UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

To help you digest the results spreadsheet from the 2009 Carlton & Dunlop English Racketlon Championships, here is the full report of the event... 

REPORT - The Carlton & Dunlop English Racketlon Championships – David Lloyd, Gidea Park, Romford - 10th/11th January 2009


The English Championships, a two day singles & doubles event, the curtain raiser for 2009, attracted 107 tournament entries across all categories. Particularly encouraging was the number of new players, including a number of new juniors. The veterans classes attracted 26 entries & 12 ladies competed in singles &/or mixed doubles. The Gidea Park venue provided 2 table tennis tables, 2 badminton courts ( plus a practice court), 3 glass backed squash courts & 4 indoor tennis courts. The very cold temperature conditions for the table tennis, badminton & tennis were perhaps a contributory factor to the number of injuries that surfaced during the event & may encourage future use of the venue to move to the spring. However, good catering & bar facilities were available, the refuge for many a competitor in between matches. 

Day One: Saturday 10th January 2009


Men's Class 'A' brought together the cream of domestic talent, with the most notable omission being Ray Jordan, the British Number 2, who was not available to compete on the Saturday. The first round saw the exit of Tom Canning (16th), Paul Mantovani (15th), Richard Colman (14th) & Stuart Hobden (13th), all having further second round defeats. Richard, in his first round match, narrowly lost to Gareth Shaw by 2 points, 21-19 in the tennis. With second round victories, Oliver Close & Simon May (joint 12th), Andrew Hopwood (10th) & Frederik Floether (9th) made up for their earlier first round defeats.

In the effective quarter-finals, Gareth Shaw defeated Gary Zucconi (8th) 8-21,21-4,22-20,16-4 (+18), Keenan Hamza narrowly beat Wingrove Manners (7th) 8-21,21-19,21-9,21-17 (+5), Tom Whitehouse ended the challenge of number two seed Keith Lesser 3-21,21-4,21-13,15-10 (+12) & Jermaine Manners looked ominously strong in putting out Richard Whitehouse 21-11,21-8,19-21 (+21). The semi-finals proved to be one sided affairs with Manners victorious over Hamza (3rd) 21-6,21-6,13-6 (+37) & Tom Whitehouse defeating Shaw (4th) 21-7,21-10,21-10 (+37). Hamza, in a shortened 11-up match, took third place by the narrowest of margins 4-11,11-13,11-4,11-8 (+1).

In the final, Manners made the early ground with a 21-13 victory in the table tennis, Whitehouse pegging the points deficit back with a 21-16 badminton victory. With a narrow lead going in, Manners then asserted his authority on the match with a 21-10 squash result, needing just 8 points in the tennis to secure victory. This was achieved at 8-7 with a final match score of 66-51 (+15) with Manners taking the first domestic title of 2009.


Men's Class 'B' attracted 20 entries, with 8 of the newer players competing in an 11-up preliminary first round, which saw the exit from the B title race of Denny Jose (20th), Haydn Ellis (19th), Stuart Millman (18th) & Philip Artus (17th). In the second round, there were further exits for Adam Gross & James Trueman (joint 16th), Jonathan Healey & Gary Tovey (joint 14th), Charlie Donald (12th) & Chris Hobbs (11th) and Robbie Wong & Mark Steeden (joint 10th).

The quarter-finals then saw the exit of all four preliminary round winners, after creditable runs. Harvey Thomson defeated James Dampney (8th) 21-11,18-21,12-21,21-11 (+8) & Joe Magor ended the challenge of Geoffrey Winchester (7th) 21-8,21-13,21-2 (+40). Oliver Jackson put out Mark Johnson (joint 6th) 21-13,11-21,21-1,4-3 (+21), but perhaps the unluckiest was Andrew Murphy (joint 6th) who was narrowly beaten by Alex Hartley 21-18,19-21,18-21,21-17 (+2).

