The English Championships 2012 - Report
The tournament which only finished a week or so ago seemed like it happened yesterday for all of the upsets, excitement and eventual elation. Several new English Champions were crowned.
Jason Granville was the big winner in the men's singles. Isabelle Tyrrell added another title to her trophy cabinet and looked in good shape ahead of this month's Czech Open. Richard Whitehouse, one year short of competing in the over 60's, taught the over 45's a lesson and we saw a promising newcomer win the B category. Well known in table tennis circles, we hope to welcome back Bryn Drinkhall to further events. The tournament was very well organised and a special thanks go to the main organisers Rakesh Gupta, Richard Lawrence, Pierrick Limeul, Keith Lesser and also Tour Director Dominique Ford. Thanks also to the newly branded Virgin Active centre which provided an exceptional venue and the players very much enjoyed the facilities and the refreshments on offer. The conditions for racketlon are exceptional and we are back to this centre twice more in 2012.
The men's final did not go to tennis and had Jason not won in the squash, it would have been very interesting indeed. Jagdev Sagoo, with Jason, powered through the draw and both are looking to represent England at the world team championships in Bulgaria later this year. Alex Hartley and Steve Appleton came closest to upsetting the two finalists and Steve, who is relatively unknown, looks to have a good racketlon pedigree. He must get a new table tennis bat though!
Keith Lesser and Rakesh Gupta upset the seedlings by reaching the semi finals. Rakesh is improving all the time, but Keith nicked 3rd. Keith had a tremendous victory in round one against doubles partner Phil Todd, saving 3 match points before winning the sudden death gumi in the tennis.
Richard Whitehouse defies age and is still in fantastic shape, he clearly has a secret ingredient and who knows maybe one day this will give us all immortal powers. His squash victory in what could have been a very close semi final with Duncan Marlow was surely the deciding factor in the veterans.
Mark Johnson also had an excellent weekend with runners up positions in both Men's B and the over 45s and only stopped by superman Whitehouse and debutant Bryn Drinkhall. Bryn is an excellent table tennis player and can play a bit of the others too. His weakest is squash, but could be a dangerous player in the future. Oliver Oxland took a credible 3rd place beating Fabien Mauroy in the process who also finished an excellent 4th. Oxland avenging their previous meeting at the British Champs in 2011 which took place in Dudley. This tournament is coming up on the 5th May and players should enter early and clear their diaries in anticipation of another exceptional event to come.
Duncan Stahl who had to pull out injured in the singles after reaching the quarter finals, partnered Isabelle Tyrrell to win the open doubles. This is good prep for their Prague mixed doubles debut in the upcoming world tour event. They defeated Lesser and Todd twice with the real story being Lesser/Todd knocking out Simon May and Oliver Close by one point in the semi finals which was scheduled several days before the event took place. Lesser belting a cross court forehand return winner in tennis to save match point being the deciding factor. Close and May have not been able to sleep since and will be talking about this for years to come. Jeremy Krystiniak who was 5th seed in the singles also had to pull out of the singles after injuring himself in the doubles. Retired singles player Mark Jackson had to look on as they surely would have tested the eventual winners.
More to follow....