American Tournament May 28th

Report by Paul Bluck

Another scorching day at WBTC on late Bank Holiday Monday.

Again we had a little problem getting enough players but with a little encouragement we were able to field sixteen fit and healthy men and women. Despite the intense heat we completed a very enjoyable tournament with two players playing this type of tournament for the first time.

We introduced a slight handicap system with 5 points start for first timers and 5 or 10 point penalty for those that had won previous American’s. I think that this proved successful as we had two new winners. But it was my idea and I am open to any criticism or other ideas for any future changes.

In the ladies tournament we had a clear winner in Christine Main with Jane Johnston in 2nd place. Third place was shared by Mandy Micklesen, Pauline Royden and Bernadette Cowley.

The men’s was very close with John Kyan winning and Peter Micklesen (having been docked 10 penalty points) as runner up. Richard Brown ( also docked 10 points) was third.

Thanks to Kath(the Whistle!) for organising with me and for running the raffle. Thanks also to Richard Hurford and John Main who kept score during the day.

Well done to all of the participants. We collected just under £40 for charity.


Marge Frostick Memorial American Tournament

Report by Kath Welsh

The eighth playing of this tournament was held on Thursday 17th May 2018. In glorious sunshine 2 ladies battled it out through 5 rounds. As you would expect there was lots of friendly rivalry and banter to sort out the semi finalists.

The semi finals were  Carole Currey & Jane Johnson vs Wendy Firkins & Sylvia Abbott and Carol Stammers & Danita Petty v Jill McNulty v Trish Brown.

In the final Carole & Jane beat Danita & Carol 22- 11.

We had lunch and were delighted to be joined by Marge’s son Russell who kindly supplied some edible prizes and presented the trophy. Plus, we raised £47 for Alzheimers Charity. All in all a lovely way to remember a lovely lady.


Monday the 27th November saw the last American Tournament for 2017. Sixteen keen players and a few organisers gathered at around 9.30 to get things underway. There was a good mix of new participants and regular old hands and also of experience.

At 10 o’clock play got underway on slightly damp but not slippery courts. The tried and tested format means that all eight men have one match against the other seven men and each of the eight ladies plays against the other seven ladies. The pairings are randomly selected by the computer program and certainly make for interesting games and scores.

After the first round of matches, the eventual winner of the men’s section was in last place and the leader eventually finished seventh, so it just shows you that nothing is determined early on. In the ladies section, the two joint leaders after the first matches did eventually finish joint third. At the half way stage when we stopped for a well earned coffee and cake break, the top three in the men’s section were Peter Mickelsen with 77 points, John Main with 71 and Paul Bluck with 64. In the ladies section, Mary McQue led the way with 66 points, very closely followed by Jane Johnston with 65 and Elaine Johnson with 63. The men were starting to space themselves out a bit and finding their natural order, with the eventual winner only really coming from these top three. The ladies however were having a battle royale and only thirteen points separated the top six. It was all to play for after the break.

The final rounds of matches showed experience and fitness showing through (plus a chunk of good fortune of course) and the leading participants were coming to the fore now.After six of the seven rounds, only Peter and John were realistically in with a chance of finishing in top place in the men’s but in the ladies, the winner could come from any one of Mary, Jane, Elaine, Lynn Gildersleeves or Mandy Mickelsen. In the end, after a very competitive round of matches, the final placings were decided.

Peter Mickelsen maintained his leading position to finish first in the men’s with a total of 129 points. John Main was second with 125 and Clive Hopgood third with 102. So only four points separated Peter and John. If you think that’s close, then just look at the ladies scores! The eventual winner was Lynn Gildersleeves with 112 points, second was Mary with 108 and joint third were Jane and Elaine with 107, phew!

It was a lovely morning of tennis (and cake) enjoyed by everyone. Many thanks to Paul for his scrummy Victoria Sponge and to Kath for her Welsh Bread (the Welsh version being virtually impossible to spell or pronounce!). Also, thank you to Sue Harding who played one match as Paul Strong, but I think everyone spotted the difference!

Thank you and well done to everyone who played, we hope you enjoyed it irrespective of where you finished.

We sign off from 2017 now and look forward to many more enjoyable American Tournaments in 2018.

Neil Salmon


The 2017 Summer Tournaments were finally completed on Sunday 24th September when all the remaining adult finals were played to a finish. These were the finals that couldn’t be played or finished in July due to the bad weather that weekend.

The weather forecast was good for the day and so fingers were crossed that this would be correct. As it happened it was, and a good days tennis ensued. The day started off on court one with the Ladies Doubles final between Jenny Cooper & Julia Cloughton and Elaine Johnson & Jo McCulloch. Jenny & Julia won the competition last year and Elaine & Jo had done exceedingly well to get to this year’s final as number five seeds.  However, after a close match, the reigning champion were victors again, by two sets to love, 6-4 and 6-1. Over on court three, a battle royale was taking place. This was the Men’s Vets Singles final between the current holder Clive Allenby and a new opponent in Ian Chimes. Clive took the first set 6-3 and Ian then levelled the match by taking the second set 6-2. Some great points were played by both players and there were many top class rallies. A reasonable sized crowd gathered to watch the third set with both players agreeing to play a full long set if necessary. It was another close one but in the end Ian won 6-3 and took Clives crown away from him, but Clive certainly didn’t want to relinquish it easily and put up a great fight. However, many congratulations to Ian.

On court two, we had two of our best junior girls playing in the under 16 (or was it the under 18!) final. Anyway, Holly Whitworth came out victorious, beating Rebecca Popham 6-1, 6-4. Well done to both girls for putting on a match of high standard.

The next match on court one was the long awaited Men’s Doubles final between Christian Barnett and his son Fred against Joel (Christian’s brother) and the only non Barnett family player on court, Steve Sparkes! Joel and Steve started slowly, or was it that Christian & Fred just got out of the blocks a bit quicker as the first set was won by Christian & Fred 6-0. However, the second set was much closer. Just like in the Ladies Doubles, some great rallies and shots were made by all the players and the watching crowd were in awe at some of the skills on display. Fred nearly took off his Uncle Joel’s head with one shot and got a look from Joel which possibly meant no Christmas present for you this year. At one point during the change of ends, Christian thought Joel was going to trip him up and gave him a wide berth! The match though was played in a great spirit of course with all four players contributing to the entertainment. Christian & Fred won the second set narrowly 7-5 and therefore Fred achieved the remarkable feat of winning the adult Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles titles at the first time of trying. Any ladies looking for a new mixed doubles partner next year?

Play on court one concluded with the Ladies Vets Doubles final between Jan Rochester & Marian Harpur and Jenny Cooper & Kath Welsh. Jan & Marian were the reigning champions but Jenny, buoyed by her earlier victory and Kath with all her experience and no lack of talent, were determined to see new names on the trophy this year. After the first set, it looked like that was on the cards as Jenny & Kath won it 6-1. However, it wasn’t to be and after a close hard fought match Jan & Marian emerged as the victors 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. Well done ladies on retaining your trophy.

Two other matches took place on the day. Maggie Gunton beat Nicole Carding in the Girls under 12 final on court three. This was definitely a match of two completely different styles with the dogged Maggie eventually winning 6-1, 7-5. Very well played to both girls. The last match on court two was the one with the longest title, the Men’s Vets Doubles Plate Final! Greg Deery & John Kyan just edged out Bob Deighton and Rod Kendall in a match played in a great atmosphere with Bob’s laughs being heard far and wide around Rainbow Field! Well done to all four men for putting on an entertaining match late in the day.

