It would be impossible to review the tournament at Ashburton without first of all saying a word in praise of the secretary (Mr Coath) and his committee. All arrangements in connection with the tournament were carried out in a most business-like and energetic manner under decidely trying circumstances, as the weather proved very troublesome. Each evening matches were arranged, two deep, for the next day's play, and umpires were also appointed, so that absolutely no time was lost in getting the courts filled. A large blackboard was also in use outside the committee's tent on which the names of the various players who were required to play were posted, together with the number of the court on which they had to play. This proved a great convenience, as it let players know exactly when they would be required, and I think ou«. own association might with great advantage follow suit »nd employ a similar board at our next Easter tournament. The committee were very strict, and rightly so, with regard to players being ready to go on when called upon, and any absentees ran great danger of being scratched. Altogether the ground arrangements could not have been improved on, and Ashburton tennis players are heartily to be congratulated on the success of their tournament.
With regard to the play, I think it was generaly admitted that it was good. There were a great many splendidly fought matches, which were well worth watching, and even in the second-grade singles some good play was to be seen. Of course, as was to be expected, the best play was seen in the Championship events, and I will deal with them first. It was rather an unfortunate thing that in the Championship Singles the four men who had a good show for the event were all drawn in the top half. I refer to Wilding, Harman, Collins, and Broad, who met each other in the early rounds, so that the championship was practically decided before the final was played.
Broad and Wilding wei - e the first pair to try conclusions, and all the spectators on the ground gathered round the court to see the contest between these two redoubtable players. Perhaps the presence of such a lot of people made them rather nervous, as neither played up to form for the first two games, but after that they began to warm vp — Broad playing witli his cut stroke, playing down each side line, and taking no risks ; while Wilding played a forcing game, getting in some beautiful drives with a good length on them. Eventually the first set fell to Broad (6 — 4), and he was 2—l2 — 1 in the second when the rain came pouring down, effectually stopping play for the day.
The next day, the grass proving too soft for play, the match was resumed on asphalt, Wilding allowing Broad to count the first set, though by strict ruling they should have started all over again. It was soon apparent that on asphalt Wilding was the superior player. Broad endeavoured to get back into his drive, but was unsuccessful, while his cut did not come off on the bare asphalt, and Wilding got tvvo sets (6—2, 6—2), playing beautiful tennis. All Winding's drives are made off the top of the bound, and he scoops the ball into his opponent's court with a lot of pace, and, better still, keeps a wonderful length all the time. His backhand balls are hit almost the same way, and nearly as hard, while his smashing is perfectly safe and sure. Altogether, he is a \ery fine player, and should have a big say for the New Zealand Championship at Nelson next year.
Another prood match in the first round was between C F. Salmond and Collins the latter winning 17 — 5, 6 — 7>). Salmon drove very hard, hitting everything, ond the way Collins volleyed the very hardest drives was a treat to sec.
The only other Otago men besides Broad who entered for the Championship were Jackson and Salmond. Jackson got a bye in the first round, and -was beaten by Lynch in the second after a very hard fight, the score being 6—4-,6 — 4-, 7—9,7 — 9, 6—^4. E. Salmond boat T. Cox, a promising player from Timaru. in the first round (6 — 2, 7—5),7 — 5), and then fell a victim to Wilding in the second.
Tne game between Collins and Wilding in the semi-final created a great deal of interest, a lot of people pinning their faith to Collins, thinking his volleying would pull him through. But Wilding played a brilliant frame and won easily (6 — 3. b—l),b — 1), beating Colhn« down the aide lines time and attain : and those who have seen Collins play can understand that his playing had to be almost perfect to do that. The final of the Championship Singles was rather tame, Wilding being far too good for Lynch, and winning 6—o,6 — 0, 6—3.6 — 3. In the Championship Doubles there were some, real good goes. In the first round Harman and Collins beat Wilding and Cox two sets straight, though the former did not play in anything like their best form. Another good double in the first round was played between Broad and Salmond and Hartman and Russell (of Invercargill). In the first set the Invercargill pair played a splendid game, smashing from any part of the court, and they won it (6 — 3). However, in the two following sets the Otago pair settled down, and won rather easily (6—2, 6— 21, but they were very careful to give their opponents no easy balls to s-mash. Jackson and White beat Newton and M'Laren in the first round, and won, beating Haiman and Collins in the third round, but they gave the latter pair a good sroine in the second set, as they only won it E— 6.
Broad and Salmond beat C. F. Salmond and P. N. Cox in the semi-final, and then had to meet Collins and Harman in the final. The follow ing account taken from a Canterbury paper gives a good description of this match — "The Chrittchnrch pair at once adopted aggre.-^n c tactic=. running in and volleying with a precision that won them the fir^t act with a good deal in hand. In the -ocond s< t Bioud and Salmond found lobbing wa-. their stronge-t suit, and they plajecl it to pfifi etion, both mon tossing h.-^li and \v.>l l "back in the court. The brunt of t'hf overhead work fell to Collins, and he flid it accurately, Jv.it without the fiting lie UMialiv put-* into thia etiokc. Yet what he l24iiisd tf* iljfejg
a treat to watch him working his opponents right over the corners, and finishing the set with a good one down the centre. Harman's ground work was not as good as usual, but anything short overhead was sharply placed across court. Broad and Salmond both played with wonderful coolness, judgment, and steadiness, the latter's volleying at times being equal to anything shown on the other side of the net."
I will have something to say next week with regard to the handicap events and_also the ladieV events.
Permanent link to this item
LAWN TENNIS,, Otago Witness, Issue 2496, 15 January 1902
LAWN TENNIS, Otago Witness, Issue 2496, 15 January 1902
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.