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Knights vs Wimbledon and Real Tennis in Hampton Court

Our 6th consecutive match and last fixture before our first rest day was against Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club. We were to start this fixture early in the afternoon at 2pm. Some very stiff and sore bodies took to the cold courts against tough opponents. We lost the fixture 3-2 with Kyle and Charl winning their matches at 3 and 5 but Wimbledon being too strong for us on the day. It was great to finish earlier which meant we could sneak in some sleep before checking out what Clapham's nightlife was like ahead of our rest day.

On Sunday we got up slowly and made our way to Starbucks and Regent Street for a while, before our days event of Real Tennis at Hampton Court Palace with Joe Richardson and Simon Fox. We took the tube from Oxford Circus to Waterloo and then transferred to the Hampton Court overland train where Simon was waiting for us.

Simon took us took us into the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, to the Real Tennis court which was commissioned by Charles I as one of his first acts upon taking the throne in 1625. Centuries old and very traditional, this sport has not changed much over time. There are currently just 26 real tennis courts in England, with Hampton Court being the 2nd one built in the country. The game is essentially a mixture between tennis and squash, as the court is enclosed by walls but there is a net which you must hit over. There are a few oddities, such as the one wall on the receivers side of the court being broken by a buttress called a 'tambour' which puts the receiver at a serious disadvantage. There are grilled openings called 'galleries' along the sides and back of the wall opposite the 'tambour' which you can hit into and win the point! The balls used are all hand made and are harder, irregularly shaped versions of the modern day tennis ball which don't bounce too well. Simon attempted to teach us the extremely complicated rules of the game as we smashed balls at each other playing doubles with our bent wooden racquets. There's even a painting of Henry VIII on the far end corner of the receivers end where, if you can hit it, you win the point immediately. We played a few games and then had a competition to hit the painting, where Charl managed to out hit us and win.

Joe and Simon took us to a nearby pub for supper before we returned home and got a good night's rest ahead of a big week.

Knights Lost 2-3

Stefano Garas 1-3
8-11 14-12 7-11 3-11
Lyell Fuller
Michael Shean 1-3
11-8 2-11 8-11 12-14
Phil Rushworth
Kyle Maree 3-1
5-11 11-6 12-10 12-10
Jonathon Camfield
Daniel Thomson 1-3
5-11 12-10 8-11 4-11
Rob Cameron
Charl Fourie 3-0
11-4 11-9 11-8
Dave Boothroyd
Posted by : Kyle Maree at 10:15:AM on Monday 8 December 2014
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