BRTC V Old Etonians - Sunday 13th October

Switching this  fixture from March to October may have confused some of the regular players, including Andrew Hussey,  who found himself in Italy instead of Bristol, but undaunted a trio of Old Etonians arrived for some intense tennis against BRTC.  


First up, was Julian Hemming who this time represented the OEs against George Wilson, who had to set his TV to record for the Japan v Scotland rugby, but as it turned out he made the right choice.  Julian leaped from the starting block to lead 5-1 in the first set, only for George to take it 6-5. Undeterred, Julian rallied to take the second set, but George  triumphed in the third.


This first match set the tone for the match as a whole, with newcomer to the Bristol court Dominic Delaforce (clearly some tennis heritage there)  joining Julian to defeat George Wilson and Laurence Brook in straight sets, before Dominic went on to defeat Laurence over another tight 3 setter. Following a very convivial lunch interval,  Chris Willows and Denis Mullan held out to win another epic 3 setter against Julian Hemming and Nicholas Boustead.  Match drawn.  


Thank you to Ben Coleman for scoring and we look forward to next year.


OE's named first:


Hemming (owe 1/2 15) v Wilson-5-6, 6-2, 3-6 


Delaforce and Hemming v Wilson and Brook (rec. 1/2 15) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4


Delaforce v Brook 4-6, 6-2, 6-4


Hemming  and Boustead v Willows and Mullan 4-6, 6-2, 3-6



Well the summer drought is over and we have dived head first into the new season of interclub matches.

Newmarket visited us last Saturday and the report is already on this site.

On Sunday 29th September we had a successful visit to Hardwick House  with the following results:

J.Maclachlan v C.Harland 8/3

J.Maclachlan/M.Box v C.Harland/J.Hemming 8/6

T.Tomalin v J.Hemming 6/8

D.O'Sullivan v G.Caswell 5/8

C.Nicholls v G.Wilson 7/8

T.Tomalin/P.Tomalin v G.Wilason/G.Caswell 2/8

And then on Friday 4th October we had our first National League game in well over a decade against a visiting Petworth side.

We are in division 5 (20 -25 handicap) and our 2 man team consists of Tom Lewis and myself(Ben Coleman).

Tom won his singles 6/2 6/1

I won mine 6/1 5/6 6/1

And we won the doubles 8/1

It was a fantastic evening (Thank you to Jan Fuller for providing light snacks for the spectators) and The Legend of Fortress Bristol has begun…

We have a very busy calendar of club matches so please let me know if you would like to play!


BRTC V NEWMARKET Saturday 5th October

On Saturday 5th October, five players from Newmarket braved the long journey to Bristol to play a mixture of singles and doubles. All of the matches were 3x6 game sets, with the third set starting at 3-3. They were also played off level, in spite of some very large handicap ranges in the doubles partnerships.

Every match was hard fought, especially the one between Chris Harland and Charlie Pittaway which went to 40-all in the final set! Bristol started off well with George Wilson winning the first match but thereafter, in spite of best endeavours, Newmarket crept ahead with the final result being 4-2 to Newmarket. Charlie Pittaway was declared man of the match, winning all three of his matches – not bad for a former Bristol University member!

 The match results were:

 Ian Lindsay v George Wilson

6-3 6-1 to Bristol

Charlie Pittaway v Chris Harland

4-6 6-4 6-5 to Newmarket

Ian Lindsay & Suzanne Lindsay v Gary Mendham & Jan Fuller

6-5 1-6 6-5 to Newmarket

Charlie Pittaway & Graham Smith v Bob Stacey & John Dixon

6-4 6-1 to Newmarket

Rachel Pittaway & Charlie Pittaway v Gary Mendham & Angela Probyn

6-1 6-2 to Newmarket

Rachel Pittaway v Gary Mendham

1-6 6-4 6-5 to Bristol

Andalucian Supper - Wednesday 4th September


An Andalucian supper was held at the Club on 4th September, with 16 members sitting down to a tasting of three very different sherries and a table wine matched with a selection of Spanish food.

The evening started off with a pre-dinner drink of pink Cava – not from Andalucia but nobody minded!

We then adjourned to the Bretten Room, where the long table was suitably decked and where Bob and Jan worked some magical pairings between the wine and the food. Bob also produced a useful little booklet explaining the different sherries and how they are made. The first course was a Fino sherry with a selection of tapas; this was followed by a Palo Cortada sherry with chilled gazpacho; the main course of spicy chicken was paired with a white table wine made from Palomino grapes; and finally there was an excellent Pedro Ximenez (aka PX) to go with a delectable orange and almond tart and ice cream.

A great time was had by all and, with the witching hour fast approaching, the President gave a vote of thanks to the organisers – and wanted the date of the next tasting

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WHAT'S ON -September 2019

 Dear Member,

 September is almost here and the real tennis season is about to start – where has the year gone to? 


