UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

Edinburgh 2008, what next for the sport?

Jermaine Manners, Natalie Lawrence, Phil Reid, Ronnie Easton, Wingrove Manners & Jacquie Edwards are the winners.


 

Lawrence not troubled in excellent Ladies Entry

 

 

Mhairi Brown & Jenna Cockburn put up spirited performances and it's good to see some new faces taking up the sport. Indeed, the Ladies entry was particularly good. This is perhaps reflected by the excellent primarily female organisation team, who are keenly promoting the sport North of the border.

 

The overall entry was fine, there weren't any "top ten men" but this made a nice change with the tournament quite interesting indeed.

 

Reid wins on home soil, Wingrove not interested in tennis.

 

The battle in the Class B final was a topsy turvy affair with two of Scotland's best players, Phil Reid and Richard Macbride battling it out for the top spot. Reid (badminton specialist) and Macbride (squash), as expected cancelled out each other's strenghts. The difference in the end was Phil's superior tennis, with the table tennis being pretty equal.

 

Wingrove Manners didn't need his tennis rackets (the mark of an excellent talent) and cleaned up the Veterans. Not too long until the Super Vets and Richard Whitehouse's dominance of that particular category will be challenged.

 

New British Number One

 

The win for Jermaine over Lloyd Pettiford, Ray Jordan and in the final against an inspired Gert Peersman means Jermaine should naturally climb to the top of the racketlon tree by the next ranking cycle. Once international and domestic points for Scotland are awarded, Jermaine will overtake Ray Jordan as the new British Number One, an appropriate reward for dominating the sport, certainly in England, since his debut in March.

 

Exciting Semi-Final between Peersman & Foulds

 

The forgotten story of the tournament will be Peersman's semi-final victory over squash specialist Jon Foulds (3rd). After a solid start, 21-8, Jon took the badminton 21-10 and with a gap of only two points looked to be the favourite going into squash. They started the set at 4pm, many pairs seemed to start and finish on adjacent courts including Keith Lesser (5th). v Michael Heldsdoerfer (7th). At 10-8 in tennis, Foulds looked to be booking a place against Manners in the final but somehow managed to lose 21-9. With Foulds (like Peersman) able to win two sports against Manners, he may have fancied his chances. This was not to be.............

 

Putting players into the appropriate category

 

Some players must have been wondering how the Class A draw was made of such a wide spectrum of players. Whilst losing to Class A players, generally, by a margin of in excess of 30 points and often in excess of 50, this is before tennis (Heldsoerfer's worst sport), people are right to question the validity of such a system. 

 

However, until we realise that "talk is cheap" and see a proposal for a better system to be introduced there is not much point focussing on the rankings, which overall (ignoring some minor exceptions) are pretty accurate.

 

The main problem is that there should be a degree of flexibility where a Class D player with a Class A ranking can be moved down to Class B to give the tournaments more balance. The rule has been introduced where a small number of lower ranked but top quality players can be "wildcarded" up to the top category. Similarly, a small number of players should be "wildcarded" down. This could be optional and would simply allow for players to have a better overall tournament experience.

 

Peersman blames table tennis referee in animated final

 

Peersman, after a tough start, knew the match would be hard to pullback. After giving Manners 11 points in his best sport, this margin proved not to be enough to take the title back to Belgium. A decision was contested at 1-1 when Peersman questioned the referee's decision on whether the ball touched the shirt of Manners before he struck the ball. This appeared not to be the case and spectators realised quickly that the title was on its way to England. Luck did have a part to play and two early edges took the man from Leeds total to 5 points. Aiming for double figures, the objective was met. Peersman's confidence seemingly diminished after a crushing table tennis loss in round one, where luckily he had the squash in his back pocket.

 

Completely dominant in badminton, Peersman seemingly woke up at 1-18 when the rallies became longer and the Belgian managed a further 4 points. 6 down going into squash, where Peersman achieved a sensational victory 21-12 to take him into the tennis winning  by 3. Manners, however, wasn't entertaining an upset and despatched the tennis set 21-6, cruising to a first FIR World Tour title. Impressively adding to the British Open earlier in the year.

 

Results are online at the Scottish Open Website.

 

So, what next for the sport?

 

There were a few informal discussions over the weekend and certainly some interesting ideas out there that need to be turned into something of substance.

 

Now E Racketlon Association Ltd is formalised and a formal structure behind the Association will start to take better shape, there are some exciting ways to take the sport forward.

  • 2009 - National Teams Tournaments (inter club & county affairs).
  • Handicap Tournaments
  • New potential venues in Sunderland & Leeds
  • Formalising the racketlon brand - what does racketlon mean?
  • Formalising racketlon's "mission" - what is racketlon trying to do?
  • Selling racketlon as a concept to schools and starting a junior circuit (within the main tour).
  • More venues, more organisers, more sponsors, more fun!
  • Integrated application system with payment in advance for tournaments

The E Racketlon Association Ltd AGM will take place towards the end of the year. Eastbourne, London & Devon are being considered as possible venues.