OCs make the final of the Henry Leaf 2022 tournament
Saturday, October 15
Congratulations to Jonny Whitaker (ET 2012) and Henry Mullan (ET 2015) who made it all the way to the Final of the Henry Leaf Real Tennis tournament at Queen's Club on 16th October
As one of the favourites, Cliftons first match was the semi final which they won 6-5, 6-1. The final was against the number one favourites Eton who had a combined handicap of 8 against Cliftons 14.
As expected Eton won the 1st set comfortably, so in the 2nd set Clifton played a more attacking game , forcing the ball hard at targets from both ends. This worked well for the Clifton pair , putting them 5-3 up in the second set . Eton then played some solid tennis winning 2 close games to level the games at 5-5. The deciding game went to multiple deuces with Eton having at one point two match points, but Clifton held their nerve and took the 2nd set 6-5.
In the 3rd set Clifton kept the momentum going , dominating the game by consistently finding the targets . Clifton moved to being 4-1 up. In response to Clifton’s aggressive play Eton decided to change strategy and tactics at the server’s end. Instead of protecting the side galleries with one player at the back of the court and with one player up , both Eton players moved to defend the key target of the dedans from the back of the court. This change of strategy and tactics worked well for Eton and they won 5 games in succession with the final result being 6-4, 5-6, 6-4 in Eton’s favour.
Congratulations to the Eton pair in winning the cup for the second year running and justifying their position as the number one seeds . Well done to Jonny and Henry in coming so close to overcoming the handicap advantage to Eton in this level match . Hopefully Jonny and Henry will be back to challenge for the Henry Leaf cup in 2023
Special thanks to Queen's club for hosting the competition , Jonathan Howell for marking and Adam Dolman for arranging the tournament.
Jonny Whitaker and Miles Buckinghamshire