The ‘twilight’ zone continues here, as last week I found myself playing in the semi-finals of the Men’s Doubles in the village tennis tournament! This was surprising for several reasons: firstly, I never signed up to play – apparently there was a meeting at the tennis club one evening when I was back in the UK for a weekend and when I returned my ‘boys (the 70 year old men I play with) proudly announced that they had signed me up for the competition and that I would be playing with somebody called Dominique. I was amazed that they had found another woman in the village who played tennis but ‘Dominique’ turned out to be the man who runs the local wine shop! We won the first round without playing as luckily (for us) one of the opposition team had broken an ankle, so on the Thursday night we played our first match. We lost 6-1 6-0, partly due to the fact that Dominique had been drinking wine all day, partly because it was the first time we had played as a ‘team’ so either both of us ran for the ball or neither of us did, partly because our opponents Romeo and Giles had hair-styles like plastic Lego figures so I coudn’t keep a straight face , but mainly because they were much better than us. At the end of the match (and I use that term loosely) Dominique turned to me and asked if I was free to play the next evening as we were now in the semi-finals. It turned out that Romeo had stood in for somebody at the last minute and was already due to play in the next round which meant that if he won again, he would be playing in the final against himself!
The semi-final match was even more of a débacle. We were playing against 2 of my ‘boys’, Francis and Jean-Jacques, and I had a slight hope that they might be a bit kind to me but absolutely not, they were out to win, although they still couldn’t resist shouting ‘leave it’ whenever I looked as if I was going to hit a ball that was going out (apparently one of my many faults in tennis!). We were beaten 6-1 6-0 and my only comfort is that they went on to win the final so we obviously stood no chance!
There were no surprise invitations to play in the Finals on Sunday but in the evening we went to the presentation ceremony (all competitors were given a first-aid kit emblazoned with the logo of the Conseil Générale) and this was followed by drinks (served by Dominique, naturally) and a ‘Grillade’. Trestle tables and chairs were laid out and about 20 of us sat and shared a good meal. All of this took place on the car park beside the tennis court but despite the fact that we were surrounded by broken glass, litter and graffiti it was a convivial evening – and lovely to meet the various wives and partners of my tennis friends who were equally interested to meet L'Anglaise who plays men's doubles!