With the final going to the last set, the 17th Windmill Hill Bourne Valley Tennis Tournament had a photo finish. Roger Barnikel and Jane Laborda beat John Heather and Camilla Woodhouse in a tie-breaker, after trailing a set behind.
The preliminary rounds were played on 14 courts in and around the village, with the finals being played at Medhurst, the home of Philip and Gill Winchcombe, the organisers.
In picture from left to right Joanna Hills, Carol Cope, Peter Henderson, Camilla Woodhouse, John Heather, GY, Roger Barnacle, Jane Laborda and Philip Winchcombe. Jane was the lucky winner of a week-end at Windmill Hill.
"This year, Philip had a record number of entries and was having to turn people away. This tournament has become a highly enjoyable and well-organised event, with a splendid meal at Medhurst when it is all over. This year, we had the bon us of a cliff-hanger final."
Philip Winchcombe's comments on the day follow.
The 17th Bourne Valley centered on St Mary Bourne and again sponsored by the Windmill Hill Tennis Academy. Players enjoyed wonderful weather on 4 June right until the main final when a heavy downpour sent many spectators looking for umbrellas while the players moved from a grass court to an adjacent hard court and continued in the rain. Despite this, most spectators remained until 8pm to watch some of the closest finals seen for many years in the event. 111 players played throughout the day on 14 courts, with 3 group finals being played in the evening.
The first final saw Ted Sclater (Ibthorpe) and Joanne Hills (Whitchurch) beat Andrew Higgs (Amport) and Anne Prince (Upper Enham) 6-3. Next, Peter Henderson (Penton Mewsey) and Carole Cope (Whitchurch) beat David Hills (husband of first finalist Joanne) who was five times as old as his outstanding 12 year old partner Rachel Whiteside (North Waltham), 6-4. We will hear more of Rachel in the years to come.
The main final was certainly the closest and most exciting seen for many years with newcomer Roger Barnacle (Odiham) and Jane Laborda (Andover), losing the first set 6-3, finally to overcome John Heather (Hartley Wintney) and Camilla Woodhouse (St Mary Bourne) 7-5 in a third set one game tie break when the light was beginning to go. Quite by chance, John Heather was due to go to Windmill Hill for a week the day after the event – so watch out next year!
Congratulating all those who took part, but especially the winners, Sir George Young drew Jane Laborda’s name from the winners for a free weekend at Windmill Hill, and local St Mary Bourne Julie Pritchard as the raffle winner for the second free weekend provided by the sponsors.
Organiser Philip Winchcombe thanked all those who helped stage the event, especially the court owners, and expects local churches to benefit by over £1000. He is considering introducing a social section next year for those players who would prefer not to play competitively, while retaining the emphasis on competitive play for more serious players. He would welcome views on this.’