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2013 Worthian Real Tennis Report

2013 Worthian Real Tennis Report

Two years ago, Hugh Bett (B’73) and I decided to enter the 2011 Henry Leaf Competition for Public Schools’ Old Boys’ Real Tennis. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, Real Tennis is much like golf being a handicap sport, while the scoring is very similar to Lawn Tennis.
This particular competition was to be held at Hugh’s home club – Middlesex University Real Tennis Club (MURTC) at The
Burroughs, Hendon in North London. We figured that we might as well put ourselves forward for both the ‘Open’ and the ‘Handicap’ sections. Although we were knocked out fairly swiftly in the Open (where teams oppose one another from the same starting point irrespective of handicap) we did actually reach the semi-final of the Handicap tournament where, to level the playing field, teams are given extra points depending on their handicap.
For the 2012 tournament I happened to be away – so Hugh teamed up with Tom Carew Hunt (StB’02) – and this year the
pairing went one better! They beat schools like Rugby and Wellington to reach the final of the handicap tournament and finished overall as runners-up. Once again they didn’t really feature in the Henry Leaf Open against Harrow and Charterhouse who dominated this section.                                                                                                                                                                                  To ring the changes in 2013, the Worth team comprised Tom Carew Hunt and myself; with Hugh Bett playing his part in the warm-up by pairing with one of the professionals at MCC to give this pair some practice. In the Open tournament we still couldn’t make any great progress, being heavily disadvantaged as we played against teams with very low average handicaps.
But all that was about to change in the Handicap tournament! We found ourselves unbeaten in the pool stage against Sevenoaks and Rugby – earning the opportunity to play Wellington, the Open finalists. As we played off 40 and the Wellington pair played off a fearsome 14, there was quite a handicap given; with Worth starting at 30-up and Wellington 40-down – but it was still rather like playing against the Murray brothers! In spite of this we managed to fight them off to win the competition 10-4 in a first-to-ten sudden death set.
Given that the beautiful Henry Leaf Trophy is awarded to the winners of the Open competition each year; I had decided to donate a trophy for the Handicap tournament – and, as a result of our win, the first school to be listed on this trophy
is – Worth!
As the final was played at 2.30pm on Sunday 20th January 2013, sadly Hugh, Tom and I were unable to attend Glenn Robertson’s Memorial Service being held at Worth Abbey –but we figured that Glenn, of all people, would have understood and we dedicated our very special win to his memory.
Paul Cattermull (StB’73)