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Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to all tennis players ....

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Oratory Kids Christmas Fun Winners

Over 15 youngsters , parents and pro's enjoyed a great Christmas Fun Club day on Sunday with mince pies, cakes and real tennis.

The fun winners are below but Most Improved Player of the Year Award went to Melissa

Fun Event Winners ...

Joe - The "Grille" Competition
Alex - The "Hit Cathy" Serving Competition
Stacey - The "Lives" Competition
Melissa - The "Dedans" Competition

Jacob - "Best Chase" ( Better 1/2 a yard !! )
Sean - Marks "Special" Grille Competition ( Beat all the grown ups and Bryn & Simon in playoff )

Friday, November 30, 2007

Oratory Kids Top Guns !

With Bryn's coaching the Oratory kids club players are improving with each week that passes. The video shows a few clips of them in action - its nearly 7 minutes long so be patient ( all those who attended last week are in there somewhere !). Most important however is that everyone is having fun and enjoying the game. The smiling faces tell their own story.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rob Fahy featured in Telegraph Sport

Monday, November 12, 2007

Real Tennis & The Core

Tom has been working on 'Real Tennis & The Core' - a presentation on why core training is so important for real tennis. It includes information on anatomy and physiology, and some exercises to improve your core stability/mobility for real tennis.

Follow the link below and click on the blue sound icon in the bottom right hand corner for commentary.

Jonners & Julie's Farewell Evening

Click on this link for more pictures from Jonners & Julie's Farewell Dinner

Here is the moment when Jonners & Julie arrived to be suprised by nearly 200 friends, professionals and supporters from the world of Real Tennis. Most suprising however was probably the lifesize cardboard cutout of Jonners waiting to greet visitors.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The old court in Bordeaux

In October 2007, a group from The Oratory took Jonners to visit Bordeaux. They found what is left of the original court which was sold in the mid 60's and the site converted into a cinema which has now been demolished in preparation for a supermarket! Roman remains have been discovered at the site so further re-building has been postponed while further excavation is undertaken.
Fortunately, Tim Tomalin was on hand with his camera to capture what may become the final pictures of this court.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Oratory Launch Newsletter - "Real Matters"

Mark & Tom have released the 1st issue of Real Matters the Oratory Real Tennis Club Newsletter. Click on the image to download. Featured In this Issue :-
  • Farewell Jonners
  • Fitness Corner
  • Club News
  • Junior Section
  • French Open
  • Diary Dates

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pau Court Uncovered

The Pau court is open for real tennis on Sundays and reverts to its role as a Trinquet Court during weekdays.

The court is an intriguing mix of the ancient and the new as the original penthouses at the servers end and recievers end have been removed, together with the mid court tambour and net to make way for the Basque game of trinquet. Even more curious is the tambour has moved back becoming a 45 degree "chamfer" in the far backhand receivers corner.

This creates a faster game than normal with the added fun of a main wall drive that hits the tambour and bounces parallel to the back wall ( like a good boomerang serve ). Oh .. and the grille is a small opening ~ 18" square so it takes some hitting.

The Association du Jeu de Paume de Navarre club is being run by Alexandre Boy and he is very passionate about his tennis and wants to restore the court to its original glory. Website

The court nestles in a small park behind the magnificent Hotel Parc Baumont which is worth the trip in its own right. The reasaurant is named the Jue de Paume and the hotel manager is also a strong supporter of real tennis offering good rates at a 4 start hotel.
Also on your agenda should be a visit to the Complex de Pelote where there are magnificent facilities to celebrate all the Basque ball games ( 21 of them ! ). Most of which are played on courts derived from the old real tennis court. They are played with a variety of implements and styles. Suffice to say they have to be seen.

The old town offers fantastic views of the Pyrenees and local culture , but do try and avoid visiting after England beat the French in the semi final of the rugby world cup !

Ryan Air offer great deals on flights from Stansted and you will be made most welcome. So go on ... soak up some Real Tennis -- "Basque style "

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tom's new-look website

I have just redesigned my website 'Real Tennis Fitness'. It has a new, easy to navigate interface and brand new exercises and stretches.

Remember my other website TomHuelin-Fitness, offering online health and fitness advice.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Oratory Kids Club goes from Strength to Strength

The Oratory Kids Club takes placeon Sundays from 2pm until 3:30. Run by Cathy Gordon and Bryn Sayers, it is enjoyed by a large group of local kids. With fitness skills and coaching. Its great to see the enjoyment of youngsters new to tennis.

