NATIONAL LEAGUE FINAL
Team Chicago/Philadelphia def. Team New England
(read the report below)
CONGRATULATIONS TEAM CHICAGO/PHILADELPHIA!!
Click on a bar to read the match report.
10/5 - New York vs Chicago/Philadelphia @ New York
Lumley def. Tanfield 5-6, 6-5, 6-3
Stout def. Virgona 6-3, 6-1
Virgona/Lumley def. Tanfield/Stout 8-5
MATCH SUMMARY by Barney Tanfield
On Monday October 5th The Racquet and Tennis Club hosted National League against the Chicago/ Philadelphia team.
In the pre-match festivities, young Winston Simone took the honors and emerged victorious over a capable field of some of the R&T‘s staff and membership in the USCTA grille shootout. Simone celebrated his second shootout win in as many attempts.
The first match of the night was John Lumley (Assistant Professional at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia) versus Barney Tanfield (Racquet and Tennis Head Tennis Professional). Lumley came out strong early and took a commanding 5/2 lead in the first set. Tanfield countered with some accurate forcing and went on to take the set 6/5. Barney’s momentum continued in the second set and he lept out to a 4/2 lead. The match was seemingly all but over when Lumley managed to rally, producing his best tennis of the evening. He defended more than half a dozen game balls and triumphed 6/4 in the second. John continued this surging play and finished the third set with three straight games completing an incredible comeback.
The second match featured Steve Virgona (Racquet Club of Chicago Head Tennis Professional) and James Stout (Racquet and Tennis Head Racquets Professional). The two lefties have had some memorable matches over the years but generally the outcome has favored Virgona, particularly in the most recent matches.
On this evening Stout managed to string together some of his best Tennis in recent memories. His normally lukewarm serving was streaking hot, befuddling both the crowd and himself alike. Stout came blazing out and never looked back. He brought the large home crowd back into the match with a 6/3, 6/1 win.
With the evening poised at one match all, both teams knew that the doubles was going to prove decisive.
In the early games Virgona and Lumley monopolized the service end, but were having to deal with a barrage of heavy hitting from Tanfield and Stout. With all four players striking the ball cleanly, there were very few easy points, and many long spectacular rallies. The normally reserved R&TC crowd was in boisterous mood – perhaps aided in part by three hours of open bar.
The two teams traded blows, and games, until Chicago/Philadelphia grabbed the decisive break at 6/5 40-all. A twenty shot rally, in which Lumley saved three shots destined for the grille, was finished by Virgona with a shot into the corner of the dedans. Despite the efforts of the New York duo, the visitors were able to close out the match 8/5.
Special thanks to the Racquet and Tennis members and staff, who supported the event with a great turnout and fantastic appreciation of the high-class tennis played.
R&T look forward to taking on the Tuxedo team on the evening of Wednesday October 28th. We heavily encourage our members to attend!
10/8 - Chicago/Philadelphia vs Tuxedo @ Chicago
National League Re-cap
Tuxedo @ Chicago October 8th 2015
The Racquet Club of Chicago was delighted to host the Tuxedo Club as part of the USCTA National League.
The first match of the night pitted local Professional Will Hopton against the Tuxedo assistant professional Josh Dodgson.
The match started fairly evenly with both players feeling their way around the court and testing each other out with their respective game plans.
The first set went game for game with Will playing a steadier game at 5-all managed to close out the victor 6/5
Josh played a more positive game in the second set and started to find some targets- with a consistent effort he closed it out 6/4
With the final set starting at 3-all it was going to be important to start the set quickly- whoever managed to get out of the blocks fast was going to be in the driver’s seat.
Will controlled the service end well with tight drag serves and ran out the victory 6/4.
The second match of the night was the doubles match.
The match would see Tuxedo Head Professional Tim Chisholm partnering Josh against the Head Tennis Professional Steve Virgona and Will Hopton.
By this stage of the evening the dedans and gallery were packed and the crowd was eagerly anticipating an exciting match.
They were not to be disappointed as all four players hit the ball extremely hard with uncanny accuracy.
At 6 games all the match could have gone either way but with great support from the local crowd Steve and Will managed to find another gear and won the match 8/6.
Having won the first two matches Chicago had secured the overall victory over Tuxedo.
The final match of the night was the singles match between Steve Virgona and Tim Chisholm.
Steve and Tim have had many battles over the years and both were looking forward to putting in a good performance.
The early games of the first set were evenly contested- both players were covering the court extremely well and looked to be in good form.
