I don't do too many dedications on this site, I do a lot of knocking, but apart from my obvious hero's namely Mats, Bjorn etc I don't single too many old mates out for praise. This chapter I will go against the flow, a dedication to an old mate who could play the game well, Dale Jones.
Now from memory 'Jonesey' was a Wesley College Student and once took a set off former West Australian Number 1 Darren Patten in a school comp.
I met Jonesey at the East Fremantle Tennis Club in 1984 or thereabouts and we struck up a friendship. Now here was a man who could not only play the game but he also did some good impersonations of professional players, I found him to be good value.
We decided we would team up together and play a Perth Junior Championship at the Melville Tennis Club, not far from the East Fremantle courts. From memory we did ok in the singles, maybe quarters but it was our doubles play that was creating a bit of a stir.
We had a draw that was not easy and we faced the number 1 pairing of Ken McCreery and Tim Burrows in the Semi's of the 18's Doubles . Now these two guys were in two words, brilliant and funny. In fact I thought they were awesome, not only with their play but with their comments, they were good to be on the same court with.
Ken was a Country Week Men's Singles Champion and ranked top 5 in the State for 18's and Tim at one stage was in the top three 16 year olds in Western Australia, I looked up to these two. I am almost certain that I played Tim in one of my first ever junior tournaments in Perth and received an 'education'. Back to the Semi.
I don't know what Jonesey was looking for in this particular match but I was simply in awe of their stroke play and wanted 3 games each set just to brag to our mates. Sometimes as a kid all you are looking for is respect rather than a win that may seem out of reach.
Our first set against McCreery and Burrows was a good set, an enjoyable one with a few laughs, after all we were only there to 'make up the numbers' , 4-6. Now something happened in the second that I am sure given their time back the two 'Big Guns' may have decided to go a little harder . 6-1 to the 'B Graders', Jonesey and Thommo. I was ready to shake hands, go home and tell all my mates about the second set score against one of the State's best teams. But we had a third to play.
At 4-5 in the second set 30-40 we were forced to save a match point then went on to score one of the most unlikeliest wins 7-5 in the third. I remember Tim saying to Ken " I can't believe we lost that".
The final was a 'formality', we were still on a high from our semi and we won the final 3 and 4 against two guys who from all reports still play at Melville, Richardson and Muenchow, nice guys also. So a State Doubles title was ours and what added to the win was the fact that Jonesey and I had played 'up'. Dale was 16, I was 15 but we wanted to test ourselves so we played the 18's for a 'bit of fun', and it turned out to be just that.
Now to many, many years later, Jonesey and his family decided to come down to Albany for a weekend , I asked him if he could tie it in with the Albany Open Doubles Championship. He was happy for a trip down memory lane, 20 years later.
Now I love this Tournament , always a great day and some tough competition as some pretty handy country players turn up at The Emu Point Tennis Club.
Now to cut a long story short Jonesey and I were on fire all day, no one got close to us . I remember a 6-0 set against a local team who apparently hadn't been beaten in 'two years' ( So one of them told me). I didn't have the heart to tell him that his 'exploits' in Men's Division 2 or 'B Grade' at Bridgetown and Esperance doesn't really count as 'unbeaten in two years'.
Anyhow to our second last Round Robin match against equal tournament favourites' Brad Rundle and Gary Connell , the match to decide the tournament. Now some Country Tournaments have some funny rules and as much as I love Emu Point I felt they had definitely thrown the book of fair play out the window.
At 5 games all I went to the Tournament Director's window just to confirm that there would be a tie break at 5 or 6 all, we all couldn't remember. This was the answer. " No Tie Breaker, first to 6 games wins " !!
As the great Jonny Mac once famously said " You cannot be........." , unfortunately though these were the rules and Brad served out the last game comfortably to 15, shattered. We won our last match easily as did Brad and Gary as they pipped us by a game.
I will never forget the Presentation when the results were read out " And these two won by just one game" Brad Rundle and Gary Connell !!" Now I consider myself a fair player but to lose a tournament, especially Jonesey and Thommo's 'Memory Lane Tournament' by a rather bizarre rule , well .........
So to Jonesey, hope you read this Champ, well played back in 1984 and as far as the Albany Open 'near miss' around 10 years ago, well buddy I have a plan. One day before we are too old to play Men's A Grade let's have another crack at it. It's a 'timed' format now but could you imagine if we were beaten by the clock next time around ????
Legend Jonesey, Regards GT........