The ITF sanctioned Woking tournament was played from 14 to 18 September 2016 and proved once again to be very popular. It has now been running for 17 years consecutively. The well-looked-after Woking Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in Hook Heath continues to attract players from all over Britain as well as from abroad. The Club’s new artificial clay courts were ready just prior to the event and there are now 6 clay courts in addition to the hard courts.
Finals’ day was appropriately the high point of the tournament with a number of hard-fought high quality matches, mostly three setters, which entertained the crowd immensely.
The men’s 35 singles event was won by Robert Smith for the second year running after the no.1 seed Sheriff el Essaily from Egypt had lost to Brian Condren from Ireland. In the men’s 40 Chris Smith beat David King in a close match who had earlier disposed of the no.1 seed Stephen Jones.
In the men’s 45 Ian Udal having first beaten no. 2 seed John Loosemore got the better of the no. 3 seed Guy Sellek in the final by 7-6 in the third set. Mark Rowe in the 50s had a similarly tough match to win against Alistair Alexander (6-4 in the 3rd), whom he had also beaten the year before. In the 55s Nigel Mann beat no. 3 seed Neil Driver in the semis by 6-4 in the 3rd before retaining his title by defeating Peter Occleshaw 6-3 in the 3rd. Regular participant and two time winner Godfrey Evans had a tough three set match against Arun Vethakken in the semis of the 60s before reversing his loss of last year and taking three sets to beat Jasper Cooper who had ousted Tony King earlier.
One of the most exciting finals took place in the men’s 65 where title holder Rennie Johnston came back from a set and 5-0 down as well as match point down at 5-6 to win the match in three gruelling sets. David Brazier, winner in 2014, defeated Bev Wilson in the 70s and Graham Downes won the 75s by 7-5 in the 3rd.
The winners of the women’s singles events dominated their respective age groups which suffered somewhat from relatively low entries. Maia Dunn won the 35s for the third year running, Isabelle Tyrrell retained het title in the 45s, Alison Taylor won the 50s, Susie Reid the 55s and Susan Willoughby the 60s.
The tournament was generously supported by the accountancy firm of P.G.Fry & Company. Referee Peter Grimsdale assisted by wife Angela and by Pauline Udal ensured a smooth running of the tournament.
The players enjoyed their tournament and the finalists were pleased with the prize money. Next year the event will be held from 13 to 17 September 2017 and subject to entry numbers it will be attempted to play all matches on the clay courts.
All the results are on the ITF Seniors website and photos can be found on Facebook.