UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

Full report of the 3 day event. A 'Storyboard' of the event will shortly follow with downloadable low definition images. High definition images will also be available from the event photographer.

REPORT: The Carlton & Dunlop English Racketlon Open & 2008 Doubles World Championships
The Carlton & Dunlop English Racketlon Open & 2008 Doubles World Championships Redbridge Sports Centre - 15th to 17th August 2008 Sponsored by Planancy Project Management Services The 2008 Doubles World Championships & English Racketlon Open, a three day event, attracted nearly 250 category entries, a record for a British event & continuing evidence of the growing popularity of Racketlon. Further evidence of this was perhaps the appearance of former world Squash number one, Peter Nicol, in an exhibition match, more of which later. The title of 2008 Doubles World Champions was on offer in a total of eleven categories. The list of titles up for grabs were men's classes 'A' to 'C', under 21's, under 16's, under 13's, over 45's, over 55's, women's A & mixed A & B. In the English Racketlon Open competition singles were men's classes 'A' to 'D', under 16's, under 13's, over 45's, over 55's, over 65's, women's A & B, under 21's & over 45's. Redbridge Sports Centre once again proved an excellent venue for Racketlon, with five courts in each sport, including two glass backed squash courts & plenty of spectator galleries. The venue also benefits from being right next to Fairlop tube station on the central line, has free car parking, which doubled as a hotel for some competitors, & excellent bar & catering facilities. For many the event began with an epic journey... Friday was all about the 2008 Doubles World Championships. With a break in the weather, competition got under way just after ten in the morning... World Championship Doubles: Men's Doubles 'A' Class Prize Fund: £350; First Prize £200; Second Prize £100; Third Prize £50 The number three, Krzysztof Samonek & Norbert Stolicki(POL) fell in the first round, victims of Jermaine & Wingrove Manners(ENG) in a close fought contest. In the second round the Manners duo lost by a single point to Rickard Persson & Stefan Adamsson(SWE). Meanwhile Marcel Weigl(AUT) & Mikko Kärkkäinen(FIN) were disposing of the number four seeds, Mika Hasmats & Anders Rickan(SWE) & Sebastian Büschel & Thorsten Müller(DEU) similarly dealt with the number one seeds, Petr Vesely(CZE) & Oliver Kudicke(DEU). In the semi-finals Weigl & Kärkkäinen made light work of Büschel & Müller, whilst the remaining number two seeds, Michi Dickert & Christoph Krenn(AUT) overcame the challenge of Persson & Adamsson. In the final, Dickert & Krenn took an early lead, taking the first leg with an impressive 21-16 victory in the Table Tennis. The match then swung back towards Weigl & Kärkkäinen with a strong 21-13 badminton victory. The squash proved to be the closest encounter, finally ending up at 21-18 to Dickert & Krenn. Going into the Tennis the match was all square, meaning that the Tennis victor's would take the title. The teamwork of the more experienced pairing of Dickert & Krenn proved to be the crucial factor & they took the Tennis 21-9 & with it the title of World Champions. Ladies Doubles 'A' Class With effective victories over all their opponents, in a round robin competition, Martina Kakosová(CZE) & Linda Jansson(SWE) took the title from Agata Doroszkiewicz & Sylwia Borek(POL) with KateYina Sodomková & Karolina Pechová(CZE) in third spot. Men's Doubles 'B' Class Men's 'B' doubles saw perhaps the longest match of the tournament, & if not, then certainly the highest combined points total. In a second round match Gary Jackson & David Sutlieff(ENG) defeated Michael Eubel & Florian Kroier(DEU) 23-25,21-18,22-20,19-21. In the final, Roy Krawcewicz & Lukas Trojan(AUT) defeated Rod Robinson(SCO) & Richard Macbride(NIR) 21-11,17-21,8-21,21-10 in a closely fought contest. Rauno Tiesel & Margus Kask(EST) came in third. Men's Doubles 'C' Class Men's 'C' doubles involved all pairings playing each other in a round robin & perhaps gave the most tense of moments between the most relaxed doubles pairings in competition. Three pairings found themselves with three victories & on count back, based on the scores between the tied pairings, new boys Tim Garner(ENG) & Humberto Mesquita(BRA) took the title, with Matthew Lampard(WAL) & Colin Jones(ENG) edging Robert Sampson & Russell Hays(ENG). Mixed Doubles 'A' Class Prize Fund: £150; First Prize £100; Second Prize £50 Top seeds Martina Kakosová & Radim Sochor(CZE) fell at the second hurdle to Michaela Björnström & Mikko Kärkkäinen(FIN) before the Tennis. Meanwhile