Aldenham Tournament 2016: Lyndon and Patel Win a Thriller

Graham Pulsford reports:

The Heath Tournament 2016

Played at Aldenham on Sunday 26th June 2016

The courts were buzzing well before the start with players warming up and practicing their favourite shots. The warm weather added to the general bonhomie as did the arrival of Harriet Asquith with enough portions of Victoria sponge and chocolate brownies to feed all entrants and passers-by!

The open draw from a top hat had produced some interesting pairings. The obvious favorites were judged to be Gareth Hoskins/Oli Lawton, Mark Blundell/Chris Austin and Darshan Patel/Phil Lyndon but with other potential ‘dark horse’ pairings across the rest of the draw well worth a flutter.

The tournament rules kept the games flowing and prevented ‘standing about’ between games. Three matches of 25 minutes were played using normal game scoring and the pair with the most points in total over the 25 minutes was the winner. If the points were tied then the match moved to sudden death and the pair to gain the next point was the winner. This format allows little time to relax as all pairs played simultaneous back to back matches in the warm sunshine until the final.

All rounds produced some fine fives and a number of nerve rackingly close matches. Carl Rennie/Joseph Seelig edged past Rubel Mallik/Oli Kyte and similarly Gareth Hoskins/Oli Lawton edged past Nirav Patel/Neil Margerison in two very low scoring games. In an even closer match Mark Blundell /Chris Austin defeated James Fredenham/Chris Cernuschi by a single point. The surprise result was Richard Dennis/Paul Kendall being ‘thrashed’ 12-0 by the evergreen Mark Blundell/Chris Austin (two ruthless public school winners) and thus bagging the coveted Heath 12-0 Cup!!

The final was between Darshan Patel/Phil Lyndon, who had played some ruthlessly ‘fast and furious’ fives to top their group, and Nirav Patel/Neil Margerison who had narrowly won their group on points difference. After an agreed rest period to refit assorted knee supports (two each for the elderly statesmen) the final got underway.

The four players produced some ‘sumptuous’ fives and the crowd were particularly appreciative of some fine retrieving shots from well out of court by the left handed Patel cousins Darshan and Nirav. Neil Magerison added his trademark control and precision while Phil Lyndon added both spin and his predictable unpredictability. The scores edged upward but without any significant advantage and with a last minute flourish Nirav pulled the score to parity 9-9 as the 25 minute whistle sounded – and for the first time ever the Jim Fredenham Trophy was being played for on sudden death point.

As the crowd settled down Darshan quickly returned Nirav’s cut and after a short top step rally Darshan forced an error from Nirav and claimed both the final point.

The Jim Fredenham Trophy was presented to Darshan Patel/Phil Lyndon by the man himself and the 2016 winners’ shirt unveiled as purple with yellow motif. This was followed by a relaxing BBQ in bright sunshine busily and noisily overseen by chief chef Jonathon Lindsay who in turn was overseen by his father ex Club Secretary Martin Lindsay.

Our many thanks to Andrew Fraser for preparing the courts and providing us with an industrial size BBQ, to Andrew Fraser for selflessly acting and playing as reserve player (assistant adjudicator and nurse), and to Andrew Fraser for his work as Tournament adjudicator.

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