Anyone for tennis? Mixed doubles was our game

James Dent, of Hadleigh, shares the “Wimbledon-fever” memories of his youth, of when “a group of us lads and girls would get together at the Christchurch Park tennis courts. This was the mid-sixties, when the concept of mixed doubles involving pupils of Northgate Boys and Girls Grammar Schools was perceived by the then headmistress as tantamount to the sexual excesses of the court of Nero. I remember one incident when, after the usual inept service by yours truly, the return came back as an absolute gift to my young lady partner. The opposing male player, R, was hovering within a few feet of the net in eager anticipation of an easy coup. My partner, also close to the net, let loose a searing volley. It struck R an almighty blow in a very tender part of his anatomy... Whilst R hobbled around, red faced and eyes watering, unsure as to whether he dare grasp his injuries, our young lady partners were convulsed with laughter. At other times we assembled in the evening at a friend’s house, where the family had its own tennis court. These occasions tended strangely to coincide with the parents being out for the evening. The purpose of ‘losing’ the ball in the hedge was a planned manoeuvre to enable a pair to disappear for a while, in the pretence of retrieving it.”

Discretion prevents James from naming anyone involved but he would love to hear from them. His name is in the phone book.


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