Johan Porsborn & Linda Jansson(SWE) were similarly plotting a course to the final, edging Paul Twisterling(NED) & Natalie Lawrence(ENG) by two points in an effective semi-final contest. The final proved to be a one-sided affair with Björnström & Kärkkäinen taking the match 21-14,21-13,21-12 & with it the title. Kakosová & Sochor won the third/fourth place play-off from Twisterling & Lawrence. Mixed Doubles 'B' Class This was a round robin encounter, with Robbie Wong & Fiona Sime(ENG) taking the title courtesy of a clean sweep of victories. Steve Kneller(WAL) & Maureen Thompson(ENG), with only one loss, to Wong & Sime, took second spot, with Marilyn Fernandez & Wayne Bridgeman(ENG) in third. Under 13's Doubles In the effective final, the mixed pairing of Sophie & Matthew Connor(ENG) put up a spirited performance against the eventual winners Kris Krawcewicz & Felix Frühwirth(AUT). Under 16's Doubles The under 13's pairing of Kris Krawcewicz & Felix Frühwirth(AUT) were no match for Andre-kristopher Toomjoe & Ken-kristjan Toomjoe(EST) in the first of the semi-finals, the latter pairing securing victory before the Tennis. In the other semi-final Matthias “Matthi” Lohr(AUT) & Euan Robinson(SCO) proved tougher opposition for Gerald Sohr & Florian “Flochi” Ptacnik(AUT), but in the end were beaten in the Tennis. In the final the Toomjoe brothers proved too strong for Sohr & Ptacnik, taking the match 21-7,21-16,21-4 & with it the title. Under 21's Doubles The Toomjoe brothers were absent from the under 21's competition & this time Matthias Lohr was paired with fellow Austrian Max Waz. In an all Austrian semi-final Sohr & Ptacnik edged out Krawcewicz & Frühwirth with a four point margin. In the other semi-final Lukas Trojan & Roy Krawcewicz(AUT) defeated Waz & Lohr. In the final, Trojan & Krawcewicz proved too strong for Sohr & Ptacnik & took the match before the Tennis 21-13,21-19,21-9 & with it the title. Waz & Lohr won the third/fourth place play-off Over 45's Doubles In perhaps the closest final of the competition, Volker Sach(DEU) & Horatio Pintea(CAN) overcame Graham Norton & David Greatorex(ENG) 21-11,13-21,15-21,21-16. Anders Lundstrom(FIN) & Richard Whitehouse(ENG) took third place. Over 55's Doubles The final was contested between the pairing of Jaroslav Schwan & Josef Gürlich(CZE) & the mixed nationality pairing of Ille Leopold(AUT) & John McBride(NIR). In the end the Czech pair won the match 21-5,12-21,17-21,19-16 & with it the title. Sten Lindström & Raimo Jokitulppo(FIN) took third place in a play-off with Svatopluk Rejthar & Rudyy Krajc(CZE). English Racketlon Open Singles: In the top singles classes, with prize money on offer... Men's Singles 'A' Class Prize Fund: £350; First Prize £200; Second Prize £100; Third Prize £50 In the men's 'A' the top four seeds went straight into the 2nd round courtesy of a bye. Notables of the first round were Doug Struthers(ENG) & Stefan Adamsson(SWE) who both completed victories before the Tennis, Jermaine Manners(ENG) who only required a couple of points in the Tennis & Krysztof Samonek(POL) who defeated the fifth seed Rickard Persson(SWE). Eighth seed Johan Porsborn(SWE) narrowly defeated James Greenhead(ENG) by three points. In the second round, the third & fourth seeds, Alexander Köpf & Christopher Krenn duly fell, coincidently to Struthers & Adamsson respectively, & again before the Tennis. Meanwhile, Michi Dickert(AUT), the top seed was matching Struthers & Adamsson with a match win before the Tennis. In a tighter match than his first round encounter Manners put out the seventh seed John O'Donnell(ENG). Krysztof narrowly defeated Horatio Pintea(CAN) by three points The third (quarter-final) round, with only four seeds remaining, proved to be their graveyard, with the exception of Dickert who defeated Elmer Schaub(DEU), the number six seed. Porsborn fell to Struthers, ominously before the Tennis & Manners, once again only needing a couple of points in the Tennis, put out the number two seed & FIR President, Marcel Weigl(AUT). Matching them all the way, Adamsson also completed a victory before the Tennis, ending the run of Samonek. In the semi-finals Struthers & Adamsson finally played some Tennis, courtesy of Dickert & Manners respectively, but both proved too strong, only managing five tennis rallies before sealing victory to take them to the final. The Men's 'A' final duly came & proved worthy of the expectations set up by the performances of the earlier rounds. Adamsson took an early lead with a 21-11 victory in the Table Tennis. In the Badminton & the Squash rallies were long & points were brutally hard to come by. There were many moments that could have proved decisive, where either