2016-17 NATIONAL LEAGUE
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5/10 - N.L. FINAL - CHICAGO/PHILADELPHIA VS. NEW ENGLAND @ WASHINGTON
10/13 - NEW ENGLAND DEF. NEW YORK 2-1 @ BOSTON
New England vs. New York R&T
Thursday, October 13th 2016
By John Wykeham
The opening match of the 2016/17 National League season was hosted by the Boston Tennis and Racquet Club. This was billed as the “battle of the world champions” with Camden Riviere, court tennis world champion, playing for NE and James Stout, racquet world champion, playing for the R&T.
The evening started with an impressive racquets exhibition between the two champions. Stout showed unbelievable control as he tested Riviere’s speed, running him around the large slate court. The match featured some incredible extended rallies with Stout coming out on top 2 games to 0.
The crowd swiftly moved downstairs from the racquets gallery to catch the start of the #2 court tennis singles match between Barney Tanfield (R&T) and Leon Smart (T&R). The two players traded the opening few games but Barney’s deadly forcing and pacey thick boast allowed him to pull away and take the opening set 6/3. Early in the second Leon changed his game plan, moving away from the patient floor game, now finding galleries from the receivers end and attacking from the service side. He jumped to an early 2/0 lead only to be caught by Barney in two more close games, 2/2. From here Leon found his stride, running hard in every point and rattled off 3 straight games, finding himself at 5/2. Unfortunately for Leon, he took his foot off the gas slightly at this stage and Barney, sensing an opening, started to find his range on the deadly forces. Barney managed to tie the set up to 5/5. This game was incredibly tight. With the score at 30/30 Barney found a chase to secure a spot at the service end and, after sneaking ahead 40/30, the players switched. It took Barney only one point to end the match after a spirited second set from Leon. New York took a 1/0 lead on the night.
Match two: Camden Riviere vs. James Stout. With these two unbelievable retrievers stepping onto the court you knew that the match was going to include some insane rallies. It didn’t disappoint. There were several points that found each player hitting shots from every possible corner on the court. Unfortunately for James, Camden found a way to win the majority of these points and, not without fight from James, won the match 6/0 6/1. Camden’s win tied the evening at 1/1.
Finally the doubles players took to the court. James Stout and Barney Tanfield were doing battle with Camden Riviere and Tony Hollins. NY were very solid in the early goings forcing Camden into missing his targets and finding the penthouse while James and Barney monopolized the service end. NY took a 4/2 lead in the race to 8 games. From this point onwards the New England team found an extra notch of consistency; Hollins with a reasonably solid performance at the net and doing a good job of getting out the way for Cam; Camden hitting his targets and his trademark lack of errors. Each game was extremely well fought but Camden and Tony came through to take the evening for New England 2/1.
Another fantastic turn out from the T&R members with just over 60 spectators turning out. Thank you to all who purchased tickets to support the event and a special thanks to James and Barney for traveling up from NY to put on a wonderful display of court tennis and racquets.
Barney Tanfield (NY) def. Leon Smart (NE) – 6/3 6/5
Camden Riviere (NE) def. James Stout (NY) – 6/0 6/1
Riviere & Hollins (NE) def. Stout & Tanfield (NY) – 8/4
10/27 - TUXEDO DEF. CHICAGO/PHILADELPHIA 2-1 @ PHILADELPHIA
CHICAGO / PHILADELPHIA VS TUXEDO THURSDAY 27TH OCTOBER 2016 @ PHILADELPHIA
Lumley def. Dodgson 6-2, 6-1
Chisholm def. Virgona 1-6, 6-4, 6-4
Doubles – TUX def. CHI/PHL 8-1
Recap by John Lumley
The Philadelphia/Chicago team took on the Tuxedo team at The Racquet Club of Philadelphia. John Lumley was up first against Tuxedo’s Josh Dodgson. Both players came out firing with the third game going to 40 all which Lumley won to take an early 3/0 lead. Dodgson fought back with some aggressive retuning bringing it back to 4/2 but Lumley had other intension and ended the set 6/2. Dodgson again came out strong taking the first game of the second set but Lumley getting in a good groove found some targets and took the second set 6/1. First match to the PHI/CHI team 6/2 6/1!
