The tension on Centre Court was palpable. It had seen many great contests but today was one of those members’ finals that nobody could miss. Reaching SFN Centre Court, Mark Sampson and Johnny Summerton were showing how the finest of the best came through to such a match.
Fans packed Centre Court. In the Royal Box, Seggers sat alone but gazing over the assembled crowd as though they were her loyal subjects. Lord and Lady Higginson sat in their places in the club president’s box overseeing the enthusiasm around them. It would be a day to remember. The line judges, referee and balldog, Mrs Kipling, entered the court and took their places. Moments later Sampson and Summerton came on court to tumultuous cheers. Summerton won the toss and would serve to start the match.
He served, it was the magnificent ‘Put on your wellies and a grab a coat because love is in the air – or is it the meadows?’, Sampson volleyed with a ‘Zen and the Art of Log-Piling’ shot. Summerton returned with the legendary ‘And what if the unthinkable happened?’, Sampson hit back into the net with ‘Cleaning: A Love Story’. First point to Summerton. Sampson served with ‘Camping Shmamping’ that whistled elegantly over the net, past Summerton for the first ace of the match. Summerton, determined to take the point back, served a ‘François Hollande’s “gender parity” government – really?’, Sampson returned a ‘Taxing Times’ shot that Summerton volleyed back with ‘France scraps sexual harassment laws’, Sampson a ‘The Paying Friendship’ and Summerton the famous ‘Honey, where’s the loo roll’ to take the point. Two one. Sampson’s service, ‘The Dark Side of the Mushroom’ flew over the net and was knocked back with a ‘France’s favourite lunchtime continuity announcer – er sorry, news anchor, Jean-Pierre Pernaut’, Sampson stumbled but just caught the return, a ‘The Feast of Music’ shot, Summerton lobbed a ‘Donald Duck appointed a new coach of Les Bleus’ back, just caught and returned a ‘Calender Time’, Summerton angrily swiped his legendary ‘Faction report: No doping scandal hits Tour de France’ for the point. Three one. Summerton served a ‘Valérie Trierweiler’s problems with her other half’s children – a fairy tale, of sorts’, Sampson slammed back his ‘Summa C** Laude’ double asterisk shot that whistled past Summerton’s ear for the point. Three two. Sampson served a hefty ‘Election Day Detours’ for his second ace of the match. Three three. Summerton served a ‘Culinary cock-ups’. At that moment the heavens broke forth and the players were forced off the court as the deluge swamped the court. Lord Higginson cursed under his breath, he had been meaning to build a cover for Centre Court but the long list of people waiting for designer tables had delayed the project.
With the game suspended until tomorrow and this commentator’s non-availability, the match will be taken up by X…