Full English Open Report
by Simon Williams
Time to draw breath and look back on a highly successful 8th English Open Racketlon tournament at Redbridge. Over 160 competitors attended the event over 2 days, virtually taking over the excellent Redbridge Sports Centre facility. Entries to the tournament spanned all ages and abilities, from people playing their first Racketlon tournament right through to those at the top of the world rankings. First things first, a massive thanks to anyone who was involved with the organisation of the event, a huge number of sections ran side by side very smoothly indeed, and coupled with an excellent facility for Racketlon (more tournaments at Redbridge please!) made for an excellent weekend. The English Championships 2010 will take place at Redbridge on 30th/31stJanuary.
So onto the highlights, and with so many sections and so much to get through I apologise in advance for missing out anything......
The Mens A competition followed form and saw world number 6 Michi Dickert meet Britain's Jermaine Manners (WR 11) in the final...after a strong win for Michi in the table tennis, Jermaine as anticipated, clawed back most of the points in badminton. A tight squash rubber saw Michi open up a decent lead, leaving him needing 11 points in tennis, which he achieved with Jermaine 9 points short of victory. Martin Bjorkryd landed 3rd place, and Alex Hartley of England registered an excellent 6th place, after gaining entry as a wildcard Alex's ranking will no doubt rapidly improve over the coming months.
As expected Natalie Lawrence made good progress in Ladies A, but was pushed all the way by Sarah-Jane Perry in the final. Sarah's strong squash helped close the gap Natalie had opened after table tennis and badminton but Natalie triumphed in the tennis leaving Sarah just 3 points shy of victory. So an English 1-2, but 3rd place to the US as Shona Kerr produced good performances in table tennis and squash to pip Sarah Lochrie of England.
Congratulations to Ho Sin Ming Cindy of Hong Kong who triumphed in ladies B, a great tennis performance in the final helped overcome Dianne Baker whilst Lynn Wright snatched 3rd place.
The Mens B competition had a full field of 32, and Emil Bergander from Denmark ran out a convincing winner - after a tight 2nd round victory over Paul Wallace of England, Emil played his way to 1st place with some resounding victories. His final victory over Cedric Junillon was a fine display of Racketlon as he dominated all of the first 3 events. Cedric however, having been moved up from C can be extremely pleased with a runner up spot. 3rd and 4th place was an all English affair, congratulations to James Simpson and Andrew Hopwood.
The Mens C competition also had a full house, with 32 competitors. First shock of the tournament was number 1 seed Hans Van Daele losing out 66-48 to England's Dave Ridout, who produced an excellent all round performance and overcame Han's strong table tennis to give him the edge. And so to the semi finals, newly installed favourite Sebastien Vandenabelle played 3 doubles matches on Sunday morning and then found time to knock Simon Williams out without needing to play the tennis. In the other semi Dinesh Passi continued his impressive progress with a 68-57 over fellow Englishmen Daniel Woodley. In the final though Sebastien's previous experience of B class events proving too strong for Dinesh as he ran out winner by 10 points.
In Mens D Ashley Stokes was impressive, his table tennis in particular causing his opponents all sorts of problems, whilst in the junior events there were two English wins - David Jones dominating the U13's and Martin Szwaba overcoming Alexander Oliver in the final of U21's. In the Mens over 45's the competition went with the form book Volker Sach of Germany taking first place with a convincing win over Tamas Marko of Hungary in the final - Rakesh Gupta of England took 3rd place. David Lazarus will look to improve on his 4th place finish. In the over 55's Richard Whitehouse came home 1st, overcoming Dave Sutlieff 63-30 in the final. In the ladies over 45's Fiona Sime overcame Dianne Baker 65-44.
And so to the doubles which saw a good number of entries, but as always we are looking for more people to take the plunge and enter these competitions - tournament organisers are always happy to pair people up, so don't be shy people! Onto business though and in the Mens A doubles the combination of the world number 6 and world number 21 proved more than enough, Dickert and Schubert racked up 3 impressive wins to take the title. In Mens doubles B the Italian duo of Rosso/Bertoldo won the title with 3 wins from 3, Russell Hays and Robert Sampson gaining 2nd place with a narrow 68-66 win over the Belgain pairing Hans & Pieter de Bleeckere.
With an excellent twelve entries the mixed doubles event had an A and a B section - Jonathan Foulds and Natalie Lawrence overcame a spirited showing from Ray Jordan and Emily Ison in the final, eventually taking the title 66-47 after a great performance in the badminton. In the B class, Paul Goodhew and Lynn Wright triumphed with 3 convincing wins.
So that was the 8th English Open - I hope everyone enjoyed the event, and make sure you keep your eye on the "Tournament" section of this site for details of forthcoming events, be great to see more people at the regional tournaments - and of course if anyone is interested in helping run either an existing event or indeed setting up a new one then get in touch with us (link to email address).
Racketlon Addict - English Open Write-Up