The Autovillage Gloucestershire County Championships 2017
Tournament roundup from organiser Simon Corbishley
A big thank you to the club for once again proving to be a good host of the County Championships. As the organisers we are very appreciative of the membership, club officers and professional staff.
We understand use of courts by the tournament causes an inconvenience to members and we thank you all for your patience. We believe that the five days of tournament play provides a showcase for the club to players (juniors and adults) from all over the county.
We have received many positive comments from competitors this year about the standard of the courts and other tournament facilities. The club should feel very proud.
Pleasingly the tournament saw a 25% growth in entries this year. Thank you to GLTA for investing in the tournament. This enabled the tournament to be promoted better and cups to be replaced.
The majority of matches were played on the artificial clay, the players being big fans of this. They like the speed and bounce of the courts and all playing styles have a chance.
It was good to see new junior players taking part. Qualification rounds were played in the 12&U and 14&U events. As such one-sided matches were rare. Draw sizes in the boys events were respectable and good matches were happening from as early as the round of 16.
Disappointingly entries in the girls events were low. This is a shame for the girls who did play as they don’t get to play many matches and often play the same opponents. This is not an issue unique to our tournament. We anticipate with interest a good plan of action from the LTA to address this issue.
This year’s tournament belonged to Aaron Osmond. Entered in 4 events he only experienced defeat once. In the Open he came through a tricky draw and in the final faced East Glos coach Mark Willis. Aaron saved his best play of the tournament for this match and gave Mark no way in.
In the 18&U he faced off against Rhodri Atkinson. This was Rhodri’s second consecutive final appearance (losing out to Oliver Palmer last year). Neither player was able to grab momentum for very long and the match headed into a deciding set. Both players saved their best for this and spectators were treated to powerful and accurate hitting. Aaron just managed to squeeze this set out and the players rightly received warm applause.
To cap off a dream day Aaron teamed up with East Glos players Sami Vrabtchev for the 18&U doubles. Showing no sign of tiredness the boys wrapped up a 6-3 6-3 victory over Rhodri Atkinson and James Holden. Spare a thought for Rhodri. Only one player got the better of him in the tournament and that player was Aaron. The boys met in the Open, 18 Singles and 18 Doubles.
Alice Howitt claimed the 14&U / 16&U double. This looked far from easy as she fell a set behind to Chandani Rathnam in the 16&U event. A strong turnaround then took place and the title was hers for the first time at this age group. In the 14&U Alice enjoyed a more straightforward victory over Alisha Tejrar. Playing with Suzie Carter in the 14&U doubles Alice completed a hat-trick of titles.
Home success came in the form of Sami Vrabtchev in the 16&U singles. Facing him for the title was the in-form Monty Graveney. Adding an interesting dynamic to the final was the fact that the boys were just coming off victory in the 16&U doubles over James Findlay and Joe McCoubrie. Monty had enjoyed a run of tournament titles over the summer holidays. Most impressive of these was the Torbay Open. This popular tournament is famed for the size of the draws. To win at Torbay you need to show endurance and good play. Sami needed to bring his acclaimed ball striking together with enormous focus to this match to have a chance. He achieved both and registered an impressive straight sets victory.
Compensation for Monty came an hour later. In the 14&U he faced top seed and East Glos player James Findlay. Showing signs of the form that had carried him on a summer winning streak Monty got across the line. James was never going to make it comfortable for Monty as he too had enjoyed a strong showing over the summer. James put this defeat behind him as he teamed up with Joe McCoubrie to overcome Reece Ihle-Matthews and Luke Fullard in the 14&U doubles.
Other winners were Alicia Tejrar (12&U), Ellison Minnaar (12&U), Eleanor Findlay (18&U), Neil Howitt and Cobi Ho (Open Doubles), Mark Willis (35+) and Liz Cowan and Liz Willmot (35+ Doubles).
Trivia of the week is that Neil Howitt believes he first won the doubles title before Cobi was born.
New events to the tournament in 2017 were Open Men Doubles, 35+ Men Singles and 35+ Ladies Doubles. All matches were played after work and it was pleasing to see new friendships being formed as well as old ones being rekindled. The adult part of the tournament will be the main focus of developing the tournament in 2018.
We are delighted to have Autovillage on board as sponsors. The signage and cars they provide helps us to achieve a “tournament” image. They enjoy watching the play and are always happy to get involved and present the cups on Finals Day. Thank you to Paul and Angela Boyce and the team at Autovillage for being such enthusiatic supporters of the tournament.