Thornbury Lawn Tennis Club held its first Tie Break Tens tournament on Saturday 8th July.

All matches played used a Championship Tie Break format with some minor adjustments to keep matches short and to provide a handicap to some players, making matches tense and extremely competitive. A typical match lasted 10 minutes, so there was no sizing up your opponent and every point counted. The format provides fast entertaining tennis and there are parallels with the successful format of 20-20 cricket. This was a doubles tournament with men, women, juniors and mixed teams competing against each other, with suitable handicaps.

12 pairs entered the competition with ages ranging from 9 years to 79 years. They were divided into two leagues of 6 teams with each pair playing against the other pairs in their league. The top two in each league qualified for the semi-finals which determined the pairs in the final.

The playing conditions were perfect for tennis: dry, warm with some sunshine and only a light breeze.

A total of thirty matches were played in the league section of the tournament. There were many very close, tense matches with 9 of the 30 matches going to 9-9, triggering a ‘sudden death’ deciding point to determine the winner.

The first semi-final was between Joe & Louise Sturt and Linda Mantle & Brian Jordan. This was another cliff-hanger with the match going to 9-9. In the deciding point the ball hit the net tape, thought about climbing over before falling back giving Joe & Louise the win by the narrowest margin.

The second semi-final was between Phil Jones/Mair Vaughan and Megan O’Connor/Brendan Wilde. This match was also closely contested. With the score at 9-8, Mair held her nerve and hit an excellent shot down the line to give Phil & Mair a 10-8 victory.

The final was played between Phil Jones/Mair Vaughan and Joe & Louise Sturt in front of a capacity crowd of 3,000 (actually 30). Again, there was some very high quality tennis played, but ultimately the experience of Phil & Mair was the difference between the pairs and they won 10-6. Phil & Mair were presented with the Tie Break Tens trophy and have the honour of being the first winners of this new annual event.

Tea and cake was provided throughout the tournament, followed by an enjoyable BBQ in the tennis club grounds. This was a great event and will be repeated on an annual basis.