The Yorkshire Men’s Over 35s Tennis Team consisting of Martin Calvert, Ben Gudzelak, Pete Hall, Paul Ranson and Adam de Vries travelled to Eastbourne with a goal of remaining in Division 1. With 2 new players joining the team (Pete Hall and Adam de Vries), both of whom had not played county tennis before, there was an air of uncertainty as to how the weekend would go.
On the Friday Yorkshire faced Leicestershire, a team they had beaten convincingly 2 years previously, though their team this year consisted of several younger players. Martin Calvert got the campaign underway at number 2 singles and notched up a solid win. Ben Gudzelak followed this with a straight forward win at number 1 singles. Pete Hall made his debut playing with Paul Ranson. This match was very close with Yorkshire dropping the first set and then bouncing back to sneak the second set and winning the match tiebreak 10-8. This meant we had won the tie, and substituted Pete for Adam in the doubles. Ben and Martin partnered up first however and beat the Leicestershire doubles pair comfortably. Adam then made his debut partnering Paul and they won easily, meaning that Yorkshire had beaten Leicestershire 5-0.
Saturday saw the Yorkshire men take on Hertfordshire, and a win would see them safe in Division 1. Martin Calvert went on first again at number 2 singles and had to play a very good player with a massive serve, great volleys and good movement. Martin came through this test with a 6-4, 7-6 win. Ben then took on the Hertfordshire number 1 and won 6-2, 6-1. Paul and Pete partnered up again in the doubles and played another exciting match going exactly the same way as the first day, winning 10-8 in the match tiebreak. This meant we were safe in Division 1 and Paul was substituted for Adam in order to save Paul’s energy. Adam and Pete lost but Ben and Martin won their doubles match and therefore Yorkshire had beaten Hertfordshire 4-1.
On Sunday Yorkshire faced defending champions Kent in a straight shoot-out for the title as both teams had won on Friday and Saturday. Martin played number 2 singles and after a slow start dropping the first set 6-2 was a break up twice in the second set but couldn’t quite close it out. Ben took on the Kent number 1 and with his serve faltering he lost in straight sets though there were some exciting points played that thrilled the crowds. Paul and Pete teamed up in a must win match, and after losing a close first set put up a real fight in the second set but couldn’t quite sneak it and ended up losing meaning Yorkshire had finished runners-up in Division 1 with Kent as champions.
The Yorkshire team showed great fight and determination with every team member supporting and contributing on and off court. It was a great performance by the whole team, full of Yorkshire grit. The team will come back next year ready to fight for the title.
Thank you to Ben G for the match report.