Mention should also be made of Vanessa Ellams who beat Christy Willett in the Ladies Singles Plate final and Julia Waddilove & Ian Chimes who beat Jan Rochester & Mahdi Eldin in the Mixed Doubles Plate final. These two matches were recently both played in secret for fear of crowd trouble! No they weren’t of course! They were both played in the last two weeks as they couldn’t be played on Sunday.

Finally, thanks to everyone who contributed on Sunday. The players, umpires, spectators, cake makers (Jenny, Carole and Tracy), umpire chairs movers and anyone else that I’ve forgotten

That’s it for this year’s Summer Tournaments thankfully, we could do without the bad weather next year!

Neil Salmon, Tournament Referee


Bank Holiday Monday American Tournament 28th August 2017

Well it does feel like the Seasons have turned as I write this on a cool and misty Sunday morning, thinking back to that hot and sunny Bank Holiday Monday.  I guess that partly a reflection of how lapse I’ve been in finding the time to put this tournament report to paper but it does seem like we were blessed in playing out the tournament on what was probably the last day of Summer. So without further ado, here’s a summary of the events on that blazing August morning just three weeks ago.

I usually try to arrive before the crowds at these events to make a start on setting things up whilst its still quiet, but when I arrived on the Monday morning I was delighted to see that the competitors were as keen as the weather and as I came into the car park about 40 minutes before the start I was greeted by what was already a large number of eager players, many already out on the courts for a warm up. This being the final Bank Holiday American Tournament of the year, they were clearly taking it seriously!

I won’t go into the details of the format as I think most of you know them by now, but suffice to say it’s a really fun mash-up pitching eight men and eight ladies randomly drawn into different mixed doubles pairs for each of seven fifteen minute rounds. Yes, even though the mercury was well and truly rising by 9:30 in the morning, we figured these finely honed athletes wouldn’t be satisfied with anything other than the full fifteen minutes per round (I think we actually might have been a little mistaken come the latter rounds but I’m pleased to say we did end with all sixteen players still on their feet.  Finally, each round starts and finishes with the traditional blast of Kath’s whistle and points are simply scored as 1, 2, 3 etc. rather than the usual tennis scoring system.

After the warm-up and rules briefing, Round 1 started at 10am on the button and it was time to get serious (relatively speaking).  The men’s competition was always going to be very close and the lead changed three times over the first four rounds the baton being handed from Simon Jesney, to Bernie Rochester and then to Richard Brown whose 25 points in Round 4, compared to Bernies 11 points, meant Richard was sitting on a nine point lead come the break; and Bernie himself now just one point ahead of Simon.

In the ladies competition, Jan Rochester and Julia Waddilove were showing why they were the bookies favourites, and by the break Julia had amassed very impressive 89 points and a lead of some 19 points over by Jan and with Danita Petty just one point behind.

Cold drinks all round at the break and a chance to briefly recuperate, check the scores, and raise some money for the Essex Air Ambulance with our raffle, all whilst enjoying a marshmallow or lemon cupcake. The top of the leader-board at the break was looking fairly healthy for the Rochesters, but quite a bit of work to do over the final three rounds if they were to take the top honours in each competition:


Richard Brown  80pts

Bernie Rochester  71pts

Simon Jesney  70pts


Julia Waddilove  89pts

Jan Rochester 71pts

Danita Petty  70pts

So in no time everyone was back out on court again, all set for the final three rounds.  In the men’s competition, Bernie and Richard continued to battle it out, with Bernie closing the whole deficit in Round 5 alone meaning that they were neck and neck on 91 points with two rounds to go. But Round 6 wasn’t kind to either of our leaders, with Richard posting just 13 points to Bernies 9. Meanwhile Paul Bluck, scoring steadily all morning enjoyed his round of the tournament gaining 23 points in a pairing with Jan; a very strong score with which to launch a late assault on the title and more than enough to take the lead with just one round remaining.  And you can never forget Clive Hopgood (no really, you can’t, I’ve tried – just kidding Clive!), a late charge put him right in the mix and ahead of Bernie and into third place. So it was all to play for as the tournament reached its final round, but there was one stand-out performance as the legs were getting weary and the heat was still building and I’m pleased to say that Richard stormed through Round 7 partnering Sarah Skinner with 26 points, enough to snatch the lead back from Paul by just two points – it couldn’t have been much closer!

In the ladies competition it was Julia and Jan who continued to apply the pressure but with Rounds 5 and 6 going in Jan’s favour she had managed to narrow the gap to Julia to 11 points, still a good lead but not insurmountable. And despite a valiant effort by Jan, again scoring more points than Julia in Round 7, the gap built up by Julia over the early rounds proved to be just too wide and so the overall winner was Julia by just five points.  Well done to both of you for amassing 140 and 135 points each and for making it such an exciting finish!

The morning concluded with the prize giving ceremony, and plenty of cold drinks. Once again, a huge thanks to Kath Welsh and Jon Gustard for all their hard work, to Pauline Royden for her super photos of the morning, and to Jon’s wife Tess for the delicious cakes. Thanks also to Bill Stephens and Richard Hurford for their help on the morning and for Richards Excel wizardry, without all their efforts these tournaments just wouldn’t happen. And thanks also to everyone who played, it was a fantastic morning spent with a terrific group of people; and thank you for all the very kind words that we received after the event, they are greatly appreciated.

For the history books the final top 5 placings were as follows:


Richard Brown 130pts

Paul Bluck  128pts

Clive Hopgood  121pts

Bernie Rochester 118pts

Rhys Smithson 106pts


Julia Waddilove  140pts

Jan Rochester  135pts

Sue Harding  115pts

Jill McNulty  110pts

Sarah Skinner  107pts

Club Finals Weekend

A record number of 298 entries for the club’s summer tournaments were received back in February, which then got under way in March and culminated in a finals weekend held on the 22nd and 23rd July. Due to the success of last year, the junior finals were combined with the adult finals making a total of 27 finals in all, embracing players of all ages, from under 10 to over 65.

The Saturday was the best day as far as the weather was concerned. Of the thirteen finals scheduled, eleven were played to a conclusion with the other two not played due to injury or illness immediately prior to the weekend. The morning started off with Clive Allenby and Graham Lewis-Taylor retaining their Men’s Vets Doubles trophy by beating Paul Bluck and Ian Chimes in two sets, and with a score that did not do justice to debutants Paul and Ian’s fighting spirit and display. Other winners in the morning were Kevin Bennett and Brian Stafford in the Men’s Doubles Plate, Ed Cannon in the Men’s Singles Plate, John Kyan and Janet Richardson in the Mixed Vets Doubles Plate, Belinda Hay and Zoe Cannon in the Ladies Doubles Plate, Harry Hennessey in the Under 16 boys and Xavier Giles-Scieller in the Under 12 boys.

A lovely bar-b-que cooked beautifully by Karl Wolf ably assisted by his wife Libby, was enjoyed by most players and spectators during the lunch interval. This was washed down by many with a glass of Wibblers real ale, as two polypins of beer were kindly supplied by Joe and Becci from The Chequers pub in Wickham Bishops, who once again sponsored the club’s tournaments.

