Congratulations to HRTC members Tim McAuley, Tom McAuley, Christine Stirling, and Andrew Brough for winning this year’s Boomerang Cup held in Melbourne in January. It is the first time a Hobart team has made the finals, let alone won the event, since its inception 24 years ago.
The RMTC Boomerang is a biennial handicap doubles competition, and with 30 teams, two from Hobart, involving close to 200 players, including more than 70 from overseas (UK, The Netherlands, France, USA), the two-week event is claimed to be the largest handicap event in the world.
HRTC was represented by two teams: the Tassie Devils (Paul Dunne (c), John Davis, Ellen Davis, Stephen Pinkus, John Moores and Michelle Moores), and The Fugitives (Tim McAuley (c), Tom McAuley, Christine Stirling, Andrew Brough, Annie McAuley and Steve Hiho). Sue Davis and Zac Davis also participated as members of a Melbourne team, the OneServeBanTambours.
The first week of the competition is a round robin with the top 16 teams going through to the Cup and the remainder playing off for the Plate in the second week. The Fugitives started with an underwhelming 4-0 loss to the MCC Crickets, but recovered strongly winning their three remaining pool matches, making it through to the second week of the Cup. The Tassie Devils had a tough draw in the first week, with two of the eventual Cup semi-finalists in their pool group. In the final match of the round robin, they came under intense fire from the RMTC Wosps, headed by Julian Snow, and although not prevailing, they kept the pressure on until the final game.
In the Plate, the Tassie Devils won their way through to the semi-final. Every match was a close affair with the quarter-final being tied and needed a close reading of the rules to work out how to break the impasse. In the semi-final, the Devils won more games than they lost but needed to convert one more set to ensure a victory, going down tantalisingly close at 8/2, 7/8, 7/8, 7/8.
In the Cup, The Fugitives met the tournament favourites, the Dutch Courtiers, in the round-of-16, with a closely fought, upset 3-1 win. They then met the highly fancied US Secret Service in the quarter-final, winning that 2-2 on games 27-21. In the semi-final, the aptly named OneServeBanTambours (Zac Davis a member) put up a strong fight and were up 2-1 going into the deciding fourth set. Tim McAuley and Steve Hiho took the set 8-3, battling back from 40-owe-40 down in the final game, taking the match narrowly 2-2 on games 24-23.
The final was against the Hatfield Hedonists, who had cruised through the pool rounds and finals week. Tom McAuley and Andrew Brough blasted the opening pair of Nick Brodie and Stephen Brewerton 8-5 with a thrilling display of power tennis. In the second set, Annie McAuley and Steve Hiho came from 5-7 down to beat Martin Kellaway and Robert Stewart 8-7 in a tense final game. The third set was possibly one of the most entertaining exhibitions of handicap tennis witnessed in the history of the competition. Playing Hatfield’s Stephen Brewerton and Robert Stewart, Hobart’s Tom McAuley and Christine Stirling played the games of their lives, taking the set 8-6 and the match, sealing the final game by defending a hazard better-than-half-a-yard with an unplayable chase-the-line. The fourth set also went to The Fugitives pair Tim McAuley and Steve Hiho 8-5 against Hatfield’s Nick Brody and David Hudson, sealing the final with a decisive 4-0 win.
Well done guys!
The Boomerang is highly recommended to any Hobart player: you’ll certainly get your money’s worth with plenty of great tennis and social events spread over two weeks. The Melbourne Club (especially the pool!) is a great place to hang for two weeks in the height of summer, and the event provides a unique opportunity to meet and mingle with players from around the globe. Both The Fugitives and the Tassie Devils will be returning in 2020.
Boomerang 2018 presentation dinner at the Australian Club
Boomerang 2018 champions The Fugitives (left to right): Steve Hiho, Christine Stirling, Tim McAuley (c), Tom McAuley, Annie McAuley, Andrew Brough
Boomerang 2018 finalists The Fugitives and Hatfield Hedonists