England Team Update - Vienna, World Championships
The 2010 World Team Final takes place later between Austria and Finland, however the English journey has now ended with some great performances. There were bronzes for the seniors and juniors. This is particularly encouraging for the juniors who have taken great pride playing for their country and will return to win more caps (next year in Milan). They will be stronger, fitter and more experienced.
Open Elite Update - Vienna, World Championships
With 5 per team in this event (2 mens singles, 1 mens doubles and 1 ladies singles), 4 rubbers each to 11 points in each sport make up this particular event and contest. The squad of Ray Jordan, Keith Lesser, Alex Hartley, Stuart Hobden and David Lazarus, with ladies Sarah Lochrie and Sarah Jane Perry, did pretty well. Sarah Jabne Perry was unused as she played 4 junior matches and the schedule did not permit playing in the open also.
Against Holland, Alex Hartley took on Paul Twisterling, whilst David Lazarus took on Alwin Krist. Paul and Alwin were too strong, but Alex made a very promising debut. David, who is the star of the vets team, returned to the England team fold after a 7 year gap. Krist was just too good. Although David's table tennis has substantially improved over the weekend, using more deception with the pimpled rubber.
Hobden and Jordan played the doubles, with Hobden also making his debut, the Dutch were just too strong in badminton. Another debutant Sarah Lochrie also found this to be the case against Marielle van der Woerdt. Marielle was exceptional in all sports and is one of the best ladies in the world.
Next up playing for 9th position, England took on Slovakia and then Hungary. This time Lochrie made no mistake, destroying the Slovak girl in every sport (putting earlier nerves aside) and Hartley and Hobden played a solid doubles game, Hartley again showing good squash. Ray Jordan lost at number one to Marcel Kravec and Keith Lesser was in motion against the Slovak number two, however the team had already won so tennis wasn't needed. Lesser, again was new to the England team and completed a fresh line up, bringing a different look to English Racketlon. This is following John O'Donnell and Doug Struthers who don't play anymore and Jermaine Manners who couldn't make the tournament because of work. Although, O'Donnell is looking to make a comeback and entered the singles World Championships in Holland (November). Manners would have certainly strengthened the team as would English Open champion Ed Batson who was unfortunately on holiday. The team next year will be even better. Whilst England had a tough draw in 2009 against Finland only eventually finishing 11th, in 2010, England finished 9th in 2011. This was down to a further win against Hungary, where Lochrie, Hartley, Hobden (playing singles) and the irresistable pairing of Jordan/Lesser destroyed the Hungarians with Lesser/Jordan even winning at badminton and squash. Although they were without their top player Levante Nandoori, not withstanding this they had a nightmare as did Sweden who lost to Canada. Canada are the first non European team to make the semi finals, which shows racketlon is growing far and wide.
Juniors Update - Vienna, World Championships
All debuts here for Chris Batey, Luke Barnes, Alexander Oliver, Martin Szwaba and Sarah Jane-Perry. England took bronze narrowly losing to Germany for Silver. Austria were too strong with world top 3 players Joey Schubert and Kirsten Peckl (in the mens and ladies, nevermind juniors). Cambridge student Fred Floether gave Germany the edge against Chris Batey, but the team bounced back with important wins against Poland and Slovakia to which Alexander Oliver and Sarah Jane-Perry were instrumental. Luke Barnes did not taste success, however did play the two top teams and has distinguised himself in the U21 singles by knocking out the number one seed Ken-Kristian Toomjoe frm Estonia. This is an outstanding result for the Yorkshireman who favours badminton but is solid at all sports.The team is young enough to play again next year (with the exception of Barnes) so hopefully the team can comeback next year stronger, maybe even joined by English Open junior champion Charlie Wright.
Veterans Update - Vienna, World Championships
With a great wins against the Czech Republic, the dream team of David Lazarus, Stuart Foster, Rakesh Gupta and Duncan Marlow lined up against Germany confident of success. Lazarus played particularly well here, destroying Christian Alte 11-1 at both table tennis and squash. Gupta was also solid against journeyman Volker Sach, however Sach was a little bit too solid, winning 3 sports, including a decisive tennis score of 11-1. Marlow and Foster are a good combination with strong squash and tennis. The Germans however were an exceptional tennis pair and whilst the gruesome twosome took the squash, they lost the tennis heavily and the Germans advanced to beat Hungary by one point in a very close final. Richard Lawrence came in for Foster in the 3rd/4th playoff against Austria and Marlow and Lawrence's badminton mauling of the Austrians (11-2) was spectacular. England were far too good and took bronze. Foster and Lazarus have mens caps, Gupta, Marlow and Lawrence enjoyed England debuts.