To sign up your child please contact the Pro's or Cathy

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ultimate Doubles weekend Sat/Sun 20/21 Oct

Now is the time to sign up for this event!
You can do this either by email to:
or at the club.

We need to know:
Your name and your partner,
whether you prefer all day saturday, all day sunday, or half a day both days.

The aim is to get two groups of 8 pairs with all pairs within 10 handicap points in each group. The exact grouping will depend upon the entry.

Rules are as before:

All pairs play the same number of matches (sets)
all games played off level with 40-alls (no deuces)
best of one 6 game set.
one round-robin group then the "ultimate filtering" to gain a final ordering of 1 to 8.

Any questions to

or give me a call.

See you then if not before

Tom Povey

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Real Tennis Article in The Times 15th September 2007

In their latest husband-and-wife challenge, Rosie and Philip are baffled by the rules of the court.
She thinks
“Neither of us has played before, so we start as equals”
My husband is a royal pain on a tennis court, either as opponent or partner. He never lets you win just to be nice and, in a doubles match is for ever stealing your shots. He even takes pleasure in thrashing the children at Swingball.
However, on the elegantly decorated real tennis court at the Queen’s Club, West
London, it looks as if we might be equally rubbish. It is so complicated! Howard Angus, our coach, is charming and looks a bit like a matinée idol.
When the ball starts moving around the court it is clear that behind Angus’s smiley exterior lie muscles of steel. It’s ferociously challenging, though. Each end of the court is different; the ball usually comes to you not over the droopy net but via the sloped walls, or “penthouses”, and you have to aim for the “dedans”, a sort of raised goal at the end of one court. And don’t forget about the “hazard chases”. Whatever these are.
Angus starts off by serving me some underarm “bobbles”, which I think means easy shots.
When I at last get one back over the sagging net he yells “Hurrah!”, as if I have just won a rally against Andrew Murray.
Maybe I could take to real tennis, I think. Then I start playing Mr Millard. With irritation, I can see my spouse has realised that real tennis is a bit like squash, only with hazard chases to enliven things. He starts firing off balls to me, via the penthouse. I am lost. Real tennis is played with minute balls that have no bounce. Essentially, you have to run about, all the time. After five minutes of muffed returns it is clear we’re in a stalemate.
“Shall I take the serves for you?” says Angus, gallantly.
Mr Millard takes this as a huge compliment and starts firing balls off at Angus. One goes into the “grill”. This is a big deal. “My word!” says Angus. “I would say that you have a natural court manner. Have you ever thought about taking up rackets [a game similar to squash]?” Blah, blah, I think, furiously. We continue to rally. At least I try my best. “This reminds me of when I first played real tennis at Cambridge,” chirrups Angus. “Couldn’t get a single ball on to the penthouse. Tell you what, why don’t you both play me?” He’s so sweet. However, alongside Mr Millard on court is even worse. At one point, Angus lobs us a nasty forehand. “Yours!” Mr M shouts. Naturally, I miss it. He shoots me a furious look.
Angus then starts explaining the finer points of the hazard chase to us. Mr Millard nods as if he understands, and makes intelligent remarks. God. He does understand. Maybe I am less clever than I originally thought. Maybe my brain is dying. Maybe the fact that I can’t understand the point system of real tennis is the first sign, at 42, of senility.
As I ponder my withering intellect, Angus is lobbing a few bobbles around. “Come and let me show you the championship court,” he says to us in a kindly way. But, instead, I go back to the ladies’ changing room, where I discover, to my pleasure, there is a giant whirlpool, not with bobbles but with bubbles.
I’m sorry, I don’t care how authentic real tennis is, I couldn’t get the hang of it. Nonbouncy balls, indeed.
He thinks
“I expect I’ll be good at this, as I’m normally a whizz with bats and balls”
I’m warming up with the three-times real tennis world champion, Howard Angus, on one of two courts at the Queen’s Club, a private members’ sports club in West London.
This is a confusing game that resembles a cross between tennis and squash. It is played indoors across a sagging net within a high walled court.
A favourite sport of king Henry VIII, it has several sexy ornaments including a roof called the penthouse which you have to serve on to, and some nets carved into the side and the end known as dedans, which help your scoring along if you hit them. I’m tempted to think that the court was designed by a distant relative of the man who invented the pinball machine.
It’s going all right although the court’s many lines – some with mysterious coloured crowns on them – the complicated rules, and the French-sounding court positions are distracting me.
Not as distracting though as Rosie’s intepretation of Queen’s strict all-white dress code. Of course, it’s also a good idea if the white clothes are the right size, which isn’t so easy if you wear shorts belonging to your seven-year-old son. Rosie looks equally uncomfortable with her spoon-shaped wooden real tennis racket, probably because she is holding it the wrong way round. The geography of sports equipment being as testing for her as the correct way round a road map. It is as well that nobody else is watching her pirouette around the ball in this, one of England’s most hallowed sports clubs.
Angus exudes only noble charm as she again and again fails to find the racket’s admittedly miniscule sweet spot. When she finally pokes one over the ancient netting he shouts out: “That’s a winning shot.” Angus, who is convinced that real tennis is not as complex as it first seems, lists four easy rules for winning at tennis (and any other racket sport): hit the ball over the net; hit it where the opponent is not; variety; and play to the other person’s weakness.
Angus, who won his last world title some time ago, is living proof that it is worth persevering with this crafty game. Many play well into their late middle-age long after cricket, tennis, skiing, and squash have given up on them. I suspect this group will not include my wife.
I’m up for this at any time: even, perish the thought, when I can play no other sport. I hope the Queen’s Club will invite me back.
Lessons cost from £30 an hour. To find an instructor contact the Tennis & Rackets Association 020-7386 3447; or The Queen’s Club, Baron’s Court, West London, is a private members’ club: 020-7386 3429

