Iain Tennant was crowned the Scottish Universities Individuals Champion for the second time a few weekends ago after beating fellow Edinburgh Uni teammate Nick Roberts in the Final.
The championships were held at Newland’s lawn tennis Centre in Glasgow over a long weekend, with all players getting five matches. Edinburgh was well represented with seven in the men’s draw; Iain Tennant, Nick Roberts, Tom Metcalf, Rik Keating, Ben Carpenter, Michael Grinton and Henry Pearce, as well as two competitors in the Ladies; Lizzie Barry and Helen Fay.
The first round of matches was held on Friday evening, and all the guys progressed through to the second round without too many problems – with the exception of Henry, who had the toughest first round draw against Stuart Tennant. Henry came out of the blocks quicker taking a 1-0 lead but Tennant fought back to win a tight 3-1. In the women’s draw Lizzie progressed through to the top half of the draw after a comfortable win, Helen had a tougher draw and consequently moved to the plate event.
The second round took place the next day, where Iain, Rik, Tom all won comfortably 3-0. Ben came unstuck against the third seed Peter Halliday from Glasgow losing 3-0, but the biggest match of the round was the first all-Edinburgh clash of the tournament between Michael and Nick. Nick started the more sprightly racing into a 2-0 but, not wanting to be embarrassed, Michael dug in to take the third game. However, he could not sustain the pressure and Nick managed to close out the match 3-1. Meanwhile, both Lizzie and Helen started the day sluggishly and struggled in their early matches, suffering narrow defeats.
In the afternoon matches Edinburgh made up half of the quarter-finalists in the Men’s draw and so unsurprisingly there was another big Edinburgh match-up as Iain faced Tom. Tom showed his potential in the first two games, playing some nice squash and putting Iain under pressure. Iain, however, was still too strong, taking them 11-5, 11-6. In the third game Tom began to tire and it showed as Iain ruthlessly put the match to bed with an 11-0 win. In the meantime, Rik faced the Glasgow Uni number two, and fourth seed, Liam Dickson in the second quarter-final. Rik struggled from the off and seemed to lack his usual quick tempo; he unfortunately wasn’t able to grind out a winning performance, as he so often manages, losing a comfortable 3-0.
Nick was drawn in the final quarter-final and had a tough draw against Heriot-Watt number one and second seed Phil McWilliams. McWilliams started strongest, taking the opening game 11-8 before closing out a tight second game 12-10. From here on in, though, Nick cut out his errors and used his sizable frame to smash home volley after volley, taking the third game 11-8 and the fourth 11-9. This took the match into a fifth and deciding game. McWilliams was always in the lead – although never by more than a two-point margin – and moved to two match points at 11-8. Nick stayed calm to save the first match point, before controversy struck midway through one of the longest points of the match. The marker timidly called one of Nick’s pick-ups down, but neither player heard or reacted and some dozen or so shots later McWilliams was forced into an error and the second match point was saved. Nick then kept his composure and two long rallies later he’d taken the game 12-10 and progressed through to the semi-finals.
Sunday morning saw Nick play Liam Dickson in the first of these and although Nick started slowly again he soon found himself 2-1 up. Dickson, though, showed character to breeze through the fourth game and take the match to a fifth and final game. However, Nick came out firing to take a five point lead and he never looked back, taking the final game 11-5 and booking his place in the final.
Iain then played Peter Halliday in the other semi-final. A favourably partisan crowd saw Iain make light work of the first two games, but at 10-8 and match ball up in the third Iain’s showmanship proved his undoing. A silly mistake led to him losing the next three rallies and with them the game, 10-12. Iain then rather bucked his ideas up and won the fourth game to set up an all Edinburgh final against Nick.
Other courts still saw action as loose ends were tied up and play-off matches settled. By the end of the day Tom had secured sixth place and Rik seventh, with Ben not far back in tenth. Elsewhere Lizzie continued to struggle in the women’s draw, but finished a solid sixteenth nonetheless.
In the final, Iain was very much the favourite and he proved his credentials by wearing down a gradually-flagging Nick. A drawn-out 11-5 win in the first was followed up with 11-3 and 11-1 victories and Iain thus claimed his crown as Scottish Universities Individuals Champion.
So all in all a fantastic weekend for Edinburgh Uni taking both first and second place, as well as claiming four of the top seven spots in the Men’s and Lizzie placed well in the Ladies.