In the semi-finals Thomson was beaten by a very strong Hartley, before the tennis, 21-6,18-21,21-9 (+24) & Magor defeated Jackson 22-24,18-21,21-13,20-13 (+10). In the subsequent battle for third place, Jackson overcame Thomson 21-7,21-13,18-21,8-21 (+6). The final proved to be a close encounter, with Magor taking the early advantage with a 21-10 table tennis win. The match then swung back to Hartley, leaving him +2 after taking the badminton 21-8. The squash was a closer affair, which Magor took 21-17, leaving him with a +2 lead into the tennis. However, nursing an injury & with the knowledge that Hartley was a superior tennis player, Magor (2nd) conceded the match, handing the Men's 'B' title to Hartley, who now moves up to Men's A.


Ladies Class 'A' 
had 6 players in competition, initially playing in two round robin groups. In the first group Jane Cook overcame Ann Selby (+59) & Lucy Mullins (+44) with Selby defeating Mullins (6th) (+2) in a close encounter for the group runner-up spot. In the second group Lorna See defeated Sarah Lochrie (+4) & Fiona Sime (5th) (+25) with Lochrie taking the runner-up spot (+28). Lochrie (4th) then fell to Selby (3rd) in the third place play-off match 21-14,21-7,21-6,21-11(+46).

In the final Cook made the early headway, taking the table tennis 21-12, but See then reduced the points deficit to one, with a 21-13 badminton victory. In the squash, See gave herself a fighting chance in the final tennis round, despite losing 21-10. Cook needed just 10 points in the tennis to secure the title & in the end proved too strong for See (2nd) with a 13-10 final round victory, taking the match & the Ladies 'A' title.

 


Ladies Class 'B' 
saw 4 more ladies competing in a round robin. With wins over both Michelle Eaton & Antonia Perrott, Danielle West & Amanda Holmes played off in the effective final, whilst Eaton took the third spot with a 21-11,21-16,16-21,21-5 (+26) victory. In the first/second place play-off West made an impressive start with a 21-2 table tennis victory, but the match swung back to Holmes with successive badminton (21-11) & squash (21-1) victories. However West's tennis proved too strong, as suggested by the 21-0 victory to take the match & the Ladies 'B' title.


Men's Over '55' 
was similarly staged to Ladies 'A' with 6 players. In the first group, Richard Lawrence defeated John Haggis (+24) & Malcolm Burr (+14), with Burr beating Haggis (5th) (+24). In the second group, Stuart West overcame Ken Tunstall (+11) & Charles Eaton (+35), whilst Tunstall defeated Eaton (6th) (+30) in the effective battle to play-off for third place, in which Burr (3rd) proved too strong for Tunstall (4th), taking the match 21-7,21-6,21-6,8-21 (+29).

In the final, West took the early lead with a 21-11 table tennis victory. Lawrence then took the badminton 21-7, giving himself a +4 lead going into the squash. The squash proved tight & in the end was edged by West 21-17 leaving the match all square going into the tennis. The tennis again proved to be a tough encounter, with victory finally going to West 21-15 & with it the match (+6) & the Men's Over 55 title.


Men's Class 'B' Doubles 
brought together 4 pairs in a round robin competition. With defeats to both the remaining pairs Niranjan Shimoga/Rakesh Gupta (3rd) defeated Daniel Gillett/Andy Croft (4th) (+26) in the effective third place play-off. With wins over both Shimoga/Gupta & Gillett/Croft, Jermaine Manners/Hans van Daele & Will Buckfield/Thomas Martin were pitched against each other in the title decider. Due, in part to scheduling & the fact that all players were returning the next day, the final took place on the Sunday & was reduced to 11-up. In the final Manners/Van Daele took the early initiative, with a narrow 13-11 table tennis victory, followed by an emphatic 11-0 badminton victory. The squash proved narrowly decisive, which Manners/Van Daele took 11-9. The players agreed to play-out the Tennis, which proved a consolation for Buckfield/Martin (2nd) with a 11-6 win, but the match & title went to Manners/Van Daele (+10).