The afternoon play began with the Ladies Singles final on court one and the Mixed Vets Doubles final on court two. Julia Waddilove who was runner-up to Tracy Mapes in last year’s final, got her hands on the trophy this year by beating Beth Watson in another extremely close and energy sapping match. Julia who is known for her staying power, eventually won in three closely fought sets of real quality. The Mixed Vets Doubles final was won by Peter Mickelsen and Marian Harpur who beat Graham Lewis-Taylor and Mary McQue in two sets. This was certainly no shame on Graham and Mary’s behalf as Peter and Marian have now won this trophy for the last three years and remain undefeated since pairing up. The other main final of the afternoon was the long anticipated match between James Coman and Lisa De Rosa against Clive Allenby and Julia Cloughton in the Mixed Doubles. A complete contrast in styles promised what should have been a wonderful spectacle to watch. Unfortunately the rain decided to come down and somewhat spoiled the match. The first set was won by James and Lisa 6-2 but the latter part of the set was played in the rain with the court becoming quite slippery. It was decided that it would be best to stop the match at this point in view of the potential risks to the player’s safety. After a break, play resumed but the match didn’t really live up to its billing mainly due to its lack of continuity. However, Clive and Julia although not on their best of form, made a good fight of the second set and in the end lost narrowly by 6-4. The crowd were treated though, to a few of James’ spectacular winning ground strokes. The only other winners in the afternoon were Wendy Firkins and Jill McNulty who beat Linda Watson and Penelope Waldie in the Ladies Vets Doubles Plate final.

The weather forecast wasn’t too promising for the Sunday and sure enough the forecasters got it right and only five of the fourteen matches were completed. However, before the rain came down and put an end to play, the spectators were treated to some great tennis. Clive Allenby got back to his winning ways as he and Brian Stafford beat Greg Deery and Richard Brown in the Men’s Super-Vets Doubles final with all four players contributing to some great rallies and each playing some lovely winning shots, which belied the ages of these four gents. Over on court two, Steve Gildersleeves and Colin Bellett played out a marathon in the Men’s Vets Singles Plate final, with Steve eventually overcoming Colin by virtue of a 13 – 11 victory in a championship tie-break third set. This was a first tournament success for Steve at Wickham Bishops but there is some doubt as to whether he will enter a singles tournament ever again! The Men’s Singles final took place on court two after Clive and Brian’s win, and this saw fourteen year old Fred Barnett in his first year in the adults events take on former winner Steve Southern. Fred had looked extremely impressive in the rounds leading up to the final with none of his opponents being able to take a set off of him. Steve is a very good singles player though and the final was eagerly anticipated. A great match ensued with some superb shots executed by both players but Fred continued on his impressive winning way and beat Steve in two sets. The match was very much enjoyed and appreciated by the very fair and unbiased audience. The other winners in the morning were David Frost and Barry Haley in the Men’s Super-Vets Doubles Plate and Max De Rosa in the Under 18 boys open final. Play then had to be abandoned as the rain came down, however not before everyone enjoyed another bar-b-que, this one expertly cooked by Paul Cooper who was assisted by his son Harry. Nine finals remain outstanding including a couple of blue-ribbon events, the main Ladies Doubles and Men’s Doubles finals. These will all have to be re-arranged.

If it hadn’t have been for the weather, I’m sure we would have had another great finals weekend. However we did enjoy lots of good tennis and food and drink, and at this stage I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that helped out over the two days. It would take too long to name everyone but the following people particularly played a big part in helping out over the weekend: Karl & Libby Wolf for the Saturday bar-b-que and Paul and Harry for the Sunday bar-b-que; Carole, Anne, Kath and helpers for their hard work in the kitchen and preparing those lovely strawberry cream teas on the Saturday and Zoe and her team of helpers on the Sunday; Jenny for ordering all of the bar-b-que food and Carole and Zoe who went shopping for most of it; Kath for organising the raffles on both days, the money from which is being given to the clubs charity, the Essex Air Ambulance; all the Friday and Sunday evening helpers who set up and dismantled everything; all the umpires who superbly marshalled all the finals and to everyone that played (winners and runners-up) and everyone that came to watch and cheer on. Finally, thanks to the Tournament Sub-Committee, Bill, Kath, Jon and Zoe, who each took on so many of the jobs.

Report by Neil Salmon

Bank Holiday Monday American Tournament 29th May 2017

Late May and the last of our Bank Holidays until the end of the Summer, how better to enjoy the time with some friendly competition on the tennis court – and so it was at Wickham Bishops Tennis Club, with our second open American Tournament of the year.

The weather’s never far from our minds on these occasions and this weekend was no exception with oppressive heat and humidity building over the Saturday and Sunday but forecast to break – at about 2am on the Monday morning before the tournament. Sure enough, there was a terrific thunder storm (some are saying it was actually just Kath Welsh getting in some practice with her booming whistle, but I couldn’t comment). The storm might have kept at least one of your organisers up that night, and no doubt some of the competitors, but it did help to clear the air so come 9:30 in the morning there were near perfect conditions for tennis.

The tournament was played under a tried and tested format, with eight men and eight ladies randomly drawn into different mixed doubles pairs for each of seven fifteen minute rounds. Each round starts and finishes with the blast of Kath’s said whistle and points are simply scored as 1, 2, 3 etc. rather than the traditional tennis scoring system. These competitions always attract a good mix of members, some very familiar to the format and some new faces, and this time was no exception.

After a warm-up and rules briefing it was time to get serious with the early rounds. It didn’t take long for Harry Waldie (Singles Champion 2015) to make his mark in the men’s competition, leading the scoreboard after just one round (albeit only by a point). However, by round four Harry had built up a modest five point lead over Ed Malone (runner up in the Easter American tournament) winning each of his individual matches so far, including a narrow two point win with Muriel Stephens in a round against Ed and his wife Tamsin during which we saw what must have been one of the longest rallies in American Tournament history with Harry and Tamsin going corner to corner (the point eventually, and I mean eventually, going to Harry and Muriel)!

In the ladies competition, Jenny Cooper and Mandy Mickelsen were both off to a strong start posting the top scores in the first round, however Jenny followed it up with a disappointing round two whilst Mandy lost some ground in round three before both were back scoring in the 20’s for round four and at the top of the leaderboard come the refreshment break.

Cold drinks all round at the break and a chance to check the scores whilst munching on a very tasty strawberry or vanilla cupcake or two.


Harry Waldie                      83pts

Ed Malone                           78pts

Richard Brown                   70pts


Jenny Cooper                     77pts

Mandy Mickelsen             74pts

Tamsin Malone                 68pts

The last cupcake crumbs had barely been licked off the lips and everyone was back out on court again all set for the final three rounds. In the men’s competition, Harry continued to apply his relentless pressure on the rest of the field comfortably scoring enough to maintain sufficient gap over second place and winning the competition – well done Harry! However, it was round six that was to prove a turning point for the runner-up slot with Greg Deery (partnering Mandy Mickelsen), and Peter Mickelsen (partnering Vanessa Ellams) respectively posting the highest and second highest scores for a round all morning, putting them both on the same total in joint second place and in the process nudging Ed down to fourth by just one point. So it was down to the last round, which by a twist of fate had scheduled Peter, partnering Pauline Royden in her first American tournament, up against Ed – it was Peter who came out victorious, not only winning his match but also securing the most points of all eight pairs and snatching the runner’s up prize in the process.

