President’s Cup Dinner 2010 – Presidential Moments

There was a “presidential suite” at the 2010 President’s Cup dinner in Hobart, with the two incumbent presidents in the company of 8 former Melbourne and Hobart Presidents.

Not wanting to waste the collective experience of the assembled Presidents, they were invited to share the worst or most embarrassing event of their Presidency.

Over the course of the evening we learnt of

• leaving visiting overseas tennis dignatories stranded in suburbia having mistaken car seat headrests for aristocratic heads
• an absolutely blank and empty head when making a speech in front of a State Governor at a major event
• awarding club life membership outside the Club rules only to be advised to that effect by the recipient a few days after the celebratory dinner
• numerous entanglements with high profile club professionals over such matters as remuneration and travel, termination of employment, the size and weight of the tennis balls to be used in a major match and unmentionables in the bathroom
• an organisational failure to provide food and glasses at a major international tournament cocktail party, with the assembled guests drinking out of trophies and vases and enjoying themselves immensely, regardless
• why the Hobart court was once painted grey and for reasons of ethnicity, why it is now painted blue, and
• a warm and friendly Club welcome to a daughter to watch “father” play, only to be informed that “daughter” was the second wife.

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Andrew Kemp – Honorary Life Member – Hobart Real Tennis Club

In December last year, the Hobart members awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Club to Andrew Kemp. This event was celebrated at the President’s Cup dinner on Saturday 21 August.

Owen Guest, the President of the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club, paid tribute to Andrew Kemp’s contribution to tennis.

John Ramsay HRTC President read the citation on the certificate presented to Andrew.

It recorded the award –

For outstanding services to the Club as

Member, Committee Member, President and Patron

and for his contribution to the development of the game of real tennis in Australia, his fostering and promotion of our association with the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club, for his representation of the Hobart Club in Australia and overseas and for his dedication and generous support to the maintenance of the Club buildings and the display and recording of Club history.

Alistair Curley, former Hobart President and also an honorary life member of Hobart paid tribute to Andrew in a speech which is set below.

TRIBUTE BY ALISTAIR CURLEY TO CELEBRATE ANDREW KEMP’S HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIP, THE TASMANIAN CLUB, 21 AUGUST 2010.

I am very pleased to be given this opportunity to say something about Andrew’s contribution to the Hobart Real Tennis Club. As such, tonight is a very important occasion in our club’s history.

Before I go on, Mary McArthur, a former President of the club, can’t be here tonight but she contacted me from New York today to ask me to pass on her apologies and best wishes to you. She said that you had been a great source of advice to her as President, as you were to so many Presidents, and she instructed me to say that she had always been a secret admirer!

Andrew Kemp joined the Hobart Tennis Club in 1961 and he has been playing tennis ever since. On 18 February next year, Andrew will celebrate fifty years’ membership. He is without doubt our club’s longest member!

He has served this club with distinction as a member, tennis player, committeeman, President and now Patron. In footballing terms, he is without doubt the club’s No 1 ticket holder!

In thinking over the past few weeks about Andrew’s contribution, what struck me first were the people I could no longer ask, like Jerry Walters, Duncan McDougall and Jim Cartledge. All people whose company Andrew enjoyed in our club over so many years, not least for The Doyens’ Doubles on Wednesdays at 6pm for the best part of forty years. One of the great joys of our game is the friendships we develop and Andrew, Tony Holmes (who is also here tonight), Jim, Jerry and Duncan developed a lifelong deep friendship over those weekly games of tennis, followed by the obligatory beers every Wednesday night. And woe betide the pro who did not have the requisite number of Pale Ale long necks in the fridge to quench their post match thirst, and of course the suitable number of whisky miniatures for Tony.

But if Jim, Duncan and Jerry were still with us, they would be so pleased that Andrew is receiving this recognition tonight.

THE ULTIMATE CLUBMAN
AGK is passionate about the good health of the club, and no one has done more over these fifty years to ensure the club survived and thrived.

Andrew was my first President as a new young club pro, and he summed up my duties in one carefully delivered message in the men’s change room! “Clean court, tightly sewn balls, and she’ll be right!” And that’s pretty much Andrew’s secret, keep it simple and get it done.

He led our development in 2001, as ever ensuring we kept the club safe in terms of debt, but also very much looking to the future.

Since he became our Patron, he has also become our historian, and knows more about the rich history of the club than anyone.