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Brownlee and Brown win In The Hat Doubles

Report to follow!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Kate Leeming's Book Now Available

As many of you know Kate Leeming returned to The Oratory in May to talk us about her astonishing journey across Australia. Following on from this talk we are delighted to announce the release of Kate's new book 'Out There and Back', the story of the 25000km great Australian cycle expedition.

The book is available to order online at and you can pick up your copy from The Oratory. Just bring the order confirmation sheet and we will exhange it for the book.

Please call the club if you need more info!

In The Hat Doubles draw

IN THE HAT DOUBLES Saturday 1st September 2007

Group 1 9am - 11.30am

J. Brownlee & M.Box

J.Neill & D.Eadle

M.Seymour & T.Povey

S.Booker & D.Brownlee

Group 2 11.30am - 2pm

C.Butler & M.Carlton

A.Woodward & Z.Eadle

M.Brown & F.Brownlee

W.Clegg & S.Brownlee

WINNER 1 v RUNNER UP 2 at 2pm

WINNER 2 v RUNNER UP 1 at 2.30pm


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Night Pennant 2007

A message from Geri

It's time for the Oratory Real Tennis Club's annual Night Pennant Tournament! For anyone who doesn't know, the format is five teams of six players headed by four wonderful captains and me, all competing for the coveted trophy. Each team will play four matches over the course of the Autumn term on Wednesday evenings from 8:00pm. The evenings are fun and a good way to meet new members.

If you would like to take part please sign up or speak to the Pro's at The Oratory. Your team captain will then contact you in due course with match dates to put in your diary. Alternatively, if your not able to commit to a team you can sign up as a reserve. Places are going fast!!

I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer. See you on court!!


In The Hat Doubles

The season is nearly here!

Enter now for the IN THE HAT DOUBLES

Saturday 1st September 2007

For those newer members the In The Hat Doubles is a tournament where your partner is drawn from a hat. So you might be drawn with the club champion!!

Please email if you would like to enter by 25th August.

The Oratory Team

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bryn and Tom Coach Junior Squad

Last weekend Bryn and Tom teamed up to coach the British Real Tennis Junior Squad at Seacourt Tennis Club, Hayling Island. The group of eight players aged between 14 and 18 are the cream of juniors in the UK. Managed by Paul Weaver, the team is continuing to improve at a fast rate. This was their final training session of the season and they were coached on their fitness as well as their tennis by the Oratory duo. The squad have had a highly successful season and they start training again in September.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Bryn: Training photos

These shots were taken last week by a professional photographer while Bryn was practicing. Note: Eyes on the ball (upper) and low body position, straight back, bent knees (lower).

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pete Harding

Tom's New Website

Tom's new website, Real Tennis Fitness is now online!! Real Tennis Fitness is the world's only online real tennis fitness resource for amateur and professional players. Find out about the components of fitness for real tennis, information on pre and post match nutrition and the best stretches and exercises to help get the edge over your opponent. The forum section gives users an opportunity to get Tom's professional advice on all aspects of fitness for tennis.
Tom says:
"I have been involved in the game for 8 months now and I have closely studied the physical requirements of real tennis, applying my existing knowledge to devise effective drills and exercises for players. I hope that Real Tennis Fitness will become a useful resource for players of all levels and that it can increase awareness of physical training for what is a particularly physically demanding sport."

