28 Years Loyal Service at Woking LTCC
Woking Lawn Tennis Club hosted its 89th Open tournament last week and it marked a special occasion for chief organiser and LTA referee Julia Godman, who stepped down after 28 years loyal service. Julia first took charge of the event in 1988, the year Stefan Edberg and Steffi Graf won their Wimbledon singles titles and has done a fantastic job ever since, making it one of the largest tennis tournaments in Surrey with over 400 regular entries.
The event kicked off on Sunday in beautiful sunshine with record entries in the 9U, Men’s and Ladies categories. With the backing of valuable tournament sponsors Vines of Guildford BMW, players were chauffeured by courtesy car ‘Wimbledon style' between Woking station and the Club for a feast of tennis action for players and spectators alike, throughout the tournament week.
In the Men’s event, defending champion Lamar Bartley (Surrey) came through a tough QF encounter against home favourite Jamie Donaghy, but then cruised through to win the title, overcoming no. 3 see, 16yr old Liam Hignett (Hampshire), 6-1 6-1 in the Singles Final. It wasn’t all disappointment for Hignett though, who teamed up with Cameron Alexander to win the Men’s doubles. The Ladies event was a tighter affair, with Surrey’s Charlotte Pearce, fresh from winning the County Cup in Eastbourne the previous week, taking on 15 year old up and coming player Monet Baptiste from Middlesex. Nearly 3 hrs of battle on the Clay finished 5-7 6-4 7-5 with Pearce winning her first Woking Open Ladies title.
Standout performances in the Juniors included 12yr old Lui Maxted from Sussex beating Surrey’s Jamie Forrest to win the 14U title, as well as coming runner-up in the 16U event (losing to Taylor Papworth in the Final). Woking players Finley Bigwood and Josh Pye nearly caused the shock of the tournament by knocking out the no. 3 seeds in the 12U Boys Doubles SF, before having 2 match points in the 3rd set, then agonisingly losing to top seeds Ayaan Haneef and Daniel Prickett in an exciting match. In the girls events, it was a very good week for Surrey’s no.1 seeds Sally Pethybridge (13) and Oriana Parkins-Godwin (12) who won their respective 14U and 16U events, before teaming up to take the 18U Doubles title as well (beating players up to 5yrs their senior!)
For 2016 two extra events were piloted to take advantage of the beautiful grass courts at the Club. First up was the Quorn Family Cup, where 11-18 year olds teamed up with parents in a fun doubles competition. David and Andy Middleton came out winners over Jamie and Bill Forrest, qualifying for the regional finals at the National Tennis Centre.
Next up, was the exciting fast growing sport of “touchtennis” where players compete on a reduced sized court, with foam balls to level the playing field. With players ranging from 10-40 years, after some enjoy epic rallies and deft stroke play, Woking LTC Coach Jonny Thomson took the title.