Round six also had a crucial bearing on the ladies competition with Mandy Mickelsen leap-frogging Jenny Cooper by virtue of that highest score, and Vanessa Ellams putting herself right in the mix. But it was the final round that was to prove decisive – no question about the winner as Mandy did more than enough to secure top spot with 131 points, making it a very good morning for the Mickelsens, well done Mandy! But it was the battle for runner-up that got the organisers reaching for the rule book. Another strong round from Vanessa right at the end had put her in a tie with Jenny on 127 points, so it was a look back across the morning to see who had won the most individual rounds – both had won 4 rounds each! Prepared for such an event, the organisers then look to points lost throughout the competition and I’m pleased to say, this did differentiate between the two with Vanessa having lost four points less than Jenny over all seven rounds she was awarded with second place – well done to both of you for making it such a close finish!

The morning concluded with the prize giving ceremony, raffle and some well-earned ice-creams. Once again, a huge thanks to Kath Welsh, Neil Salmon and Jon Gustard for all their hard work and to Jon’s wife Tess for spending a very hot Sunday afternoon in the kitchen making the cakes, without all their efforts these tournaments simply wouldn’t happen. And thanks also to everyone who participated – your quick turnaround between rounds kept the event moving and everyone’s sense of fair play made it such a great way to spend a Bank Holiday morning.

For the history books the final top 5 placings were as follows:


Harry Waldie                     133pts

Peter Mickelsen                 125pts

Greg Deery                         120pts

Ed Malone                          117pts

Richard Brown                  116pts


Mandy Mickelsen             131pts

Vanessa Ellams                 127pts

Jenny Cooper                    127pts

Pauline Royden                 115pts

Tamsin Malone                 113pts


Marjorie Frostick Memorial Tournament – Thursday, 25th May
On a lovely sunny morning, 16 ladies turned out to play in an American tournament in memory of Marjorie Frostick, who was a members of the club for many years.
As it was very warm, each match was reduced to 12 minutes and after 7 rounds the top 8 players moved into the semi finals.  This paired  Carole Currey with Helen Bennett to take on Tamsin Malone with Muriel Stephens.  It was a very close match with Carole and Helen winning by 14 points to 13.  The second semi final paired Tanya Pearey with Karen Kaylor against Jane Johnston with Suzanne Allenby.  Tanya and Karen won by 13 point to 9.
After a break for lunch the final was a one set shoot out.  It was a very close affair with Carole and Helen eventually winning 6-4.
The raffle raised £74 and this was donated to the club’s charity of the year – the Essex Air Ambulance.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and lovely to see a few new faces taking part.
Well done girls!!

For the final results of all the box leagues, please use the following link:

2016-17 Winter Box Leagues

W.B.T.C. Easter Monday American Tournament (17th April 2017)

With many full of chocolate and other treats as the long Easter weekend headed towards a close, what better way to spend the Bank Holiday Monday than running off some of those excess calories than on the tennis court? And to assist W.B.T.C members to do just that and on a rather fresh but fortunately dry mid-April morning, the club’s first American Tournament of 2017 was held, also raising money for Essex Air Ambulance, the club’s nominated charity for 2017.

The tournament was played under a tried and tested format, with eight men and eight ladies randomly drawn into mixed doubles pairs playing rounds of fifteen minutes each. After each round it’s all change and a new set of random mixed doubles pairings compete for a further 15 minutes. Each round starts and finishes with the blast of a whistle and points are simply scored as 1, 2, 3 etc. rather than the traditional tennis scoring system. It’s a really fun format that does throw up some fascinating combinations within individual rounds and it was great to welcome some new faces to the tournament and to see such a great range of abilities as those new to the game played with or against some of the club’s top players on an equal footing.

And so to the tennis, three hard played rounds in and there was a tie for the top spot for the men with Singles Champion Will Gurton sharing the lead with Ed Malone in his first American Tournament. For the ladies, Elaine Johnson, certainly one of the favourites at the start, was building a small lead over second placed Jo McCulloch and Sue Harding in third. One more 15 minute round of play against the clock before the players would receive a well-earned break.

Before we knew it, it was time for the break with competitors (and organisers alike) enjoying coffee, tea and cupcakes (chocolate and vanilla or mojito – well, even after Easter we figured we’d earned them!) In the competition, a strong Round 4 from Will put him in the lead amongst the men and whilst Elaine posted a modest score it was more than enough for her to hold on to her lead ahead of the other ladies – the top 3 men and ladies were as follows:


Will Gurton                         88pts

Ed Malone                          82pts

Clive Hopgood                   75pts


Elaine Johnson                  77pts

Jane Johnston                   70pts (tied)

Jo McCulloch                      70pts (tied)

With the competitors refreshed after the break they were soon back out on court again eager to make their decisive moves over the last three rounds. The men’s competition remained close as Ed narrowed the gap on Will to just 4 points after Round 5 but the last two rounds would see Will paired up firstly with Elaine and then with Vanessa Ellams who had been posting very steady results all morning and was placed just behind the top three. Consequently, Will pushed on, gaining more points than any of the other men in both of the last rounds to win the Men’s competition on 154 points. Not far behind Ed consolidated his impressive second place in only his first American Tournament just 12 points behind Will followed by a gap of 23 points to third place John Johnston.

It was a similar story in the ladies competition with Elaine posting big scores in Rounds 5 and 6 giving her a 23 point lead over Jane Johnston which would be extremely difficult to turn over in the last round. And so it was, although Elaine only gained her lowest points haul of the morning in Round 7 it was more than enough to seal the win with 142 points as Jane also posted her lowest score of the competition. Meanwhile Vanessa maintained her steady progress and a strong final round was enough for her to nip in front of Jane just when it mattered to take second place overall with 124 points.

The morning concluded with the prize giving ceremony and a raffle, which together with the competition fees, raised a total of £110 for Essex Air Ambulance, the club’s nominated charity for 2017. A very big thank you goes out to Kath Welsh and Jon Gustard for organising the event, to Jon’s wife Tess for the cakes and to everyone who played and donated raffle prizes, all contributing to making it such an enjoyable way to spend a Bank Holiday morning.

For the history books the final top 5 placings were as follows:


Will Gurton                                         154pts

Ed Malone                                           142pts

John Johnston                                   119pts

John Kyan                                           116pts

Clive Hopgood                                   112pts



Elaine Johnson                                  142pts

Vanessa Ellams                                 124pts

Jo McCulloch                                     118pts

Jane Johnson                                     117pts(tied)

Hillary Needham                               117pts(tied)


Annual General Meeting

The Fortieth Annual General Meeting of the Wickham Bishops Tennis Club took place on Monday, 7th November 2016 at 8pm in Wickham Bishops Village Hall. To assist the “social” feel of the event wine, soft drinks and nibbles were served afterwards.

Jenny Cooper (Chairman), Clive Allenby (Treasurer) and Kath Welsh (Junior Rep) gave comprehensive reports on the year’s activities. Our President, Val Martin thanked Jenny who has come to the end of her three year term as Chairman and the committee for their hard work in organising the 40th Anniversary celebrations and throughout the year. Jenny also thanked committee members for their outstanding support and wished Bill Stephens well as the new Chairman.

We also welcomed two new committee members, Jon Gustard and Zoe Cannon.


The Littlewoods Trophy – this trophy, donated by Brian and Thelma Littlewood, is awarded to an adult member for exceptional service or achievement. This was awarded to Lisa De Rosa for organising some great social events including the Caribbean evening, helping to organise more coaching and running the Club clothing ‘shop’.

