Australian Open – Pro Am & the Cocktail Party

The President writes –

Well, Real Tennis fans, the 2012 Australian Open activities have got off to a fantastic start.

The first day saw the field split into two groups of six pros and six amateurs each with a round robin format that meant each pair had to play each other once at least and so have five matches! In order to get the total matches played in two days each match was on a half hour time limit and whoever was in the lead then scored a win or if level they recorded a draw!

To make it even fairer and ensure no amateur player could escape or rely on their pro. too much, it was required that each pro had to serve to the opposing amateur and the server was not allowed to hit a ball from behind the last gallery line. This format meant the amateurs became the significant factor and to limit them being served out of it the pros were allowed only one serve per point which stopped any super difficult serves.

The format made for incredibly close matches when combined with half the normal handicap.

After the first day of play there were no clear favourites and then everyone had to turn up to the cocktail party which was supposed to go from 7-9 but went past midnight with many sore heads the next day!!  The party was held in the Trophy Room, fantastically decorated and arranged by Nikki and catered by The Aproneers from Lindisfarne : ‘Shorty’ (Michael Short) should give up Medicine and just mix cocktails maybe!

Trophy Room before the party

Anyway, day two started a bit slower than day one and by 4pm there were two clear pairs from group two when Jon Hamer and Steve Virgona  joined Chris Chapman and Simon Dwyer in the semi-finals.

Group one was a cliff hanger where a late charge by the world champ and Nick Rooke saw them win their last match against Graham Hyland and Anthony James only to cause a three way tie with two other pairs!! The rule of whoever had won the round robin match was no help as the three pairs locked on 3 wins and 2 losses had all beaten each other, so a percentage count back of ‘games won versus games lost’ had to be performed with the ladies world champ, Clair Vigrass showing she is no slouch with figures either!

This meant Ron Booth and Jonathon Howell went through with Graeme Bradfield and Kieran Booth.

The semi’s then pitted the pairs against each other with Virgona the Aussie now at Chicago and Hamer from RMTC defeating Kieran Booth from RMTC but formerly Hobart and Bradfield in extra time 5/4 advantage all, in a cliff hanger!!

In the other semi, Ron Booth and Howell accounted easily for Dwyer and Chapman 12/2 after they got off to a flying start and were never thwarted.

The final was extremely tense as the two left handers Hamer and Virgona had to also give a head start of 15 owe 1/2 30 and so it was slow for them to win games yet they could quickly lose them with the loss of a couple of points or a fault!  In the end they prevailed 6/3 with Steve grateful for the excellent time on the court to prepare for the coming week!

The Pro Am Finalists – Jonathon Howell & Ron Booth (runners up) & Jon Hamer & Steve Virgona (winners).

To view Australian Open matches go to the website stream located at:

Make sure you drop in at least once and get your head around any other matches you want to see during the week and get tickets for them.

There are matches all week with the Singles finals on Friday 17th, the Women’s final at 12.00noon and the Men’s at 6.00pm.

The Doubles finals are on Saturday 18th, Women’s at 11am and the Men’s at 2pm.

The Gala Dinner is on Saturday evening at the Hobart Function and Convention Centre. Make sure you sign up at the Club to secure your seat.

Also don’t forget to pick up your Government House invites for Wednesday night , you will need them to get in.

See you at the Club.

Graeme Bradfield (President)





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