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Old Jul 19th, 2010, 09:37 PM   #1
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1879 results


*Most of the results in this thread are from original research by Newmark.

Circa April 28-May 2, Earlsfort Terrace Tournament*, Dublin, Ireland (Asphalt)

QF: Miss Shaw d. Miss Scovell [score?]
QF: Miss Langrishe d. Miss Lane[score?]
QF: Miss Perry d. Miss Casey[score?]
QF: Miss Costello, a bye[score?]

SF: Miss Perry d. Miss Langrishe [score?]
SF: Miss Costello d. Miss Shaw [score]

FI: Miss Perry d. Miss Costello [score?]

* This tournament, probably played on asphalt, was held a few weeks before the first Irish Championships. The women’s singles event featured a number of the players who would take part in the Irish Championships, but due to the way tournaments were reported at the time, it has not been possible to positively identify any of them. The "Irish Times" newspaper reported on the tournament, but did not include any of the scores! Earslfort Terrace is only a few mintues walk from Fitzwilliam Square, the venue for the original Irish Championships, near the centre of Dublin.

June 4-10, Irish Championships*, Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, Ireland (Grass)

1R: D. Meldon d. Beatrice Langrishe 3-6 6-3 6-2
1R: [Connie] Butler d. Miss Aungier 1-6 6-4 6-1
1R: Adela Langrishe d. Miss Costello 6-2 4-6 6-2
1R: Miss Casey-bye

2R: D. Meldon d. [Connie] Butler 6-3 4-6 6-2
2R: Miss Casey d. Adela Langrishe 6-2 0-6 12-10
2R: May Langrishe-bye

3R: May Langrishe-bye
3R: Miss Casey-absent
3R: D. Meldon-bye

FI: May Langrishe d. D. Meldon 6-2 0-6 8-6

MX: E. Elliot/Miss Costello d. C.D. Barry/Adela Langrishe 6-4 6-4

* This was the first national championships in the world to feature not only a women’s singles event, but also a mixed doubles event. The original plan was to hold each event on a single day, starting with the men’s singles on Wednesday, June 4. The women’s singles event was scheduled for Saturday, June 7 but, due to bad weather, had to be postponed until the following Monday and did not finish until Tuesday, June 10. The women’s singles event was held outdoors, on an asphalt court, at the Fitzwilliam Club in Upper Pembroke Street, just off Fitzwilliam Square, the smallest of Dublin’s five Georgian squares, which was to be the venue for the Irish Championships until 1903.

The surface for the courts in Fitzwilliam Square was grass. In future years the women’s singles event was also played in Fitzwilliam Square itself. There was no women's doubles event at the first Irish Championships, nor from 1881-3. No women’s singles event was held in 1881.

The following report on the women’s singles event at the first Irish Championships comes from "The Field and Gentleman’s Gazette" of June 1879:

"It was arranged to hold the ladies’ matches on the rink of the Fitzwilliam Club in Upper Pembroke Street. The court is a very good one, being made of asphalt not brought to a perfectly smooth surface, thus giving the players some hold on the ground and preventing them from slipping. In order to keep the matches as private as possible, admission to the rink was by members’ vouchers only, and these, of course, being difficult to obtain, people were all the more anxious to witness the tournament.

"The committee had managed all the details very well, arranging seats around the walls, so to give as far as possible a good sight to everyone present. The whole rink was crowded, some of the gentlemen seeing the matches from the surrounding walls. A marquee had also been provided, with light refreshments, making the afternoon very much like a private ‘at home’.

"The play of four or even five of the ladies was far and away above what we have seen before, the backhanded strikes of Miss [Adela] Langrishe being very good, and also the certainty with which Miss Casey returned all the balls. The final set between these two ladies was one of the most remarkable ever seen in a match, as it took twenty-two games – just double the usual number to decide who should be returned as the winner. Miss May Langrishe who, by winning, becomes the champion for the year, was, we believe, the youngest of all the competitors, and fully deserved the position, as her hard returns just over the net were simply splendid, and she showed great judgement in placing her balls."

The winner of the first women’s singles event at the Irish Championships was 14-year-old May Langrishe, the youngest of three tennis-playing sisters from County Kilkenny. Her middle sister, known as Beatrice, and her eldest sister, Adela, also took part in the first (and some subsequent) Irish Championships.

September 3-9, South of Ireland Championships*, County Limerick Cricket Club, Limerick, Ireland (Grass and Asphalt or Wood)

SF: A. Rice d. Miss Grubbe 6-2, 6-0
SF: T. Rice d. Miss Smith 6-4, 6-4

FI: A. Rice d. T. Rice 6-3, 6-4**

** A. Rice appears to be Annie Rice, sister of Lena, Wimbledon champion in 1890. T. Rice might be another sibling.

* The "Irish Times" of Wednesday, September 10, 1879 carried the following report on this tournament:

"The third annual tournament commenced on Wednesday last and terminated yesterday, the rain falling in torrents every day; but the downpour of Saturday rendered the playing of the final ties impossible, and the game was finished yesterday in the [skating] rink. Notwithstanding the unpleasant weather, the several games were very well contested, and the winners carried off several valuable silver ornaments &c to the value of nearly £100. Owing to the kindness of Colonel Stephenson and the officers of the 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers, the fine band of the regiment, led by Herr Wernthal, performed a choice selection of music in the grounds of the County Limerick Cricket Club, where the games were played."

The indoor matches were probably played on either asphalt or wood.

October 7-11, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England (Asphalt)

SF: Miss Mardall d. E. Maltby 6-3, 6-5
SF: Miss Bradley d. Miss Abercrombie 6-3, 6-2

FI: Miss Mardall d. Miss Bradley 6-5, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-3

DF: Miss Abercrombie/Miss Bradley d. Mrs Hill/Miss Mardall 6-2, 6-3, 6-2

This tournament, played on asphalt due to weather considerations, is probably the first significant tournament in England to feature a women’s singles and a women’s doubles event. Both of the finals in question were played over the best of five sets. Miss Abercrombie and Miss Bradley both appear to have been Irish players. As is often the case with these early tournaments, it has not been possible to find the first name of any of the players.


Results for other years may be found at:

Last edited by Rollo : Aug 10th, 2010 at 06:33 PM.
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