Waking up on Sunday morning you could tell something was different, something was in the air.  An unusual hush had fallen over the fields surrounding Marina.  Doors and windows were closed.  The children didn’t play on the streets that day.  There was an uncomfortable tension and everyone knew it was just on the verge of breaking.  They waited….  and then, through the fog, figures were discerned.  Figures in spandex, headbands and trainers that were blindingly white.  The interns had arrived on the tennis court.  It was WimbleBARI!!!

That’s right, after a week of sleepless nights, secret practice sessions, hours pouring over the details of famous matches and a lot of effort from our coordinator Isobel ‘The Pink’ Yeo, it was finally time for the interns tennis tournament.

As all veterans of WimbleBARI know, there is nothing more important than the costumes, and this was a particulary good year.  We were treated to the aesthetic delights of Team Pink, Team Purple (Spandex a go-go) and Team Monochrome, not to mention ‘The Trash Man’!

Team Pink

Team Purple (including the crippled Sara's wheelchair pusher)

Heartwarming sportmanship between Team Monochrome, The Trashman and Tony

Even the sun decided to join in!  We had two heated group stages and already the crowds had been shocked more than they could handle.  A number of ‘first timers’ turned out to be nothing but sharks, running away with the points and smashing the balls down the outside line.  Calls for Hawkeye fell on deaf ears, the umpires word was final (and, as the umpire depended on who was left with the scoring clip board, the final decisions were unnervingly fickle…)

Many games were played, many tears were bitterly shed; we were down to the semi finals…  Then, in an unprecedented twist to the story, a new team walked into the court.  It was as we feared, none other than Katie ‘The Smasher’ Lodes and her formidable husband Andy.  The legends were true!  No one dared speak as they placed themselves straight into the semi-finals.  The remaining two pairs, Chris and Sandeep, and Becks and Bart, quaked in their tennis shoes.  The other players hid on the sidelines and thanked their luck for missing that final shot, little had they realised at the time that it had bought them safety!

A nervous crowd

The first semi began, a terrifying battle to the end!  Chris astounded everyone with his sheer nerve in the face of the Lodes partnership.  Sandeep perfected his ball-dodging technique beautifully.  But the battle did not last, Chris and Sandeep were thrown out of the tournament and the Lodes’ roared in triumph – only one more partnership stood between them and the Championship!

Semi-final 1

Becks (who had really much preferred being a ball girl) and The Hustler (also known as Bart) were next to face The Smasher.  Understandably, a terrible fear had been borne in their hearts after watching the last game.  Becks and Bart fell to the Lodes partnership quickly, and all too soon (especially for the umpire, who had to be alerted to the fact that it was Championship Point) it was over….

Celebrations!  It was time to pop the cheap cava like they do on tv!!!  Then down to the field to have a BBQ and relax in the waning sunlight.

Well done Katie and Andy, and a special thanks to our two excellent ball girls, Sophie and Margie!

Our impressive ball girls

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