*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 minutes walk from Fitzwilliam Square, the venue for the original Irish Championships, near the centre of Dublin.
June 4-10, Irish Championships, Dublin, Ireland (Asphalt and Grass)
Venues: Fitzwilliam Square and Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club
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: Miss Costello/E Elliott d. Adela Langrishe/Charles D Barry 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. Tthe remaining events were held on grass around the corner in Fitzwilliam Square. 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 play 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, Limerick, Ireland (Grass and Asphalt or Wood)
Venue: County Limerick Cricket Club
SF: Annie Rice d. Miss Grubbe 6-2 6-0
SF: T. Rice d. Miss Smith 6-4 6-4
FI: Annie Rice d. T. Rice 6-3 6-4
Mixed Doubles (Draw=3)
1R: Annie Rice/Mr Baker d. Helena Considine/ Heffernan F. Considine 6-4 2-6 7-5
1R: Mrs Armstrong/Henry E. Tombe-bye
FI: Mrs Armstrong/Henry E. Tombe d. Annie Rice/Mr Baker 7-5 6-2
Draw note: 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 and Wood; Indoors and Outdoors)
Venue: Imperial Winter Garden
1R: Florence Mardall d. Miss Gardner by 2 sets to love
1R: Ellen Ramsay d. Carrie Bennett 6-1 6-0
1R: Clara Hill d. Mrs Friend 6-4 6-4
1R: Ellen Maltby d. Edith Renshaw by 2 sets to one
1R: Mary Abercrombie d. Mary Ann Maltby by 2 sets to love
1R: Miss Shand d. Miss Bennett by 2 sets to love
1R: Miss Willoughby d. L.W. Hawkins by 2 sets to love
1R: Marian Bradley d. Miss Cockshott 6-0 6-0
QF: Mardall d. Ramsay 6-3 6-3
QF: E Maltby d. Hill 6-2 6-2
QF: Abercrombie d. Shand 6-1 6-0
QF: Bradley d. Willoughby 6-0,6-0
SF: Mardall d. Maltby 6-3 6-5
SF: Bradley d. Abercrombie 6-3 6-2
FI: Florence Mardall d. Marian Bradley 6-5 6-4 3-6 3-6 6-3
1R: Mary Abercrombie/Marian Bradley d. Ellen Maltby/Mary Ann Maltby 6-5 6-5
1R: Mrs Aylmer/B. Neate d. Miss Bennett/Mrs Gardner 6-3 6-3
1R: Ellen Ramsay/Edith Renshaw d. Miss Cockshott/Miss Shand 6-2 6-1
1R: Clara Hill/Florence Mardall d. Carrie Bennett/Mrs Friend 6-2 6-1
SF: Abercrombie/Bradley d. Aylmer/Neate 6-0 6-2
SF: Hill/Mardall d. Ramsay/Renshaw 5-6 6-1 6-4
DF: Mary Abercrombie/Marian Bradley d. Clara Hill/Florence 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.
From “The Field”, October 11, 1879: “The first open tournament held by the Cheltenham Lawn Tennis Club was commenced on Tuesday last, and notwithstanding that the summer weather, which is generally considered necessary for the game, must be looked upon as passed for this year, it was a thorough success. This result is in a great measure owing to the fact that the matches were not played on grass, but on asphalte and wood courts in the Imperial Winter Garden.
“Within this building, which is roofed with grass like the Crystal Palace, there are a couple of capital courts; one on asphalte, which was devoted to the ladies’ games as it is somewhat limited in size, and one on boards. The light might be better, and in bright sunshine is dazzling, but no other fault could be found with the courts, and it is an immense advantage to be able to set the elements at defiance. No fault, however, was to be found with the weather on this occasion, and some of the best matches were played outside on the skating rink.
“Thanks to constant practice on these courts, the members of the Cheltenham Lawn Tennis Club are decidedly good players. The results of the two principal matches, which we give below, fully show this. Mr ‘Saint Leger’ [Vere Saint Leger Goold], the winner of the Irish Championship last spring, and second to John Hartley at the All England Championship, was beaten by William Renshaw, and in the ladies’ matches the visitors were, with one exception, cut out in the first round.
“Indeed, such ladies’ play is rarely seen, and it is to be hoped that before long the Cheltenham ladies will have an opportunity of trying their strength against those of the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in Dublin. They have at least half a dozen players that could hold their own against most clubs. […]
“Amongst the ladies, Marian Bradley was the most brilliant player, her service, when it came off, being very severe. In Florence Mardall, however, she met a very strong opponent, who finally proved too much for her, the latter being more certain in her returns. Mary Abercrombie, Ellen Maltby and Ellen Ramsay all played remarkably well.
“The attendance was large and fashionable, the Cheltenham season having again begun. There was good accommodation for spectators, both in and out of the building. The arrangements were admirably carried out by the committee, Dr John Abercrombie acting as secretary. A word of praise is due to Mr Rawlinson, who umpired admirably in most of the important matches; and though on one occasion he made a mistake, was in a great measure justified in his decision.”
From “The Field”, October 18, 1879: “This most successful meeting was brought to a conclusion on Saturday last, Friday and Saturday being devoted to the double matches, for which the entries were good, and, as the results proved, the play quite as exciting as in the singles matches. The practice of the preceding days had undoubtedly improved the play of some of the visitors, to whom the asphalte and wooden courts were decidedly strange at first. [...]
“The ladies did not attempt volleying at the net, and wisely, as it requires more strength and activity than they can be expected to possess. Marian Bradley and Mary Abercrombie, who won the first prize, were decidedly the strongest pair. Florence Mardall played wonderfully well, but Miss Bradley was in better form than when they met in the singles match; and, though Clara Hill made some wonderful left-hand returns, she was not as sure as Miss Abercrombie.
“Ellen Ramsay played admirably, being at once graceful and active, but her partner ought to have abstained occasionally from spooning the ball up to the roof of the building, as to spectators such play is by no means attractive, and in the difficult light by no means as easy to return as it would be under ordinary circumstances. [...]
“Everything was carried out during the week without a hitch; and, if the club can only make certain of the having the Imperial Garden to play in, they may rest assured that the Cheltenham tournament will take a place among the lawn tennis fixtures, second only perhaps to the All England meeting.
“At their next tournament we hope to see more visitors. The All England Club only sent one representative; but now that Cheltenham has proved that it possesses such players as William Renshaw among the gentlemen, and Florence Mardall and Marian Bradley among the ladies, we have no doubt that that there will be no lack of strangers in future to contest their laurels.”
Last edited by Rollo; Aug 4th, 2015 at 05:54 PM.