Finals Night



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Finals Night Report by League Chairman  Don Davies

The 83rd Liverpool Closed finals played on Monday 7th March and sponsored by Fawley Construction, turned out to be one of the best in recent memory.  With the Police club no longer in use, a suitable alternative venue was required, the CADWA club in Childwall, being chosen for the first time. The main tournament, staged at Wavertree Tennis Centre on Sunday 27th February commenced at 9am and finished on time at 6-30pm with thirteen players' qualifying for finals' night.

Nine times men's champion, Kevin Dolder opened the event with a three straight win over Stewart Mudie, who went out at the same stage to Tomasz Rzeszotko a year ago, came close in the opening game but, was swept aside in the next two. The other semi saw Paul Hutchings take the first game but was unable to contain, or impose his relentless top spin game, on Jonathan Taylor, and lost the next three. 

For the fourth year in a row, the ladies' singles event had to be decided by a round robin competition with only four players bothering to enter. Top seed Cherith Graham, a finalist for the fifth year in succession met Terri-Anne Nolan, the pair winning two each in the group the pair thereby qualifying without facing each other.  Cherith, four times the champion in the past eight years, was too strong and quick for Terri-Anne and eased to her fifth title and stands behind the late Eileen Mansell won took the title six times between 1946 and 1955.   

Junior title holder Michael Lunn retained his crown in a tremendous encounter with Joe Mullin over five close games.  Mullin edged the opening game, 12-10 the holder hitting back 11-6 before sneaking home again 13-11 to open up a 2-1 lead. Mullin wasn't out of it though, forcing a decider when taking the fourth, 11-8. The contest had been of a high class and this continued in the last game where Lunn, the top seed and coached by Keith Williams, did enough to hold on to his crown which his mentor won in 1975, winning 11-8. Others who have won the junior title and have gone on to win the men's singles, include, Gordon Birch, John McNee, Mark Thomas, Andrew Eden and Kevin Dolder.  

The final was a scintillating affair which had the crowd applauding almost every point , Taylor drawing first blood with the game to 7. Dolder, appearing in his 14th Closed men's final, levelled matters, winning 11-8 both players giving a taste of what was to come. A free flowing third game produced some tremendous rallies both players smashing and retrieving from all parts of the court which at times had the audience gasping with the sheer intensity and accuracy of the shots.  At ten all in the third Taylor snatched the points to lead 2-1. Although Taylor seemed to be in the ascendancy, back came Dolder, sweeping to a crunching 11-4 win to force a decider.  From one all Dolder took charge and at 6-3, it seemed his final experience would guide him home. However, Taylor who, prior to the match told me it was his long held ambition to win the Liverpool men's title, restricted Dolder to just one point from the next seven to lead 9-7. He then pulled one back from the first of his two serves before a fierce forehand smash from Jonathan gave him match point. With the packed room in raptures over the standard of play, the tension heightened when Kevin made it 10-9 the crowd rising to their feet in tribute to both players' when Jonathan scored the winning point to take the title, the first Englishman other than Dolder, Williams and Hutchings, to claim the crown since Peter Flint in 1993.  

The Open Doubles event went according to the seeding with Kevin Dolder and Andy Taylor regaining  the title they won in 2009.  In the last eight they made short work in disposing of John Hope and Ray Jackson, dropping just nime points and repeated the act in the semi's beating the James Bartolo/Steve Green partnership, 6, 4, 6. Second seeds Paul Hutchings and Aaron Beech also progressed in the quarter's beating Cherith Graham and Michael Lunn, 9, 6, 7, but, then had a scare in the semi's, dropping the first and third games against the Jonathan Taylor/Rob Wylie combination before taking the next couple, 8 and 7.  The opening game in the final was all one way traffic. the top seeds taking only two points. They came close to opening up a 2-0 lead but fell just short when the Ford pair levelled  matters, winning 11-9 and their chance was gone, Dolder and Taylor sweeping to victory in the next two, 11-5, 11-8 and the title.

Paul Hutchings, the veterans' top seed, playing his third event of the night, comfortably dealt with first time Closed finalist and Crosby High club-mate, England ranked 159 veteran Rob Wylie, to claim the over 40's title which he did in straight games. 

John Hope, who plays in four leagues' in the north west and lives in Manchester, was the runner-up to Keith Williams in the veteran final in 2009, made sure he didn't leave the city empty handed as his team MU, did the day before.  Dave Evans started off in confident mood but was soon put to the sword, losing three straight to give Hope his first trophy in his third Liverpool Closed.   

Only two sets on the night required a fifth game decider, the junior final and the unforgetable, men's final which closed the event. The general opinion of the players' was that the standard of play was helped greatly by the Cadwa club conditions.  When the winning point was scored by Jonathan Taylor, the whole room rose from their seats' to acclaim a thrilling finale, a credit to both players, the event and the league. 

I'm sure that our guests' tonight Bill and Vivian Fawley, will forgive me for leaving until now, to say how delighted we are to see them again, as we have over the past twenty three years since the Company first became involved in sponsoring the tournament.   Their generous financial assistance is most appreciated.   Thanks also are accorded to Cadwa Association Chairman, Roy Smythe, a former Cadwa junior player in the 1960's, for allowing the League to stage tonight's finals' and to Rob Davies for the use of the social club and organising the refreshments following the conclusion of play.  With no member of the League holding Tournament Referee qualification, thanks are in order to Dave Cochrane, who has also taken charge of this and the G.P. in recent years.   A number of others helped along the way and I am grateful to all for their invaluable contribution. I must also mention Tournament Organisers' Russell Thornton and Arthur Garnett together with League Secretary Mike Power, who was heavily involved in the build up to the event and to Roly Wright who produced the programme just days after turning out the latest excellent Digest edition. Finally, I'd like to thank Faith Moore and Rachel who again sat at the check in desk for many hours at Wavertree together with Graham Rollinson and to our Blue Jacketed umpires who help make tonight's event look polished and professional. Well done to all.  As in previous years, I'm certain we shall witness a night of top class play with 100% effort given by every player at the table.  Hope you all enjoy the evening and the food, at the end of play.
The night had been a total success with the crowd, some of whom, had never seen play of his calibre, left with a feeling of great satisfaction while those who have seen it all before, concurred that this was the finest men's final in recent memory. 

Don Davies



Finals' at CADWA 7th March 2011

Men's Semi-Finals
Kevin Dolder bt Stewart Mudie 9, 7, 3:
Jonathan Taylor bt Paul Hutchings -7, 6, 9, 7;

Final: Jonathan Taylor bt Kevin Dolder 7, -8, 10, -4, 9;


Ladies' Final: Cherith Graham bt Terri-Anne Nolan 6, 6, 6;


Doubles Final: Kevin Dolder/Andy Taylor bt Paul Hutchings/Aaron Beech -2, 9, 5, 8;

Veteran Final: Paul Hutchings bt Rob Wylie 4, 7, 4;


Junior Final: Michael Lunn bt Joe Mullin -10, 6, 11, -8, 8;


Over 55's Final: John Hope bt Dave Evans 6, 3, 7;

Referee Arthur Garnett
Umpires' Tom Purcell and Graham Rollinson