Racketlon debuted in the North East on Sunday 17th June, with the most northerly English tournament in our sports history, with all the details on the day, here is tournament director, Jon Spinks.
This weekend saw the first ever Racketlon tournament hosted in North East England, held at the brilliant Northumberland Club in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. With great facilities all centrally located and an amazing team of staff it’ll be sure to be a fixture on the UK Tour for a long time to come.
Lots of new faces were in action, with well over half the players taking part in their first ever event and there was plenty of interest in future events. It’s always nice when everyone who plays make it easy and enjoyable, and this time was no exception! That being said, even after four years playing there were still things I learned (although being outplayed also had a lot to do with my results!).
Tournament Director tips:
1. Don’t play after a full day of sport the day before.
2. Don't leave your water bottles behind and therefore neglect to drink enough water!
3. Don’t play with potentially mild concussion. (Courtesy of a hockey stick to the face).
4. Don’t do all of these at once.
Without further ado, here is a run down of the day’s events, the full results of which can be found here:
The Women’s A this year featured a 5 player round robin draw. There were a number of tightly fought matches across the day, but in the end it came down to shootout between former club members Kim Hay and Katie Barclay. Katie started strongly with a 15-7 win in table tennis, but wins for Kim in badminton and squash left Kim only needing 8 in tennis which she reached to take the title.
This event’s Men’s A grade saw four tour regulars joined by the strong pair of badminton expert brothers, Adam and Ben Dolman. These two faced off against each other first in a marathon match, quickly proving they weren’t one sport wonders however with some promising skill in the other sports. These two couldn’t deal with the experience of the number one seed Luke Barnes, who topped his group to play doubles teammate Alex Du Noyer in the final, himself having comfortably seen off Jack Bishop and Jon Spinks. Luke and Alex have played many times, with every match always going the distance, and this time did not disappoint. Alex took a +2 lead into tennis, but Luke played a strong game of tennis to take the title (and another second place in the 2018 season for Alex, his fourth out of five tournaments this year! - Ed).
This event featured only one previous player, Peter Frobisher, facing off against five newcomers. This experience clearly came in handy, securing big victories in his group stage matches to make the final, where he was joined by Finlay Nelson. A tight final ensued, with Finlay very strong over the middle two sports, but Peter was able to take slightly bigger wins in the table tennis and tennis to end up victorious.
The Men’s C featured a perfect blend of new and old players, and saw a number of great matches with quite a few separated by only a couple of points. The first finalist was one of the North East’s only regular Racketlon players, Istvan Soos, finally getting a local event near him! He came up against the ambidextrous talents of Sam Barker, returning this year as a regular to the UK Tour. Faced with the hindrance of needing to switch to his weak hand in tennis, Sam found the best approach was to avoid tennis with big wins in his first two games. Istvan was able to rely on his strong table tennis to make the final an interesting affair, but Sam eventually emerged with a narrow win.
Men’s D & Juniors
Due to a couple of late dropouts to the tournament in the juniors, the two grades were merged to ensure the juniors would get a full day of games. These two juniors proved they were more than capable of playing with the adults however, both finishing second in their groups to set up what was essentially the day’s junior final. The game went right down to the wire, but in the end Ryan Bezer beat Freddie Whitfield for the title.
The final was contested by Tony Watson and Howard Mccain, with both sharing two sport wins apiece – Tony with table tennis and badminton, Howard with squash and tennis. Having shown his nerve in the group stage to win a gummi-arm deciding point in his first match, Tony managed to call on this to take a narrow win on points.