Atherton & Pham Triumph at the Jesus College Racket Challenge
Racketlon is a sport which really draws you in through playing. So far in 2015 there have been taster events in Folkstone, Grafton, & Ramsey and these provide another great route into the sport for a potential player. Jesus College, Cambridge have in recent years supplied a number of Racketlon players to UK Tour events, notably British Championships Men’s B winner, Tom Atherton. However, as Tom explains below, there is far more than just him in their pipeline, as he reports on the 2015 Jesus College Racket Challenge.
“On Saturday the 13th June, Jesus College Racketlon Society held the 3rd annual ‘Racket Challenge’ event. This tournament started in 2012 with only 4 entrants, and continued in 2013 with a slightly increased 5 competitors. In 2014, the Jesus College Racketlon society was founded and received funding from the college but lack of availability meant that there was no Racket Challenge that year. 2015 marked a massive step forward, as increased college funding and the leadership of Matthew Daggitt meant that the tournament attracted 16 competitors split into 3 open divisions and one women’s division.
As has become traditional for this event, each division was played in a round robin format, meaning each competitor played 3 matches over the course of the day. In the open A division, Racketlon regulars Tom Atherton, Luke Woodliffe and Matthew Daggitt were joined by the dangerous Chris Lewis-Brown making his Racketlon debut. Tom Atherton managed to retain the Racket Challenge trophy with some strong squash performances, but Luke Woodliffe pushed him close with huge table tennis and tennis matches, losing the head to head game by only one point. Heartbreak for Luke after losing by the same margin back in 2012 in the first Racket Challenge tournament! Matthew Daggitt was unfortunately let down by his table tennis, but managed to narrowly beat Chris Lewis-Brown in a close battle, with Chris proving to be a dangerous opponent in all 4 sports. We are assured that he will appear on the UK tour soon.
In the Women’s division, Jess Pham triumphed in a thrilling contest, winning by only 2 points overall against Ingrida Kerusauskaite. Jess dominated the table tennis and put in consistent performances in her fast-improving tennis to win the title. Tour-regular Ruby Marsden also put in a strong performance to take 3rd place above tennis-specialist Izabela Kujawiak who was making her Racketlon debut.
In the open B division, Harold Flohr was victorious, and could have challenged in the A division with his strong table tennis, badminton and tennis skills. George Salimbeni was second after dominating all his squash games and 3rd place was competed for by badminton specialists Kim Liu and Dan Askew. The C division was won by a dominant Lawrence Paleschi, who gained the maximum 21 points in every game bar one. Fred Chen and Nelson Tang put in defiant efforts in order to tame the rampant Paleschi but to no avail. Ben Joseph completed the line-up but was unfortunately forced to retire before the tournament was completed.
Overall the tournament was a great success due to the organisational skills of Matthew Daggitt, who was given the round of applause he deserved after the prizes had been presented to the winners. The Racket Challenge has come a long way since it was devised in 2012, when it was debated whether table tennis should be included or not due to the legitimacy of its ‘racket’ claim. It has since become a fully-fledged Racketlon tournament and will hopefully continue to increase in popularity in coming years.”
Thanks to Tom for his report it is brilliant to see the growth of Racketlon at Jesus College and at a host of other UK Universities. We hope many of the Jesus College Racketlon society & other UK Universities students will be able to enter the 2015 Universities Championships on Sunday 5th July at Keele University, entry for which is open now.