Next up was Steve Virgona vs Tim Chisholm. Virgona was moving well and seeing the ball hitting dedans and targets with pace. Chisholm still trying to find his feet lost the first set 6/1. Virgona kept up the intensity to take a 3/1 lead in the second set but Chisholm turned up the cut volley and forcing to get back into the match. 4 games all saw some great rallies with both players wanting to win this set. Virgona was struggling to find length on his serve which left the door open for Chisholm and he took the chance ending the set 6/4. Now tied at one set all its all came down to the final set where they started at 3 games all. Chisholm and Virgona spilt the first 2 games of the last set to take it to 4 games all. Some fantastic rallies and targets being hit and Chisholm ends up taking it 6/4 tying up the overall match 1 match a piece. Chisholm wins 1/6, 6/4, 6/4.
With the match tied at 1 all it all came down to the doubles. Chisholm & Dodgson started well with good returning and mixing up forces with length. Virgona & Lumley didn’t look to be firing on all cylinders and Tuxedo took the opportunity and ended the match winning 8/1. Tuxedo won the match 2 matches to 1 to take the victory.
12/17 - NEW ENGLAND DEF. TUXEDO 2-1 @ TUXEDO
TUXEDO VS NEW ENGLAND
SATURDAY 17TH DECEMBER 2016
@ TUXEDO 1PM
Josh Dodgson (TUX) def. Leon Smart (NE) 6-3, 6-1
Camden Riviere (NE) def. Tim Chisholm (TUX) 5-6, 6-5, 6-5
Riviere/Smart (NE) def. Chisholm/Dodgson (TUX) 8-6
2016 National League Match @ The Tuxedo Club New England (Leon Smart & Camden Riviere) vs. Tuxedo (Josh Dodgson & Tim Chisholm)
National League leaders New England and Tuxedo squared off at Tuxedo on Saturday December 17th in front of an enthusiastic Tuxedo Club crowd.
Josh Dodgson vs Leon Smart were first to step on court. On paper this match was going to be a nail biter. Dodgson had other thoughts as he played very solid tennis in winning 6/1 6/3 over Smart in workmanlike fashion.
Between matches a grille competition was held with quite a large crowd taking part! Our four finalists were Alan McHugh, Dave Christensen, Harrison vanDerlee and Howard Mertz. Congratulations to Howard Mertz in winning the competition and taking home a brand new court tennis racquet.
The next singles match featured World Champion Camden Riviere and Tim Chisholm. Last month at the British Open these two battled for five sets before the old man had to retire in the fifth set with leg cramps. Would Riviere be looking to prove London was a fluke? Could Chisholm bring enough offensive firepower to put the World Champion on his heels? The crowd got their monies worth as Riviere prevailed 5/6 6/5 6/5. These two players are close friends and doubles partners so there were a number of comments wondering if the match was ‘fixed’ regarding the score line….. For those that know both of these players, they would both crush the other one in any competition given the opportunity…so the author can say for sure that this was not the case.
On to the doubles….for first place at the mid-point of the National League season. Smart, looking to redeem himself after his loss in singles played very solid throughout the match and proved to be the deciding factor in New England inching ahead at 6/6 to win the last two games and the match 8/6.
Thanks to The Tuxedo Club and the Racquets Committee in particular for hosting the match and being so supportive of professional tennis throughout the year.
2/2 - CHICAGO/PHILADELPHIA def. NEW YORK 3-1 @ CHICAGO
CHICAGO / PHILADELPHIA VS NEW YORK
THURSDAY 2ND FEBRUARY 2017
Virgona def. Stout 6-3, 6-2
Virgona/Medlow def. Stout/Kemp 8-5
Medlow def. Kemp 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
Chicago/Philadelphia win 3-0
Recap by Steve Virgona
The Chicago/Philadelphia team battled it out with the New York team in the latest installment of the 2016/2107 National League.The match was played in front of a packed gallery at the Racquet Club of Chicago. The first match saw World #9 James Stout against Chicago’s world #3 Steven Virgona. Both players came out firing from the word go with many fast exchanges interspersed with good length and spin.