 You will have recently received an electronic copy of the 2019-20 Fixtures List. Hard copies are available at the Club and there are lots of things to choose from with home and away matches and lots of Club tournaments and events.  There are also a number of Social Events for your diary.  There is a list of the inter-club matches on the notice board, so do put your name down if you are interested in playing.  Away matches provide an ideal opportunity to play on a different court, whilst home matches provide an ideal opportunity to play new people with a similar handicap.

 Wanted - a new Chairman!

Prior to the Annual General Meeting in 2018, I was asked if I would take on the role of Chairman of the Management Committee following Denis’s retirement. I agreed on the condition that it would be an interregnum of 12 months as I didn’t want to serve the full four years, and I was duly elected at the AGM. Fast forward 12 months to the 2019 AGM and with no one showing an interest in taking on the role, I found myself being re-elected for a further year.  A number of things have happened since then and, quite simply, I am not prepared to continue after next April.

 So the Club needs to find a new Chairman - and I am mentioning this now so that members can start thinking about possible candidates well ahead of the 2020 AGM.  Ideally whoever takes over needs to be co-opted onto the Management Committee first in order to gain an insight into the affairs of the Club, rather than arriving ‘cold’ at the AGM. They will be inheriting a committed and hardworking Committee, with an excellent Treasurer and an excellent Secretary – who have kept things running seamlessly during my enforced absences.  I am more than happy to discuss the role with you, if you are interested in taking it on.


 We are kicking off the new season with a number of ‘social’ tennis events. The previous medal days have now become Gold Star Handicap Singles Days and the first three will be held in September. These are on:


  • Sunday 14th September for members with under 40 handicaps

  • Saturday 21st September for members with handicaps 41-50 and

  • Saturday 28th September for members with handicaps 51-60


On Sunday 15th September there is the Chairman’s Sunday Doubles with a light lunch provided.  All handicaps welcome.

There is a Taster Session scheduled for Sunday 22nd September from 10am to 12 noon.  Please bring along any friends and family who might like to learn more about real tennis and take up the game – just let Kevin or Ben know.  There are also plenty of opportunities for individual or group taster sessions linked to the membership initiative.  These can be arranged with KK and Ben as required, providing the court is free.

Following on from the taster session will be the first of the Secretary’s Invitation Singles – although there will be no formal invitation other than this mention! This will run from 12 noon to 4 pm and all handicaps are welcome.

Then we have our first inter club match of the year on Sunday 29th September. This is an away match with Hardwick House, where there is a lovely Edwardian court in a beautiful setting on the banks of the River Thames near Goring. Originally there were two real tennis courts on the estate – the story being that Charles Rose, the owner of the estate, was so concerned about getting a chill after playing tennis that he had a second court built next to the house on his wife’s rose garden. She was away on a summer tour at the time! Only the court by the house remains in play and the derelict remains of the original one are visible as you go along the drive. Charles Rose also built the court at Newmarket, so at one time he owned three real tennis courts!

Finally, please note that Ben has had a lot of expressions of interest for the proposed visit to Bordeaux in January 2020 and he has closed the list of players, pending confirmation.



On Wednesday 4th September Jan and Bob will be creating an Andalucian Supper, with a tasting of Sherries and wine accompanied by assorted Tapas and Spanish food. It is being held in the Bretten Room, which meant limiting numbers. There may just be one or at the most two spaces still available, so check with Kevin or Ben if you are interested.   The organisers may be persuaded to hold a similar event later in the season for those who have missed out - but only if there is sufficient interest.

Diary dates for later in the year include:


Tuesday 26th Novembera welcome event for new members to meet the Committee


Wednesday 4th December – Christmas drinks and the Chawner Challenge


Thursday 12th December – Christmas Lunch at the Lansdown in Clifton


Looking forward to seeing you on court.

With best wishes,



Don’t forget to grab your latest copy of the Bristol Magazine and have a look at the article about Bristol Real Tennis…


Michael Jones Racket -Saturday 8th June

The Michael Jones Racket  - our club handicap singles competition was fiercely contested at the beginning of June.

Culminating in a hard fought final with new member, Paul Beanlands, securing top spot with a 9/7 victory

against Julian Hemming.



On the 18th May, the ladies club handicap and open singles were contested.

In the handicap final, Trish Morris managed to put Angela Probyn to the sword.

And on a stormy Sunday morning, Hannah Lucey pipped Eleanor Beale to the post in the open final.

A huge thank you and congratulations to all that took part.



We are fast approaching the end of the real tennis season and I am combining my June and July Newsletters partly because there is little to report, but also because I will be away at the end of June!

