Marlborough College, Dorset
Saturday, 15th April 2023
On the 20th anniversary of the National Masters Doubles championship (Over 65s) 4 pairs lined up to contest a round robin, followed by two head-to-heads for the medals. Spencer Beal and Tony Hamilton were looking for a fifth consecutive title, Brian Kirk was hoping to go one further than last year’s runner-up spot and the other five players were hoping to make their mark on their first appearance in the event. All were hoping not to see a repeat of last year’s fall which led to Phil Atkinson’s retirement from the event with a broken wrist!
The round robin produced three uneventful wins for Spencer & Tony, with two for Brian & Stuart Kirby, one for Andy Passey & Richard Suitcliffe and no luck for Leslie Jenkinson & John Sanders. After a suitable pause for refuelling the 3rd Place match was played, with Andy Passey & Richard Sutcliffe emerging triumphant. Meanwhile the title match between Spencer & Tony and Brian & Stuart got underway. The expected close match did not materialise, as Spencer settled into his defensive role as Mr Reliable while Tony produced the winners on both flanks, ensuring that desired fifth victory. As luck would have it there turned out to be no medals to award but Spencer & Tony enjoyed raising the trophy once more.
The Masters Champions
After a break of two years lost to Covid-19 the third National Grand Masters Championship (Over 75s) took place, with three pairs vying for the Silver Salver. Each pair contained a past champion: Bernard Atkinson playing with ‘new boy’ John East, Martin Wilkinson pairing up with John Hawke (taking a break from running the adjacent Veterans Championship), and Bev Boag teamed up with Giles Stimson. The event was played as a straight round robin, which Bernard & John won with two comfortable victories, while John & Martin notched up one win over Bev & Giles to take the Silver medal. For John East it was his first title, for Bernard his second.
The Grand Masters
Round Robin: 1st S Beal & A Hamilton; 2nd S Kirby & B Kirk; 3rd A Passey & R Sutcliffe; 4th L Jenkinson & J Sanders
Final: Beal & Hamilton bt Kirby & Kirk 15-1
Bronze medal match: Passey & Sutcliffe bt Jenkinson & Sanders 15-4
The Grand Masters
Round Robin: Gold B Atkinson & J East; Silver J Hawke & M Wilkinson; Bronze B Boag & G Stimson
Trophies for the Veterans, Masters and Grand Masters
The old-fashioned way of collecting the entry fees
The medallists in the Masters