Steve managed to take control of the service end and with a string of points win the first set 6/3. The second set started in a similar fashion with the players exchanging games before Steve raised his game another level to run out the victory 6/2. The doubles was up next which saw new rackets professional Conor Medlow join Steve in taking on the New York pair Adrian Kemp and James Stout. All four players demonstrated quick reflexes as there was plenty of forcing for the winning openings and galleries! The match went game for game until Steve and Conor were able to win the key points in winning 8/5.
The final match of the night saw Conor Medlow play Adrian Kemp. Both players showed great retrieval skills and the match really could have gone to either player. Conor was the stronger more accurate player in the first set and managed to win it 6/2. Adrian came back well in the second set and with more time at the service end won it 6/4. With the third set starting at 3 all it would be important to get out of the blocks quickly. Conor rediscovered his form from earlier in the match and with some wonderful forcing won it 6/3.
All of the matches displayed great sportsmanship and were played in tremendous spirit.
It was another fantastic turn out by the Racquet Club membership with 80 members attending the event.
Thanks to Brown Brothers Harriman for sponsoring the evening and to the USCTA for their support of the National League.
Also a huge thanks to James and Adrian for travelling out to Chicago and performing so admirably.
RCC streamed the matches and you can watch them on the RCC YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ6sh2hbGHbhsVU-soy37vQ
2/8 - NEW YORK DEF. TUXEDO 2-1 @ NEW YORK
NEW YORK VS TUXEDO
WEDNESDAY 8TH FEBRUARY 2017
@ NEW YORK
Barney Tanfield (NY) def. Josh Dodgson (TUX) 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 (3-0)
Tim Chisholm (TUX) def. James Stout (NY) 6-2, 4-6, 6-5 (3-2)
Barney Tanfield and James Stout (NY) def. Josh Dodgson and Tim Chisholm (TUX) 8-6
MATCH SUMMARY by Adrian Kemp
On Wednesday, February 5th The Racquet and Tennis Club hosted a National League match against the Tuxedo Club. Both teams went into the match hoping secure bragging rights in this local rivalry.
In the pre-match build-up, a group of R&TC members took to the court to compete in the USCTA target shootout. Arthur Whitcomb, and Graham Michener showed the pros how the game should be played, both hitting the grille with their first attempts. It was Whitcomb who took home some USCTA merchandise, winning a sudden death shootout.
The first match of the night featured Josh Dodgson (Assistant Professional at the Tuxedo Club) versus Barney Tanfield (Racquet and Tennis Head Tennis Professional). Tanfield came out strong early and powered his way to the first set without the loss of a game. Dodgson was able to get a foothold in the match courtesy of some tight serving and spectacular retrieving. The players traded games before Dodgson won a crucial game point at 5-4 to take the match into a deciding set. With the third set beginning at 3-games all, both players knew that a quick start would be crucial. Tanfield was able to refocus his game and stamp his authority over the match to seal a hard earned victory.
The second match featured Tim Chisholm (Tuxedo Club Head Tennis Professional) and James Stout (Racquet and Tennis Head Racquets Professional). The two players have had some memorable matches over the years and a packed gallery of 80+ spectators was looking forward to another entertaining match.
Chisholm was in imperious form in the early stages, dictating play from both ends whilst Stout struggled to find his form – Chisholm took the first set 6-2. Cheered on by an increasingly well-lubricated home crowd, Stout began to find his targets with increasing regularity. Coupled with some befuddling serving, Stout was able to clinch the second set and move ahead to 5/4 in the decider. Chisholm looked as if he may buckle under the pressure, but was able to ride out the storm – saving a match point along the way – and clinch the deciding set 6/5.