Check out Real Tennis Fitness now at

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Summer Night's Dream

Come and join the Oratory Club for a riverside barbecue at the Oratory Boat House, Hardwick and some fun doubles at Hardwick House.

Friday 20th July 7.00pm

Come and experience the beautiful surroundings of the boat house and enjoy great food and drink with club members, friends and the Oratory team.

Please call The Sports Centre for more details and to book your place

Monday, May 21, 2007

Historic Pau Court Partially Re-Open for Real Tennis

The old court at Pau in France has been partially re-openeed to RT players on Sundays only. The more people play, the more court time RT will have versus the game of Trinquet currently played during the week. So have a trip down and play. For more details see the article on IRTPA site. ( Click the TITLE on this post ). Here is a picture of the Pau Court ( nice colour ! ).

Addendum : The court will be officially open on the 10th of June 2007.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Handicap Singles 2007 Video

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Charlotte Cornwallis Interview with Chris Evans on Radio 2

If any of you were tuned in at about 6.45pm on Friday 21st April you'd have heard Chris Evans interviewing Charlotte Cornwallis as a prelude to the Ladies British Open and the World Championships in Manchester.

Its a great interview.
( Its a 4MB MP4 file so be patient )

T&RA Newsletter

The T&RA have started an e-Newsletter : With a new e-newsletter we are launching a new-look website, located at our usual address, E-newsletters should allow us to give you more information at a lower cost than mail-outs, although the cherished Annual Report will continue to be published as usual.
Launch of our New-Look Website : Here is the new-look Tennis and Rackets website. You will be able to keep up to date with the latest tournament draws, results and events in the worlds of Tennis and Rackets.

They would like to know what you think, and also what you would like to see on the site - there is a feedback form.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Handicap Singles Photo Gallery

Marmoy Wins Handicap Singles

The members of The Oratory Tennis Club competed last weekend for the most coveted trophy of the season – the Adrian Snow trophy for the Handicap Singles tournament. Callum McLean and Andy Woodward, both reached the semi final stage. In his quarter final Andy had defeated Ian Glyn in a match dubbed “The Battle of the Titans” with two strong, hard hitting players confronting each other. Andy won through narrowly with good strategy, shot selection and change of pace. Callum then met Club Captain Colin Butler who has always got through to the latter stages of this tournament, but the handicap difference was too much for Colin to cope with and Callum handled his railroad serve very well. Richard Marmoy, who has only been an Oratory member since the beginning of this season, but who has played all over the country, had one of the most gripping quarter final matches against the holder Fergus Brownlee, who made a slow start and allowed Richard to get to 5-1 before he started his recovery. A magnificent effort took the match to 5-5, but Richard held on to reach his place in the semi-final, where he put Callum McLean under considerable pressure with some good chases to reach the final. Tom Povey, who had played with great consistency all through the tournament, succeeded in disposing of Brian Lambert and Andy Woodward on his way to the final. This was a very evenly matched affair with some long rests and some excellent retrieving from Richard which deservedly won him the title.

Quarter Finals
T Povey beat B Lambert 6-2
A Woodward beat I Glyn 6-5
C McLean beat C Butler 6-4
R Marmoy beat F Brownlee 6-5

Povey beat Woodward 6-2
Marmoy beat McLean 6-3

Marmoy beat Povey 6-4

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Simon Booker

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sayers & Smith Reach Qtr Final of World Doubles

Somewhat belatedly please see this excellent coverage of Bryn and
Ricardo's performance in the World Doubles in Boston.

Quarter-Final: (4) Gunn & Rich Smith vs. Sayers & Ricardo Smith 6-4, 6-2, 6-1

In what the pundits had called the closest match of the day, No. 4 seeds Rich Smith and Ruaraidh 'Wesson' Gunn took the court against a 'team for the future' Ricardo Smith and Bryn Sayers. In front of a packed Hamlen room, this much anticipated match had all the prerequisites for a classic - powerful forcing, great retrieving, outrageous volleying and lightning exchanges. The younger pair chose the interesting time of 0-5 on the scoreboard to open their account, but the 4 games they rattled off in that set (with points for 5-5) to slightly unnerve the seeded team, turned out to be the most they garnered in any set. Gunn was sublime in defence and considered attack and Newport head pro Smith brought his A-game to this big event, and they shut down any aspirations Sayers & Smith had of going to the later stages of the tournament by repeatedly overcoming deficits in games and making their opponents earn every point. Great tennis, but unfortunately more one-sided than hoped, Gunn & Smith 6/4 6/2 6/1.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Club Handicap Singles, Draw 2007, 11th-13th May 2007

