UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

Full British Open Results are online! Jermaine Manners and Silke Altmann are the champions of the fantastic British Open Class A events. Wingrove Manners made it a father and son dream taking the +45's title and Bird/Smith with Holzinger/Altmann took the respective doubles titles.

The Carlton & Dunlop British Open 2009 Saturday & Sunday results are now online - click here

A short report is also on - FIR President Marcel Weigl sends his thanks to the organisation for a super tournament.



Manners too good

A very dominant Jermaine Manners blew the rest of the field away with a sublime performance worthy of a British Number One. The Bradford man wasn't really troubled in a competitve Class A Draw, taking the plaudits with his 3rd International racketlon title adding to the British & Scottish Opens in 2008. 

James Bird again impressed. This time Bird reached the final, one better than his semi final defeat to Whale at the West Midlands Open in March. Bird wasn't really troubled until his semi-final match against another newcomer Carl Jennings. Jennings had previously impressed in rounds one and two with wins over the highly rated Keith Lesser and Stuart Hobden. Jennings, a former top twenty in England badminton player, is a welcome addition to the tour and picked up "player of the day".

Manners won the final before the tennis, impressively coming back in the squash from 11-4 down to take the 18 points needed after a 21-9 and 21-8 victory in table tennis and badminton respectively. For Bird to compete with Manners he needs to improve his table tennis and take this to within a few points. 

Altmann a class act

The ladies draw billed as "Germany's best versus the best of British" unfortunately for domestic audiences resulted in a foreign victory. The British contingent of Fiona Sime, Jane Cook and Natalie Lawrence succumbing to Silky skills. 

Newcomers galore

The Mens and Ladies B grade tournaments both threw up surprise winners. James Treweek proved an excellent first time winner of the B Class. There were whispers in the crowd that Treweek would have challenged well in the Class A and we look forward to seeing this come to fruition in a future event.

Gemma Sgariglia was a late entry and took the plaudits in the equivalent Ladies event. Good to see some emerging young talent and Gemma's tennis was particularly impressive.

Duncan Stahl was an impressive winner in Class C. Steve Kneller fought valiantly on all fronts.

John Robinson showed his excellent table tennis skills with a fantastic run to the O45's final, stalled only by the might of Manners. Robinson's closely fought gumi against George Webb in the quarter finals proved to be decisive. The West Midlands O45's champion (Webb) additionally impressed with close matches against Letchworth winner (Wayne Donaldson) and England Squash player (Stuart Farrar). Former England badminton player Rakesh Gupta impressed with a win over Farrar (too strong at table tennis and badminton).

So to summarise in the last few events:

Donaldson beats Gupta, Gupta beats Farrar, Farrar beats Webb, Webb beats Donaldson, Webb beats Gupta. Quite a battle is forming on the Veterans circuit!

For those out there thinking you have to play for England at a sport to play racketlon don't believe a word of it. Sure it helps in one sport, but as described above the results level out overall! I'm sure Rakesh Gupta won't mind me saying his tennis isn't the strongest and the standard of table tennis in racketlon in general can definitely be improved. Even in Mens A, the table tennis is far below the level of say the squash. Room for table tennis to cash in on racketlon here, one would have to say!

Competitive O55's event

Ken Tunstall was an exceptional winner of the O55's event with excellent wins over experienced racketloners Richard Lawrence and Charles Eaton. The win over Lawrence was particularly impressive. Tunstall narrowly missed out in both table tennis encounters, but was undefeated at squash and tennis, additionally beating Eaton at badminton. Eaton impressed in table tennis but came under pressure in other sports. It can be tough for the TT specialists!

Watch out for James Bird and Neal Smith

The talented pairing in only their second racketlon event dominated the mens doubles event with some excellent performances. Some loose table tennis by the Manners pairing gave Bird/Smith the edge, however there aren't many pairs in the world that could then beat the Manners at the remaining three sports. Manners perplexed as table tennis is meant to be their weakest. Smith narrowly lost to Whale in the singles and Bird was the runner-up. That's racketlon for you. See you at the next tournament soon! 

Full results can be downloaded here here