The Masters and Grand Masters Championships

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Marlborough College
Sunday, 10th April 2022

The Grand Masters Final: B Boag & M Wilkinson bt B Atkinson & M Summerhayes 4-11, 12-10, 11-6

Surely the most competitive Grand Masters final of all time, in this its second running of the event! After some discussion as to pairings it was decided that Bernard Atkinson and Bev Boag, the defending champions from 2019, would split up, Bev partnering newcomer Martin Wilkinson and Bernard enjoying the company of the other debutee Mick Summerhayes. The result was as competitive a final as you could possibly imagine. This was not Brooks & Ellison relentlessly attacking the back corners and rear wall but rather Bernard skimming services some 5-10 centimetres above the floor, Mick nagging away down the left-hand wall, Martin playing the spirit-sapping reverse angles and Bev stroking the ball devilishly into the unoccupied areas of the front of court. Impeccable positioning, barely a let in sight, a minimum of tactical drinks breaks and no one fell over. This was mature sport at its best.

After the show

The Masters Championship

With five pairs entering the organisers opted for a round robin, to culminate in a Grand Final and a Third Place play-off.

With play scheduled to start at 9.30 the first ball was struck in anger around 10.45, with Brian Kirk & Phil Atkinson cruising into a 13-3 lead against defending champions Spencer Beal & Tony Hamilton. With a major upset threatening Phil managed to catch an opponent’s foot, fall over and be ferried by a lovely lady to the local A&E, whence he eventually returned, duly plastered, with a broken arm. Flexible as ever Brian drafted in as a new partner one of the spectators, who had been planning a leisurely day’s viewing and window shopping with his lady, and the two of them promptly lost the restarted game 15-3. Things improved hugely for Brian, however, as his new partner was Old Whitgiftian Peter Ross, who quickly tuned in to the high standard required of him and carried Brian eventually to the final.

Meanwhile relative youngsters Chris Blakeley & Neil Arnott fancied their chances of success in the third place play-off but found themselves out-played by John Ogle and duracell man Bernard Atkinson, who was not content to limit himself to just the one competition, while Mark Kiteley likewise paired up with Marlborough Club’s Tom Hillman for the Masters , then with Paul Folland in the Veterans. One can only admire the stamina of these chaps. Dick Warner will be hard-pressed to cope next year when he sorts out his calendar.

Round robin

1st S Beal & T Hamilton 60 points; 2nd B Kirk & P Ross 48 pts; 3rd= N Arnott & C Blakeley and B Atkinson & J Ogle 31 pts each; 5th T Hillman & M Kiteley 16 pts 

3rd Place Match: Atkinson & Ogle bt Arnott & Blakeley 15-9 

Final: Beal & Hamilton bt Kirk & Ross 15-10

The Masters finalists

81 and still got it!

Phil before disaster struck!

John Ogle — eye on the ball

Brian — all concentration

The GenSec on the attack

See you next year!