Friday 11th May - Oratory
15:00 S Whittaker, M Keogh, C MacLean, S Booker
17:30 D Fox, M Carlton, G Johnstone, S Nickson
20:00 B Nickson, R Boughton, A Woodward, J Lambert

Saturday 12th May – Oratory
09:00 I Whittaker, M Allaway, S Baxter, M Box
11:30 C Butler, T Green, I Glyn , A Wagner
14:00 S Brownlee, I Wood, B Lambert, T Tomalin
16:30 P Tomalin, P Harding, T Povey, T Huelin

Saturday 12th May – Hardwick
09:00 F Brownlee, M Brooksbank, C Harding , M Seymour
11:30 K Weston, C Gordon, B Lambert, G Brooksbank
14:00 S McGivern, G Craig, M Brown, J Gordon

Friday, April 27, 2007

Get Fit For Tennis

See Tom and Bryn in action doing their training drills for real tennis. We produced this video to promote the game and Tom's fiteness tips. Email it to your friends and family and REMEMBER whenever you watch a video on YouTube be sure to RATE the video it helps it get up the search rankings and more people see it !!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Kate Leeming back at The Oratory

Thursday 10th May at 7pm

Kate Leeming is coming back to the Oratory Sports Centre to talk about her extraordinary travels. She cycled solo around Australia from May 2004 to February 2005. For those of you who don't know Kate - she was a highly respected assistant professional at The Oratory for three years.

Please come and support what will be a fascinating insight into Kate's journey. Non-members are most welcome. The cost per person is £15.00 and will include supper.

Please sign up at the club or call us to reserve your place.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Callum MacLean

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Oratory Tennis Club Handicap Singles

The Oratory Tennis Club Handicap Singles Tournament Friday 11th - Sunday 13th May 2007.
Please write your name on the list at the club or give us a call to confirm your place.

Bryn and Ricardo win Under 24 British Open Doubles Championship

Bryn won the Under 24 British Open Doubles Championship with Ricardo Smith at the weekend. They beat Ben Matthews and Tom Weaver 5-6, 6-5, 6-4.

In the singles Bryn defeated Ricardo Smith in semi-final winning 6-4, 6-5. In the final he lost to Camden Riviere 6-2, 6-4.

Photos to follow

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tony Acton

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mike Taylor

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Club Photo Gallery

Have you been playing tennis this week? Have you spotted a photographer around the court?

Richard Boughton

Keep visiting the Blog to see if you have made the Club Photo Gallery

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Meet the Team

Built in 1990 the centre is open daily from 08:00am to 10:30pm and the Real Tennis court was the first court built in the UK for 80 years. Our four experienced sports professionals offering expert tuition.

Mark Eadle
In 1984, Mark gave up his career as a pro soccer player with Oxford United to become a real tennis professional. In 1990 he joined Jonathan Howell at the, then, newly built Oratory School Tennis Court. Mark is a highly motivated individual and is very keen to bring players into the game and to train them to not only be tournament players, but good club professionals. In late 2007 Mark took over as Sports Executive at the Oratory.

Ross Brown
Ross's passion for tennis took him to France where he worked in Paris and the UK. In early 2007 Ross joined Oratory as a trainee professional and has done afbulous job in building club events at the Oratory Club organising tournaments, pennant matches and coaching kids and club players. Ross enjoys all sport and his warm demeanor and banter off court make him a popular member of the Oratory team.

Tom Huelin
Tom graduated from the University of Southampton with a BSc in Sports Science and in 2006 took the position of Head of Fitness & Conditioning at The Oratory School Sports Centre. Tom specializes in sports-specific training for amateurs and professionals including current top 10 real tennis players. He also works with cricketers, golfers, tennis players and skiers . For more infirmation visit Tom's Fitness Website

Tom Phipps

The newest member of staff in the Sports Centre. Tom Phipps joined the team in summer 2008 , a top 200 in the world squash player and strong racket-ball player. Aged 22, Tom has taken to Real Tennis quickly, and has settled in well with the Oratory team.