to the event.”

First held 33 years ago, this unique and charming tournament has a loyal following of players who are drawn back year after year by its focus on ‘country house’ tennis played in traditional whites in sporting spirit, a format which is now becoming popular with other clubs.  The event raises money both for the Hill & Valley Lawn Tennis Club and for the local churches of Chedworth, Coln St Dennis and Coln Rogers.

Next year’s tournament will be held on Saturday 11 June 2016 so now is the time to put the date in your diaries!

Inspecting one of the courts in the rain before play at the start of the tournament.