Wimbledon comes to Oban

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SUNDAY saw the conclusion of an exciting week of tennis in Oban.
The 46th West Highland Tennis Championships got off to a successful start with the primary and secondary competitions. The tournament starts with local events and the Argyll day kicked everything off. The winner of the local gents’ singles was Gregor Brydon, who returned last September from a year at the John Newcombe ranch in Texas. A new format for the doubles, FAST 4 Tennis was tried out, enjoyed by players, and was won by Kenny Drummond and Melissa Oatts.
Following on from this each evening, a variety of competitive formats took place
‘Memories Monday’ had players dressing in whites, using old-style rackets and playing a team event
On Tuesday evening, the ever-popular handicap singles event took place and then the final competition was ‘Wacky Wednesday’ where players came dressed as wackily as possible and the format of play was a mix-and-match event with specific tennis challenges brought in between matches. A great fun evening was had by all
The championship events commenced on Friday morning. Oban still attracts one of the biggest entries for a weekend tournament with players from Texas, all over Scotland and England competing in a range of events.
With an entry of almost 60 players, Mary McLean, the tournament referee, had a tight schedule to work to, with almost 100 matches to complete over the weekend. The weather was excellent on both Friday and Saturday and, despite a very rainy finals day, all the competitions were completed successfully. Thanks go to the players who co-operated at all times, Atlantis staff, and the Taynuilt Sports committee for the use of their court.
The good weather, especially on Saturday, allowed all the events to either get to the semi-finals or final stages. There were some excellent closely-fought matches right from the first round up to the finals.
The gents’ final this year was contested by Daniel Gunn, from Stirling University, and Ben Smith, from Buckinghamshire. The youngster demonstrated a high level of skill and under pressure played extremely well to take not only the gents’ championship title but also the boys’ 18 title. In this event high quality tennis was displayed by both finalists.
The ladies’ final involved Lisa Munro (Nairn), a former winner, and newcomer to the tournament, Zoe Moffat This was a closely contested match, with
Lisa’s driving ground shots, accuracy and good serving allowing her to take the title. The gents’ and ladies’ doubles were equally finely contested with the top seeds in both coming through to win the titles.
The social programme is an important part of the tournament and players enjoyed a quiz on Friday evening and a barbecue, hosted by Argyll and Bute Council, on the Saturday evening. The tournament would not be possible without the generous support of many bodies and, at the prize-giving, Hugh McLean, chairman, thanked local businesses, Atlantis Leisure, Rotary Club of Oban, Argyll and Bute Council, Oban Tennis and Squash Club for their continued support.
Prize-winners: gents’ singles – Ben Smith; runner-up – Daniel Gunn. Gents’ plate – Gregor Brydon; runner-up – Billy Thomson. Ladies’ singles – Lisa Munro; runner-up Zoe Moffat. Ladies’ plate – Taylor Brown; runner-up – Isabella Crawford. Boys’ 18 and under – Ben Smith; runner-up – Thomas Smart. Girls’ 18 and under – Ellie Crosbie; runner-up – Kendall Jablonowski. Gents’ doubles – Calum Stout and Matthew Stout; runners-up – Chris Jacques and James McNaught.Ladies’ doubles – Lisa Munro and Shona Graham; runners-up – Zoe Moffat and Lucy Whelan.
Local event winners: gents’ singles – G Brydon; runner-up – K Drummond. Gents’ plate – N Innes; runner-up – A Graham. Fast 4 tennis doubles – K Drummond and M Oatts. ‘Memories Monday’ team night – K Keen, A Graham, S Hutchison, D Gemmell. Tuesday handicap singles: gents’ – E Swan; runner-up – D MacPherson. Ladies’ – S Hutchison; runner-up – D Gemmell. ‘Wacky Wednesday’ mix and match challenge event – A Graham and A Imrie; runners-up – A Oatts and K Adams.
Junior events: primary event – 24 primary school aged players took part in a challenge and fun event. All participants received a medal. Secondary competition: junior boys – Neil McCracken; runner-up – Fergus Carmichael. Senior boys – D MacPherson; runner-up – Rory Dowd; girls – Molly MacPherson; runner-up – Katy MacPherson.