Progress on finding a location for our new court
It is with some excitement that we can provide an update on our quest for a Real Tennis court in Sydney. Over the past seven years or so over 30 locations have been considered across Sydney on which we might build a new court. With the many constraints of a court it has been an enormous challenge. The tennis court is a very large structure, approximately 40m by 12m and 9m in height. Given that Real Tennis is such a niche sport and without having the funding to purchase a property outright in a sensible location in Sydney highlights the reality that we are really looking for a rare opportunity.
Progress on two opportunities that we have been working on over the past five years (Moore Park and Tennis NSW at Sydney Olympic park) has been frustratingly slow. Moore Park has been ruled out due to The Centennial Park Trust restrictions on their land and TNSW has gone into a masterplan mode due to the NSW Government Stadia announcements. A decision at Sydney Olympic Park could be several years away and our proposal could be wrapped up in red tape.
The exciting news is that we are currently in well-developed discussions with the Cheltenham Recreation Club (CRC). Discussions have been very positive and we are currently negotiating leasing and commercial terms. We have also commenced documentation to submit a Development Application to the Council. While there are a couple of hurdles still to get over, we hope to have more positive news over the next few months.
Men’s World Championship
In May 2018, Rob Fahey regained the world championship in a remarkable upset win over American Camden Riviere. Rob had held the world championship for 22 straight years between March 1994 to May 2016, losing the championship to Camden Riviere in Newport in 2016.
Throughout the past 6 months Rob won through the gruelling eliminator rounds and then went on to beat Camden at Queens 7 sets to 5 in a remarkable win considering Rob has just turned 50 and that Camden been the world number 1 ranked player and virtually unbeatable for the past several years. The feat of regaining a World Real Tennis championship had not been achieved for over 100 years.
You can watch a replay of the world championship match below.
Change of SRTC President
One of the significant recent developments recently is that David Pinsent has stepped down as President of the SRTC and Michael Fitzgerald has taken on the role. David is spending most of his time outside of Sydney at the moment and feels he cannot commit enough time to the duties of President.
On behalf of the committee we thank David for his dedication to the Sydney Real Tennis Club and for his belief and efforts with the club over the past seven years. David has been instrumental in keeping the club together along with retaining excellent relationships with RMTC, HRTC and BTC. To maintain a real tennis club with no court is an achievement in itself. David has also spent many hours building momentum towards
achieving a court in Sydney which is our ultimate goal. David has agreed to stay on as an important member of the committee.
Prince Edward’s visit
HRH the Earl of Wessex was in Australia in April to attend the Commonwealth Games and promote the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. The Prince also played tennis on each of the real tennis courts in Australia to promote the sport and raise funds to support disadvantaged youth undertaking Duke of Edinburgh challenges. Our own SRTC President, Michael Fitzgerald, was lucky enough to play a match with the Prince in Hobart.
HRTC v SRTC – 24-26 November 2017
After the traditional March fixture fell victim to insufficient numbers, November 24-26 brought the long awaited re-acquaintance of SRTC with our Hobart friends. The weekend saw a welcome return to the Hobart court for the first time since perhaps 2009 or 10, of Toby Dolman – all the way from Brisbane…. bringing a warm dose of tropical weather with him. While Peter Estcourt traveled from work commitments in Adelaide, five others made the usual trip from Sydney.
With warm-up sessions on Friday afternoon, the exclusively doubles matches began early evening, where Hobart flew out of the gate taking all matches for a 4-love lead. We were still warming up!
Looking at the draw across the weekend, you would be forgiven for thinking SRTC still had a court, with majority of matches denying Sydney any kind of handicap start (i.e. we found ourselves owing in 14 out of 22 over the weekend). But we do not grumble!
A visit to The Black Footed Pig for dinner…with Karen Toates in tow was kind of memorable. The food and wines were pretty good! Table service was memorably nearing non-existent (a surprise considering the calibre of its older sister cafe, daci&daci) which allowed grumble to make a late appearance. And so to the pool room we adjourned, for some forgettable snooker on the giant table at the Tassie Club.
Saturday really needed to be a strong start for us, but it wasn’t to be, with Dr. Crane unfortunate to sustain a wrist injury the previous evening. A grand effort by him, to be fit was to no avail, so in stepped Hobart’s Michelle Moores to take Dick’s place, and even establish bragging rights at home, with a dominant 9/4 win over husband John.
Michelle produced one of only two match wins for SRTC on the middle day of play, and we prepared ourselves for dinner at the club with a progress match score of 2-13. There were a significant number of adv-all games, however Sydney were able to convert too few of them.
Matches were much closer than scores suggest, so the handicapping was fairly accurate after all, and our tennis was probably of a reasonable standard considering. It was a case of Sydney lacking the killer blows.
Damien O’Meara was in pretty good form, finding the sweet spot on lots of classic Real Tennis ground strokes, and hitting his leftie railroad groove as well. He is clearly on the improve, being involved in several matches that went close to the wire. Brian Robertson, called on years of winning muscle memory, to steer SRTC towards both our victories on Saturday. Helen must be keeping the Commodore’s game in ship shape order between fixtures.
