Cash out to shine in match of the century

Chris Wilkinson, left, will take on Pat Cash, right, this Saturday
Chris Wilkinson, left, will take on Pat Cash, right, this Saturday
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Pat Cash is out to finally get the better of ex-British number one Chris Wilkinson when Lee-on-the-Solent Tennis Club holds the match of the century this weekend.

Cash may be a former Wimbledon champion but he has lost three years on the trot to Wilkinson at Lee’s annual open day.

Now the Australian is hoping to mark the Manor Way club’s very special centenary event by beating Wilkinson, who is tennis director at Lee.

Saturday’s event will see Lee-on-the-Solent celebrate its 100th anniversary.

As well as the return of former crowd favourite Cash, former high-ranking tennis pro and now ITV’s Daybreak presenter Dan Lobb will be involved with the celebrations.

Exhibition tennis starts from 3pm this Saturday – and the public are invited to come along and enjoy a free day of sporting fun which has been designed to provide something for all the family as part of the centenary celebrations.

Cash would love to beat Wilkinson. He has also suffered a series of defeats at the hands of Lee’s tennis director, including at the BlackRock Tour of Champions in Belfast and during the 2007 Wimbledon doubles competition.

‘He realised he’ll never defeat me on his own so he called in reinforcements in the form of Andrew Castle last year,’ joked Wilkinson.

‘He thought if he couldn’t beat me at singles that, with some help, he might win at doubles but that didn’t work so it’s back to the drawing board and a face-to face-clash!

‘The public in general and youngsters in, particular, are invited to come along to the open day.

‘It’s a great chance to see former champions on your doorstep play what promises to be some fabulous tennis.’

To inspire youngsters to have a go at tennis, there are free tennis clinics from 11am to midday for four to nine-year-olds, and from midday to 1pm for 10 to 16-year-olds.

There are also tennis clinics for older teenagers and adults from 1pm to 2.30pm.

There will also be a kids zone, with fun activities for youngsters, a barbeque and all day bar, Pimms tent and live entertainment from band Jack Rabbits from 5.30pm.

There is a Cash for Cash challenge for the highest bidder on the day to take on the former Wimbledon champion – so bring a racket.

Wilkinson has fond memories of Lee-on-the-Solent – which has grown and developed from its small foundations since being set up in 1911 – and where he spent many an hour on court on his way to being Britain’s top men’s player.

An open club afternoon is being held the following day on Sunday, May 29, from 2pm to 5pm for anyone interested in joining and learning more about the club’s facilities which include tennis, squash, gym and sauna as well as social amenities such as a bar and snooker.

Special discounts will be available on the day

For more details of both days, please call the club on (023) 9255 0381.