The Philadelphia Inter-Club Lawn Tennis Association

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The Philadelphia Inter-Club Lawn Tennis Association (PILTA)
by Charles R. Morrow

 

The Philadelphia Inter-Club Lawn Tennis Association had its first match in 1899. It is believed to be the oldest tournament of its type in America. The matches are played three days in June each year on grass courts at the host clubs of Germantown Cricket Club, Merion Cricket Club and Philadelphia Cricket Club.

From 1910 until 1991, Division I was comprised of the host clubs Germantown, Merion, and Philadelphia Cricket plus the Cynwyd Club. In 1992, Waynesborough Country Club replaced the Cynwyd Club. The Division I format is four singles and two doubles matches, round robin, held at one of the host clubs.

Division II is made up of the Germantown, Merion and Philadelphia Cricket "B" teams plus Idle Hour Tennis Club, Aronimink, and Philadelphia Country Club, Cynwyd Club and Martins Dam. The Division II format is three singles and two doubles matches, single elimination, at the remaining two host grass court clubs,

William J. Clothier Sr., Vic Seixas, Bill Tilden, and Richard Norris Williams are members of the International Hall of Fame who have played in the PILTA matches, In addition, many players who have won National Championships have played or still play in PILTA matches, These players include Straight Clark, Newt Meade, Dick Sorlien, Jerry Laroque, Fritz Klein, John Benn, William J. Clothier Sr., and Jr., Diehl Mateer Sr., and Jr., Ralph Howe, Carl Fischer Sr., and Charlie Oliver.

For nearly a century, local athletes have competed to capture PILTA's silver bowl. Cynwyd, Philadelphia Cricket Club, Germantown Cricket Club, and Merion Cricket Club have each captured the coveted cup. Belmont Country Club won the PILTA matches in the first year, 1899, and again in 1900, 1904 and 1905.

Belmont Country Club no longer exists. Huntingdon Valley Country Club won in 1908. Since then, Cynwyd, Philadelphia Cricket, Germantown Cricket, and Merion Cricket have won the event.

The level of play has been extraordinary. After winning, Wimbledon in 1953, and the U.S. Open in 1954, Vic Seixas, playing for Cynwyd, lost to Straight Clark in the 1955 PILTA tournament. Clark, playing for Merion Cricket Club, defeated the Wimbledon champion 6-4, 6-4.

Another memorable match took place in 1966 when Sam Howe, playing for Merion Cricket Club, defeated former Davis Cup player, Mike Green, in an exciting match at 15- 13 and 6-2.

Even though every player and team wants to win, PILTA tries to emphasize fair play, sportsmanship, fellowship, and the love of the game. On the final night of the matches, a cocktail party and awards dinner is held for all the players and their friends.

In 1990, Bill Clothier and Straight Clark were made Honorary Members of PILTA for their outstanding sportsmanship and contributions to the game of tennis.

We look forward to our 100th anniversary in 1999.



1935 Interclub Merion Cricket team: top row Bill Kraft, Howard McMorris, Bill White, (pro); Foster Hammonds, Howard York, Eddie Mellor, bottom row Larry Brown, Tom Ridgway, Buddy Mann, Cliff Sutter, Sam Gilpin

The Philadelphia Inter-Club Lawn Tennis Association First Division

1899 Belmont Country Club

1900 Belmont Country Club

1901 Germantown Cricket Club

1902 Germantown Cricket Club

1903 Germantown Cricket Club

1904 Belmont Country Club

1905 Belmont Country Club

1906 Merion Cricket Club

1907 Philadelphia Cricket Club

1908 Huntingdon Valley Country Club

1909 Germantown Cricket Club

1910 Merion Cricket Club

1911 Germantown Cricket Club

1912 Merion Cricket Club

1913 Philadelphia Cricket Club

1914 Merion Cricket Club

1915 Merion Cricket Club

1916 Cynwyd Club

1917 War

1918 War

1919 Germantown Cricket Club

1920 Cynwyd Club

1921 Cynwyd Club

1922 Cynwyd Club

1923 Philadelphia Cricket Club

1924 Philadelphia Cricket Club

1925 Cynwyd Club

1926 Did not play

1927 Cynwyd Club

1928 Cynwyd Club

1929 Cynwyd Club

1930 Did not play

1931 Did not play

1932 Did not play

1933 Did not play

1934 Did not play

1935 Did not play

1936 Merion Cricket Club

1937 Merion Cricket Club

1938 Cynwyd Club

1939 Merion Cricket Club

1940 Merion Cricket Club

1941 Cynwyd Club

1942 Cynwyd Club

1943 Cynwyd Club

1944 Merion Cricket Club

1945 Merion Cricket Club

1946 Merion Cricket Club

1947 Merion Cricket Club

1948 Merion Cricket Club

1949 Merion Cricket Club

1950 Merion Cricket Club

1951 Tie: Philadelphia Cricket Club

Merion Cricket Club

1952 Merion Cricket Club

1953 Merion Cricket Club

1954 Merion Cricket Club

1955 Did not play

1956 Merion Cricket Club

1957 Merion Cricket Club

1958 Merion Cricket Club

1959 Merion Cricket Club

1960 Merion Cricket Club

1961 Germantown Cricket Club

1962 Germantown Cricket Club

1963 Germantown Cricket Club

1964 Tie: Merion Cricket Club
               Germantown Cricket Club

1965 Merion Cricket Club

1966 Merion Cricket Club

1967 Merion Cricket Club

1968 Merion Cricket Club

1969 Merion Cricket Club

1970 Did not play

1971 Cynwyd Club

1972 Merion Cricket Club

1973 Merion Cricket Club

1974 Merion Cricket Club

1975 Merion Cricket Club

1976 Merion Cricket Club

1977 Philadelphia Cricket Club

1978 Merion Cricket Club

1979 Germantown Cricket Club

1980 Merion Cricket Club

1981 Merion Cricket Club

1982 Cynwyd Club

1983 Germantown Cricket Club

1984 Germantown Cricket Club

1985 Merion Cricket Club

1986 Merion Cricket Club

1987 Merion Cricket Club

1988 Merion Cricket Club

1989 Germantown Cricket Club

1990 Merion Cricket Club

1991 Merion Cricket Club

1992 Tie: Merion Cricket Club
                 Germantown Cricket Club

1993 Germantown Cricket Club

1994 Germantown Cricket Club

1995 Philadelphia Cricket Club

1996 Philadelphia Cricket Club

1997 Philadelphia Cricket Club

1998 Philadelphia Cricket Club

1999 Philadelphia Cricket Club &
         Waynesborough

2000 Merion Cricket Club

2001 Philadelphia Cricket Club

2002 CANCELLED

 


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