Jumbo Doubles, Jumbo Fun! (by Keith Frith)

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The 16th annual Tanglin Jumbo Doubles Tournament in Singapore took place on the weekend of the 30th January, with a slightly smaller HKFC crew than normal, but no less excited about taking on all comers from around the world.  The HKFC doubles contingent consisted of Matt Robinson and Keith Frith; Elliot Froidevaux and Jon Pipe; Angus Stewart and Tom Chamberlain; Mark and Julian Rittmayer.

 

It was a fairly inauspicious start with the Rittmayers missing their flight, appearing 24 hours late and wondering why they’d been banished to the plate. In a further mishap, poor Angus picked up an injury and couldn’t make the trip, with the organisers saving Tom’s weekend by finding a local player to partner him. A relative novice to the jumbo format Tom acquitted himself admirably, loved the experience and vowed to come back next year.   

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So it was left to Matt and Keith (number 8 seeds) and Elliot playing with Jon to keep the HKFC flag flying. Matt and Keith had some tough early matches, which set them up nicely for a last 16 clash against a local pairing from the Tanglin Club. It was heard on good authority that the locals felt they should have been given the final number 8 seed slot, which certainly added a little spice to the match!  Matt was imperious at the back of the court, dominating the rallies and opening up the court for Keith to finish the job. Many observers said it was Matt’s finest hour on a jumbo court! What should have been a tough match ended up in a comfortable 11-7, 11-7 win, with a quarter final up next against the number 1 seeds (both previously world ranked singles players) Aaron Chee and Tim Arnold.

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The quarter-final was, as expected, a little one-sided in the first game, but once again Matt started finding his range, the rallies lengthened and a tense second game went all the way to a 10-10 sudden death, with the opportunity to take it into a decider. It wasn’t to be as a great winner from Aaron sealed the match, but a proud effort from our number 8 seeds.

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And so we move on to Jon and Elliot. It takes years to work out the intricacies of the Jumbo Doubles game - when to cover your partner, how to create attacking openings, when to defend, etc. Jon and Elliot are still learning the game, but after a loss in the second round they entered the Classic Plate, visibly grew in confidence throughout the remainder of the tournament and made it to their first final. A great effort! The final was close all the way through but their more experienced Singaporean opponents just had a little more court craft to win the day. Next year? I think our boys’ll take ‘em!!

 

Jumbo doubles squash is the most exciting version of the game out there. If you haven’t tried it, the next opportunity is the Bangkok tournament from 1-3 May - see you there!

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Phil Head and his team are available for lessons, both private and group, for all ages.  For more information please contact Phil on philhead@netvigator.com or on 9166 4931.

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