Defending champions tasting success on Risbygate finals day

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Risbygate Tennis Club held its annual finals day on Sunday, with four out of the five competitions won by the defending champions.

Sam Ratcliffe retained his Men’s Singles title after beating James Hoad in straight sets.

The first few games suggested an even contest was in-store as many of the games went to deuce, but Ratcliffe’s powerful hitting helped him win the important points.

In the second set the tennis reached an even higher standard, with Hoad defending doggedly and Ratcliffe making few errors to defend his title in two sets.

In the Men’s Doubles final, Ratcliffe teamed up with his league partner Nick Porter, and the pair comfortably beat Tom Taylor and Peter Herriott to lift the trophy.

Taylor and Herriott started well and at 2-2 it looked like being a long match, but then the number one seeds raised their game.

Ratcliffe found his range on the groundstrokes, while Porter’s angled volleys finished many of the points as they eased to a straight sets victory to secure the title for a third time.

Jo Harpur and Gail Corcoran played out an epic battle in the Ladies Singles with both playing superb control on their backhands.

In the first set the advantage went back and forth and it was impossible to predict the outcome, but as the match wore on Harpur’s service became more consistent.

Harpur edged ahead in the third set to win a close match in three sets and therefore retain the title she won last year.

The two ladies were back on court half an hour later, again on opposite sides of the net, to contest the Ladies Doubles. Corcoran played with Genella Doble, while Harpur teamed up with Salome Smit, and the quartet all hit good groundstrokes.

Corcoran’s aggressive net play made the difference as she and Doble won in straight sets to defend their title.

In the Mixed Doubles final, Sarah Warner and Herriott saw off Smit and Ian Cristelow in straight sets, while Dan Playford beat Tony Doherty to lift the Men’s Plate final.