The rain pelted down outside for most of the day, so we were happy to settle for a beer after play, and wet our whistles before dinner! Delicious tapas, paella, sangria, and a bottle or three of HRTC’s wine stocks made for a delightful match dinner in the Trophy Room, with many non-competing Hobart members attending to make for a fun and memorable occasion. We had the great Bazza Toates with us at dinner for a second consecutive fixture, following the Toates trophy at RMTC in September – always a pleasure to have Barry and Karen with us!
As an aside, there was an ….‘is there a doctor in the room’ count, and the result was a very healthy 25% of those in attendance. The figure was closely (if not alarmingly) matched by the number of men wearing blue on white gingham check shirts….. none of whom were employees of Tasmania’s Hill Street Grocer chain. A great night was had by all, and a return to the pool room, this time with a larger contingent, made for plenty more laughs!
Sunday’s play brought a reversal of fortunes for us, with Sydney winning three matches out of seven (and 2 other 9/8 losses). But it wasn’t to be, and Hobart won the Trophy back with a 17 to 5 victory.
Toby’s sub-20 handicap from his pro days a decade or so ago, proved only marginally challenging for him to play to – the skill and style not abandoning him despite a long absence from play. Eddie, Peter, Dick & Sav played well but perhaps without luck against some strong HRTC opposition, this time around. At least everyone was a winner of some kind or other.
Sydney also had a playing first, with Yvonne Crane having her first lesson in Real Tennis (with none other than Graham Hyland), after watching and supporting The Doc for so many years. Yvonne enjoyed the experience and we expect that she will join us in play in the near future. So yes, we are still a club developing new talent!
Many thanks to the Sydney folk who traveled down to Tassie:
- Dick and Yvonne Crane
- Brian and Helen Robertson
- Eddie Fazal
- Toby Dolman
- Peter Estcourt
- Damien O’Meara
- Sav Cremona
…. and congrats to Hobart on the weekend win!! So….the Sydney Hobart Trophy remains in the HRTC cabinet for another year, but this time, legitimately.
2017 SRTC Club Championships
The club championships were played at RMTC over 7-9 April. On behalf of the Sydney Club, we would like to start by thanking the President of RMTC and the committee for allowing us to use the club to hold our championships. We felt truly privileged to have access to the courts for the 3 days and once again marvelled at what an extraordinary club you are all lucky enough to belong to. We would also like to thank the Pros for everything they did to make the weekend such a success including organising the draws, teaching the newcomers, ordering the trophies and for ensuring everything went to plan.
Seventeen players registered to play however Sav Cremona was forced to drop out on the morning of the event due to injury and Chris Cooper rolled his ankle in his first singles match. After 46 matches, we finished at 15.00 on Sunday afternoon with a host of divisional champions for singles and doubles. Hamish Oates walked off with the Club Championship Trophy for the top player of the weekend.
One of the main objectives of the event is to encourage new players to have a weekend of lessons and matches. This year we had three complete newcomers who picked up racquets for the first time on either Friday evening or Saturday morning and all acquitted themselves remarkably well. In the end, all of them played in at least one final. As a club with no court, being able to introduce new players over a weekend like this is invaluable for us.
Along with the tennis, we were able to join in on the RMTC social night on the Friday and be dazzled by Lizzie’s cuisine and company. We then had a marvellous dinner in the club rooms on Saturday prepared by Liza’s Larder at which our club President David Pinsent handed out a selection of awards he had picked up at the $2 shop and that all players had to wear for their first game on the Sunday morning. Dick Crane became so attached to his tutu that he wore it all day and actually was still wearing when he won the club handicap singles in the last match of the day!!
We would love to do it all again next year if allowed back and once more thank you for allowing us to rekindle our love for the game, introduce new young players and to cherish the camaraderie built over such a marvellous weekend.
2016 SRTC Annual General Meeting
The 2016 SRTC Annual General Meeting will be held at the Union University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street Sydney at 6.30pm on Wednesday, 30 November 2016. Click here for further information
17th year of The Barry Toates Trophy – September 2016
The SRTC were in force in Melbourne contesting the Barry Toates Trophy against the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club with a strong 10 man team, including debutants Ted Alexander and Vince Stefano as well as stalwart Richard Fawcett after a three year hiatus from the game.
Over the 17 year history of the trophy, honours have been shared eight apiece, so there was much anticipation at the start of play. After a pulsating beginning where blows were traded by both teams, the match was all square at lunch. Sydney took the lead in the afternoon and were unbackable favourites at five matches up with only five left to play.
But RMTC pulled off an incredible come-back to tie the tournament with the final match going to Melbourne 8 games to 7. Fittingly it was RMTC president Fred Kininmonth who sealed the final match for RMTC to the delight of the raucous dedans.
“The support crowd were invaluable to Sydney’s campaign”, enthused Captain James Willis. In fact the whole weekend was made by the phenomenal crowd support on both sides, and the match was rounded off with a sumptuous Thai banquet at nearby Piano restaurant.
