The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, June 1924
The Tennis Championships were commenced on Saturday morning at the Wellington Club's courts, and play this year was up to the standard of previous years. Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Bates, the weather on both days was quite to order.
Victoria's team this year was stronger than for the past few years, but was too generous to its guests, with a result that we were in only one final—the Ladies' Singles. Perhaps part of our difficulty is that our players become overawed by the tennis record of their opponents. Certainly our representatives show more match fright than those of other Colleges. If we could only out-grow this deception, our team would not be handing round tea on the final day's play. Aim at experience in match play, then, all you aspirants for tennis honours next Easter.
The standard of play shown in the Men's Singles was good only in the opening rounds.
For Victoria, R. R. T. Young defeated Wilkinson (O.U.) after a long three-set game. W. P. Hollings, our second string, went down to Smyth (O.U.).
The semi-finals saw Fotheringham (A.U.C.) defeat Young after a close three-set match. Young took the first set at 8—6, but crumpled up under the Aucklander's steady bobbing in the next two sets. The set taken by Young was the only one dropped by Fotheringham during the Championship.
The lower half saw Smyth (O.U.), last year's runner-up, secure a comfortable win from Seay (C.U.C.), the holder. The Otago man was playing a hard game and made few mistakes. The final thus lay between Fotheringham and Smyth, and resulted in an unexpected victory for Auckland in straight sets. Fothering page 17 ham played a slow ball throughout, which seemed to break up the play of the hard-hitting Southerner. This game was not up to the standard of the earlier games.
The Men's Doubles saw Victoria retire in the opening round. Young Brothers went down to Otago's second pair.
Hollings and F. H. Paul, our second pair, put up a great match against Seay and Loughnan (C.U.C.), last year's champions, and were only defeated after a close and exciting game, the score being 6—3, 4—6, 9—7. In this match Paul made few mistakes, his work at the net being especially good.
The final, played on the Tuesday, between Seay—Loughnan (C.U.C.) and Smyth—Lusk (O.U.) produced some good tennis. Seay dominated this game and led Canterbury home in straight sets.
In the Combined Doubles, Victoria's hopes were not long lived. Playing with Miss Gardner, R. R. T, Young had a good win from Auckland's top pair—Fotheringham and Miss Mueller.
Our first string—Hollings and Miss Tracy—were disappointing in their display against Loughnan—Miss W. Partridge, Canterbury's second pair. Our pair were slow in starting, and did not take the match seriously. Thus was lost our well-founded hope of bringing the long-lost Shield, for at least part of the year, back to Victoria's unfurnished casement.
In the semi-finals, Loughnan—Miss W. Partridge (C.U.C.) beat Young—Miss Gardner, after a good three-set game.
The semi-final of the top half provided the best match of the Tournament, and play throughout this game was of a high order. Partnered by Miss E. Partridge, Seay (C.U.C.) defeated Smyth—Miss Ballantyne, Otago's top pair and last year's champions, in straight sets. In this match Seay gave a good exhibition of the combined game, and used his partner to great advantage. Miss Partridge's net work was brilliant, their team work aroused great enthusiasm, and they gained frequent applause from the large gallery present.
In the Ladies' Singles, Victoria secured her only win. In the first round Miss Gardner went out to Miss Saunders (C.U.C).
The second round saw Miss Thwaites lose to Miss Ballantyne (O.U.), and Miss Tracy had great difficulty in stalling off Miss Witherow (O.U.), only winning a long match at 11—9. In the semi-final Miss Tracy regained her form and secured a good win from Miss E. Partridge (C.U.C). The tennis in this match was very good, Miss Tracy's excursions to the net being well timed and effective. The final saw a long game between Miss Tracy and Miss Ballantyne (O.U.), last year's champion. In this match Miss Tracy held the edge throughout, but her attack was not successful until the ninth match-point had been called.
In the Ladies' Doubles, Misses Thwaites—Sheppard won through the first round, and in their next appearance had Canterbury's top pair in difficulties, not being beaten until 10—8 had been called.
Misses Madeley—Pigou, our third string, did not survive their first match.
Misses Tracy—Gardner, Victoria's leading pair, won their first match, but in the semi-final went out to Misses Sowden—Saunders (C.U.C). In this match Miss Sowden played very well at the net, developing a fast volley which continually beat our girls.page 18
This match showed us our weakness—we have only one girl who can play net, and the formation of one up and one back will never win a 'Varsity Doubles Championship.
The final in this event saw Canterbury's representatives fight it out on the Wednesday, and resulted in a win for their second pair. This victory was mainly due to Miss Sowden's sound net work, which troubled the local pairs who met the champions earlier in this event.
Thus the Tennis Shield went to Canterbury with three wins, with V.U.C. and A.U.C. each with one win. Otago were perhaps unfortunate in not securing a win, as they were in three of the finals. We congratulate Canterbury on their performance, and know that next year, on their own courts, they will be a tough proposition.