TAKING US TO MELBOURNE & THE WORLD
The Percy Finch is our most important club match. Melbourne is our most important club relationship. But for over thirty years, in the middle of the 20th century, our two clubs did not speak. The reasons are for another time, but the first Percy Finch match in 1965 was a pivotal turning point for both clubs. Andrew, along with George Limb and Richard Allen, was elemental in ending the Cold War and those Originals, those three men (and others) re-ignited what was and remains our close relationship with RMTC. It is not too much to say that they saved Australian real tennis. And I am delighted that so many former Melbourne Presidents are here tonight to share this occasion.

In 1974, when RMTC opened its new courts in Sherwood St, Andrew was a key organizer of our club’s first international tournament at the same time, and from then on, he assiduously built relations overseas, to ensure that Hobart became a firm part of the international tennis scene. He knew that we had to be part of the world scene if our club was to grow. And he was one of the first to appreciate that we also needed to be part of the world professional circuit (he remembered those years without a pro and how hard it had been to keep the cub going with no pro).

LOVE OF THE GAME
Despite all these achievements for our club, Andrew has always been a very keen player. He started playing in 1961 and became Class Two Champion in 1964, and then Class Two Doubles Champion with Tony Holmes in 1978 and 79. And in 1988 he returned to the winners’ circle again as Class Three Champion.

He was a canny player, he had clearly thought about the game and excelled in doubles, including a winning Percy Finch rubber against George Limb and Robyn Byrne in 1969. I have also learned over the years that, like so many of us, he has a deep love of the game.

A few months ago, Andrew told me of how much he had enjoyed watching the last World Championship in Melbourne, and the privilege he felt in witnessing what was probably some of Rob Fahey’s best tennis in many years.

Speaking of Rob, he sends his apologies for being unable to be here tonight but he asked me share this message.

“Andrew Kemp, without doubt, you have the greatest railroad look-alike service in the World!! As a young pro, I witnessed dozens of unsuspecting players move towards the side-wall to return your railroad, only to be legged by this cunning imposter of a serve which bounced cat-like back over their heads into the middle of the court !”

Rob goes on. “Being the greatest in the world is something I know about, and being the greatest in the world at something is a terrific achievement, Andrew. However, I remember you most for achieving something that all men aspire to but few men achieve, being a 5 who married a 10!!

Congratulations Andrew on Honorary Life Membership of the greatest tennis club in the world” – Rob Fahey.

Now Robert brings us to ELIZABETH!

Andrew has been loyally supported by Elizabeth over the years, billeting visitors, attending and hosting functions and being a true supporter of the game and the club in her own right. And of course, over the years, all the club pros had to learn suitable reasons to explain why Andrew was still at the club, and not home for dinner, when Elizabeth rang up!

But Elizabeth, your support of Andrew and the Club over the years must be acknowledged and applauded.

The wife of our previous Patron Quentin McDougall was Enid, knows to all the Big E. And I think it’s time for a suitable name for Elizabeth as well. Definitely NOT the Big E! Something more regal perhaps… I think Queen Elizabeth the First works well.

As some of you will know, I am collaborating with Andrew and Richard Travers to write the History of the Hobart Real Tennis Club. To be simply titled Tennis in Hobart, we hope to have the book published late in 2011, and it is there that we will fully learn everything that Andrew has done for our club and for the game here in Australia.

Andrew won’t thank me for saying this, but I want to acknowledge his quiet but generous support of both the club and so many members over the years. He has done much for many over the years, never seeking any acknowledgement. His generosity of spirit is unmatched in my mind.

Andrew has been our greatest club man, a fine player and an indefatigable supporter of real tennis in Hobart and Australia.

So Andrew, I am delighted to welcome you to the Honorary Life Membership club. It is a truly deserved honour – no one has ever deserved it more – and it gives me great pleasure to propose a toast to Andrew Kemp.

2010 President’s Cup Dinner – Tasmanian Club – Saturday 21 August

The 2010 President’s Cup dinner was a memorable evening for many reasons. The company was of course outstanding with 45 Hobart members and partners joining the party of 15 from Melbourne who had travelled to Hobart for the President’s Cup weekend.

The occasion also marked the Hobart celebration of the awarding of Honorary Life Membership of the Club to Andrew Kemp, and of course that night witnessed the count in the 2010 Federal Election.

The dining was just fine. Biz and Ian Ritchard selected a great menu of – Woodbridge apple smoked Ocean Trout with beetroot jelly, crisp wafers and fresh horseradish dressing or Seared Quail Sichuan peppered and served with house plum sauce for Entree – Mains were – Midlands Lamb fillets marinated in fresh herbs, garlic and spice, flame grilled pink and served with redcurrant and cabernet sauce or Fresh local market fish, served wrapped in pancetta, oven roasted and accompanied by fried caper, tartare and lemon – followed by – Lemon and lime tart with Scorched meringue or ‘St Emilon au chocolat’ – Rich, dark chocolate sandwiched between Amaretto liqueur crust – for desert.

