Cambridgeshire Open 2011
It took three years before English Racketlon returned to Cambridgeshire, but it was worth the wait. Tournament Director and Ladies ranked number 2, Dianne Baker, sourced a new venue in Huntingdon which although split between three adjacent buildings, had everything needed for a successful tournament which was filled to capacity. Another unfortunate dozen players waited in the wings hoping for last minute withdrawals, but were to be disappointed. Hopefully this will lead to more players entering tournaments earlier to avoid missing out.
Nearly a quarter of the entry list was comprised of players new to racketlon, many of them enjoying successful debuts, notably, Nick Armitage who took the Mens C title.
A strong Mens A entry included four out of the top 8 ranked players in the latest UK Rankings and threw up some very close matches including tough first round draws for number 1 seed Keith Lesser and Duncan Stahl (UK ranked 8) who lost to Darren Kerins (55-61) and Frederick Floether (62-67) respectively. Number 2 seed Ray Jordan however came through the tightest of matches against Dave Culshaw winning on a gummi arm. Dave’s luck unfortunately didn’t get better, losing his second match also on the tie-break to Duncan Stahl. The final was a match up between Ray Jordan and English Championship runner up, Ed Batson. Ray, coming back from injury, didn’t have enough in the tank to stop Ed winning at 5-2 in the tennis and taking his first title of 2011. Frederick Floether did enough damage in the table tennis and tennis to take third place ahead of Darren Kerins
The Mens B Final pitched English Championships runner up Resham Sagoo against Jagdev Sagoo who took third place in Croydon, against each other. The tables turned this time around though and Jagdev only played half a set of tennis all day on his way to beating Resham 13-21, 21-3, 21-9 in the final match. Alistair Cernik took third place, beating Rob Sampson in the third/fourth place play off, having narrowly lost to Resham Sagoo in his second match. As usual, a helpful draw is a must, and seasoned racketlon players, Simon Williams and Rob Sampson must have rued coming up against Jagdev. Simon at least getting to tennis which no one else did all day.
Local participation was particularly noticeable in the Mens C and Ladies events. Due to increased interest, both of these categories were extended to accommodate extra entries. Mens C had 16 participants and was won by Nick Armitage on his racketlon debut. He beat fellow “should now be playing B category!” opponent, Simon Iron 9-15, 15-8, 15-9, 9-8 in the final. Dave Ridout took third place over Darren Vickery.
In the ladies event, Isabelle Tyrrell took her third title out of three tournaments played. Not a bad track record! If, as looks likely, Isabelle plays regularly this year, she should be taking the number 1 spot in the not too distant future. Isabelle beat Stacy Schab in the final 21-9, 21-11, 21-7 and was no less dominant in her other matches. Third and fourth places were fought out between two new players; Karen Goodman beating Laurel Bennett by 7 points. Ladies participation continues to improve with five new players this time around.
Thanks to Dianne for putting herself forward (or was she pushed?) and resurrecting Cambridgeshire as a racketlon venue. Thanks also to Richard Lawrence for his tireless work preparing the spreadsheets etc and all helpers on the day who ensured the day ran smoothly and on schedule, leading to an enjoyable (and successful for some) day.
Dominique Ford, English Racketlon Tour Co-Ordinator