We headed to the first of two trips to Letchworth last weekend for the Garden City Open, and Robert Rhodes has all the details!
The first Winter Letchworth event took place on Sunday 20th February, nestled between the windy weather of the recent days, there was a whirlwind of activity for this new event named the "Garden City Open" with 50 entries at this 2 table/court venue. As ever we were met with great hospitality from the hosts at the Tennis and Sports Club at Letchworth. We were however a man down in that George Roberts was unwell to run the desk and play so Ray Jordan and Rob Rhodes took over the duties on the day to oversee the smooth running of the event. A packed entry kept us playing beyond the expected finish time but luckily the hosts where very accommodating.
The Juniors had two round robin groups with the top player from each group playing in a final. This resulted in Chase Burgess overcoming Oliver Matthew Barton in the final, Chase quickly becoming well established and a very consistent performer across all four sports. Well done to all the juniors who took part, some great talent on show and some familiar surnames on show.
The Mens C and D saw a full entry with plenty of local interest allowing the sport to grow in the area. The Mens D saw Dan Woods beat John Garland in the final with John Bennet seeing off Lawrence Foster by 1 point for 3rd place. Men's C was dominated by Jac Goodall who narrowly missed out on a spot in the Men's B event, he won his semi final and final without been taking the Tennis, so will surely be moving up the rankings to cement a Men's B spot in his next few events. John Watson saw of Jim Fontanelli for 3rd spot in the Mens C.
Womens B was hotly contested all day, with the 2nd seed Joanna Bennett succumbing to Claire Kedward, who lost out in her Semi-final to Taryn Schutz whom remained unbeaten all day in Badminton. In the final Taryn faced top seed Dianne Baker who on route overcame Kirsten Atkinson and Fiona Robson, but it was Taryn who proved too strong on the day and didn't need the Tennis to wrap up the title.
Mens B again tightly contested as ever with all 8 men capable of beating each other on their day. Stuart Rank defeated the top seed Duncan Marlow in the semi final whilst David Bennett pipped James Trueman by 4 pts in their semi-final after he saw off Rob Rhodes by 7 pts in his first round match. Point of the day in the table tennis went to Leigh Henry Ware-v-Rob Rhodes with the watching crowd and Men's A waiting players appreciative of some good battling TT rallies. Stuart went on to win the final by 16points against David, whilst James edged Duncan in the 3rd/4th playoff. pretty much every Mens B match went to the tennis and more often than not to its conclusion.
Womens A saw 4 players play a round robin with Susie Dilloway coming out on top for this event with a 10point margin in the decider agaisnt Matilda Parslow, else where Sarah Ball and Jane Galsworthy provided some excellent Squash results all day against their opponents.
Mens A saw the return of young Luke Griffiths, but he wasn't seeded which meant that the one of the top two seeded players would have to play the inform Luke sooner rather than later. Ray Jordan saw off Jack Bishop first up and had to relent to his younger opponent Luke in the semi-final. Alex Du Noyer saw off the challenge from Johnny Bispham whilst James Langworthy defeated Simon Lau. James and Alex met in the other semi final with James seeing off the challenge of the remaining seed by just 8 points, with James's Tennis doing most of the damage to secure the win. In the Final Luke dominated James without requiring the Tennis and will surely be a hot prospect for the upcoming British Championships and will return high in the UK rankings when they next get adjusted.