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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1915

Tennis Notes

page 91

Tennis Notes

Sketch of people playing tennis with the words tennis club written in the net

The stirring times through which we are passing have had a very marked effect on our College Tennis, and have tended to make the season a memorable one. We are proud, indeed, of the excellent spirit shown by so many of our past and present members in responding so readily to the call of duty, and we feel sure that, as the call becomes more urgent, many more will come forward in the same noble spirit to fight for King and Empire.

The following players from the Club served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in Samoa:—Major Beere, F. T. Clere, G. H. Seddon, Saxon, L. P. Leary, W. J. Robertson, McCormack, K. E. Adams, and A. Hudson. Of these, Major Beere, Seddon, Saxon, Hudson and Robertson have, since their return, enlisted for service abroad. In addition to these, the under mentioned present and recent members have joined the Main Expeditionary Force and subsequent reinforcements, or have enlisted for service:—F. L. G. West, F. G. Hall-Jones, A. W. Delamore, G. C. Jackson, F. E. McKenzie, Dr. G. V. Bogle, F. Martin, V . J. B. Hall, W. J. Stainton, K. Munro, P. B. Cooke, G. S. Strack, R. H. Greville, A. B. Sievwright, K. A. Henderson, K. C. Clayton, N. S. Johnson, W. Buxton, and C. F. Atmore.

At a special general meeting convened soon after the outbreak of the war it was unanimously decided to grant £10 to the Victoria University College War Fund, and hopes were also expressed that the Club should later be page 92 in a position to make a further donation to some other fund connected with the war.

While writing about the war, we should like to take this opportunity of expressing our deepest regret at the news of the death of Mr. Anthony Wilding, who was killed while fighting in France. Mr. Wilding, as is well known, was one of the finest exponents of tennis that the world has seen, and his loss will be felt very keenly indeed. Some of our older players, perhaps, will remember Mr. Wilding's playing for Canterbury College in the University Tournament of 1902, and his winning the Men's Championship Singles, as well as being a partner in the winning pair in the Doubles and Combined.

The absence of so many players on military service made itself felt in our grade competitions, with the result that the men's teams have not been so successful as in former years. Shortly after the season commenced, the Wellington Tennis Association was, able to obtain the use of the Day's Bay courts for Saturday's games, and, as a result, weekly inter-club matches were immediately revived, and the existing scheme of challenges discarded. Under the challenge system, the Club had played three games, in which the Men's Senior and Junior teams were both defeated by Brougham Hill, while the Men's Third—the holders at the time of their grade championship—easily defeated the Trinity Church representatives.

The following are the results of the inter-club games in the various grades:—

Men's Senior: Played 8, won 5, lost 3.

November 28th v. Muritai. Our opponents were very weak, and we won without losing a set.

December 5th v. Brougham Hill: This game was played on our Courts in a howling northerly, so that tennis was well nigh impossible. Cleghorn and Atmore both won their singles, the latter's game being what may be termed an endurance contest against the wind, H. Howe, and himself. Needless to say, the wind had everything its own way, but our representative emerged second. We failed rather badly in the doubles, losing both rubbers, and Brougham Hill thus won by 4 rubbers to 2.

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December 12th v. Wellington: Wellington proved not quite so formidable as our last opponents, and after a keen struggle we secured a victory by 4 rubbers to 2. Fathers, Henderson and Atmore all won their singles, and Henderson and Atmore secured the second double.

February 6th v. Muritai: In the second round Muritai played much better, and at times pressed us hard, but we succeeded in winning eventually by 4 rubbers to 2. Cleghorn and Atmore each captured a single, and we won both doubles.

February 20th v. Wellington: Had we won this match we should have secured the championship, but the fates were against us, and we were beaten by 4 rubbers to 2. Cleghorn and Henderson claimed a single each, but both pairs were all at sea in the doubles, and won neither.

February 27th v. Brougham Hill: In this match Fortune smiled on us once more, for we defeated Brougham Hill who were then leading for the championship by 7 sets to 6—the rubbers being equal. Cleghorn and Atmore each won his single in straight sets, but Brougham Hill won from Henderson and Foden, also in straight sets. This meant that in the doubles we had to win a set more than our opponents in order to be victorious, which we just succeeded in doing after a very close call. Henderson and Atmore won from Keene and Warsaw, 6-3, 6-3, and Cleghorn and Foden obtained a set from Butcher and Reeves amidst great excitement.

The position of the teams after the second round was indeed unique, three of the four teams in the competition being equal for first place. It was therefore decided that each team should play the other two, and the results of our games are as follows:—

March 20th v. Wellington: We again succeeded in defeating Wellington, but should we tell that it was only by two games? Cleghorn, playing first, easily won from Grant, and Atmore won from Henley; but Fathers and Henderson both lost their singles. In the doubles, Henderson and Atmore secured victory from Grant and Irons after a three set match; but Cleghorn and Fathers lost to Boddington and Irons. This meant that the rubbers were evenly divided which was disconcerting enough. Imagine our page 94 horror on finding that the sets were also even; but contemplate our delight on hearing that we were two games ahead. Ugh!