Tim controlled the service end towards the end of the first set and won it 6/4
The second set saw some extended rallies and with Steve raising his level of play secured it 6/2
Steve made some uncharacteristic errors to start the final set and Tim came away with a 6/4 win.
The matches were played in front of 100 spectators throughout the evening and they were impressed by the sportsmanship and etiquette shown by all four players.
Thanks to The Racquet Club of Chicago and its staff for hosting such a wonderful evening and also a special thanks to the RCC members for the tremendous turn-out and support.
Hopton def. Dodgson 6-5, 4-6, 6-4
Virgona/Hopton def. Dodgson/Chisholm 8-6
Chisholm def. Virgona 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
10/28 - Tuxedo vs New York @ New York
Tanfield def. Dodgson 6/1 6/5
Stout def. Chisholm 6/3 5/6 6/5
Tanfield & Stout def. Dodgson & Chisholm 8/1
MATCH SUMMARY by Adrian Kemp
On Wednesday October 28th The Racquet and Tennis Club hosted Tuxedo in a local derby.
The evening started with the eagerly anticipated USCTA target shootout. This event attracted some of the R&TCs ‘big-hitters’ including defending Shootout champion Winston Simone, Club Doubles Champion Jonathan Larken, as well as several of the club’s talented members.
Despite the close attentions of a number of R&TC members it was Jonathan Larken who clinched the shootout with a series of balls into the Winning Gallery.
Both teams knew that winning this fixture was vital if they were to have aspirations of reaching the USCTA National League Final. Tuxedo had travelled with a large contingent of supporters who were in vociferous mood. The opening match pitted Tuxedo Assistant Professional Josh Dodgson against R&TC Head Tennis Professional Barney Tanfield. Dodgson was out of the blocks quickly, winning the first game from the service end. However, Tanfield was soon dictating the points with a combination of tight serving and aggressive returning putting Dodgson on the defensive. All of the momentum was with Tanfield, and he took the set 6/1. Dodgson began the second set strongly and seemed in control, pulling out to a 5/3 40-0 lead. However, Tanfield would not give in and after saving several more set points closed out the match 6/1 6/5.
The second match was a much-anticipated affair between Tuxedo Head Professional Tim Chisholm and R&TC Head Racquets Professional James Stout.
Stout had been in scintillating recent form, and blazed his way to take the first set 6/3. Stout looked poised to clinch the match after accumulating at 5/3 second-set lead. However, Chisholm pulled back with a series of return of serve winners, and managed to seize the second set 6/5. With the decisive third set starting at 3-games all both players knew the value of a quick start. Chisholm continued his form from the end of the second set, and held a number of match points. However, Stout was not to be denied, and with a combination of trademark retrieving, and precise target hitting, closed out the final set 6/5.
New York had clinched the tie, but with points still to play for in the doubles the crown expected a tightly contested doubles. New York were quickest out of the blocks and never looked back, wrapping up a comfortable win 8/1.
Special thanks to the Racquet and Tennis members and staff, who supported the event with a great turnout and fantastic appreciation of the high-class tennis played.
11/4 - Chicago/Philadelphia vs New England @ Philadelphia
Howell def. Lumley 6-2, 6-3
Hollins def. Noll 6-0, 6-1
Lumley/Noll def. Howell/Hollins 8-3
Recap by John Lumley
New England’s Nick Howell & Tony Hollins played the Chicago/Philadelphia team of John Lumley & Mike Noll at The Racquet Club Of Philadelphia. After some furious Grille and Dedans shots from the members to start off the evening the players all headed on court for the doubles match.
A very nervous first game saw New England take a 1-0 lead, but Lumley & Noll found their rhythm taking the lead to 7-2 with some outstanding volleys and pace. Howell & Hollins started the comeback 3-7, but were cut short with a very good return game from the Philadelphia team to take the first match 8-3.
With the Philadelphia team up 1-0 for the evening, the pressure was on to keep it going. Lumley and Howell took to the court with some long rallies and great retrieving to see 2-all first set. Howell with some fantastic cut volleys and tight serving took the first set 6-2 on a 40-all game. With Lumley not having his best return-of-serve day, he continued to keep the pressure on to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. A few more 40-all games and it was back to 4-3 Howell leading. Great exchanges and speed from both players but Howell pulled away and took the set and the match 6-3 on another 40-all game. Great tennis, but Howell evened up the night at 1-1 with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Lumley.
