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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1913



From the Town Hall an adjournment was made with all dispatch to the Wellington Club's Courts, where, of the earlier games, most interest centred round the duel between Duthie and Parker; the play was mostly back page 12 line, with little volleying, Parker taking more risks than his opponent; The first set terminated at 13—11 in favour of Duthie, who had no difficulty in winning the next, 6—2.

Cleghorn beat Parsonson, of Canterbury, comfortably. In the Men's Doubles some splendid play was witnessed, notably in the semi-final between Duthie and Campbell and Abernethy and Parsonson. Auckland won : 6—1, 7—5. Cleghorn and Parker reached the semi-final without being unduly pressed.

The best contest in the Women's Singles was that between Miss M'Laughlin. Victory fell to the Auckland at 11—9. Miss Tennant and Miss Cooke secured comfortable wins.

In the Women's Doubles, Misses Tennant and Lawry disposed of Miss Tompkins and the redoubtable Miss Cumming, 9—5, and Victoria College stocks began to look up; they followed this up with a victory in the second round over Misses Welsh and Taylor, 9—3.

In the Combined, Miss Tennant and Cleghorn beat Miss Millar and T. D. Smith, of Canterbury, 6—4, 6—4, Cleghorn being much superior to Smith, his overhead shots in particular being safer than his opponent's.

Thus on Saturday evening we wended our way to the Debate with our hopes of the morning translated into something nearly akin to confidence. All five championships seemed, if not within our grasp, at least within the realm of possibilities. Besides, who was Duthie, anyway?

By Tuesday evening we were considerably humbler. One of the best matches of the Tournament was played that morning, the semi-final of the Combined. The first set went to Auckland, 6—4, but in the second Victoria took four of the first five games. Then Auckland caught up, and it was game and game alternately, until we succeeded in getting the vantage, and won, 13—11. In the final set Duthie and Miss Cumming came away with great rush, and at one sage the score stood 5—1. Then Miss Tennant and Cleghorn followed suit, and took the four next games—5 all, and the excitement was positively painful. But, alas, to the Aucklanders it was page 13 that the next two games, and therefore the match, fell. The tennis played by both sides was really brilliant, and there was, as the score shows, little between them. Miss Tennant never played better in her life. In the final, Miss Cumming and Duthie won from Miss Welsh and Hart (Otago), 6—2, 6—4, without being extended.

Partridge caught Cleihorn napping at the commencement of the semi-final of the Men's Singles, but did not last, and in a similar fashion T. D. Smith took the first set from Duthie, who, however, made "on race" of the next two. The final came on rather late in the afternoon, when both men were feeling the effects of their strenuous day's work. The first set provided a stubborn go, with Duthie the winner at 8—6; he took the first games of the next set, but when Cleghorn carried off the next three games, decided to save himself for the succeeding set. In this Duthie showed himself the better player, for although Cleghorn volleyed well at accuracy; the final score was 6—2.

The Men's Doubles had already been decided—another scalp dangling at the Auckland belt, 6—I, 7—5.

In the first set Parker was quite bad, but recovered himself in the second. Duthie played with exasperating accuracy throughout, and as Campbell played up to him, their combination was too much for our men.

The Women's Doubles provided us with yet another disappointment. Miss Tennant had had a very heavy programme of games to get through, and by the afternoon was perceptibly tired, while Miss Lawry seemed to be below form. Thus we could score only six games to the nine of Misses Miller and Tutten (Canterbury), who had the honour of annexing the only championship which did not go North.

Both Miss Cumming and Miss Tennant made short work of their opponents in the earlier rounds of the Singles, but the final was not the battle royal it was expected to be. Miss Tennant, not yet recovered from the grueling effects of the Doubles final, fell a fairly easy victim, 9—4.

page 14

It was an ironical Fate that confronted T. D. Smith and Cleghorn, after they had both patiently and with admirable fortitude borne up against four years of Jennings, each yearning with a great and mighty longing for 1913, victory, and the other's blood, with such an able successor to Jennings as Duthie. The present prospect seems to be that Duthie will finish up like Jennings, with an unbeaten record, for Cleghorn has seen his last Tournament, and there is no one else in sight likely to defeat the champion, young as he is and certain to improve. Still, it is unsafe to prophesy for four years ahead, and a Wilding may turn up at V. C. at any moment.