The Saturday presentation ceremony took place in the cinema room, where all the winners & runners-up received their trophies, medals, as well as the usual goodies. The evening came, & for those competing on both days, the brave hit the night-life, whilst the less brave hit the sack early or nursed injuries & tired muscles alike.


Day Two: Sunday 11th January 2009


Men's Class 'C'
 was the introduction to racketlon for a number of new competitors, but also some of the usual suspects. There were first round exits for Craig Muller (16th), Andy Croft (15th), as well as Daniel Gillett & Lee Chong (joint 14th). Richard Lawrence & Niranjan Shimoga (joint 12th), and Simon Iron & Wayne Bridgeman (joint 10th) were all first round losers who recovered with second, & in the case of Iron & Bridgeman, third round wins.

The effective quarter-finals saw the exit from the title race of Andrew Monkton & Peter Iszatt (joint 8th) and Hugo Wellesley & Dinal Shah (joint 6th). In the semi-finals Pieter de Vries overcame Hans van Daele 7-21,21-17,21-10,21-9 (+13) & Rick Klein, in a tighter encounter, defeated Phil Watson 16-21,22-20,21-19,21-15 (+5). In the third/fourth place encounter Watson (3rd) won out over Van Daele (4th) 21-19,10-21, 21-10, 15-7.

In the final, there was a reversal of fortune in the early sets, with first Klein taking the tables tennis 21-3 & then De Vries taking the badminton 21-4. Rick then took the squash 21-19 to take a 3 point lead into the tennis. In the tennis, despite a valiant effort from De Vries, Klein proved to be the stronger player & he took the tennis 21-14 & with it the match & the Men's C title.


Men's Class 'D' 
was another round robin affair with 4 players competing. Mark Fenton (4th), despite taking the table tennis & squash against Phil Pearce, badminton & squash against Jesse Cope & squash alone against Rishi Shah, couldn't quite manage a match victory. In the remaining matches, Phil beat Rishi (+5), Rishi beat Jesse (+7) & Jesse beat Phil (+6), producing the closest results for the final placings, with the class victory going to Rishi, with Jesse second & Phil third.


Men's 'Under 21's' 
had 4 official competitors competing in a round robin. With subsequent wins over both Alexander Oliver & Andy CroftFrederik Floether & James West competed in the first scheduled match, that effectively became the title decider. Floether took the early initiative, with wins in the table tennis (21-16) & badminton (21-3), but West brought the match back into contention with a 21-13 squash victory, leaving a 15 point deficit going into the tennis. With two very good tennis players competing the tennis proved too tight & despite West taking the tennis 21-19, Floether took the match & ultimately the Under 21 title.

In the effective battle over third place, Oliver (3rd) defeated Croft (4th) 21-5,21-12,21-10,21-7 (+50). Due to the withdrawal of opponents in the Men's A doubles, Will Buckfield & Thomas Martin, who but for scheduling constraints would have competed in the Under 21's, played off a singles match, which Buckfield took (+42). They then competed in an unscheduled Under 21 Doubles 'final', losing out to Floether & Oliver 21-16,15-21,13-21,21-6 (+6).


Men's 'Over 45's'
 attracted a healthy 20 entries, with 8 of the newer players competing in an 11-up preliminary first round, which saw the exit from the title race of Steve Thomas (18th), Simon Hughes (17th), & Mark Lovell (16th). In the second round, there were further exits for Tim Reading (15th) and Wayne Donaldson & Simon Haste (joint 14th), as well as Mark Johnson & Richard Lewis (joint 12th) and Alan Rand & Rakesh Gupta (joint 10th).

In the quarter-finals, Graham Norton defeated Duncan Marlow (+7) & Wingrove Manners beat Steve Kneller (+16), the losers finishing joint 8th, whilst Stuart Farrar overcame Nick Pearce & Dave Lazarus ended the challenge of Russell Smart (+42) before the tennis. Nick & Russell finished joint 6th.