With it all in the line going into the last match, Hollins took an early lead with very solid strokes and returning. Noll, struggling to find his rhythm, was over-hitting, allowing Hollins to control play and take the first set 6-0. Noll struck back, taking the first game of the second set with a fierce grille met with applause from the crowd, but it was short lived as Hollins continued to keep the pressure on and move Noll around the court. Some amazing volleys defending the dedans from Noll’s full-pace forces and Hollins took the second set 6-1 and the win for the evening. Hollins beats Noll 6-0, 6-1.
New England wins the night overall 2-1.
12/10 - New England vs Tuxedo @ Boston
Tuxedo defeated New England 5/2
Tony Hollins (NE) beat Josh Dodgson (TUX)
3/6 6/3 6/5
Nick Howell (NE) lost to Camden Riviere (TUX)
Smart/Howell (NE) lost to Riviere/Dodgson (TUX)
National League – Tuxedo @ New England
Boston Tennis & Racquet Club
Thursday, December 10th, 2015
By John Wykeham
The Boston Tennis & Racquet Club hosted the National League fixture between Tuxedo and New England on Thursday, December 10th. The night was run alongside the infamous T&R Holiday Party so the players took to the court in front of a packed gallery, full of holiday spirit.
The first match featured Tony Hollins, New England, and Josh Dodgson, Tuxedo. Josh dominated the service end in the early goings, utilizing a heavily spun, medium pace railroad. This kept him on the front foot and he took the first set 6/3. Second set saw Tony start to return serve with more conviction, both players peppering the second and last gallery where ever possible to try and stay on the service side. Tony spent a little longer at that end allowing him to take a 5/1 lead, eventually pinching the second set 6/3. With the shortened 3/3 third set format, it was all to play for. The players exchanged games, giving the crowd what they wanted — A 5/5 deciding game. Josh started the game at the service end although Tony found a main wall dedans to open the game, then quickly leapt on a chance to find the last gallery securing the fact that he’d make it to the service end. A couple of long nervy exchanges saw Tony take a 40/15 lead as the players switched sides. It only took one more point for Tony to close out the match 3/6, 6/3, 6/5.
The second match of the evening saw Nick Howell, world number 10 representing New England, make his first appearance in Boston to take on Camden Riviere, world number one representing Tuxedo, returning from injury to play his first competitive match since the summer. Camden, finding his range, had a tough challenge ahead of him facing Nick whose aggressive, accurate forcing was finding its range in the first set. As he has an uncanny knack of doing, Camden found a way to win the first set 6/4. Now settling into the match Camden appeared to be much more comfortable in the second set. Some exceptional athleticism was shown on both sides but Camden prevailed 6/2.
Tied at one match a piece the players took to the court for the deciding doubles match. Leon Smart, the new Assistant Professional at the Tennis and Racquet Club, made his debut National League appearance alongside Nicky, representing the New England team. Some accurate forcing and clean hitting from Smart & Howell saw them take an early 3/1 lead over Dodgson & Riviere. This proved to be short lived as Camden started to find the winning openings along with denying New England forces from finding their targets. Some long competitive games saw Camden and Josh turn things around to eventually take the match 8/3, securing a 2/1 victory for Tuxedo on the evening.
Thanks to everyone who came out to support the evening. There was an excellent atmosphere around the matches with some new faces in the crowd seeing top level Court Tennis for the first time.
9/30 - New England vs New York @ Newport
New England wins 5/2
Hollins defeats Kemp 2/6 6/3 6/5
Howell loses to Stout 6/2 5/6 4/6
Hollins/Howell defeat Stout/Kemp 8/7
MATCH REPORT by Camden Riviere
The first match of the evening pitted former Newport Pro and now Boston Head Pro Tony Hollins against New York’s newly acquired Adrian Kemp. From the start you could tell this match was going to be close, and both players seemed to sense it as well. The first set saw Adrian playing some very aggressive tennis, forcing for the dedans and often finding it. He stormed to a 4/1 lead before Tony could get his bearings. Tony fought back but the hole was too big, and the set went to Adrian 6/2.
The second set started will Hollins finding his groove, playing more positive tennis, and forcing the errors from Kemp. This, alongside Adrian’s forces losing accuracy, helped Tony gain momentum and an early 3/1 lead in the second set. That lead would prove to be enough, as Hollins took the set easily 6/3.
