Well, the swallows, house martins and cuckoos have arrived and now that summer has pretty much arrived too last weekend was set fair for Bridge Tennis Club’s first tennis event of the year.
This is, for anyone who has recently joined or is otherwise unfamiliar with it, the eagerly awaited Annual Ashes Match against our old friends and rivals Chilham Tennis Club, held every year on the Sunday of the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.
As a bit of background, the event first took place in 2014 and had been won by Bridge every year until 2016, when Chilham deservedly won the title and carried the Ashes back to their official resting place at The Woolpack Inn in Chilham. The Ashes, which consist of the ashes of a number of vintage wooden tennis raquets cremated in the fire of The Woolpack after the inaugural match in 2014 and housed in a wooden display casket fashioned by our (and Chilham’s) Tony Blackall, are held by the victorious club to display at their clubhouse for one month, after which they are returned to The Woolpack. The Shield, which accompanies the Ashes, is suitably engraved with the winner’s name and retained by the winner to display at their clubhouse for the remainder of the year.
The matches are played between Men’s, Ladies’ and Mixed Pairs, half the matches being played at Chilham Tennis Club’s courts and the other half on the astro turf courts at Chilham Castle, against the beautiful backdrop of Chilham Castle and grounds. To add to the sense of occasion horse riders competing in one of Chilham Castle’s nationally recognised equestrian events are also to be seen galloping round the cross-country course in the background.
This year Bridge turned out in force, determined to win the Ashes back, with a number of the Bridge players also contributing to a superb selection of appetising refreshments, intended to sustain both teams throughout their labours. Battle commenced and after an exciting afternoon’s tennis and many hard fought games Bridge succeeded in their endeavours, eventually winning by a creditable 112 to Chilham’s 71.
As has become the custom, the teams then repaired to The Woolpack to partake of further refreshment, provided as ever by the wonderfully welcoming and hospitable Chilham team. Again, Bridge’s turnout was able to do justice to the occasion and a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all.
The Bridge team would like to extend their heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the efforts of everyone from both teams involved in the organisation of the event and provision of refreshments and especially to Chilham Tennis Club for the use of their courts and their superb apres-tournament hospitality.
Additionally, Bridge Tennis Club would like to thank Stuart Wheeler, owner of Chilham Casle, for the continued use of the Chilham Castle courts, which adds so much to the atmosphere of this special annual event.
Long may it continue.
Helen Blackwood, Alison Cannon, Liz Dear, Joy Gould, Katie Hinckley, Jo Labon, Pam Lewis, Debbie Luetchford
Richard Baker, Aidan Blackall, Tony Blackall, Geoff Dear, Will Hinckley, Paul Labon, Dan Salter, Pete Swan
Katrina Bromfield, Annie Clare, Lyn Goodman, Alison Hicks, Rhona Jardella, Jo Rohan, Teresa Rowe, Katie Saxby
Trevor Barnes, Gerry D’Cruz, Patrick Dear, James Garrett, Ben Geiger, Barrie Gore, Jonathan Higgs, Nigel Morley, Kit Renwick
Bridge Tennis Club & Chilham Tennis Club would like to jointly express their sadness at the recent passing of Tessa Wheeler. We know she was very supportive of this local event and her committment to the community in Chilham will be long remembered.