Thanks and congratulations to the Melbourne club who, as always, were superb hosts and welcomed both players and their fan club in true Melbourne style!
BTC v SRTC – 9-10 July 2016 – by Brett McFarlane / Sav Cremona
9-10 July saw the return into battle of SRTC and BTC…the first since 2012 for the Doug Grant Trophy. After a warm-up event against the Wanderers on Friday night, Sydney started off quite well winning three of the first four matches before lunch on Saturday. The lunches were superb all weekend! It is highly possible that SRTC couldn’t quite pick the better of the sandwiches, because after lunch results went narrowly the way of BTC in five of the six matches. Saturday saw six of ten matches ending in a 9/8 result and Ballarat led the scoreboard 7/3 at the end of Saturday.
Sunday’s play brought a reversal of fortunes with Sydney winning the day four matches to one. But it wasn’t to be, and Ballarat won the Trophy back with an 8 to 7 victory.
Sydney had a new member playing his first match of Real Tennis, after playing the game some four years ago “….. oh, for maybe an hour or so”!! David Brell improved rapidly, and despite being a little in the dark about the score at any particular time, was able to find the sweet spot regularly, and with some power. His serving improved out of sight by Sunday afternoon, and hopefully he has caught enough of the bug to encourage him to remedy the itch by getting back on court with Sydney in the future.
This kind of thing is an unexpected benefit of the re-formed SRTC, and the completely new players they have introduced the game to are developing into great additions to our ‘’Real Tennis family’’.
Many thanks to Sydney for heading down this way Sydney and congrats to Ballarat on the weekend win!!
So….the Doug Grant Trophy remains in the BTC cabinet, but this time, legitimately.
HRTC v SRTC – 4-6 March 2016
The March visit of SRTC saw 9 dedicated Sydney players up against a home town team that put 21 different players on the court over the 3 days. And it went down to the wire! All matches were a handicapped 8 game set with advantage all games. In the doubles, when the first pair reached 4 games, the trailing pair were able to change server or receiver if they wished. When a player or pair fell behind 3 games, they received a bisque. At the end of the Friday afternoon tennis it was Sydney 3, Hobart 3.
Friday Matches – Bert Cason & Francis Spilsbury d. Eddie Fazal & James Willis 8/4; Dave Mitchell d. Damien O’Meara 8/5; John Moores d. Brian Robertson 8/4; Paul Dunne & Francis Spilsbury lt Michael Fitzgerald & Damien O’Meara 1/8; John Armstrong & Pat Bradfield lt Eddie Fazal & James Willlis 6/8 & Paul Dunne & Graeme Holloway lt Justin Cooper and Chris Cooper 3/8.
Saturday Matches 12 matches on the Saturday saw Sydney move to an 11/7 lead overall. Will Joscelyne & David Hook d James Willis & Damien O’Meara 8/3; John Herbert & Will Joscelyne lt Chris Cooper & Justin Cooper 6/8; Julianne Drewitt & Stephen Pinkus lt Eddie Fazal & Sav Cremona 4/8; Will Joscelyne & Alex Fahey lt to Chris Cooper & Michael Fitzgerald 5/8; John Moores & Michelle Moores lt Brian Robertson & Damien O’Meara 5/8; Graham Flower lt Sav Cremona 1/8; Stephen Pinkus & Michelle Moores d Brian Robertson & James Willis 8/2; Francis Spilsbury & John Moores d Michael Fitzgerald & Eddie Fazal 8/5; John Herbert & Christine Stirling lt Damien O’Meara & James Willis 5/8; Alex Fahey & Francis Spilsbury lt Brian Robertson & Eddie Fazal 4/8; Graeme Bradfield & Julianne Drewitt lt Sav Cremona & Damien O’Meara 4/8 & Graeme Bradfield & Pat Bradfield d Dylan Cooper & Justin Cooper 8/5.
Dinner in the Trophy Room – Saturday Evening Michelle Moores, John Moores and Karen Toates catered for dinner in the Trophy Room. The Moores’ turned on an awesome roast done on the bbq, with veggies and salad and Karen Toates provided sticky date pudding for dessert. There were good speeches all round at the tournament dinner and the Sydney Club presented Barry with a unique present to mark his retirement. It was a simple, but most attractive card box by a Sydney Woodworker, Garrick Blue. It is crafted from West Australian Jarrah and New Guinea Rosewood and has a plaque attached engraved with message of Sydney’s appreciation of Barry’s encouragement and friendship over the years. And for the card box were 2 special decks of playing cards with a unique Sydney Real Tennis logo on the back. All presented by Chris Cooper of SRTC with an accompanying bottle of fine Barossa Valley red.
Sunday Matches Trailing 7 to 11 at the start of play on Sunday, Hobart made a comeback winning the first 5 matches to take a 12/11 lead. Sydney levelled at 12 all and the result was determined by the last match of the weekend with James Willis and Justin Cooper defeating Ian Reed and Cam Potter 6/2.
So Sydney took the Trophy. Not bad for a team of 9 players without a court!