The National Tennis Club hosted the 2009 Noll Cup for players with handicaps between 30 and 39. This was the first time that Newport hosted this level championship. The tournament attracted 15 players, 6 from Newport and the rest from Philadelphia, Aiken, Tuxedo, and Boston.
Play began on Friday. Early round action saw the exit of the #3 seed Bill Blalock, who was taken out by Jeff Horine. Richard Gilder put up a fight against #2 seed, Jack Graham, only to lose in a long three setter.
The quarters and semis were played on Saturday. Two more seeds were knocked out in the quarters with Jon Noel of Philadelphia defeating #3 seed Dan Villiers of Aiken in three sets. Jonathon Crowell easily dispatched Jack Graham in straight sets. David Boenning, the #1 seed, proved that he was the top seed by easily defeating both Ross Cann of Newport and Jon Noel. Rich Smith, NTC’s head pro, commented later that in the 6 years he has been in Newport, he had never seen David play so well. Meanwhile, on the other side, Horine continued his march to the final with a win over Jane Lippincott and an exciting three set win over Crowell.
At the Saturday night party, the buzz was about Boenning’s fantastic play and how the following day’s match against Horine would play out. The major question, though, was “who was this guy Horine”? The rumors were circulating that he was a former lawn tennis pro, ranked in the top 500 for singles AND that he had beaten John McEnroe in the over 40’s! Upon further investigation, it turns out that Horine had played tennis in college, but gave it up for 20 years. He was introduced to the game by Matt Porter, six months ago, and absolutely loves the game. He lives a block away from the Boston club, and gets in to play every chance he gets. So much for rumors!
Sunday’s action began with the finals of the consolation. Brenda Nardolillo, of Newport, handily beat Richard Gilder in straight sets. The final of the Noll Cup followed. Horine started strong, with fantastic retrieving from the corners. Any ball in the air, he cleanly put away with a strong volley. Boenning was never able to find his range in the first set, as Horine took the set 6/2. In the second set, Boenning started to find his range and at 4/1, down began a comeback. Boenning got to 4/5, but Horine continued to play the corners well, in addition to utilizing a strong backhand cross-court shot, to take the match 6/2, 6/4.