The Club’s 32nd Annual General Meeting on 1st May was well attended by AGM standards. Various reports had been circulated prior to the meeting and these, along with the draft minutes, will sent out shortly to all member. Chris Willlows provided a brief update on the Padel Tennis Proposal and also took the opportunity to circulate a short questionnaire to assess the level of support from members for the Initiative.  The meeting was followed by wine and canapés – and a rip roaring Exhibition Match, played to a full dedans. 


Inter Club Match and Tournament Results

  • The Irish weekend at the end of April was a great success and is likely to become a regular feature on the Fixtures List. There was lots of very good tennis over the two days and the end result was a draw – five matches all.  


  • The Club Ladies Handicap Singles for the Val Probyn Long Trophy was played on Saturday 18th May. Unfortunately it was a very small entry but it was still keenly contested, with Trish Morris emerging triumphant.


  • The Club Ladies Open Singles for the Ron Brown Trophy was contested the next day, with an even smaller entry (just two). The players had already met in the third round play-off the day before, and Hannah Lucey once again managed to overcome Eleanor Beale in a closely fought match. 


    Forthcoming Matches and Tournaments


  • We are playing RTC at Hampton Court on Sunday 2nd June and I understand that we have a full team for the match.


  • There is also the rearranged match against Petworth at Petworth on  22nd  June, which I understand is also fully booked.


  • The main event in June is the Michael Jones Club Handicap Singles which traditionally marks the end of the season. This will be played from Thursday 6th through to Saturday 8th June, with a tournament dinner on the Friday evening.

    So get your name down and take the opportunity to play against people that you might not normally play.  Friends, spouses and partners are also invited to come along to the Indian themed dinner and also encourage and support the finalists on the Saturday.   


    Other tennis events

    Taster sessions continue throughout the summer and there are also plenty of opportunities for individual or group taster sessions linked to the membership initiative.  These can be arranged with KK and Ben as required, providing the court is free.

    There is a Mixed Doubles Fun Day on Sunday 16th June and singles medal days on Saturday 1st June, Saturday 22nd June, Saturday 13th July and Sunday 4th August.  However this last one may well turn into a Chairman’s Doubles with lunch!

    The Box Leagues are ongoing as are the regular Monday and Wednesday Club nights – please book in with KK or Ben if you want to play. And the boys are working on the Summer Programme, which will run from early June until early September.


So there is plenty of tennis to look forward to!

 With best wishes,



Another great taster session for those wishing to try the game for free was held by a Jedi Master …

Please contact us to have a go yourself.

Well done all and special thanks to Charlotte Wilsher.


BRTC V THE IRISH RTA Saturday 27th April

BRTC played host to members of the Irish Real Tennis Association for a weekend of tennis. Things didn’t quite get off to a flying start – no pun intended – when Roland Budd’s and Rustom Manecksha’s flight from Dublin was cancelled at the last minute. Instead they had to come via the scenic route (ie Heathrow and a bus to Bristol) which meant that they were unable to get a bit of practice in on Friday evening.

However things got off to a better start on Saturday morning, with two singles matches and two doubles matches all played off level and the first to 10 games. Roland started the proceedings playing Richard Acklam, with BRTC taking the match 10-6. This was followed by a doubles of Roland and Rustom versus Richard and David Streatfeild James. This one almost went to the wire, with BRTC creeping home 10-9.

Next up was a single match between Rustom and David, with Rustom coming back strongly to take the match 10 -8.

The final match of the day was a doubles between Claire & Bob Stacey (representing the IRTA as founder members!) and Angela Probyn and Gordon McClure. It was another hard fought match with the IRTA just creeping home at 10-9.

On Saturday evening PJ hosted a very jolly dinner party for 15 at the Lansdown in Clifton and Roland gave a brief update on the restoration of the real tennis court in Dublin, which continues to be in limbo.

Sunday morning saw further tennis, this time with handicaps as necessary and first to 9 games. Roland started the day with a singles match against David, which he won 9-2.

This was followed by a closely fought doubles match between Roland and Rustom against David and Reggie Williams, with the IRTA just creeping home at 9-8.

We then had two singles matches, the first between Rustom and Nigel Harradine, which Nigel won 9-7, and the second between William Wilks (who had driven down from London) and Stuart Andrews, which William won 9-7.

Next up was a doubles between William and Mark Heffernan (also from London) against Stuart and Clive Archer, which BRTC won 9-5.

The final match of the day was between Mark and Nigel, which Nigel won 9-6.

Unfortunately Roland and Rustom had to rush off for their plane back to Dublin before the final result was known – a draw with five matches all!

A big thank you to the itinerant Irish for coming and playing some exceptional tennis; to KK for all the marking; and to Angela Probyn for doing lunch on both Saturday and Sunday. A thank you also to members of BRTC who popped in to say hello on Sunday morning. 