The Junior Recognition Award was presented to  Holly Whitworth for her patient work with the younger juniors and general contribution to junior tennis at the Club.

The ‘Suggestion of the Year’ winner was Rhys Smithson whose idea was for the Club to create a ‘Buddy ‘ system for new members to give them a more personal introduction to the Club and the way it runs. Rhys was awarded a trophy and free membership for a year.

The Wimbledon Trivia Quiz was jointly won by Kath Welsh

Congratulations to the prize winners: 



Autumn American Tournament

Report By Neil Salmon, Tournament Referee

As a break from the norm, the tournament sub-committee decided to hold a weekday American Tournament, in order to hopefully attract some new, as well as regular, entrants. The date chosen was Monday 31st October which was very fortuitous as the weather was absolutely lovely. After a knock up, a prompt 10 o’clock start was made with the mixed pairings for the whole of the tournament being decided by the random draw of the computer programme so expertly devised by Richard Hurford. We have used this programme successfully a few times before because it means that the (eight) men each play against the other seven men once and of course the (eight) ladies play against the other seven ladies once. The system of scoring is points table tennis style, rather than the traditional tennis 15, 30 etc. Each match lasts for fourteen minutes, starting and finishing with the blow of a whistle, so speed of play is of the essence.

The first round of matches got underway with some interesting pairings and matches. Newcomers to the weekday Americans John Chamberlain and Mary McQue, were paired together to play against Paul Bluck and Jane Johnston, old hands and regulars at these tournaments. A close match ensued which Paul and Jane just won 19 – 17. This was from Paul’s view, to set the tone for the day, as he now lead the men’s section. Jane therefore lead the ladies section, but after just one round, everyone was still very much in with a chance of course. Over on court three, newcomer Alex McQue had been partnered with Wendy and they were playing against David B and Sue. After about twelve minutes, Alex had to move a lot faster than he is usually accustomed to and unfortunately sustained a very nasty injury in the process. Luckily expert help and advice was on hand as Vanessa was playing on court one, but this was the last that Alex was to see of the tournament. Hopefully he’ll be back when he’s fully fit. Kath then took Alex’s place for the remainder of the tournament and Alex made himself useful by sitting on a comfortable chair and blowing the whistle at the start and finish of each round.

After round four, everyone stopped for some well earned refreshments, which included some lovely home made cakes and biscuits supplied by Kath and Paul and some rather cheaper shop bought biscuits from Neil. At this stage, the leading scores were as follows:


Paul – 77

John J – 63

David B – 60

John C – 55


Jane – 72

Sam – 63

Mary – 62

Jill – 60

Paul and Jane had both built up substantial leads at this point and were quietly determined not to let them slip. However, the chasing packs were hard on their heels, especially in the ladies. Play resumed and three more rounds of matches were played and as the relentless sun beat down and tiredness started to set in, some extreme scores started to emerge. Highs of 23 and 21 points were recorded by some players and sadly lows of 7 and 9 were scored by others. These extreme highs and lows had a distinct bearing on the final scores and placings.

Paul held on to first place in the men’s section throughout the tournament and finished with an impressive 121 points, an average of just over 17 per match. The ladies was not so clear cut however. Due to the scores in the last three rounds, a remarkable thing happened that has not happened before, there was a three way tie! What were the organisers to do, they only had prizes for the first two! After a bit of cogitating and cake eating, they came up with an ingenious plan. The positions would be decided by individual games won and then points conceded. This meant that in her first American tournament, Mary came out on top which more than made up for husband Alex’s injury. Mary scored 110 points in total, as did Jane and Vanessa, which was amazing because after four rounds, Vanessa was last in the ladies section! They were all joint winners really but on the organisers countback plan, Mary was first, Vanessa second and Jane third.

Thank you to everyone for playing and hopefully everyone enjoyed it wherever they finished.

The final placings were as follows:


Paul – 121

David B – 113

John J & Richard H – 104

David F – 99

John C – 88

Cliff – 76


Mary & Vanessa & Jane – 110

Jill – 109

Sam & Wendy – 100

Carol & Sue – 93


Autumn Cup

The annual Autumn Cup competition at Wickham Bishops Tennis Club was contested by 16 members against a backdrop of perfect conditions last Sunday. In a two-stage event the first part followed an American tournament format with players drawn with different partners over eight round-robin rounds. Winning points against the clock during 12 minute segments of intense play ensured some exciting rallies were seen during the afternoon from all participants.

Keeping rallies to a minimum with attacking strokes seemed the best formula for success as for the ladies, Zoe Cannon and Lisa de Rosa gained the upper hand over rivals in the early exchanges by employing this tactic. However, such a game is open to unforced errors and with a more circumspect approach focusing on astute returns Elaine Johnson found herself jostling for the lead position at the halfway stage with Jane Little and Sarah Skinner just behind the other three looking for a top four slot and a place in the semi-final knock out phase of the tournament. The mens’ places were as keenly contested with an energetic yet disciplined Jon Gustard forging a path at the front closely followed by a consistent Clive Allenby employing cunning and a competitive mentality to maximum advantage. Meanwhile Greg Deery’s volleying prowess saw him emerge from the pack with a succession of smartly taken interceptions gaining valuable points.  These three leaders were closely followed by Stephen Sparkes and Neil Salmon, their less consistent play in the initial rounds holding them back from the top positions.

As the afternoon wore on the heat and time on court took its toll on the older and less experienced match-play members. This combined with some players finding consistency that had previously been absent more points were being won in each round, making an inevitable difference to the Stage 1 outcome. At the end of eight rounds Zoe had consolidated her pole position amassing 120 points to lead the ladies into the semi-finals, where she was joined by Lisa (113 points), Elaine (110 points) and Sarah (101 points) just holding off Jane (99 points) for a prized place in the last four. For the men, Jon maintained his earlier form and finished with 127 points leading the way by some distance ahead of Clive (115 points), Steve (105 points) following a strong second-half performance and Greg (104 points) leaving Neil (99 points) ruing a number of missed opportunities on the day.

After a break for refreshments it was back onto court where the top eight competitors were then paired together for the second stage knockout portion of the event based on tie-break rules. The continuing high level of play seen throughout the afternoon was maintained as Stephen Sparkes and Lisa De Rosa emerged victorious after winning their two matches in fine style to ensure two new names were engraved on the Autumn Cup.

The Round Robin Stage – Points Scored 

LADIES                                           MEN 

Zoe Cannon             120              Jon Gustard               127

Lisa De Rosa           113               Clive Allenby              115

Elaine Johnson     110               Stephen Sparkes       105

Sarah Skinner       101               Greg Deery                  104

Jane Little                99               Neil Salmon                  99

Sam Smoker           85               John Kyan                      87

Hilary Needham   85               Alan De Rosa                 79

Julia Deery              79                Rod Kendall                 76 


Stephen Sparkes/Lisa De Rosa   12

Jon Gustard/Sarah Skinner           8 

Clive Allenby/Elaine Johnson     12

Greg Deery/Zoe Cannon                  8 


Stephen Sparkes/Lisa De Rosa   20

Clive Allenby/Elaine Johnson     17

Autumn Cup 2016 photos – see scrolling gallery at bottom of front page


Caribbean Evening – 10th September

Limited places left – please see Club Facebook page

or contact Lisa on 078111 117185

Bank Holiday Monday American Tournament 29th August 2016

Report by Jon Gustard, Tournament Organiser.

