UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

British Racketlon Champions celebrate !

Calum Reid, in his comeback tournament, was not troubled in becoming the first Scot to lift the British Championships trophy since it’s inception in 2006. Calum displayed “Scandinavian” Racketlon which is when no weakness in any sport is displayed. Probably against any individual in the room an opponent would be hard pushed to keep Calum below 15 points in any sport based on results!

The former world number two was in good form and we wish Calum the best of luck in the upcoming Belgium Open as well as all of the other travellers.

Pictured above - Left to Right - Stuart Hobden (2nd), Calum Reid (1st) and Alex Hartley (3rd). Hartley enjoyed a great win over British Number One Jermaine Manners.

 

Andy Hopwood had his best tournament ever in reaching the semi finals but was undone by Reid.

Stuart Hobden was the only seed to make it to the semi finals and did not disappoint with a stunning semi final victory over Alex Hartley. Hartley who is one of England’s best talents, beat top ten in the world player Jermaine Manners in round one. Alex is extremely strong at the last two sports and improving at the first two. Jermaine had an off day but is still clearly a huge force to be reckoned with and we look forward to future battles between Reid and Manners.

Not much in it…….

Without fail, the Mens B category continues to throw up some excellent play and showcases a number of players who will be challenging in the A rounds in the not too distant future. James Pope stepped into the B at the last minute due to a withdrawal and promptly won his first match by one point. There were a number of close matches across the board and plenty of players looked like they had put their all into the matches! Unlike the A category, all four seeds advanced into the second round as winners but all except Resham Sagoo came unstuck in round two. The semi finals saw Resham beat Simon Williams 76-74 with Reshams tennis taking him through. Simon eventually taking third place. Resham will now be joining his brother Jagdev in the A category on the UK tour – look forward to seeing that rivalry develop! 16 year old Joshua Kashdan just edged out John Kaleekal 57-53 in the other semi, again strong tennis making the difference. The final was a very close match with Resham just winning 72-68, needing 15 to win in the tennis; he was at one point 16-9 down, and lost the table tennis and badminton but making up the difference in the Squash. It will be exciting to see how both of these players develop, notably Joshua who won two bronze medals at the recent junior team and world doubles events. Joshua also took the Under 16 title, beating Ryan Law.

Thanks to Stephen Lawrence – son of IT maestro, Richard – who stepped in and played in the Mens C to fill a gap left by a late withdrawal. Hopefully he hasn’t been scared off! James Ashton and Ryan Law coming through their groups to meet in the final which James won before the tennis. Dinesh Passi took third place over Stephen Lawrence.

Sarah Jane Perry is the British Ladies Champion beating Carol Whittington 66-56 into second place. Sarah-Jane’s squash win of 21-1 was the deciding factor. Well done Carol for getting a point against the squash world number 164!!. Newcomer Jess Fernandes came in third with very close losses to Sarah Jane (by 10 points) and Carol (by 5 points).

A stalwart round robin troop of four Over 55s graced the courts with a veteran display of racketlon finesse and subtlety not seen since, well, the last Over 55 event to be honest.

With so many close games, it’s difficult to know where to start, with nobody failing to win at least one discipline in every match, and many close results. However, we have to start somewhere, so let’s commiserate with Roman Szwaba, suffering a head cold, still battling gamely on but understandably fading in his last match against David Sutlieff in the 3rd/4th place decider. David could well have been winning that one to take first place, with such close earlier losses by only 2 points and three points respectively to Richard Lawrence and Peter Lees, but it was not to be his day – still a potent force though, so watch out in the Welsh and English Opens.

All this left the courts clear for Peter, surprisingly making his debut appearance in the veterans categories despite a historical entry in the mens open rankings, and Richard to battle it out for the title. With both unbeaten in both table tennis and badminton up to that point, it was perhaps not a shock that those two events ended honours even. However, the squash proved decisive, with Richard opening a commanding lead, only to be whittled away slightly near the end as Team Lees got their supporters’ vocal chords finely tuned to Peter’s frequency, all in the best possible sporting spirit of course, and he started a mini-comeback. Not quite enough though to prevent a really tight tennis set finishing just in Richard’s favour 21-18, and giving him the 2011 title.

While it was great to see a viable category, we should mention how sad it was to reflect on the absence of Andy Petersons, who sadly passed away while in the middle of a table tennis match earlier this year. Similarly, we commiserate with those still injured and unable to make it this time, including our evergreen Charles Eaton, but we wish you all a speedy recovery and look forward to your comeback in the English Open in August, with perhaps a cameo performance or two in the Welsh Open in early July, just as a tester for the big one.

Mens Over 45 – Report from the Winners Perspective!

After a 2 hour journey to the venue, straight on court for my first round vs Bob Parker who was primed and ready for me. Surprised to get 18 TT after the knock up, won bads to 7, went down in squash 11-21, so up by 1 going into the tennis which I had just to win and managed 21-15 win and the match by 6. 

Lucky Sagoo was my semi finalist opponent, who I had played before and knew it was going to be tough, not a great start as I was dumped 10-21 in the TT, reversed this in the badders 21-16, led in the squash 11-7 before going down 20-22 after a few debated decisions, down by 8 heading to the tennis. Cleared the mind and concentrate on just winning each point with minimal effort & ran out the winner 21-7 and the match by 6. 

Relieved to get the final now against Jon Healey who beat fellow England o45 team member before the tennis in their semi. No expectations before the match as my body was feeling the full effects of the matches before. 

Kicked off with a massive hack fest in the TT and served for it 3 times before losing 24-26, half way through the badders I pulled my back/ribs but managed to hang on 21-17, lost the squash 11-21 on down by 8 with tennis remaining but worried about the injury but once I knew I could serve without pain, I closed in on the title with one point at a time to win 21-5 and the championship by 8 to retain it and so relieved that I survived this well organised event. Thanked my opponents and the organisers.

 

See you at a tournament soon, the next tournament is the Welsh Open and don’t forget the highlight of the year - the English Open at Redbridge in August.

 

 Above - Jess Fernandes (new to racketlon) and Dominique Ford (British Championships Organiser).