At last! Rudgwick tennis aces get finals played
Delayed, truncated and interrupted by both Covid 19 and the weather, Rudgwick Tennis Club’s annual finals day finally took place.
With the ladies doubles final having already been held, and the mixed doubles still at the quarter-final stage, only three finals were played.
Before these, the final stage of the men’s singles semi-final had to be finished. Young Cameron Barr and new member Rob Jones had got to 6-0, 2-2 in Barr’s favour the evening before when the heavens opened, and they had to return.
Barr won the next four on the trot to win 6-0, 6-2.
He moved straight into the first final of the day against another youngster, Gabe O’Keefe, appearing in his first final and having beaten two of the club’s top players in the quarter and semi-final, dropping only three games in four sets.
Barr’s experience as last year’s beaten finalist and one year’s age difference proved decisive, although both players showed many examples of their power and skill, with the fastest rallies and shots of the day.
With the sun appearing, the ladies moved on to centre stage with their singles final, with two juniors, both of whom are Sussex county squad players, contesting the trophy.
Although the defending champion Lottie Barr came out on top, beating Morgan Kings, appearing in her first of what many believe will be many finals in the future, 6-1 6-2, the score did not reflect the quality of the long rallies.
The day ended with the men’s doubles and this turned into an epic struggle.
Cameron Barr and Gabe O’Keefe were again on opposite sides of the net, O’Keefe partnered by losing semi-finalist Rob Jones, and Barr by club chair and ‘senior pro’ Tim Bloomfield. The latter were defending champions.
The challengers quickly moved into a 4-0 lead, with Barr and Bloomfield then finding their game and winning the first set 7-6.
The match then turned around with Jones and O’Keefe winning the second relatively easily 6-2.
The third set was a marathon. Barr and Bloomfield were ahead at 4-1 and 5-3, with two match points missed.
But just over hours after starting, Jones and O’Keefe e managed to get over the line, winning the set 7-5 and becoming the newest champions in the club.