2002 Aldenham Tournament
Graham Pulsford reports:
As usual the competitors were a combination of Heath 'regulars' and specially invited guest players. There were representatives from Aldenham, Berkhamstead, Chalfont St Peter, Charterhouse, Ipswich, Shiplake, Shrewsbury and Westminster, and it was a pleasure to welcome James Lally, Simon Randall and Simon Shepherd for the first time.
The Heath tournament is different from all others in that the matches are timed. Each match lasts for 30 minutes and, under normal game scoring, the pair with the most points is the winner. (ie if you win the first game 12-8 but are trailing in the second game 0-5 when time is called you lose 12-13 overall). If the scores are level the match continues with a tie breaker and the pair winning the next point are the winners.
The draw produced its normal share of unusual pairings and the bookies pre Tournament favourites were Josh Rose/Tim Pemberton, Phil Lyndon/Gordon Whitehead and Martin Lindsay/Richard Dennis. The weather was excellent, the courts in tip top condition, the spectators roped back out of harms way and, in excellent spirits, the competition started under the watchful eye of President and Tournament Referee John 'the gent' Rimer.
The pick of the days games took place in the opening rounds. The 'Clash of the Titans' between Phil Lyndon/Gordon Whitehead and Martin Lindsay/Richard Dennis was fast and furious and produced the highest points tally of any match (37). Lyndon and Lindsay traded shot for shot on the step while Whitehead and Dennis provided the back court cover. The match went to a tie breaker which was won by Martin Lindsay/Richard Dennis after a desperate final rally. A tie break was also needed to separate Mike Fenn/Paul Kendall from Dave Goad/Simon Randall with the former pair managing to overcome the energetic volleying of Simon Randall. In a similarly tight contest Neil Margerison/Matt Wood overcame Tim Chamberlain/Donald Fitt by a single point in a highly entertaining clash with Mat Wood playing some excellent fives. In other matches Josh Rose/Tim Pemberton and Jonathan Lindsay/Graham Pulsford overcame James Lally/Tim Shepherd and David Smith/Simon Shepherd respectively.
As the competition and the temperature hotted up the more determined pairs began to make their mark and there were clear winners in each match. Josh Rose/Tim Pemberton swept through against Mike Fenn/Paul Kendall, Martin Lindsay/Richard Dennis smoothly defeated Neil Margerison/Matt Wood, and Jonathan Lindsay/Graham Pulsford won by a clear 12 points.
Going into the third round there were three unbeaten pairs. Two of these pairs met and after a close encounter Martin Lindsay/Richard Dennis managed to subdue Josh Rose/Tim Pemberton in a game notable for the sheer speed at which the ball was hit. On the adjacent court Jonathan Lindsay/Graham Pulsford squeezed through to the final after winning a tense tie break against Phil Lyndon/Gordon Whitehead.
After some excellent fives during the competition the final proved to be a 'match too far' for Jonathan Lindsay/Graham Pulsford. It was a great achievement for them to have reached the final. After some early close rallies the outcome was in little doubt and Martin Lindsay/Richard Dennis ran out winners by an easy 7 points. This proved yet again that 'age and treachery will always overcome youth and vigour'.
The Tournament winners were presented with the coveted 'maroon' Heath shirt in the garden of our new club HQ, the Roundbush public house. By the applause it was apparent that Martin Lindsay/Richard Dennis were extremely popular champions. John Rimer was thanked for his tireless work as Tournament Referee, and Andrew Fraser (AWOL on the day) for arranging the use of the School facilities. A final thank you to all the competitors who, by their positive attitude, made this a hugely enjoyable morning of fives.