The wines they selected for the evening were Jansz Cuvee (Tas, Vic.), Tasmanian Club Riesling (Sorell Tas.) 2006, Josef Chromy Sauvignon Blanc (Relbia, Tas.) 2008, Meadowbank Pinot Noir (Derwent Valley, Tas.) 2005, and Holm Oak Cabernet Sauvignon (Tamar Valley, Tas.) 2007.

Those with a Federal election addiction were also catered for, with a wide screen TV available in a separate room, so that the results could be discretely monitored during the course of the evening.

But the evening was made special thanks to the numerous past Presidents in attendance . Throughout the evening they related their worst presidential moments (see separate post) and even a President elevated to Patron, Andrew Kemp, was able to relate a more than challenging moment.

The highlight of the evening was the celebration of Andrew Kemp becoming an Honorary Life member of the Hobart Club. (see separate post) A member (and still playing member) of the Club since 1961, Andrew Kemp has been an outstanding member of the Club in all capacities and he was affectionately and resoundingly applauded for his contribution to the Hobart Club and to the game of real tennis.

The President’s Cup Tennis in Hobart – 21 & 22 August 2010

A strong RMTC team visited Hobart for the annual President’s Cup handicap singles and doubles tournament between the two Clubs. While Hobart put a large number of players on court, strength in numbers was no match for the experience of the Melbourne team.

The Melbourne playing contingent was Iain Buchanan, Annabelle Guest, Owen Guest, Evelyn Howard, Jeremy Howard, Tim Hurburgh, Richard Simpson, Richard Travers, Henry Turnbull and Paul Wheeler.

The Hobart players were, David Askey-Doran, Bill Ayliffe, Ron Booth, Graeme Blundstone, Graeme Bradfield, Kate Brown, Ray Brown, Alistair Curley, Paul Dunne, Angus Flett, Graeme Holloway, Andrew Kemp, Greg Kerin, Johnson Koay, Brian Maxwell, David Parham, Cas Pitt, Jeremy Rackham, Alastair Ramsay, Eryl Raymond, Mark Reardon, Ian Ritchard, Nick Rooke, and Michael Short.

17 matches were played over Saturday and Sunday morning with RMTC winning back the President’s Cup, 11 matches to 6.

New Members Drinks – Friday 20 August

While it was bitterly cold outside, new members, Don Armstrong, Patrick Bradfield, Bob Brewer, Martyn Hagan, Will Joscelyne, David Parham, Andrew Scobie, Asher Scobie and Kevin Starke enjoyed a warm Club welcome drink in the Butler Room last Friday night.

They were joined by members of the Committee, some visiting Melbourne players and their hosts and players from the fortnightly Friday evening lawyers tournament for eats, tennis and pre-election chatter.

New members are always welcome at social functions. There are usually informal and always open and friendly events, and a dinner occasion at the long table in the Trophy Room is an experience not to be missed.

The Cartledge

A new event was added to the HRTC tennis and social calendar last Saturday, 7 August.

To celebrate the tennis life of Jim Cartledge and the marvellous contribution that he made to the Hobart Club and tennis over many years, a day of tennis, wining, dining and conversation has been added to the Hobart calendar.

A doubles tournament was played, with all players having 5 matches with different partners. Players were allocated one point for a win, could gain an extra point for a winning gallery (but only one) and one point was awarded for shot of the tournament.

Barry Toates adjudged that there were two shots of the tournament, David Mitchell for a cross court backhand, and Hans Drieslma for a behind the back chase 3. And David and Hans were also in the most winning doubles combinations.

David Askey-Doran provided a hearty lunch and in the evening Biz and Ian Ritchard turned on their usual outstanding dinner.

The Trophy Room diners were treated to Mongolian beef dumplings with pre dinner drinks, fabulous gravalxed salmon on a bed of julienned green apple and wakame as an entree and a main course of chicken wrapped in pastry with sweet corn puree, popcorn and mushroom sauce accompanied by a Borlotti bean stew.

And to complete the dining Jill Mure treated the group to Sicilian orange cake served with crème fraiche and vanilla bean ice cream.

It was a dinner with little formality and lots of lively conversation, but there was a special toast to celebrate the life of ‘Big Jim’.