March 27th v. Brougham Hill: This proved to be an interesting game, and Brougham Hill in defeating us attained championship honours, leaving us runners-up. Although we did not win a rubber, yet the games were very close, being 71-69 against us. Our opponents well deserved their victory, and we offer them our hearty congratulations on their success in winning the championship.

The men's Junior Team won 3 out of 6 matches played, the Third A, two, and the Third B, one match.

In the ladies' events, our senior team played six matches, winning one, while the junior team were unsuccessful in winning any of their four matches.

The senior ladies were seriously handicapped by the loss of the services of Misses Van Stavern and Tennent, and during the season, of Miss Atmore. Taking into consideration also the experience of the other teams in the competition, our ladies played some really good games, and they no doubt would have turned them into victories had they possessed the experience of their opponents. We regret to report that up to the present time no details of the above games have come to hand; but we hope to have them in time for inserting in the next issue of "The Spike."

The Club Championships were commenced soon after Christmas, but only one event, namely, the Men's Singles, was completed. The results are:—

First Round: Henderson v. Atmore, 6—4, 6—2; Cuddie v. Tily, 4—6, 6—5, 6—0; Taylor v. Fathers, 6—4, 6—2; Cleghorn v. Williams, 6—3, 10—8; Clayton v. Wright, 6—1, 6—3; Foden v. Robinson, 6—3, 6—1.

Second Round: Henderson V. Cuddie, 6—1, 7—5; Melody v. Fossette, 6—3, 6—3; Cleghorn v. Taylor, 6—3, 6—4; Clayton v. Foden, 6—3, 6—1.

Senior Finals.

Henderson v. Melody, 6—4, 6—4; Cleghorn v. Clayton, 6—1, 6—0.


Cleghorn v. Henderson, 6—3, 6—2

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Cleghorn well deserved his win, and is to be congratulated on his fine performances throughout. His clever net play, combined with accurate placing, always enabled him to assume the upper hand from the start, and with such an advantage, he had no difficulty in keeping his opponents in check. Henderson also played well, although he did not appear quite up to form in the final with Cleghorn. It is significant to note that both these players, who are at the top of the ladder, are essentially net players, and we have difficulty in finding a reason why more of our players do not cultivate this very effective style of play, rather than adopt the more difficult back line tactics. It certainly appears that with the same amount of practice, a higher standard of efficiency may be reached by the former than by the latter method. In order to ensure efficiency, however, a good service is absolutely essential.

The following players represented us at the University Tournament., held at Auckland during Easter:—Misses M. H. Sievwright, F. W. Cooke, E. H. Cook, E. Hare, Daniell, and E. M. Still, and Messrs. K. A. Henderson, N. L. Wright, H. Williams, and C. F. Atmore.

The games were played on the Remuera Tennis Lawns, and our representatives, having had very little opportunity of playing on grass, were naturally at a disadvantage, and their difficulties were increased by the very heavy state of the grounds. Under the circumstances they played some really good games, although unsuccessful in winning any of the events.

In writing on this matter, we should like to make a special appeal to lady students to join the Club, with a view to taking part in the Easter Tournament. Considering the number of ladies at present attending lectures, it is surprising to note how few have joined the Club. The game offers excellent opportunities for relaxation after strenuous study, not to mention the enjoyment the tournament affords to all its participants. A student is entitled to play in five tournaments only, so that in view of this restriction and of the fact that every year sees a falling off of our older players, it is essential page 96 that younger players should constantly be coming forward to take their places. Moreover, the standard of play, with the exception of that of our first five or six ladies, is not very high, and a student with ability for games should be able, after a little diligent practice, to qualify herself for representative honours. The subscription is extremely low, and is well within the reach of all students.

In the beginning of the year we gladly accepted the Otaki Club's invitation to play a match with them on their courts on Anniversary Day. Unfortuntely, the weather in Wellington on that day was very unfavourable for tennis, and, as a result, only half of our team appeared at the station. However, those of us who did make the trip were amply repaid for the risks taken; for the weather cleared soon after our arrival at Otaki, and most of the games were played. On this occasion we were no match for the Otaki team, who inflicted defeat by 9 rubbers to 3—Cleghorn, Atmore and Williams winning their games. We found the trip so enjoyable that we were unable to resist an invitation to 21ay a return match on St. Patrick's Day. This time our team was very much stronger, and we avenged our previous defeat by 16 rubbers to 4. Our thanks are due to the Otaki team and their friends for the exceedingly hospitable manner in which they entertained us on both occasions; and we hope next season to induce them to send a team to "Salamanca," so that we may have an opportunity of reciprocating their kindness.

In conclusion, we should like to thank those of our ladies who have throughout the season so kindly attended to the making of afternoon tea, and also the members of the Coaching Committee for their efforts towards the improvement of club tennis.