St. Budeaux Tennis Club Championships
There was a big entry for the 2017 Championships, where Matt Lloyd completed a
hat trick by winning the Men’s Singles title for the third year in succession.
There is a new name on the Ladies Singles trophy with Chanelle Belcher winning
for the first time. The singles
events were played during the evening in misty conditions and a steady drizzle,
which made the court surface slippery and at times handicapped the player’s
Lloyd faced two times previous winner Matt Redshaw in the final, which went to
three sets. Redshaw started the more
confident player and went 3-0 and 4-2 ahead.
Lloyd then got more into the rallies to lead 5-4. Redshaw replied with
his best spell of tennis, to win the next three games for the set at 7-5. The winning run continued, with
Redshaw going 2-0 up in the second set.
Play was evenly contested until Redshaw looked to be in sight of a two
set win when 5-4, 30-30 ahead. The title that seemed to be in his grasp, was
suddenly taken from him, as Lloyd fought back to take the set at 7-5, and then
never looked back. A close third set battle was anticipated, but Lloyd upped his
standard of play to take command.
Lloyd produced an almost perfect display of power tennis, and although Redshaw
did not play badly, it was the almost total control from Lloyd that won him the
set by an incredible 6-0, and the match and title by 5-7,7-5,6-0. Ironically,
last year, Lloyd also won the third set in the final by 6-0, against Neil Hunt.
In the semi-finals Lloyd had to overcome strong resistance from Martin Hill
before winning 5-7,6-4,6-3 but it was much easier for Redshaw, who beat another
former champion Paul Wardle 6-2,6-3.
Chanelle Belcher met Nikki Aitken in the final of the Ladies Singles, winning in
straight sets. Aitken has a terrific competitive streak to her game and always
fights for every point, but in singles play had to give second best to her
stronger hitting opponent. Belcher has brought a steadier approach to her game,
and has hard ground strokes on both wings. Aitken rarely had the strength of
shot to trouble Belcher, but full credit to her for her resilience. In a match
where attack proved to be too good for defence, Belcher deservedly won by
There were two excellent matches in the semi-finals. Belcher had to be at her best,
particularly in the first set, to defeat Toni Lloyd 7-6, 6-3, and in a match
played over two evenings, Aitken finally outlasted Sam Conroy, to win by
Neil Hunt and Redshaw held on to their Men’s Doubles title with a straight sets
win over Ricky Palmer and Martin Hill. It was an absorbing match, where all four
players made significant contributions. For Palmer and Hill, it was a case of
not capitalising on leads in each set, and allowing Hunt and Redshaw to make
recoveries. Hunt and Redshaw led 3-2
in the first set, but then Palmer and Hill took over, to go 5-4 ahead and with a
set point. Failure to take advantage
proved costly, as Hunt and Redshaw won the tenth game and then the set at 7-5.
Hunt and Redshaw made it five games in a row with a 2-0 second set lead, when
Palmer and Hill rattled their opponents to win five games of their own, to go
5-2 ahead, again with a set point. A third set looked to be a distinct
possibility, but again the set point was not taken. Thus reprieved, the next
four games were won by Hunt and Redshaw for a 6-5 lead. Palmer and Hill took the
set to a tie break, but Hunt and Redshaw won it comfortably 7-3, and the match
7-5,7-6(7-3). A narrow win for Hunt and
Redshaw in a first class match, but a case of “if only” for Palmer and Hill.
The top two club pairs contested the Ladies Doubles final. The A team second
pair of Belcher and Toni Lloyd started well, taking a 2-0 lead over the A team
first pair of Kate Gibbons and Nikki Aitken. Unfortunately for Belcher and Lloyd
the lead did not last, as Gibbons and Aitken established their superiority, and
although many games reached deuce, Belcher and Lloyd won just one more game, as
Gibbons and Aitken won comfortably 6-2,6-1.
Hunt and Aitken have been runners up in the Mixed Doubles event for several
years, but now have gone one better, with a win over Chris Williams and Gibbons.
Williams has won the event eleven times, and Gibbons thirteen, seven of them
together, but 2017 was not to be their year. Hunt and Aitken started as they
meant to continue, taking the rallies to their opponents, and not allowing them
to settle. After dropping the first game, Hunt and Aitken never looked back,
winning the first set 6-1 and going 3-0
up in the second set. Williams and
Gibbons have probably never lost nine consecutive games before. There was a brief rally to 3-4 by
Williams and Gibbons, but a chance to level at 4-4 was lost by two double
faults. Hunt and Aitken, after that minor scare, finally won by 6-1, 6-4,
thoroughly deserving victory by being the more positive pair throughout.
Awards for being the most improved player in the Club were won by Gary Symons
and Toni Lloyd, and Ricky Palmer won the Gladys Tucker trophy for Services to
Men’s Singles- M. Lloyd beat M. Redshaw 5-7,7-5,6-0
Ladies Singles - C. Belcher beat N. Aitken 6-1,6-2.
Men’s Doubles - N. Hunt/M. Redshaw beat M. Hill/R. Palmer 7-5,7-6.
Ladies Doubles - K. Gibbons/N. Aitken beat C. Belcher/T. Lloyd 6-2,6-1.
Mixed Doubles - N. Hunt/N. Aitken beat C. Williams/K. Gibbons 6-1,6-4.
St. Budeaux Tennis Championships 2013