Familiar faces smash their way to Chichester tennis titles

Tennis finalists at CRAFC
Tennis finalists at CRAFC

Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club staged their annual closed senior and junior tennis championship finals and despite overcast skies, organisers managed to complete the schedule.

More than 90 members – the men’s singles event, in particular, again attracted a large entry this year – took part in the five main events.

Apart from the men’s singles, there were the ladies’ singles, ladies’ doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

The junior championships were staged at the same time with the finals played concurrently. Many of this year’s finalists were defending their 2013 titles but there were some new names on the silverware.

The mini-orange (nine and under) members played their round-robin event and Kitty Whitby won the title with Katalin Johns taking silver and Madelaine Chequer bronze.

In the boys’ under-14 plate, Edward Poole and Oscar McCall, this year’s runner-up in Chichester’s Road to Wimbledon event, had a ‘battle royale’ on the front championship courts.

McCall took the first set 6-2 but Poole came back with avengeance to take the second set 6-0. After more than two hours on court, McCall won the decider 11-9 to take the title.

Tony Roddis won the men’s plate with a convincing win against Sam Honess and in the 16-and-under boys’ plate final, Oliver Poole lost to Michael Southall.

The much-anticipated men’s singles final was staged on the championship courts in front of a packed terrace. Sam Kilhams (seeded No3 and defending champion) played Ben Horton (Sussex No12 at 18-and-under and seeded No1) in a repeat of last year’s final.

Kilhams was resolute in his aim to retain the title and take the honour for the sixth time in seven years and showed great strength and determination to take an early 4-0 lead in the first set. Horton won his next two service games but Kilhams gave no quarter and maintained the pressure to win through 6-2.

The first two games of the second set went against service but Kilhams began to take charge again and won the second 6-2 to seize his sixth club singles title.

Katica Robertson defended her title for the sixth time – she played Alexi Stuart and won 6-0, 6-1.

It was a record tenth ladies’ singles win for Robertson – her first win having come in 1990.

Stuart continued the afternoon with a win in the ladies’ doubles final and the mixed doubles plate final.

Mat Worden and Kilhams returned to court to play the men’s doubles main final and defend their title against a new pairing, tournament three and four seeds Rob Fearnley and Steve Anderson.

Fearnley and Anderson had defeated the No2 seeds Oliver Dixon and Louis Shaw in a very close and exciting semi-final, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.

In the final, however, they had met their match. The defending champions were hungry for their third consecutive title and quickly took charge. Despite a valiant effort made by Fearnley and Anderson, the younger pair proved too strong.

Club president Adrian Harland presented the prizes.

Other results: Ladies’ Doubles Main: Alexi Stuart/Catherine Hutchin beat Jill Street/Anne Warr; Mixed Doubles Main: Jill Street/Mick Bennett bt Debbie Draper/Tony Roddis; Ladies’ Doubles Plate: Helen Appelboam/Rutendo Manyarara bt Angela Wiseman/Becky Jansz;

Ladies’ Singles Plate: Marilyn Reeve bt Janet Briggs; Mixed Doubles Plate: Alexi Stuart/Hugo Frey bt Anne & Nigel Warr; Men’s Doubles Plate: Rick Hellaby/Simon Toft bt Derek Kingaby/Simon Birks; Boys’ 16 & under main: Louis Shaw bt Luke Spencer; Boys’ 14 & under Plate: Will Broom bt Joe Phizackerley; Boys’ 12&U Main: Noah Burton bt Charlie Guimaraens.