In the semi-finals Lazarus again looked ominous as he completed a three straight sets victory over Norton 21-14,22-20,21-6 (+24), whilst Manners Snr won out against the remaining preliminary player, Farrar, 21-8,21-9,7-21,12-11 (+12). Farrar (4th) pulled out of the battle for third place, which was handed to Norton (3rd).

In the final Lazarus made the early ground with a 21-9 table tennis victory, with Manners Snr coming back into contention with a 21-13 badminton win. In the squash Lazarus eased closer to the match victory with a 21-9 win, leaving him just 6 points away from the title. In the tennis, Lazarus reached his necessary total, at the expense of 4 lost points, to take the match & the Men's Over 45 title.


Men's Class 'A' Doubles
, with 7 pairs in competition, provided a first round bye for the Manners duo. Ray Jordan/Gareth Shaw eased through to the semi-final with a +32 win, before the tennis, over Will Buckfield/Thomas Martin (5th). Colin Jones/Matthew Lampard ended the challenge of Oliver Jackson/James Dampney (7th) (+12), & in a closer encounter Alex Hartley/Adam Gross overcame Andy Hopwood/Harvey Thomson (6th) (+6).

 

In the semi-finals Manners/Manners eased past Hartley/Gross 21-6,21-4,14-9 (+37), whilst Jordan/Shaw defeated Jones/Lampard 21-5,11-21,19-21,18-13 (+9). In the battle for third place Hartley/Gross (3rd) won through against Jones/Lampard (4th) 21-4,12-21,21-15,21-17 (+18). The final proved to be a very tight encounter with Jordan/Shaw taking the early initiative with a 21-14 table tennis win. Manners/Manners then hit back, twice, with a 21-17 badminton win & a 21-15 squash victory. With the match poised at +3 to Manners/Manners, the title was up for grabs in the tennis. In the end Jordan/Shaw completed a tennis victory at 21-15, sufficient to take the match & the Men's A Doubles title.


Mixed Doubles 
saw 4 pairs competing in a round robin competition. Dominique Ford & Gary Tovey made the early running with wins over Charles Eaton/Michelle Eaton (+28) & Geoffrey Winchester /Lucy Mullins (+8). Mullins/Winchester had earlier defeated Steve Kneller/Maureen Thompson in a gummiarm tie-break after surviving several match points. However, with the onset of the final round of matches, the title was still open for three of the pairs. In the match between Eaton/Eaton & Winchester/Mullins, the Eatons found their form & won through 21-8, 21-18,21-11,21-23 (+24).

The final match could swing the placings a number of ways & Kneller/Thompson made the early running with a 21-13 table tennis victory, strengthened by a 21-10 badminton victory. In the squash, Ford/Tovey reduced the match deficit to 14 points with a 16-21 squash victory, leaving Kneller/Thompson needing just 8 points in the tennis to secure the match victory. This they achieved, taking the tennis 21-18 & with it the match & the title, courtesy of the win over Ford/Tovey (2nd) who also had 2 victories. In the calculations to decide third place, Eaton/Eaton prevailed, courtesy of their victory over Winchester/Mullins, who also had one victory.


The Sunday presentation ceremony duly arrived with all the winners receiving trophies & the runners-up receiving medals, as well as the usual goodies. The 2009 English Racketlon Championships was fantastically organised & run by Dominique Ford, who for that reason could not compete in the ladies singles competition, so a very big thanks has to go to Dom for all her hard work. We would also like to thank Dan Gillett, Richard Lawrence, Charles Eaton, Stuart Hobden, Rakesh Gupta & Niranjan Shimoga  for their help at the event, as well as others who helped to facilitate it's smooth running.


The English Racketlon Association (ERA) would like to thank everyone for making it a great start to the 2009 Calendar of events. Up next is the Hertfordshire Racketlon Open at Letchworth Sports & Tennis Club on the 21st/22nd February 2009. Full event details are available on the pages of the ERA website at: http://www.englishracketlon.org . The tournament entry system has already been launched & it is anticipated that entries will close early, once capacity is reached.