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After a comfortable victory against Derby Moor on Saturday, the Sedbergh team arrived at Malvern on the Sunday confident of putting in a credible performance at the National Winchester Doubles tournament, where many of the country’s top adult players were in attendance.
McKinney and Lidiard fell at the first hurdle in the Cup competition, losing out to the Malvern Fives master and his schoolboy partner. Bentley and Thompson-Green had a good win in their first round match, being rather quicker to adapt to the unusual Malvern courts, which set them up for a showdown with the top seeds, a pair which included the country’s best player.
Although they were comfortably beaten, the Sedbergh pair did manage to serve their opponents out once or twice and will have learnt much from the experience. Bentley also managed to hit one shot so hard that even the National champion was impressed – or at least surprised.
In the plate competition, it was a reversal of fortunes. Bentley and Thompson-Green were knocked out early, whilst Lidiard and McKinney made it through to the semi-finals, where they faced a strong schoolboy pair from Winchester.
It was a hard-fought and close encounter, with McKinney diving around like his life depended on it, but the Winchester pair eventually came out on top. The boys will have learnt a great deal from watching and playing with the top adults; hopefully one day they will be able to count themselves in that category!