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Dear Member,

 The 32nd Annual General Meeting of the Club will be held in the Bretten Room at the club on Wednesday 1st May, starting at 6.30pm, and I look forward to seeing you there.  Wine and canapés will be served afterwards, followed by a new style tennis challenge for everyone or possibly an Exhibition Match with a difference.  Nomination Forms to join the Management Committee were sent out with the Notice, so please, please think about filling one in and sending it to the Hon Secretary.

Tennis Matters

 Inter Club Match and Tournament Results

  • There was one inter club match at the end of March, when BRTC hosted the Brigands, a peripatetic group of real tennis enthusiasts. After several very hard fought matches BRTC managed to creep home the winners at 3-2.


    Then on 30th March, three of our juniors took on Seacourt at home in the next round of the Peter Luck-Hille Cup.  Dominic and Henry are now very familiar with the format but Nell found it all rather daunting, as this was her first ever formal match. The Bristol team is coming on well but, in spite best endeavours, Seacourt proved too strong on the day and were worthy winners. 


    At the beginning of April BRTC hosted Hatfield House for another great day of tennis. It was level pegging at 2-2 before Hatfield increased the pressure and won the two remaining matches.


  • The Club Open Singles and the Club Open Doubles played in parallel over the weekend of 13th and 14th April, with the semi-finals of the singles and both finals being played on the Sunday. This meant that two of the contenders in the finals had to play three hard fought matches on the day! 

    Those who came to watch in the dedans were treated to some fantastic tennis. Tom Lewis was on top form and took the singles title for yet another year! He and Ben Coleman then teamed up to take on Hamish and James Dron in the doubles final. The Drons put up a tremendous fight but Tom and Ben proved unstoppable.

    Bee Barford came all the way from Sidmouth to present the Barford Salver for the singles and Charlotte Wilsher (nee Bretten) presented the Bretten Bowl for the doubles. 


    Forthcoming Matches and Tournaments


  • There is still time to sign up or come along to socialise with the Irish Real Tennis Association over the forthcoming weekend.  As founder members of the IRTA,

    Bob and I are down to play for the opposition!


  • The main event in May is the Club Ladies Open Singles for the Ron Brown Trophy and the Club Ladies Handicap Singles for the Val Probyn Long Trophy.  These will be played in parallel over the weekend of Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May.  So come along ladies and enjoy some good tennis.  Friends, spouses and partners are also encouraged to come along and support!   





Other tennis events

There is a taster session scheduled for Saturday 4th May and there are plenty of other opportunities for individual or group tasters session linked to the membership initiative.  These can be arranged with KK and Ben as required, providing the court is free.

Then there are singles medal days on Sunday 5th May for 41-50 Handicaps;  Saturday 11th May for 51-60 Handicaps; and  Sunday 12th May for 61-70 Handicaps

We also have a Chairman’s Doubles with lunch on Sunday 26th May, plus the regular Monday and Wednesday Club nights – please book in with KK or Ben if you want to play. So there is plenty of tennis to look forward to!

Social Events

 There are no official Club social events scheduled for May – but fast forward to September 4th, when Jan and Bob will be holding an Andalucian evening with sherry and tapas. Numbers will be limited to 16, so if you are interested please let either Jan or Bob know as soon as possible. 

 With best wishes,


Barford Salver & Bretten Bowl - Sunday 14th April

On the weekend of the 13th of April the club open singles and doubles was contested with both finals being played on the Sunday.

Tom Lewis was too good on the day and took the Singles title and also the Doubles title along with Ben Coleman against a valiant effort from James and Hamish Dron.

Thank you to all that came along to support, in particular to Bee Barford and Charlotte Wilsher nee Bretten for presenting the trophies and to Claire Stacey for keeping us fed and watered.


Bristol v Seacourt - Peter Luck-Hille Cup - Saturday 30th March

Massive congratulations and thanks to both sets of juniors that took part in the cup match on Saturday 30th.

The Bristol crew are coming on very well and it was the first match ever for Nell.

However the Seacourt trio were too strong on the day and were worthy winners.

Great fun and some promising young talent.

I see trouble ahead :)


Bristol v Hatfield House - Saturday 6th April

A really great day was had on Saturday 6th when Hatfield House came knocking on our door.
After some great matches and a variety of playing was 2 - 2 with 2 matches left to play.
The Brodie Bunch managed to scrape through and won the remaining two games with some fantastic tennis being played.
Alex Brodie had an unfair advantage though as she had the power of two...
Nick...I have your bunny...don't pretend it belongs  to the small human.


BRTC v The Brigands

Bristol welcomed the Brigands on Friday 29th March.
It was a hard fought day but Bristol managed to take the honours and won the day 3 - 2.
Big thank you to everyone that took part and to Dave Whitaker for being a superb match manager.