South of Scotland

The Annual South of Scotland Tennis Championships was recently completed with play being split between the Blaes courts at Beechgrove in Moffat and the all-weather courts at Dumfries.  Unfortunately for the tournament organisers all 8 days of competition were interrupted by rain with more than half the matches being played at Dumfries, this despite the great efforts of committee members and volunteers who tried in vain to clear the water from the old Blaes courts at the historic Beechgrove Tennis Club.

Despite the weather, another healthy entry of 212 players descended into Dumfries and Galloway to play this historic event with winners from as far afield as Inverness, Dundee, Northumberland, Berkshire and Wrexham. The new organising team oversaw 336 matches over the 8 days with an average of 42 matches per day and peaking at 54 matches on the Thursday. We also saw a historic moment on the Monday with the event being played under floodlights for the first time in its history which was repeated through-out the week at Dumfries.

The Tennis that was played at both Moffat and Dumfries was of the highest level and the Men’s Singles Open saw a top class final with 19 years old Ruben Henry (Blackhall TC Edinburgh) just edging past  17 years old James Shemilt (David Lloyd Glasgow) 6-3, 7-6 to win his 1st South of Scotland Title.

The Ladies Singles Open final was an English affair which saw Northumberland’s Francesca Booth win a tighter match than the score line reflects 6-0, 6-3 against Sunderland’s Nicola Tweedy.

Two local boys, Alex Shearman and Chad Lawson again triumphed in the Men’s handicap doubles, which they regained from last year whilst Alex also regained the men’s handicap singles title in a repeat of last year’s final by beating local Moffat coach Mike McMillin 4-1, 4-2. Alex also reached both the 16s and 18s boys semi finals.

The one new event this year was created to thank our previous 2 referees, The Hanbidge and Howie Challenge Cup was created after both Colin Hanbidge and John Howie stepped down after 22 years of helping run this event and it was fitting that Colin himself entered and won the inaugural event by beating Trevor Herron in the final 6-0, 6-0. Many thanks gents and a big thanks to Magnox (North) for their help funding the new trophy.


Men's Champion

Ruben Henry

Men’s Open Singles – Rueben Henry bt James Shemilt 6-3, 7-6

Ladies Singles Finalists

Nicola and Francesca

Ladies Open Singles – Francesca Booth bt Nicola Tweedy 6-0, 6-3

Men’s Open Doubles – Rueben Henry/ Tim Weir bt Lewis Hall/Ross Martin 4-0, 4-1

Ladies Open Doubles – Nicola Tweedy/Sophie Williamson bt Heather Croll/Milly Wood 4-1, 5-4

Mixed Open Doubles – Philip Blythe/Heather Croll bt Ross Martin/Maisie Wood 4-2, 4-0

45+ Men’s Open Singles – Colin Hanbidge bt Trevor Herron 6-0, 6-0

Men’s Handicap Singles – Alex Shearman bt Mike McMillin 4-1, 4-2

Men’s Handicap Doubles – Chad Lawson/ Alex Shearman bt Jamie Connel/Ross Lyon by a walk over.

Mixed Handicap Doubles – Cameron Edwards/Milly Wood bt Angus Edward/Maisie Wood 4-2, 4-1

U18 Boys – James Shemilt bt Ross Martin 6-2 6-1

U18 Girls – Stephanie Booth bt Milly Wood 4-6, 6-2, (10-7)

U16 Boys – Ross Martin bt Matthew Forrest 6-4, 6-3

U16 Girls – Megan Almond bt Milly Wood 6-3, 1-6, (10-7)

U16 – Boys Doubles – Matthew Forest/Michael Morrison bt Cameron Edward 5-4, 5-3

U16 – Girls Doubles – Heather Croll/Milly Wood bt Alicia Gates/Mathilde Sreeves 6-0, 6-2

U14 – Boys Callum Rendle bt Joshua Kean 7- 6, 3-6, (10-3)

U14 – Girls Megan Davies bt Alicia Gates 6-3, 4-6, (10-8)

This competition, which dates back to the early 1900’s has grown in stature over the past 20 years and is now one of the largest tennis competitions in Scotland, both the Tournament Committee and the Beechgrove Tennis Club Committee wait to see if Dumfries and Galloway Council can successfully source funding and approval to have all six court relayed with a surface fit for modern play. Without new courts who knows what will happen to the event in the future. If anyone would like to donate or help raise funds to assist with this project then please contact Michael at and he can put you in contact with the relevant people.

Finally we would like to thank the following; Hugo Allen and Glynis Allen the referees, welcome to Moffat, Billy and Russell the catering kings, without them the place wouldn’t be the same, cheers lads. Bryan, Mike, Russell W, Ewan and Robbie who all worked tirelessly to keep both the courts and surround area to the best it could be, Lara for sorting burgers and rolls, Adam and Mike who supported and helped us with transport when needed and Geoff Legg for helping with the presentations.  The organising committee would also like to thank the sponsors and supporters, without whom none of this would be possible,

Magnox North (chapelcross site), HEAD uk, Foundation Scotland, Annandale and Eskdale Upper Area Committee, Earl of Annandale and Hartfell,  The Star Hotel, The Stag Hotel, The Buccleuch Arms Hotel, The Balmoral Hotel, The Moffat House Hotel, Hartfell House, Limetree Restaurant, Claudio’s Restaurant and Maria’s Fish & Chip shop, Dumfries and Galloway Council, DS Roofing, Soltyres and Beechgrove Tennis Club (thanks Ladies). See you all 2016.