The Judith Clarke in Hobart 2011

A strong RMTC team of 11 Melbourne women travelled to Hobart for the Judith Clarke Tournament on the weekend of 30 and 31 July 2011.

The visiting Melbourne team was Brigitte Claney, Claire Heughan, Rose Snell, Fiona Hewson, Lizzie Brown, Judith Sear, Diane Rennard, Sophie Johnson, Georgie Lewis, Suzanne Mason and Annie Holden, accompanied by a few non playing fans.

Their Hobart hosts and opposition were Janet Thorp, Kate Brown, Ros Pitt, Eryl Raymond, Biz Ritchard, Christine Stirling and Michelle Moores.

24 handicap matches (one nine game set – single and doubles) were played over the two days with Melbourne leading throughout the tournament and eventually winning 16 matches to 8. 14 of the results were 9/6 or above, so the handicapping was successful in producing some well contested matches. Sadly for Hobart all but one of the matches which reached 8 all/advantage/all, resulted in Melbourne winning. Had it been the other way the end result could have been different!

Melbourne certainly eclipsed Hobart in the dress department once again.   Annie Holden wore and made a variety of unusual vintage style dresses and tights for a number of  team members and they looked marvellous.  Lizzie appeared in a pompom decorated maxidress with matching hat and tights one day and in a diaphanous tulle pavlova concoction the next.

Barry Toates as always ran the days with wonderful efficiency and was sometimes assisted in marking by  Andrew Schnaider from Melbourne and Graeme Blundstone of Hobart.

Michelle and Ros catered for lunches & nibbles to feed the hungry hoards!

The Hobart Club Trophy Room was the venue for the tournament dinner with the players joined by guests and Hobart members for a dinner for 36. Graeme Bradfield and Gaye Mitchell provided a fine meal of salmon and Osso Bucco and Biz Ritchard served a wonderful chocolate torte for dessert.

At dinner Barry spoke about Judith Clarke, a Tasmanian who won the Women’s World Championship in Melbourne and then successfully defended her world title in London two years later. Four of the women who played in the original Judith Clarke tournament in 1992 were at the dinner – Rose Snell from Melbourne, and Anne Reed, Merrin McKay and Karen Toates of Hobart.

Wine flowed, with the evening culminating in Cirque de Soleil rivalling acrobatic achievements from the rafters by Lizzie and Georgie and later at the Constitution dock forecourt, captured by Claire on camera for the benefit of those who had retired before midnight.

RMTC celebrated their win on Sunday with some tablecloth abseiling, setting a new standard of behaviour for future winners to emulate.

Most of the Melbourne contingent visited MONA and a number went up the mountain to play in the snow.

Overall, the weekend had a great atmosphere of fun and friendship.

Thanks to Ros Pitt and Christine Stirling for this report.

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