UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

“Magic FM” Busby Drives Himself To Victory

An early start and 3 hours driving to Dudley while listening to Magic FM could not dent the 2015 UK Racketlon juggernaut that is Dan "Magic FM" Busby as he collected his third consecutive UK Tour title adding the Midlands Open title to recent wins in York and Oxford.  There were also wins for Stephen Davey in the Men’s B as he passed through Dudley returning to Edinburgh, David Rawlings in the Men’s C whilst Hannah Boden took the Ladies title on an enjoyable day of Racketlon at the David Lloyd Dudley, a popular venue on the tour.

 

The Men’s A has fluctuated this year, with at different times, different players coming to the fore throughout the season.  This has resulted in a players having to step up their level on occasion and certainly there were no easy matches in the Men’s A at Dudley.  An 8 man draw pitched Dan “Magic FM” Busby against James Watkins, the now bearded Watkins a man who has Busby as a scalp already this year.  For Busby it was all about the Table Tennis, if he could keep the TT tight he would make up the losses in TT and Badminton up on the squash court.  A TT win, tight Badminton defeat and a thumping Squash win ensured that Busby moved on.  The “Ever Present” Alex Du Noyer defeated Tom Lees, winning the first three sports to progress through to the semi-finals.  Mark Harris snuck past Jon “Spinker” Spinks, after trading thrashings in the TT (Jon) and Badminton (Mark), Mark edged the squash to 15 and then racked up the required 16 at Tennis to progress to the semis.  Finally, there was Keith Lesser vs Will “The Bullet” Coley.  Easily the most debated tie of the first round, Will has been one of the big improvers through 2015 whilst Keith has a reserve of determination that his friendly off court demeanour hides like a skilled poker face.  The first three sports were as expected, Keith took the TT, whilst Will edged the Badminton and dominated the Squash to see the players go level to Tennis.  At this point, we all wrote off Keith and expected the second seed to win the Tennis and the tie, but you just can’t pin Keith down.  Keeping the set tight, the ginger(ish) ninja(ish) came through to win 21-17.

 

Both semi-finals were relatively one sided affairs, Dan dominating ADN to progress to the final before the Tennis, registering his biggest win over the “Ever Present” in matches that are normally far closer.  Keith saw of the Harris challenge big TT and Squash wins meaning he just needed a handful of points at Tennis to set up the final with Dan.  To the final, and Busby did all the damage in the TT, taking 12 of Keith, more points than Keith would ever have wanted to concede.  However, the ginger(ish) ninja(ish) is tenacious, and pushed “Magic FM” Busby all the way in the Badminton, losing 21-17.  However Dan dominated the Squash and whilst Keith saved the bagel (20-0 finishing 21-3), the damage was done and Dan romped home in the Tennis.  A valiant effort from Keith, but Busby is on a roll and building for Prague.  However, Dan’s day did end in devastation, finding out on the drive home that his former highest squash world ranking of 240 was not better than that of James Simpson (205).

The Ladies event was seen as being a great chance to test various Team GB selection options ahead of the European Championships, and whilst Hannah Boden was able to stamp her authority over Olivia Chivers, Lauren Whiteman was unable to make the court against Hannah in the final after sustaining an elbow injury.  Olivia then came third winning the Tennis set 21-3 to set up a gumi-arm which she won with a glorious, powerful down the line winner to defeat Shirley Barre.

Stephen Davey popped in en-route to Edinburgh after a family visit to ensure it was two consecutive final defeats for Paul Mathieson in the Men's B.  Stephen came through the draw defeating Jonny Wan (on his B debut) before dismantling Geoff Woods to set up a semi-final against Jon Schofield.  Paul edged his bye before seeing off Jon Ben in his first match to set up a semi-final with Julian Clapp.  In the semi’s, Paul sneaked past Julian, reaching his required 16 points in Tennis with Julian just 2 away from victory on 19.  In the second semi-final Stephen also squeaked past Jon Schofield to set up a final with Paul.  The final saw a valiant effort from Paul, after losing the TT 21-2, he was up against it, Badminton started the recovery a 21-8 win for Paul, before Stephen edged the squash 23-21, recovering from 19-13 down, superior fitness meaning the man from Edinburgh was able to edge the Squash at the death.  Needing only a few points to win, Stephen looked odds on to cruise home from there, however Paul is a fighter and made Stephen work hard for his victory.  Julian Clapp recovered from losing the first two sports to take third place ahead of Jon Schofield.

The returning Dylan Leigh made the final of Men’s C overcoming George “The Caveman” Roberts in the semi-finals before falling to David Rawlings in the final.  David had won the battle of the David’s in the semi-finals seeing of young Bennett.  Rawlings, David dominated the final over the Welsh keen bean, to win before Tennis, Dylan, who prefers the tennis was unable to use his tennis racket all day! George then won the battle of the semi-final losers, to secure third place.

Once again the David Lloyd Dudley produced an interesting and geographically diverse field with players from the four points of the compass.  A very enjoyable day and now there are just two UK Tour events left in 2015.  The Herts Open in Letwchworth on Sunday 1st November and a weekend of Racketlon in Nottingham, 14th & 15th November, we hope to see you there!