Avory Cup 2005

June 16 - 17, 2005
London, England
St. George's Hill Lawn Tennis Club
The fifth playing of the Ted Avory Cup match between the International Clubs of the United States, and Great Britain took place in London England on the 16th and 17th of June. The matches were hosted by the St. George's Hill Lawn Tennis Club on grass. The Club is situated on the beautiful St George's Hill estate about 45 minutes southwest of London. This was the third time the matches have been held in Great Britain. The 2003 match was held at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston. In the first two years the British Team was victorious but the United States won the Cup in 2001 and 2003. This year the British Team was victorious by a score of 33 to 23

The United States team consisted of the following players:
Open Men: Eric Butorac and Treat Huey
30 Women: Kasey Hamaway and Chris Sheldon
35 Men: Mickey Maule and Mark Harrison
40 Women: Barbara Cabral, Mary Ginnard and Kristin Fullam
45 Men: Oliver Scott and Dan Waldman
55 Men: Armie Neely and Bob Litwin
60 Women: Olga Stark, Lola O'Sullivan and Heidi Attlefellner
60 Men: Fred Drilling and Chum Steele
65 Men: Larry Sears and John Powless

The team captains were David Nash and Kristin Fullam, and Broward Craig joined us for the matches and the social events.

The British team was led by Mark George as acting Captain for Nick Adams who was only available for selective events due to scheduling issues. The British team was made up of a number of familiar names including Keith Bland, Richard Tutt, Mike Appleton Alan Purnell, and Mark Beim. The British women were exceptionally strong and dominated our women on the first day but the US women rebounded on day two and played a number of exceptional matches to score important points. Chris Sheldon and Kasey Hamaway won singles matches in spectacular style against tough opponents.

The match followed the same organizational structure this year as a result of an agreement between the respective IC's to have a specific number of matches to be contested for the Cup. Each age group played two singles and two doubles with reverse singles in the morning of the second day and doubles in the afternoon. On the final day we paired up the different age categories for mixed doubles, which was most enjoyable to watch and was appreciated by the players. There were some outstanding mixed matches and the US won four of the eight matches.

The British started strong on Day One and carried their strong play to a lead of 19 to 9. Because of rain the matches were played on artificial grass at St George's.

On Day Two the skies cleared and we moved to the grass, which produced much better results for the US Team. On day two the match result was 14 to 14. For the United States side there were several players who distinguished themselves by winning all but one of their matches including John Powless, Bob Litwin, Dan Waldman, Eric Butorac, Fred Drilling and Treat Huey. Armie Neely was the only undefeated US player.

There were wonderful social events hosted by the British IC. It started with a cocktail party at the historic Roehampton Club after our practice before the start of the matches. On Thursday night the entire group was hosted at the estate of John Hunter for a spectacular cocktail party and dinner. On Friday night St George's hosted the traditional final dinner and award ceremony. It was a hot night and we moved to the patio for the presentation of the Avory Cup and the exchange of Captain's gifts. As if that was not enough, on Saturday The Hurlingham Club hosted an afternoon of tennis, food and refreshments as kind of a pre Wimbledon event. That night we attended the IC Ball at the Dorchester Hotel in London. This is one of the highlights of the Wimbledon fortnight and featured a dinner served by waiters with white gloves, a rock band and speeches by various dignitaries. We danced the night away, and a great time was had by all. We will never forget the chocolate waterfall and the Bud Collins yellow pants.

The players had an open day on Sunday but on Monday the highlight of the trip was an afternoon in the International Box on Center Court preceded by lunch including strawberries and cream in the Member's Enclosure. Despite the heat we thoroughly enjoyed that day and many of us stayed for the next day. We are grateful to Brian Hatton and the British IC for their incredible hospitality and for making the Box available to the US Team and our many guests.

The British provided us with a trip of a lifetime and have raised the bar on this event to an extraordinary level. We were all glad to return home given the tragic events of early July and our thoughts were with all of our great friends across the pond hoping for their safety.

We are considering a clay court match in the US in 2007 and while we have not selected a site as of this writing. We look forward to an opportunity to even the series at 3 to 3 and to reciprocate for a memorable week in London.
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