Clearly someone had forgotten to tell the weather that it was a Bank Holiday as come 10 o’clock on Monday morning we had 16 expectant competitors poised and ready for battle bathed in beautiful warm late Summer sunshine.

The last Bank Holiday tournament of the year was played under the tried and tested rules, again with seven mixed doubles rounds of fifteen minutes each, starting and stopping to the blow of Kath’s faithful whistle.

Patterns often start to emerge quite early on with this format, and two rounds in Neil Salmon and Richard Brown were putting a marker down in the Men’s competition with only one point between them to Neil’s favour, and with Richard six points ahead of Simon Jesney in third. For the Ladies, Elaine Johnson was stretching out an early lead of seven points ahead of Lisa De Rosa who in turn was five points ahead of Julia Deery with Tracy Mapes, one point further back in fourth. All the while the temperature was rising as cries rang out of “When’s the refreshment break – was that seriously only Round Two we just played?”.

And so it continued for two more rounds before the break with charges being posted in both the Men’s and Ladies competitions – Richard B notched up 42 points in two rounds to Neil’s 25, whilst Tracy recorded 36 points to Julia’s 27, Elaine’s 25 and Lisa’s 24. Kath and Jon worked out the arithmetic as everyone took a break for teas and coffees, cup-cakes and Kath’s very popular speciality of Bara Brith, a traditional Welsh fruit loaf (thanks Kath, Carole Mugwanya and Mrs G for all the baking). So, with four rounds played here’s how it looked at the top:


Richard B                                             80pts

Neil S                                                    64pts

Richard Hurford and Simon J           60pts


Elaine J                                                 67pts

Tracy M                                                 65pts

Jill McN                                                 60pts

Back out into the heat of battle, and the heat of the August sunshine, Neil had two strong rounds whilst Richard B couldn’t repeat his high scores from earlier in the tournament leaving Neil just 5 points behind going into round seven. And here was a crowd pleaser – the random pairing generator had thrown up a gem with the top two, by now some way out in front, going head-to-head for the tournament in the last round. But the randomizer also paired Richard with an in-form Vanessa enabling him to bag 24 points to Neil’s 9 and securing him the overall win, in the end by a very impressive 20 points – congratulations Richard!

Arguably, the Ladies competition was even more tantalising with Tracy continuing her impressive run but with Lisa putting in a late charge leaving just two points between Tracy, Lisa and Elaine with one round to go. Tracy did more than enough in the final round to take the win – congratulations Tracy! But remember the 24 points above that Vanessa and Richard B won in Round Seven? Well they propelled Vanessa right up the rankings all the way to 109 points overall, tied with Lisa! Out came the rule book and some consultation between Kath and Jon, the tournament referees, who agreed that in the event of a tie the placings are determined by points lost – so this time around… deep breaths… Vanessa had lost 97 points to Lisa’s 94 – second place to Lisa!

Once again a huge thanks to Kath for doing all the hard work on the day and sourcing the prizes; thanks also to Richard Hurford for supplying the software which really does make organising this format a bit of a breeze. And thanks also to everyone who participated, a really lovely group and some terrific tennis!

Unfortunately no photos this time but the final top 5 placings were as follows:


Richard B                             131pts

Neil S                                    111pts

Greg D                                  108pts

John K                                  104pts

Steve M                                 102pts


Tracy M                                 114pts

Lisa D                                    109pts

Vanessa E                             109pts

Elaine J                                 105pts

Jill McN and Heather D      98pts


40th Anniversary

The Club celebrates its 40th anniversary today 30th July – with children’s activities, tea and cakes this afternoon and a barn dance in the evening. Members past and present have been invited to take part and celebrate the Club’s achievements and facilities.

Successful Club Finals Weekend- by Bill Stephens

Results – see ‘Championships’ page

Photos are being rotated through the Gallery

Back in 1982 when Wickham Bishops Tennis Club first held its Finals Day only three doubles finals (Mens, Ladies and Mixed) were contested. Fast forward to 2016 and this had increased to an incredible 28 finals, embracing adult (main tournament and plate) and junior competitors ranging from Under 10 boys and girls singles through to Mens Super Vets (Over 65) doubles matches.

Including juniors in the programme for the first time to engender an inclusive and family atmosphere meant the finals were spread over two days on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July with four courts in use to accommodate a full schedule and umpires in place for every match. The event was coordinated by Neil Salmon (Tournament Referee) assisted by an enthusiastic band of helpers and glorious weather throughout ensured there was no disruption to the planned running order.

Upwards of 100 players, Club members, relatives and friends attended on each day and they were awarded with some splendid tennis. A free BBQ proved popular with a seemingly endless supply of burgers and dogs prepared by Alan and Lisa De Rosa on Saturday with Tony and Trudi Easter and Paul Cooper taking over at the grill on Sunday. This fare was supplemented by the availability of cold and hot drinks on request with cakes donated by members and the infamous Strawberry tea a highlight on both afternoons all managed under the watchful control of Jo McCulloch and her team in the Pavilion.

We would like to extend special thanks to Joe and Becci at The Chequers Public House in Wickham Bishops who once again kindly sponsored the whole Summer Tournament and provided beer on the Finals weekend which was gratefully received by those present.

The matches themselves provided some memorable moments and the two blue-ribbon adult Singles events saw new names engraved on the trophies. In the Mens Final, Will Gurton seemingly found the transition from Junior to Senior to his liking as in a display of sustained hard hitting from all parts of the court he overcame the solid resistance and guile of Neil Strachan (the Club’s current Singles Ladder champion) to claim the title in two straight sets.

The Ladies Single title was won by Tracy Mapes in what was probably the outstanding match of the weekend, as she wore down the equally determined defending champion Julia Waddilove in an energy sapping three hour marathon played out in scorching conditions. This Sunday morning masterclass saw Tracy’s aggressive stroke play eventually overcoming Julia’s resolute counter attacking style, as she won 6-4 in the deciding set to enjoy a first Finals Day success.

Some defending champions did hold on to their trophies including Marian Harpur who ended up victorious in three finals. The first saw the retention of her Mixed Doubles title with Steve Taylor in another three-set thriller against the formidable pairing of Neil Strachan and Jenny Cooper, with many fine points being won by a put-away volley in true doubles style. Marian also found success once more with Peter Mickelsen to keep possession of their Mixed Vets Doubles title against first time finalists Brian Stafford and Lorraine Kimber, who showed sufficient glimpses of class to suggest they could be potential winners in the future.

Marian’s third success came in the inaugural Ladies Vets Doubles event where she partnered Jan Rochester to victory over Kath Welsh and Jenny Cooper in a delightful exhibition of court craft and placement depending more on finesse rather than ferocity to win the points. Special mention must be made of Jan’s victory as her name appeared on the trophy as a winner in the very first Ladies Doubles event in 1982 and here she was achieving the same outcome 34 years later. She is a very special player indeed.

Clive Allenby was also successful in three events, first defending his Mens Vets Singles title against old adversary Brian Stafford in a match that swung one way then the other with many long rallies testing the resilience of both players. The second win saw Clive team up with regular partner Graham Lewis-Taylor to overcome past winners Bill Stephens and Neil Salmon to lift the Mens Vets Doubles trophy with a score that belied the closeness of the contest. The support was fairly vocal in this encounter and produced the only Mexican wave of the weekend.

