House Tennis Championships

Last Wednesday, the House Lawn Tennis Championships took place on Bates. Would northern rock be hard to crack? How far would the hand of southern hospitality extend? Would the courts be lit up with eastern promise? Or would it be full steam ahead for the Great Western rockets?

Boys bedecked in House colours hinted at the Games of the Commonwealth or indeed the Olympics as this exotic splash of the uniform lent a relaxed formality and an explicit competitive edge to this sunniest of occasions. Every synthetic blade on Bates’ surface was covered by keen racketeers in Western yellow or Northern blue or Eastern green or Southern red.  

Thirty-four boys played in the competition this year and it was lovely to wander round to witness the play. What struck me most was the quietness yet business-like energy created by the boys’ determination, concentration and will to represent their houses with success.

East was too strong in both Seniors and Juniors.

When Vincent and Findlay were nominated second pair behind Goaman and Hine in the seniors, and when it was decreed that Worthington, Goaman and Horsfield would play second fiddle to Pownall and Hine mi. in the juniors, it was always going to be hard for the other three points of the compass to make obstructive waves to hamper the inexorable cruise of the Great Eastern’s voyage to the promised land. That said, all senior boys policed their matches beautifully, played all points with uncompromising vim yet fairness and made the occasion relaxing and fun for the master in charge.

It was bright and colourful – a carnival of lawn tennis, the standard was impressive and the spirit was spot-on. The boys got it plum right.

Pimms for my men. We ride at dawn.