could have given in, but both fought hard to keep in touch. Struthers pegged the match back a little with a 21-18 Badminton victory & further bought himself into contention with a 21-15 squash victory. Perhaps Adamsson's earlier encounter with Peter Nicol in Saturdays demonstration match had taken it's toll. Coming away from the squash, something appeared to be on his mind. Was this to be Struthers day, would the lack of Tennis practice, a by product of the strength of the finalists, prove to be decisive, either way. Such was the debate around the spectator galleries as everyone gathered for the decisive final leg. The Tennis was an epic, heart wrenching encounter, with first Adamsson, then Struthers making the running. Going in, Struthers trailed by a single point, meaning that only the Tennis now counted. There was to be no gummiarm, victory in a leg has to be by two points & that would give the title to the Tennis victor. At the mid-point the scores collided, Struthers then took the initiative, coming into the net. Adamsson held his nerve & stayed back, preferring to attempt to pass or force difficult drop volley attempts from Struthers. The barrage from the back of the court proved effective & Adamsson edged closer to victory. In the end, Adamsson proved a worthy winner, taking the Tennis 21-18 & with it the Men's 'A' title. In the third & fourth place play off, Dickert edged Manners in another worthy encounter. Ladies Singles 'A' Class Prize Fund: £180; First Prize £100; Second Prize £50; Third Prize £30 In the ladies 'A' eight players battled it out including one world tour débutante, Sarah-Jane Perry(ENG), who defeated Agata Doroszkiewicz(POL) in the first round. Perry only conceded six points in the Squash & Tennis, and grabbed twelve points in the Table Tennis & Badminton. In the other three effective quarter final matches Martina Kakasová(CZE), seeded one, defending champion Natalie Lawrence(ENG), seeded two, & Michaela Björnström(FIN) all won their matches before hitting a Tennis ball. Perry began her semi-final with Kakasová in much the same way as her previous match, picking up seventeen points in the Table Tennis & Badminton & taking the Squash to five. Kakasová then proved too effective in the Tennis, taking the match at 13-8. In the other semi-final a similar pattern emerged with again a decisive Tennis performance giving Björnström victory over Lawrence. The final was closely fought, with Björnström taking the Table Tennis 21-15, then Kakasová edging the Badminton 21-19, before taking a strong position with a 21-13 victory in the Squash. Björnström proved to be the stronger Tennis player, only conceding nine points, & took the title by a six point margin. Lawrence won the third place play-off. Men's Singles 'B' Class In the men's 'B' final Tom Whitehouse(ENG) was victorious (21-11,21-9,13-21,7-4) over Simon Lucas(ENG) with Thorsten Müller(DEU) taking the third place spot over Simon May(ENG). In the earlier rounds there were some close encounters with May taking a single point victory over Gernot Fess(DEU) & Richard Macbride(NIR) similarly edging Keith Lesser(ENG). Men's Singles 'C' Class The men's 'C' class saw no less than three single point victories including two Gummiarm's. The decisive point in the encounter between Robbie Wong(ENG) & Harvey Thompson(ENG), saw Wong, having won the toss, opting to receive an effective second serve from Thompson. In the match Thompson had played tentative Tennis, but on his walk to take the serve, he decided to 'go for broke' & served an ace to take the encounter. In the other gummiarm, Matt Lyons(ENG) lost the Tennis by the minimum two point margin, to make the scores level against Robert Zemankiewicz(POL), but took the match on the gummiarm. In one of the semi-finals, Margus Kask(EST) lost to Ville Jokitulppo(FIN) by a solitary point, whilst Eddie Charlton(ENG) despatched Lyons in the other semi-final. The final could not take place as Jokitulppo had to catch an early flight home. Charlton was thus awarded the title, with Kask taking the third place following a victory over Lyons. Men's Singles 'D' Class The men's 'D' class second round saw another single point victory by Owen Humphries(ENG) over Niranjan Shimoga(ENG). Humphries went on to contest the final with Daniel Gillett(ENG) & took the title (1-21,21-10,21-2,12-7). Peter Varga(HUN) beat Euan Robinson(SCO) in the third/fourth place play-off. Ladies Singles 'B' Class Dominique Ford(ENG) & Ina Wisser-Fess(DEU) contested the ladies 'B' final, which Wisser-Fess took (21-19,21-4,12-21,12-6). Fiona Sime(ENG) defeated Ann Selby(ENG) in the third/fourth place play-off after a narrow two point loss to Wisser-Fess in an earlier effective