In the two other main finals, last year’s Mens Doubles winner Alex Peperell partnered Steve Southern this time around and they found themselves facing accomplished opposition in the form of Neil Strachan and James Coman. This proved to be an exceptionally high quality match with the four participants seeking net position whenever possible to gain advantage. A fine exhibition of serving, retrieving and volleying from all players drew prolonged and well deserved applause from the spectators throughout the encounter. In a tight three-set match, Steve and Alex eventually prevailed coming back from a set down to win 7-5 in the third.

The last match on court on Sunday was the Ladies Doubles which has traditionally provided a feast of good tennis and we were not disappointed once again. In the event Jenny Cooper and Julia Cloughton retained their crown against Jo Batley and Kath Welsh with many excellent exchanges being seen. With two unorthodox ‘lefties’ on court some unique shots were displayed which defied the laws of physics, but only added to the overall enjoyment and entertainment of the occasion.

The Junior finals were all played in a most sporting and good natured way. The high standard seen was testament to the hard work and dedication of Kath Welsh and her team of coaches that has instilled core standards of behaviour as well as teaching the fundamentals of the game. Highlights included a most mature performance by Fred Barnett in winning the Under 18 Boys Open Final, suggesting an exciting future ahead and double victories for Lily Sokhi in the Under 12 Girls and Under 14 Girls Open Finals, Holly Whitworth in the Under 16 Girls and Under 18 Girls Open Finals and Max Wiley in the Under 12 Boys and Under 14 Boys Finals.


May Bank Holiday Monday American Tournament

Report by Jon Gustard, Tournament Organiser

With the start of week two of the French Open suffering only the second day in its history without a single ball being hit, there was only one tennis tournament to be watching on Bank Holiday Monday – the W.B.T.C. American!  Looking at the forecast, it was going to be a bit touch and go for us with the weather too, but whilst our intrepid competitors had some strong gales to contend with, thankfully the morning did remain dry bar the odd spot of rain in the air.

The tournament was played under the tried and tested rules, with seven mixed doubles “sets” of fifteen minutes each, starting and finishing with the blowing of Kath’s “ACME Thunderer” (any of you living within a ½ mile radius of the courts may have heard it!), and points being scored as 1, 2, 3 etc.  It was great to welcome some new faces to the format and see some more experienced ones playing for the first time in a while, including Neil who has done such a great job on the “other side” organising so many of these events in the recent past.

After only two rounds Will Gurton and Clive Allenby had already started to make their mark by opening up a gap to the rest in the men’s competition; and in the ladies Jill McNulty, Janet Richardson and Vanessa Ellams were establishing a lead. After the first four rounds, we stopped for the customary coffee, tea and cup-cakes (strawberry milkshake or mojito, courtesy of Mrs G) at which point there was only one point in it between Clive and Will in favour of Clive, and Janet five points ahead of Vanessa in the Ladies, with the top 3 in each competition as follows:


Clive A                  84pts

Will G                    83pts

John K                   73pts


Janet R                 79pts

Vanessa E            74pts

Jill McN                 69pts

The tea and cakes barely had time to settle and everyone was back out on court again eager for the last three rounds to battle it out for both prize and glory.  The men’s competition remained on a knife-edge with Clive and Will matching each other with 21 points in Round 5, then Clive adding a single point more than Will in Round 6 to leave him 2 points ahead going into the last round, at which stage John was still in third place but with a lot of work to do being 15 points behind.  In true Allenby style, Clive showed no mercy in the last round winning 23 points to Will’s 21 resulting in Clive winning the men’s competition by just 4 points.

In the ladies competition Round 5 was to prove to be crucial with Vanessa picking up 21 points to Janet’s 13 putting Vanessa 3 points ahead.  Vanessa stretched her lead to 6 points after Round 6 and secured a well-earned victory with a strong performance of 21 points in the final round and an overall win by 8 points.

A huge thanks to Kath for doing all the hard work and sourcing some terrific prizes including a couple of towels actually used at Wimbledon 2015 (professionally laundered, which did lead to some debate!).  Thanks ever so much to Richard Hurford too for supplying the software, the hardware and his precious time to run the 7 round scheduling and scoring throughout the tournament.  Thanks also to everyone who participated – your quick turnaround between sets meant that we could keep the event moving and everyone’s sense of fair play and sportsmanship made it such a pleasurable way to spend a Bank Holiday morning!

For the history books the final top 5 placings were as follows:


Clive A                                  145pts

Will G                                    141pts

John K                                   121pts

Alan P                                   116pts

Neil S                                     110pts


Vanessa E                            132pts

Janet R                                 124pts

Jill McN                                 118pts

Carole M and Tanya P    106pts

There are some photos of the morning in the Gallery


Easter Monday American Tournament

Report by Neil Salmon, event organiser

The long awaited first American tournament of the year looked like it was going to be awash out due to the wet and windy weather on Easter Monday morning, but the forecast was for it to improve in the afternoon. The forecasters were right as the wind duly died down and the rain stopped so a revised start time of 3.30 was chosen. The sun started to shine and although the wind was still blowing, it was more of a strong breeze rather than the gale we had in the morning!  All but one of the original sixteen participants could make the revised start time so John Kyan stepped in as first reserve.

The tournament was played under the usual rules, with seven mixed doubles “sets” of fifteen minutes each, starting and finishing with the blowing of a whistle and points being scored as 1, 2, 3 etc. rather than the normal 15, 30, 40 etc. After the first four rounds, we stopped for refreshments and ate the home made cakes baked by Jo and Carole, mmm, lovely! The scores at this stage were very close in both the mens and ladies sections and the leaders were as follows:


Ed      80 points

Greg  80 points

Rod   70 points


Lorraine 73 points

Christy   71 points

Jo           71 points

We then tackled the final three “sets” with the wind dying down a bit but still the sun was shining. After round five, Greg had just edged ahead of Ed by two points in the men’s and Jo’s large score meant she leapfrogged both Christy and Lorraine into first place with an impressive eight point lead. Both Ed and Jo got high scores in round six which meant that barring disasters for either of them, they should end up being the eventual winners. There were no disasters and Ed duly won the mens by an impressive 23 points and Jo the ladies by a closer margin of seven points. Greg was runner up in the men’s and Lorraine secured second place in the ladies.

It was good to see some “first timers” in an American, namely John Barrett, Steve Mapes and Rod Kendall in the mens and Christy in the ladies, as well as many of the regulars. My thanks go to Kath for getting all the prizes, Jan for the balls, Jo and Carole for the lovely cakes and to Tom (Sam’s son) for being our (busy) ball boy for the afternoon!


I hope everyone enjoyed the tournament and I was particularly pleased that we got it played and didn’t have to give in to the weather.


The top five final placings were as follows:




Ed           147 points


Greg       124


John K    121


Steve M 119


Alec        113




Jo            136 points


Lorraine 126


Jan          119


Christy    118


Zoe          111


Intermediate/Tactics Course – starts Wednesday 9th March
There will be an Intermediate course starting on 9th March designed to improve individual shot technique, footwork court position etc. and also to introduce doubles tactics. Players will need to be competent at serving, returning and rallying in order to benefit from the tactics training. The six week course will be run on Wednesday evenings from 6.30 – 7.30 pm.
The dates are 9th, 16th, 23th and 30th March and 6th and 13th April (reserve date 20th April) The signing-up sheet is on the notice board. Places are filling up. Please only put your name down if you expect to be able to attend at least four of the six sessions. The cost of the course will be £30 payable to the coach (Abi Claydon) at the first session. If you have any questions please email Graham ( or call him on 07449 784109.