With the evening poised at one match all, the outcome of the doubles would be decisive. In the early games Stout and Tanfield monopolized the service end, but were having to deal with a barrage of heavy hitting from Dodgson and Chisholm. With all four players striking the ball cleanly, there were very few easy points, and many long spectacular rallies. The two teams traded blows, and games, until New York grabbed the decisive break at 6/5 40-all. Despite the best efforts of the Tuxedo duo, the home team was 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.
3/22 - CHICAGO/PHILADELPHIA DEF. NEWPORT 3-0 @ NEWPORT
NEW ENGLAND VS CHICAGO / PHILADELPHIA
WEDNESDAY 22ND MARCH 2017
John Lumley (Chicago/Philadelphia) bt. Mike Gooding (New England) 6/4 6/3
Steve Virgona (Chicago/Philadelphia) bt. Nick Howell (New England) 6/4 6/0
Virgona & Lumley bt Gooding & Howell 8/3
The last National League match of the season was hosted at the National Tennis Club, where New England welcomed the Chicago/Philadelphia team. Both teams were looking to finish the regular season in top-spot, and qualify for the National League Final in Washington.
The 1st match of the night featured Mike Gooding against John Lumley. A good crowd had turned up to see their new Head Professional play for the first time. Mike really took it to John Lumley, who is world ranked #10. The first set was closely fought but John was too strong on the important points, clinching it 6/4 .The 2nd set followed the same pattern, games were tightly contested but again John was clinical when he needed to be. He sent Chicago out to an early lead – 6/4 6/3.
The 2nd match of the evening was between Nick Howell vs. Steve Virgona. By now, NTC had more than 60 members and guests in attendance to support the players. The early exchanges did not disappoint, both players finding their rhythm early on. Games were tightly fought, with the majority decided on game-ball. Steve had the edge for most of the first set, but Nick managed to bring it level at 4/4. The 9th game went to game ball, where Steve won the important game ball to go 5/4 up. The momentum was with Steve, and he was able to close out the set 6/4. Nick aggravated a shoulder injury at the end of the first set which began to trouble him. With Howell unable to apply pressure, Virgona was able to dictate play and clinch the match 6/4 6/0.
The members and their guests got a chance to show the Pros how things should be done during the traditional Grille competition. First up were the guests, who were stepping on court for the first time. The winner would get an NTC ‘Taste of Tennis’ membership, and a subscription to Real Tennis Magazine. 7 guests tried their luck with many of them finding the Grille! It was then the turn of the members, with more than 30 trying their hand to win a bottle of champagne. Only 3 members hit the grille, putting them into the next round. It was young junior, Ben Dickinson, who won the sudden death shootout, and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot for his parents!
The Doubles match followed the Grille competition, rounding off the evening. Steve and John came out firing on all cylinders, and opened up an early lead. Despite some gutsy resistance from Mike and Nick it was the pair from Chicago/Philadelphia who triumphed 8/3.
NTC members were treated to a great evening of top quality National League Tennis, with all those in attendance agreeing that the event was a huge success for the club.
The same two teams will face off in the National League Final in Washington next month in what promises to be a great event!
USCTA National League Champions
2006 New York Ged Eden, Andrew Fowler, Mike Gooding
2007 Newport Tony Hollins, Camden Riviere, Rich Smith
2008 New York Andrew Fowler, Mike Gooding
2009 New York Mike Gooding, James Stout
2010 New York Mike Gooding, James Stout
2011 Philadelphia Barney Tanfield, Steve Virgona, Rob Whitehouse
2012 Philadelphia Steve Virgona, Rob Whitehouse
2013 New England/Aiken Tony Hollins, Camden Riviere, Rich Smith
2014 New England Tony Hollins, Camden Riviere, Rich Smith
2015 Boston/Washington Tony Hollins, Neil Mackenzie, Camden Riviere
2016 Chicago/Philadelphia Will Hopton, John Lumley, Steve Virgona