On the 11th & 12th May Surrey’s Over 50’s captained by Phil Hall and Over 60’s captained by Adriam Morris headed up to Berkhamstead Tennis & Squash Club for the Racketball Intercounty Masters.

There was a high number of entries with a lot of new faces on show making it a promising event to be involved in. The format for all matches was 3 singles and a doubles.

Over 50’s

Having finished in 3rd place last year the team was bolstered this year with Surrey stalwart Neil Frankland (Nuffield West Byfleet) playing at No 1 which saw us seeded no 2. The first round we were pitched against Bedfordshire. Neil cruised to a 3-0 win as did Mike Wardle (Woking) playing at 3rd string. Phil Hall (Woking) had a slow start losing his opening game before winning 3-1. The doubles saw Neil paired with Clive Johnston (Surbiton) but they had no issues dispatching the opposition 3-0.

In the semi final we met Essex and a slight change in order as Clive played in the singles in the 3rd string. It proved to be a tricky game and although he lost 3-0 the score line did not reflect how close the games were. Neil and Phil again won their matches 3-0 and 3-1 respectively which meant it was all down to the doubles and a rare sight of Mike Wardle paired with Neil. It was a chaotic game with some challenging calls being made and Essex came out on top winning 3-1. This meant it was 2-2 in matches and 7-7 in games so it was all on countback of points which Surrey claimed 128-113 and were gratefully through to the final on Sunday against locals Hertfordshire who has dispatched the number 1 seeds Devon in their first round match.

Surrey went strong in the final which kicked off with the doubles pair of Neil and Phil. It was nip and tuck as they went 1-0 and 2-1 up but Herts clung on to take it to a 5th game. Neil was hitting some sublime drops at the front of the court all game which Herts just could not compete with. And it proved too much as Surrey won 3-2. Neil took straight to the singles court and out on an exhibition as he totally destroyed their number one dropping a handful of points along the way and claiming an easy 3-2 victory. Meanwhile Mike Wardle had taken to another court and was playing some impressive racketball although at times points were being lost when he was in complete control of the rally. IN the end quality came through and Mike strolled through a 3-0 winner which claimed the title for Surrey. Phil took to the court in a dead rubber against their number 2 but he was determined to make it a whitewash for Surrey. He doesn’t make things easy and had to endure another 5 game match which he duly won.

Massive congratulations to all the team pictured below.

Over 60’s

This was the first year an Over 60’s event was run and Surrey was being led by captain Adrian Morris from Surbiton in a 5 team box league.

On the Saturday we played Northants first with Adrian at 1, Simon Dillon at 2, John Blackmur at 3 and Simon and Adrian in the doubles. It was a walk in the park as all matches were comfortably won 3-0 and a convincing 12-0 start. Next up were Devon with Surrey having the same line up and order. John went on first and was soon down 1-0 but a change of tactic where he introduced a few front court boasts saw his opponent flag and he routed to a 3-1 win. Adrian had a tougher game at number one losing 3-1 but Simon was ruthless again winning 3-0. Adrian and Simon were back on court for deciding doubles and they crept over the line winning 3-2 and giving Surrey a close 9-6 win.

Sunday saw Mike Hanlon join up with the team which proved to be a master stroke as other teams were feeling the strain of playing for a second consecutive day. First up were locals Herts and Mike went straight in at number 1. His freshness saw him cruise to an impressive 3-0 win. Meanwhile John was on the next court and was struggling against a strong opponent and the match was levelled up as he lost 3-0. Simon grounded out a great 3-2 win. So again it was back to the doubles and the favoured pairing of Adrian and Simon but they were simply too strong and they won 3-0 and Surrey a 9-5 win.

This meant our final game against the hot favourites Essex was going to be the final. We went strong with Adrian at 1, Mike at 2 and Simon at 3 and the Simon and Adrian in the doubles. Mike went on first and was playing a guy renowned for his poor movement. This saw a few altercations and heated exchanges. But Mike held his nerve and played some brilliant racketball to soar to a 3-1 win. Simon

was next anIt was a really competitive game with some poor tactics by his opponent who was trying to intimidate Mike by some dodgy blocking. But Mike played a brilliant game and won 3-0. Simon was up next playing in his 5th match in less than 24 hours (better check his birth certificate!) and he again didn’t disappoint retaining his 100% winning record and a great 3-1 victory. Now it was the turn if the number ones and Adrain was facing Patrick Osbourne who is the number 1 ranked player in the UK. It dd not take long to see why as his movement and shot play were no match for Adrian and Essex took the match 3-0. This made the match score 6-5 overall. A win in the doubles would see us crowned champions or 2 games would see us go to a points count back which currently Surrey were currently ahead on. There was a good crowd to see this too and we had the added advantage of myself marking the match. Essex had Patrick playing with a guy who had not played singles so was fresh and they got off to a great start taking the first game but Adrian and Simon dug deep to win the second. But Essex grew as the game went on and they always had their noses in front. In the end it was a win for Essex who took the match on a games countback 8-7. But still a great effort from all the team to claim the runners up spot.

Thank you to all of the guys that took part.

Rob Lelliott