Handicap Tennis Format Levels the Playing Field

30 September 2022

We held our inaugural Doubles Handicap Tennis tournament last weekend and it proved a hit, with 16 enthusiastic members joining us for a beautiful afternoon of competitive tennis. Head Coach, Nick Boys, takes up the story:

After a few last minute drop outs and the reserves jumping at the chance to play, the pairs were set and yours truly worked out the handicaps for each team. Play got under way for all eight pairs in two groups:

Group A: Esteban Stewart & Megan Henthorne, Cliff John & Alan Dudley, Lili Granger & George Anastasiou and Phil Jones & Adam Jones


Group B: Steve Adams & Nicola Wilson Fowler, Karen Wright & Krystal Heath, Sue Middlemass & Mark McCulloch and James Foley & Gary Armstrong.  

They were all eager to play their matches until they heard their handicaps!

To explain, the handicap system allows for our lower level players to compete with our more experienced players by giving them, in essence, a fair head start in each match. Whilst used in many sports, it’s not something we’ve really done before so I was pleased to see that the handicaps set worked out reasonably well in most cases. As an example, the top seeded pair in one group started at -13 to 0 and won 15 –  14 in each tie break to win.

In a round robin format each team played three matches with the top team in each group advancing to the grand final under the same rules. In each group, one team managed to win all three of their matches in tight contests and they advanced to the final, with the other players eager to see how the final match would finish.

Esteban and Megan from Group A and James and Gary from Group B stepped onto the final court after replenishing fluids were taken on board and so the final began!

James and Gary were very steady and Esteban, belying the fact that he had probable pneumonia, not man flu, was tearing around the court with Megan backing him up from the back of the court to make it as difficult as possible for Group A to get a decent lead and take control. The handicapping working a little as well.

In the end though Gary and James were just a little too steady and after some terrific rallies in both tie breaks the duo broke the will of Esteban and Megan to take the inaugural title.

Well done to all competitors, who looked like they had a great time once they worked out the handicapping, thank you for trying something new with us! Thank you also to Steve for helping me with the event preparation.

Our next tournament will be our Xmas Jumper Tennis tournament in December please keep an eye out in the Club for further details nearer the time.