The Hampton Court duo of Richard East and Alex Miller were victorious in the 7th Annual Calhoun Witham Memorial Court Tennis Tournament, held at the Aiken Tennis Club, November 8-12, 2006. This team continued its domination of the event since they had been winners in 2004 and runners-up last year.
They defeated Virginia Goodyear Kopald of Aiken and George Hayward of Leamington 6-4, 6-5 in a well-fought and close final, filled with stirring rallies, frustrating serves, and fantastic gets from everywhere on court. In the match for third place, Harry Shealy (Aiken) and John Murphy (Newport) won over Rich Dalzell (Hurlingham) and Steve Groat (a last minute entry from Aiken) 6-1, 6-4.
Nineteen teams participated in the competition,( the best turnout ever for this event) with representatives from Hampton Court, Leamington, Hurlingham (the “Pigeons” who play at either Queens Club or Hampton Court since Hurlingham has no facility as yet); as well as players from Boston, Newport, New York, Tuxedo, and Washington.
The tournament consisted of 40 matches, played over five days (beginning as early as 6:30AM and continuing well into the evening hours) and was a round-robin format with 5 teams in three divisions, four teams in the other, with the winners in each group advancing to the semi-finals. The handicapping was excellent, resulting in many close and tense matches.
Once again the Tournament Director was Harry Shealy,- conscientious, efficient, and well-organized as usual; and he was assisted by the club Tennis Chairman, Dacre Stoker, and a committee consisting of Charlie Fliflet, Bill Tucker, Warren Dempsey, and Bob Harrington.
Former Aiken Tennis Club pro Mark Devine and current pro Gabe Kinzler were responsible for pairings, handicaps, scheduling of matches, and marking each contest; and they did an outstanding job in all these demanding areas. It was more or less Mark’s swan song in handling such duties since he had found out just two weeks prior to the tournament that he had successfully passed the South Carolina Bar Exam with flying colors and now will be practicing Immigration Law in Aiken and Charleston. Many, many thanks, Mark, for your loyal and conscientious service to the Club for so many years: and best of luck with your new responsibilities.
There were several social events connected with the tournament–a cocktail party, a dinner, and following the finals a brunch graciously hosted by Betty Witham, widow of the gentleman after whom the tournament is named.