From various corners of the UK (North Yorkshire, Wales, Sussex…) a Pilgrims team gradually emerged to face the School in its annual fixture in early May, taking place in near-perfect playing conditions.

The Pilgrims team comprised a healthy mix of experienced and youthful hands: David Leakey, Andrew Crowe, Chris Grant-Peterkin, Richard Bramble, Ed Leakey and James Sewry.  It also offered an equally healthy mix of recent practise (we’ll pass over the fact that the Pilgrims fixture seems to be the only time of year you pick up a tennis racquet, Ed!)

Having re-familiarised ourselves with the grass, the early signs were promising, with the Pilgrims going 2-1 up after the first round of rubbers.  Early hopes were emboldened after the second round, after which the Pilgrims were up 4-2.  This meant we required just one more win from the final round of fixtures in order to secure the overall victory.  Surely the Pilgrims could do it, we mused?

The first two matches of the final round resulted in losses.  James and Ed came up against a very strong first pair, and lost 6-0 without doing much wrong.  David and Andrew lost their final rubber, and so, with only one match left on court, it was down to Richard and Chris.  Rather appropriately, this match was the most closely contested of all, going to a tie-break to decide the outcome.  With three match points for the Pilgrims, it was over.  Or so we thought… the School were able to dig in, save the match points, and eventually prevailed 7-6, giving them a 5-4 overall win.

Overall, it was a great afternoon of tennis, and fantastic for the Pilgrims to be back on the School’s grass courts.  For 2019, it is hoped that the fixture might be moved to OS Day, to take place alongside the concurrent cricket fixture, rather than take place on the Sunday, as it currently does.