semi-final match. The junior & senior singles event's, as always, saw some new & some old faces in competition... Junior Singles: Under 13's Singles (Mixed) In a second encounter with Sophie Connor(ENG), after under 21 success, Holly Thompson(ENG) took the effective title decider 21-15,21-4,21-18,21-7. Matthew Connor(ENG) narrowly lost the effective second/third place decider with his sister by just three points. Under 16's Singles In a close & tense early encounter, Max Waz(AUT) narrowly beat Gerald Sohr. Waz to make the semi-final (10-21,22-20,15-21,21-4). It was to be a day for the Toomjoe family though, with Andre-kristopher Toomjoe(EST) making the final courtesy of a victory over Waz & older brother Ken-kristian Toomjoe(EST) defeating Matthias “Matthi” Lohr(AUT) for his final place. In the final Ken-kristian Toomjoe took the Table Tennis & Badminton 21-14 & 21-17 respectively. He then secured victory over his younger brother with an impressive squash performance, winning the leg 21-4, the match & taking the title. Waz edged Lohr in the third/fourth place play-off. Ladies Under 21's Singles In the decisive encounter, Holly Thompson(ENG) took an early lead in the Table Tennis, winning 21-11 against Sarah-Jane Perry(ENG). Perry then pegged it back to a two point deficit after taking the Badminton 21-13. Squash was always going to be a chance to stretch into the lead for the world ranked (116 currently in squash) Perry & she took it 21-4. In the Tennis, Thompson put up a spirited fight, but Perry achieved the seven points required, playing out the Tennis to take a 21-18 victory & with it the title. Sophie Connor took the third spot. Senior Singles: Men's Over 45's Singles In a tight final Hans Mullamaa(SWE) took the title with a victory over Horatio Pintea(CAN), who doubled up in men's 'A'. The final score was 6-21,21-13,21-3,11-13. In the third & fourth place play-off Richard Whitehouse(ENG) defeated Ray Simpson(ENG). Interestingly they did not play the match to a conclusion. Going into the Tennis the scores were level, but Ray, feeling exhausted & knowing Richard was the better Tennis player, conceded the match, so he could live to fight another day! Men's Over 55's Singles The men's over 55's final was not contested, for much the same reasons as the men's 'C' final. The finalists were Richard Whitehouse(ENG) & Sten Lindström(FIN) after victories over Leopold Ille(AUT) & David Sutlieff(ENG) respectively. Sutlieff went on to take the third/fourth place play-off match & Whitehouse was awarded the title due to Lindström having to catch an early flight home. Men's Over 65's Singles Unfortunately, with only two competitors, and the late pull out of Andy Petersons(LVA) through Illness, Alan Cornish(ENG) had no one to compete with. Ladies Over 45's Singles The decisive encounter was between Hilary Secher(ENG) & Fiona Sime(ENG) which Sime took 21-11,21-7,21-10,8-21. Dianne Baker(ENG) then edged Maureen Thompson(ENG) in the effective third/fourth place play-off Peter Nicol exhibition match... Saturdays proceedings were briefly interrupted by an exhibition Racketlon match between former world Squash number one, Peter Nicol & Stefan Adamsson, who went on to secure the men's 'A' title. Initially billed as a two leg match featuring Badminton & Squash, Nicol agreed to compete in all four discipline's & hence a full Racketlon match. Table Tennis is not a sport Nicol has played much, but a prior practice session with Keith Lesser stood him in good stead & he put up a spirited performance against Adamsson. What was clearly evident was that Nicol tracked the ball very well & with a little regular practice could make Table Tennis a key ingredient of his Racketlon arsenal. Badminton proved to be more to Nicol's liking, perhaps being most closely linked to Nicol's sport of choice. Nicol's touch was often exquisite & his movement excellent. This was very much Adamsson's game though, and although Nicol fought for every point, the sheer effort needed to stay In the game took it's toll. Going into the Squash Nicol looked visibly tired, whilst Adamsson was still relatively fresh. Many a spectator may have considered whether this might level the playing field a little for the squash encounter, knowing that Adamsson has a very good squash game. The very first rally, pointed to the answer. It was possibly the longest of the game & only ended when Adamsson verbally questioned, in momentary desperation, when the rally was going to end. Nicol immediately answered with a winning stroke & proceeded to prolong the early rallies to test the fitness of Adamsson. For the first time Adamsson looked visibly tired. He did though manage three early points, but only