Saskia Clark – Essex Sports Personality of the Year

Club Quiz

A great night was had by all at the annual Club Quiz in Totham Village Hall. 14 teams battled it out for the honour of winning a newly commissioned trophy. Many thanks to Jo for organising the event and to the Quiz Management Team, Bill (Quizmaster), Muriel and Ian (Scorers), and Kath and Sue (for collecting answers and updating the scoreboard). Thank you also to those who supported the event so enthusiatically and those who donated prizes for the raffle. Surprisingly the mystery prize, in an envelope, undoubtedly the star prize, was left by prize winners to last. On opening, it turned out to be an invitation to join Kath and Lisa for tennis with scrummy afternoon tea! The lucky winner will remain anonymous (Ed.)! The event raised about £550 for the Club. A photo of the male members of the winning team is in the Gallery (the ladies were being modest about their achievement!)

WBTC Quiz Results

1 Team Salmon 133 points

2 Team Kyan 132

3 Team Watson 130

4 Team Rochester 127

5= Team Sweeting 125

5= Team Hopgood 125

7 Team De Rosa 123.5

8 Team Welsh 121

9= Team Ellams 119

9= Team Gildersleeves 119

11 Team Waddilove 118

12 Team McCulloch 103.5

13 Team Cornes 101

14 Team Davis 94


Men’s/Ladies Club Sessions – Suspended

The Club has introduced a new Club Session on Wednesday evenings which alternates each week between men and ladies. The forthcoming dates are:

Men 2015 – 18 Nov, 2, 16, 30 Dec; 2016 – 13, 27 Jan, 10, 24 Feb.

Ladies 2015 – 25 Nov, 9, 23 Dec; 2016 – 6, 20 Jan, 3, 17 Feb.


Annual General Meeting

The Thirty-nineth Annual General Meeting of the Wickham Bishops Tennis Club took place on Monday, 2nd November 2015 at 8pm in Wickham Bishops Village Hall. To assist the “social” feel of the event wine, soft drinks and nibbles were served afterwards.

Jenny Cooper (Chairman), Clive Allenby (Treasurer) and John Kyan (Junior Rep) gave comprehensive reports on the year’s activities and our President Val Martin expressed her amazement at the success the Club had enjoyed and the way it had developed over the last thirty-nine years. She also thanked successive committees for their hard work which has made it possible.


The Littlewoods Trophy – this trophy, donated by Brian and Thelma Littlewood, is awarded to an adult member for exceptional service or achievement. This was awarded to Neil Salmon for organising the summer tournament, Autumn Cup and American tournaments and becoming the tournament referee.

The Junior Recognition Award was presented to William Jesney for his positive attitude, outstanding effort and general contribution to junior tennis at the Club.

The ‘Suggestion of the Year’ winner was Jon Gustard whose idea was to stimulate interest in singles in the Club by organising an online ladder and running a Fast4 format singles club session on Sunday evenings, both of which have been very successful, Jon was awarded a trophy and free membership for a year.

Kath Welsh was presented with the Jack Petchey Leaders Award.

The Wimbledon Trivia Quiz was jointly won by Lisa De Rosa and Matt Watson.

There are photos of the prize winners and trophies in the Gallery. 


Jack Petchey Awards Ceremony
Congratulations to Theo Wolf and Jack Salmon who recently attended the Jack Petchey Awards ceremony and celebration at the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford, together with other award winners. They were presented with medals and certificates in acknowledgement of their outstanding contributions to the Club and assisting the junior section in particular. They are also both now Level 1 Tennis Assistants. Photos of the presentations are in the Gallery.

Autumn Trophy and Bench Presentations

Report by Neil Salmon, Tournament Organiser and Referee

Unlike the weather for our recent August Bank Holiday tournament, it was sunshine all the way for the 2015 Autumn Cup. This is an annual competition where players compete for a trophy kindly donated by Bill & Muriel Stephens. Unfortunately Bill & Muriel couldn’t be there this year, however, in their absence, a great tournament took place.

The afternoon started with the unveiling of the club’s benches, acknowledging the support of individual sponsors for each bench. The four benches have very kindly been donated by Jan & Bernie Rochester, Cherry & Graham Lewis-Taylor, Susanne & Clive Allenby and Jenny & Paul Cooper. Thanks go to all these individuals for these lovely new club benches which all have plaques appropriately engraved.

The tournament then got underway with the first round of matches starting with Carole blowing the whistle. Four rounds of matches lasting ten minutes each, took the players up to a much needed refreshment break. Home-made cakes baked by Jane Johnston and Paul Bluck went down very well. Although the majority of players didn’t want to know the scores at the half-way stage, the leaders were as follows:


Janet Richardson      69

Elaine Johnson         64

Jo McCulloch            62

Lorraine Kimber        62


James Coman          63

Ed Cannon               62

John Kyan                62

Paul Bluck                57

Jon Gustard             57 

Play resumed after the break and the next four rounds of matches took place. After all eight rounds had been completed we ended up with the final positions and our semi-finalists who would proceed through to the knock-out stages. However, it was very close and Hilary had to be called in as an adjudicator to verify the scores!

The final placings and points scored for all the ladies’ and men’s competitions were as follows:


Lorraine Kimber      132

Zoe Cannon           127

Jo McCulloch          120

Janet Richardson    115

Elaine Johnson       115

Hilary Needham      94

Mia Alexander         90

Jane Johnston         88

Janet went through to the semi-finals by virtue of her victory over Elaine in their only head to head match.


Jon Gustard               127

Ed Cannon                 122

James Coman            119

Graham Lewis-Taylor 111

John Kyan                  111

Paul Bluck                  108

John Johnston            93

Richard Brown            90

Graham went through to the semi-finals by virtue of the fact that he’d won more matches than John K.

The semi-finals took place with Lorraine & Graham playing against Jon & Janet and James & Zoe playing against Ed & Jo. This meant that there would be a Cannon in the final! As it happens, both matches ended 12 – 8 with Lorraine & Graham and James & Zoe coming out on top. So, after eight rounds of matches and the semi-finals, we arrived at the final. All the finalists certainly deserved to be there after playing a lot of tennis.

A good supportive crowd stayed to watch an excellent match. In the end James & Zoe won by 20 points to 12 and perhaps the younger legs of James had the slight advantage or was it the fact that he had his own fan club there? However, it was a great match to finish off an excellent tournament. Many congratulations to Zoe for winning in the first American-style tournament that she’s entered and to James for winning this trophy for the fourth time! It was good to see Zoe and Ed in their first American tournament as well as Richard and I hope that these and everyone else enjoyed themselves.


Many thanks to everyone for participating (and not giving me any problems!) and also to Kath for getting all the prizes sorted out and to Paul and Jane for baking cakes. Also, many thanks to Carole for the whistle-blowing, time-keeping, refreshment-sorting and the awarding of the prizes. It was a lovely afternoon, roll on the next one!

Ed. – Many thanks to Neil and Carole for running such an enjoyable tournament. Photos of the afternoon can be seen in the Gallery.








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