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Current Club Champions

6 November 2015

Please click on club-champions link to see past winners of club closed competitions.

Once again the Radley Club Championships were each held over a weekend and Chris Ronaldson created draws from the eight available members with lowest handicaps.  Many of those in the draw were the same as in 2014 but three new names made it to the doubles final and two of them also reached the singles semi finals.

RCTC Singles Final 2015

There were some close, hard fought ties in the early matches of this year’s competition but both finalists reached the final stage without dropping a set; that was about to change as defending champion Stewart Licudi and first-time challenger Charlie Harries-Jones faced each other.

The match started at a furious pace, set by Stewart and followed closely by Charlie.  Fast play, hard hitting and low, hard, accurate boasts by Stewart from the hazard end were the main features of the opening set.  Both players retrieved well, covering every inch of the court and refusing to give ground but the pace and style of the play best suited Stewart who took the set 6-1.

RCTC Singles Finalists 2015

Charlie Harries-Jones receiving the Chris Ronaldson Trophy from defending champion Stewart Licudi

There was a definite change to the pace and pattern of the second set, Charlie started to play with increased composure, measuring shots by length to Stewart’s backhand corner whenever possible.  Charlie’s tighter shots made it more difficult for Stewart to dictate the pace and force of play, wrests became longer and retrieving, by both players, even more impressive.  Charlie started the set the stronger and while Stewart fought back the second set went to Charlie 6-3.

The final set was scheduled to start from 3-3 but both players elected to play a complete final set, much to the delight of those viewing.

The third set started much like the second with Charlie taking the first two games.  It seemed Stewart was trying to revert to the hard hitting game with low boasts to the corners but with little margin for error several boasts  were a little too low while Charlie was reading the game more effectively than in the first set with improved timing and confidence.  Both players won spectacular points with some excellent shots and ploys but the balance of play remained with Charlie and he wrapped the set up 6-3 to become the new club champion and holder of the Chris Ronaldson Trophy.

RCTC Doubles Final 2015

Both Charlie Harries-Jones and Stewart Licudi inevitably suffered from their epic 3-set singles final, especially after their semi-finals in the morning, but nevertheless (supported respectively by Charlie Harris and Nick Browne) were able to produce an extremely entertaining contest.

With youth on their side, the two Charlies won 6/3 6/3 in a match of varying fortunes. They rushed to a 5/1 lead in the first set, before Stewart began to find some rhythm and, with some steady and intelligent play at net from Nick Browne, fought back to 3/5.

Despite reaching deuce, the veterans could not go further, but did sustain their challenge to lead 3/1 in the second set (having won 5 of 7 games) as the two Charlies lost a little discipline (both being young and fit enough to actually reach the same ball – not a problem for their opponents). Gradually, though, they were pegged back despite two very tight games at 3/3.

RCTC Doubles Finalists 2015

2015 Doubles Finalists: Nick Browne, Stewart Licudi, Charlie Harries-Jones and Charlie Harris

The Charlies are hard to play against; a left and right-hander; graceful floor strokes from Charlie H-J: brutal hitting from Charlie H, usually off balls that most would play length. Notably among them, some volleyed forces and one picked from his right ankle under the grille off a fine Browne volley and smashed straight back into the ‘Door’ past Nick’s nose.

Nick was at the top of his game, playing with some real economy, while Stewart gave all he had; in the end the ‘young pretenders’ were a challenge too far and they claimed the title.

 

 

 

 

 

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