King/Riggall crowned champs

By GT | posted on January 23, 2020

THE Albany Open Tennis Championships held over the weekend at the Emu Point Tennis Club served up one of the most amazing finishes ever seen.

The winning team were well behind the leaders after two rounds however, such was the format that a big win can turn things around in the blink of an eye, and that’s exactly what happened.

Lawley Park duo Sam Graham and Nelson Stanborough went into their final round robin match against Craig Doney and Chris Wright needing a cricket score to overturn a big deficit to make the final, and they did so with a resounding 9-4 victory.

The final against the undefeated team of Eric Rae and Geoff Stade was a classic that went down to the wire with Graham and Stanborough sneaking home 6-5 to take the title.

In their victory speech it was suggested that maybe they had ‘done a Bradbury’, in reference to Olympic hero Steven Bradbury who simply sat back and waited for the leaders to make a mistake or two.

A Grade Women’s Doubles winners Clare King and Alexandra Riggall have no doubt heard of their father John Pugh’s tennis exploits that has inspired them to play a brand of tennis which has now netted them consecutive Albany Open titles.

Going through the day undefeated, King and Riggall won the final convincingly against Annette Cake and Diane Cook 9-1.

In the Women’s B Grade final, the pairing of Bec Jefferis and Lynda James proved too strong for Ala Wrobel and Fran Stamp with a hard fought 7-3 victory.

John Pugh made it through to the Men’s B Grade Doubles final with Greg Cook where they took on youngsters Michael Swarbrick and Luke Bairstowe.

Despite a brave showing from two of the region’s elder sporting statesmen, they were no match for Swarbrick and Bairstowe who took the match and title 9-3.

Mixed Doubles has a way of testing friendships, relationships and marriages alike and in the case of Clare and Travis King it was oh so close to a potential second honeymoon for the two.

Mixed Doubles specialist Richard Piggott and Hermiene Tyler reversed a 5-6 round robin loss to the Kings with a thrilling 6-5 win in the final of the A Grade in a high-quality match in difficult conditions.

Despite a strong afternoon sea breeze that tested even the most seasoned campaigners, it produced some brilliant tennis and the B Grade final was just as enthralling.

Youngster Mackenzie Thompson carried her father Paul through to a nail biting 5-4 win against Michelle Cook and Greg ‘Duck’ Hill who finished on top of the table after the round robin stage.

Shot of the tournament goes to Kazim Khap, a regular at the Albany Open, for a ‘tweener’ (between the legs) winner that Roger F would have been proud of.

Outstanding Kazim.

Thanks go to Club Curator Ian MacMillan for preparing the courts for not only the Open but throughout the season.