UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

Press Release

21st February 2012 

Welsh Open Racketlon Tournament

“What a Racket”

A fantastic day was had by all 78 competitors at the Welsh Open Racketlon Tournament, held at the Cardiff-based David Lloyd Club on Saturday 18th February. The tournament provided plenty of upsets and we were lucky to have local and Welsh winners.

The Mens A event proved to be an all Welsh final with John Bult and unseeded Jordan Heyler. Both players beating the top 2 English seeds Alex Hartley seeded 1 & Josh Kashdan/Brown seeded 2 respectively. The final was set up to be an interesting affair with Bult better at table tennis and badminton and Heyler better at squash and tennis.

Pictures & Result spreadsheet / PDF to follow

Heyler in his first Racketlon event had no answer to the skill of Bult on the table tennis table and lost heavenly 21-3 and while his badminton was better he still only managed 10 points and at the half way stage was trailing 42-13. Fortunately Heyler won the squash but Bult did pick up 12 points and therefore going into the final discipline he only needed 2 points to win the match. This for Heyler was too much of a mountain to climb and Bult got his required 2 points within the first 4 rallies.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Top seed Fiona Sime played Rachel Branagan from Manchester in the ladies final which went all the way. After 2 disciplines Branagan was 8 points up but after a deserter us squash losing 21-1 found herself 12 points adrift of her opponent Sime. In a fantastic match who was too tight to call Branagan superior Tennis and fitness won the day as she won the tennis 21-5 to become the new Welsh ladies champion. Kath James came third and was the best placed welsh lady. 

The only top seed to win on the day was Dave Ridout winning the Mens B. He beat his opponent Ian Kirby 63-51 in the final. However the B event produced some of the tournaments best matches with several matches being won by a single point.

There were a host of close match ups in the Mens C event. Richard Bunn and Dave Banks provided an epic match and with the scores level 21-12, 12-21, 16-21, 21-16 a shotgun 1 point finish was required. Bunn won the vital point but he knew he had been in a battle. The surprise of the day was Jon Williams who stood in when a player failed to turn up and went on to win the Mens C final beating David Jones 73-48. Williams a tennis coach at the club only started playing squash 6 months ago only dropped 3 points on route to the final.

The O’45s Mens was won by Paul Thompson whose toughest match was probably in the first round against local rival Colin Peckham as he trailed by 4 points going into the final discipline tennis. Tennis being Paul’s strongest sport he won 21-3 to take the match 65-49 Paul beat the number 2 seed Julian Kashdan-Brown in the final 71-51 and in total only dropped 5 point in the tennis discipline.

The closest contest for the title came in the Mens O’55 event which was a round robin event (everybody plays each other) saw teacher Ken East beat Jeff Taylor 64-51 and then beat David Sutlieff by a single point 54-53 to take the title.

There were 22 juniors participating in the junior events sixteen boys and six girls this was by far the biggest entry of juniors since Racketlon began in 2002. The entry was boosted by eight juniors from Bradford (four boys and four girls) and with the exception of one or two players all players were new to the sport. The junior matches were played using the same rules but matches were up to 15 points.                                                                                                                                          

The girls draw had Wales England flavour was made up to two groups of three consisting of two Bradford players and one welsh player. Once again we had an all Welsh final, although the girls from Bradford were keen and very enthusiastic their lack of experience and playing time in one or two of the disciplines showed. Olivia Chivers aged 12 proved to be too strong for Katie Jones who was our youngest competitor at the tender age of 10 as she lost to Olivia 60-29

There was no seeding in the boys but I think the two strongest players on the day were in the final although it was down to the luck of the draw. Most of the boys had three strong disciplines but had one very weak event which let them down and who knows with a bit of practise things could be very different next time.

Finnian Bult was looking to make it a family double with his father winning the Mens event; however his opponent Alistair Prades from Devon had other ideas. Prades was good at all the disciplines and throughout the event was able to produce big winning margins which gave him a cushion to progress to the next round. He won the final convincingly 43 -15 as he had built up an unsalable lead the tennis became a dead rubber.

Harry South of Cardiff Auto-Care captured loads of action shots during the day and he went onto say “What a fantastic day I loved every minute the format, the fun, the friendliness and the competitiveness of the event, I am pleased to be involved in such a great event”

Peter Bridgeman tournament director said “this has been a very successful Racketlon; I would like to thank David Lloyds for hosting the event, all my helpers, sponsors but most of all the players because without their participation the event would not happen. I hopefully we can build on this and hold more events in the near future.   

-  ENDS -