James Pope is alive and has been seen on a variety of courts, to calm Paul Mathieson's pre-Wales concerns, however, James was not in Cardiff this year, so it has fallen to someone else to bring gory details and significantly dodgier than usual nicknames in the tournament report. This author wishes to remain anonymous, so thanks to Student* for their Racketlon Report.
Top Seed's Felled as Stahl & Barre Secure Glory
Another hugely successful, over-subscribed Welsh Open was played out in the superb surroundings of David Lloyd, Cardiff on Saturday 20th Feb. 76 players vying for a variety of titles from Men’s A to E, Ladies, Juniors and Vets...
All the detailed results can be analysed and digested here
The Men’s Elite threw up some intriguing first round clashes. Although it might be a push to describe it as the glamour tie of the first round, I’m just not sure it gets any better than Keith “the new Barry Hearn” Lesser vs Ed “the Nugget” Harvey. Take a moment to predict those scores in your head. Granted, the New Barry Hearn (NBN) should have the edge on the TT table but after that it’s anyone’s guess...and so it transpired: 21-10, 22-20, 20-22, 11-11 is how NBN triumphed in the end with TT being the only difference.
The rest of the 1st rounds saw no.1 seed Dan Busby getting passed a spirited Ridout who certainly started to get the no.1 seed thinking at 15-7 on the tennis court with Busby needing 8 ; a dramatic comeback from Izzy “The Bionic Woman” Tyrell who slotted into the Men’s A draw to replace the injured Mark Harris and promptly sneaked a very, very tight match against Alastair Prades and finally no.2 seed Duncan Stahl able to take down the giant killing threat of James Watkins without too many alarms.
Busby and Stahl got through their semis without much fuss to set up a much anticipated Final (with one win each from their last two encounters against each other). After a 21-14 TT win to Stahl, Busby was probably the happier of the two, but an impressive 21-11 win to Stahl on the badminton court meant Busby’s happiness was short-lived, which was compounded by a brutal squash encounter that also ended up going to Stahl 23-21. Stahl got the 3 points he needed to win at tennis in order to complete an emphatic +19 victory – surely the first of many battles these two will have throughout the season.
The Ladies A round robin saw young tyro and GB Junior international Olivia Chivers tear up the tennis court only losing 10 points at tennis across her 3 fully completed matches. However, the 5 points she lost to Shirley Barre proved crucial as she narrowly lost to Shirley by 2 points overall, after Shirley had built up a big lead after a close TT and a big squash win.
The Men’s B saw the ever popular Londoner Johnny “Bung” Bispham through to the Final to face newbie Adit Patel (who had originally entered Men’s E but on closer inspection of his credentials was bumped up to join the Tour regulars in the Men’s B). It proved the right decision as his solid TT and excellent badminton enabled him to win the B tournament. A good start to hopefully a long Racketlon career?
Mark Jackson showed his class by taking the +45 title, as did no.1 seed Paul Thompson in the +55 and congratulations to all the other winners, Kath James (Ladies B), David Bennett (Men’s C), Stuart Scourfield (Men’s D), Mike Young (Men’s E) and in the Juniors Will Gregson again proved too good in the u13 boys as did Olivia’s little sister Sofia Chivers in the u13 girls.
A big thank you to the Wales Racketlon team headed up by Pete Bridgeman who once again ran a very smooth tournament – not easy with such a packed schedule. Also a special mention to Brendan and Easy Store UK for once again sponsoring the event and making it undoubtedly one of the highlights of the UK Tour.
Lastly, a special mention to Izzy “The Bionic Woman” Tyrrell who, after several major operations, it was fantastic to see her back on the Racketlon court. Izzy is one of the UK’s all time great Racketlon players with a load of International World Tour titles under her belt and showed her class by winning 2 of her 3 matches in the Men’s A! Izzy now has over 8 titanium plates permanently in her right foot to keep her playing – which is more than the number of points Keith needed at tennis to win their match. Keith will not be the first to fail at taking enough points off Izzy on the tennis court!
The Tour now turns north to Boden country. The Yorkshire Open on March 13th already looking like it will be a hugely successful event. Enter by clicking here now or you may well miss out...
Author: Student's Racketlon Report
*Student was famously the pseudonym used by William Gosset, a chemist working for the Guinness Brewary, when he devised his cheap and simple test of teh quality of stout. It is now one of the most used statistical tests in existence. William did not write this report.