[By Recordeu I
]n tho recent Canterbury v. Otago match a question arose in one of the. rubbers which is worthy of the attention of umpires and referees, and 1 have been approached regarding the procedure adopted. M'Dmigall was playing Cuff, and in tho third set the games reached five all. it appears that there was a doubt as to whether or not a vantage set should have been played. It nun - be stated that there was also a doubt as to what had been done in previous rubbers, but that does not affect the. issue so far as the regulations for the management of tournaments and matches are concerned. The referee was, I understand, absent, so an appeal was made to a gentleman present, and he expressed the opinion that a vantage set should be played, and he was quite right, although it must bo allowed that ho'had no jurisdiction. No one bid the referee appointed for the match had any power, but I understand that in ail matches where a third set wad necessary the third set was to consist of not more than 11 games. Whether such an arrangement was made by the opposing captains or not signifies very little, unless all the players were distinctly informed, but in any event it was contrary to the regulations laid down by the Lawn Tennis Association. In handicap matches only sets may be cut down if time demands. Law 22, shortly put, is: “If both players win five games, play shall continue till one of the competitors has won two additional games in succession.” Regulation 14 says that the umpire's decision is final upon every' question of fact, but if the umpire is in doubt as to a point of law he shall submit the question to the referee, whose decision shall be final. The question raised above is not one of fact it is outside the rules—it comes under a different heading (Regulations). Regulation 24 provides that in championship or level matches advantage sets shall be played throughout the ties in every event, and no referee has power to alter the regulation, but in extreme cases it has been done, mainly to save time. If prior to tho commencement of the series of contests an arrangement is made between the captains to play ffiort sets, the consent of the referee should be obtained. By so doing no hardship is inflicted on any of the contestants, for all would or should bo informed. I understand that when the M'Dougall v. Cuff third set reached 6 all the referee returned, and it was ordered that the next game should decide. I may have boon misinformed—no reflection is cast on any official—but the referee ruled that the set should have been or should be a short one. Therefore, under the circumstances, Cuff was the actual winner, having reached 6-5 first. Referees have no authority to constitute a short set at anything beyond 6-5. On the other hand, under the proper regulations, M'Dougall, having got the lead at 7-6, was deprived of a good chance of a clear-cut win. From another source- I learn that if a third sot were) necessary. ,l was to bo a vantage set. This hints at -ome misunderstanding, and in the main is only further proof that in important matches there should he no chopping and changing; tho rules and regulations laid down should bo strictly adhered to. Has it occurred tn anyone that if the result of the whole contest had depended on this rubber history might have been altered. Canterbury might have won, or at least made a draw of the match ; but fortunately Otago, although perhaps not at that stage, eventually held a substantial lead. Here I may remark that it has frequently happened that whore a sot by arrangement should have ended at 6-5, but tv;.s continued to vantage, and taken by the player, who was behind at the 11th game, on appea. the player who led at 6-5 was awarded the set. A copy of ‘ Cases and Decisions ’ would surprise some, if studied. There is an extraordinary rule in the Otago Association’s rules for interclub matches. It is provided that the opposing captains shall toss to decide who shall start service throughout the afternoon. The players in the various rubbers do not toss. If tlio winner of the toss decides to start service, the other side has the consolation of choosing which end his side shall commence from. The idea is to save time; but that is unnecessary, for there are usually no score sheets to make up, and very often not even um- ; fires. Host courts lie north-south. If an all-day match is being played, it must ae very apparent that up to 11 o’clock the sun is directly in the eyes of tho players facing tho north. The loser of the toes would naturally commence with the sun behind, but in the late afternoon he would, with the sun in the south-west, like- to have the option of changing. Then there is that constant plague, the wind. The loser of the toss might choose to start with the wind ; later on it might be from the opposite quarter. Dunedin days are very changeable. Again, some players can serve better against the wind than with it—the ball contracts spin others drive better against than with. In these days, where the cult of tho service is the great factor, the striker is quite sufficiently handicapped ; hut as it is, under local rules, many players are compelled to start from an end not of their own individual choice, and their game is vastly affected. It is another breach of a rule which is intended to give players some equality. Why should tho captain, because ho feels that ho can commence better from a particular end have the power to make all of his team mates commence from the same end—either as server or striker ?
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LAWN TENNIS, Evening Star, Issue 15649, 13 November 1914