The final set, which started at 3/3 was an absolute battle. Both players came out firing, exchanging games until 5/5. At this point it was anyone’s to win, and a momentary lapse in concentration from Kemp lead to 3 unforced errors on return of serve, giving Hollins a 40 – love lead with a chase. Tony only needed one match point to close it out, playing a much steadier Final game to take the match 2/6 6/3 6/5.
The second match pitted Newport’s Nick Howell against Rackets World Champion James Stout. The crowd was unsure what to think with this match, as Stout doesn’t frequent the court tennis circuit as much these days, and they hoped for an upset! The first set was nervy for both players, with Stout grabbing a 3/0 lead mostly due to unforced errors on Howell’s part. Before the crowd could blink their eyes Howell had fought back taking six straight games and the set 6/3 by dominating the service end and serving tight railroads.
The second set saw Howell continue with the same pattern, dominate the service end and serve tight. Nick grabbed a 4/1 lead and the match looked over, when suddenly an annoyed Stout came alive for the first time in the match. His anger served him as motivation as he fought back playing much more consistent tennis, and leveling the match at 4/4 and then 5/5. At 5-all Nick grabbed a 40-15 lead and was at the service end poised to end the match. Stout looked defeated, and the crowd sensed the upset, but as often happens in court tennis, Stout managed to find two strong return of serves getting back to deuce. After a few exchanges at deuce Stout grabbed the set, which seemed to even surprise himself!
The final set started at 3/3 and Nick appeared to have lost his focus on the match, most likely wondering why he was still on court when he was sure it was over last set. Stout grabbed a 5/4 lead and a mental lapse from Nick lead to 3 straight missed forces and the match to Stout 3/6 6/5 6/4!!
Tied at one match a piece, the night would come down to the first to 8 games doubles. The teams both looked tense at the opening with the New York team playing much more positive tennis. The team would exchange games though with lots of forces from all over the court. It seemed that both teams were going with the “overpower your opponent” game plan, rather than the “outsmart your opponent” game plan. New York took a 7/6 lead but couldn’t close it out and New England tied the match at 7 game all. The final game featured some of the best rallies of the night, with both teams knowing how important this game was. New England played the steadier game though, and took the match 8/7 and the overall win for the evening 2 matches to 1.
Newport hosted a great evening, with over 40 people in attendance strongly supporting good play (and the New England team of course!)
8/17 National League Final - New England vs. Chicago/Philadelphia
2016 National League Final
Chicago / Philadelphia vs. New England
Wednesday, August 17th, 2016
By John Wykeham
#2 Singles – John Lumley (CHI/PHL) def. Leon Smart (NE) – 6/1, 6/1
#1 Singles – Steve Virgona (CHI/PHL) def. Nick Howell (NE) – 5/6, 6/3, 6/3
Doubles – Virgona & Lumley (CHI/PHL) def. Howell & Hollins (NE) – 8/6
On August 17th the Boston Tennis and Racquet Club hosted the 2015/16 National League Finals featuring team New England and team Chicago / Philadelphia. There was a strong turn out from the T&R membership as 71 intrigued faces crammed into the dedans, Hamlen Room and side galleries.
The first match up saw T&R’s own Leon Smart taking on John Lumley, Philadelphia Tennis Professional. Both players started strong showing off some extremely clean ball striking and excellent retrieving; every rally seemed to be extended to 10 – 12 shots. On this night John proved the more solid, finding the winning openings more often. John took the opening match 6/1, 6/1.
Next up we had a do or die match for Team New England; they had to win this match to keep their dreams of becoming National League champions alive. The match featured Chicago’s Steve Virgona and Newport Senior Professional, Nick Howell. With a combination of accurate forcing and tight railroads, Nick took the early lead closing out the first set with a tight deuce game at 5/5. Now behind the eight ball, Steve came out strong in the second set and started to control the majority of the points. Steve got his nose in front early and never looked back, taking the second set 6/3. He then carried this momentum into the final set which he also took 6/3, closing out the match and also securing the title for Team Chicago/Philadelphia.
John and Steve were kind enough to play the doubles, now a dead rubber, and the crowd stuck around to witness some exhibition doubles. Steve and John also took this match to 8/6 to complete a clean sweep 3/0 victory on the night.
Thanks to all who came out to watch the match and also those of you who tuned in online to take in the web streaming. This was courtesy of Ryan Carey who setup the cameras and sat tirelessly updating the scoreboard during the matches to keep the online viewers up to date.
Congratulations Team Chicago / Philadelphia!!
1. New England – 13
2. Chicago – 11
3. New York – 11
4. Tuxedo – 7