picked up one further point in the encounter. During the Squash, Nicol entertained the crowd & gave the stand-in referee, Andrew Hopwood, a few scares, with some deadpan challenges. The viewing gallery was full and opinions were often divided as to the extent that Nicol was toying with Adamsson. Undoubtedly though, it was a marvel to watch & some of the encounter, may perhaps be found on the web, as camera's were much in evidence. The final Tennis leg proved to be a more sedate affair, albeit with a good all round game in evidence from both players. The efforts in the Badminton & Squash had likely taken it's toll & both players were happy to play out a creditable Tennis encounter. On balance Adamsson had the edge in the Racketlon encounter, but that was to be expected & Nicol was very generous to take on all four disciplines. What was very clear, was that Nicol could be a force to reckon with in the world of Racketlon, with regular practice of all four disciplines. Hold on a minute, did I say four, I meant three, for let's face it, Nicol proved to still be a Squash master & needed no discernible practice. The presentation ceremony duly arrived... Titles, trophies, medals, prize money & prizes were all on offer, courtesy of the Federation of International Racketlon(FIR), English Racketlon Association(ERA) & sponsors Carlton & Dunlop & Tees Sports. The presentation party were event organisers Keith Lesser & Dominique Ford & Tom Timmins from event sponsors Planancy Project Management. Keith Sharman, from Planancy, was also in attendance. With a podium & national anthems, the ceremony had a real celebratory flavour. Tournament referee Mick Strode, as well as Squash referee's Peter Blackmore & George Atterbury were thanked for the professional edge they gave to the tournament. Strode in particular kept the ship afloat despite the numerous challenges that occurred throughout the three days of competition. Others thanked included Jasmine Bann, Morag Sime & Jen Jordan, as well as a host of competitors & better halves who provided supporting duties throughout the competition. Player of the tournament went to Jermaine Manners(ENG), who finished a creditable fourth in the men's 'A' class & narrowly missed out on a semi-final place in men's 'A' doubles, with his partner & father Wingrove Manners(ENG), in a single point loss to Adamsson & Persson(SWE). The Manners duo had also earlier put out the number three seeds Samonek & Stolicki(POL). Special mentions should perhaps also go to the Estonian contingent, who were busy filming & photographing their competitors exploits, all of which is likely to be coming to a YouTube channel near you. Add to this the makeshift Toomje Family hotel come camper come bandwagon in the venue car park & you get a real flavour of the efforts made by some of the overseas competitors. The Saturday morning start might have been disrupted by the appearance on BBC TV of Marcel Weigl(AUT) & Ray Jordan(ENG) as Racketlon was due to be featured in the Sports Bulletins of BBC Breakfast, following filming on Friday. However, due to the happy success of the British Olympic Team, this has now been postponed to a September broadcast. The three day event meant that Friday & Saturday night provided a great opportunity to get to know each other, with many of us squeezing into shared hotel rooms, or staying with friends in the Capital. On Saturday night the buffet was well received & promptly devoured, followed by the usual lubrications, albeit at a more gentle pace, with a view to the final days competition. It is not the winning, but the taking part... Finally, It only remains to say thanks to all of you that attended the Carlton & Dunlop English Racketlon Open & 2008 Doubles World Championships sponsored by Planancy Project Management Services & made it such a great event. In particular, from the organisers, I would like to single out Dominique Ford, who tirelessly strove to ensure the courts were adequately supervised & key matches were provided with suitable referees. Please look out for the next few UK tournaments starting with the South London Racketlon Open at Jags Sports Club on the 13th September 2008. Then there is the Scottish Racketlon Open, another chance to acquire world ranking points, so will likely have an International flavour, attracting many overseas players. Next up will be the Hampshire Racketlon Open on the 9th November 2008, the final UK event f 2008. Once again, congratulations to all the winners and commiserations to all the losers, and finally.....anyone for squish! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIOMECj0iQ0 Gary Tovey - Racketlon Loafer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.