DUNLOP NATIONAL RACKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Edgbaston - Birmingham
4th - 6th May 2012
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Full reports for all grades can be found below..
This was one of the biggest draws in National Championship history with six of the players in the draw nationally ranked in the top 10. It proved to be an exciting category…
The first round saw the surprise defeat of the 2012 UK-Racketball series champion, Tom Phipps, as he went down to Roger Alger, 11-6, 14-12, 4-11, 11-6. Phipps had been struggling with an ankle injury, and was unable to use his usual explosive movement and speed to gain any advantage, with Alger extending the rallies and playing controlled racketball in the end Phipps just ran out of options.
In the last 16 there were some fantastic games as Johnny Harford defeated Elliot Selby, and Mark Fuller just made it through against Chris Truswell.
Tim Vail was up against Ted Jeal, who was the 2009 finalist. It was a tough game as Tim took the first 11-8, only for Ted to fight back and take the second 8-11. In the end Tim made Ted do an incredible amount of work, and a couple of extra errors from Ted and a couple of extra winners from Tim was all that decided it. Tim took the match 3-1.
Anthony Graham against Jonny Harford was an absolute slog. Harford initially went 1-0 up, but Anthony Graham won a brutal tiebreak in the second that sapped the energy from Johnny. Despite Harford going 2-1 up in the third, it looked like Graham had finally worn down Harford, and Graham took the final games 11-5, 11-5.
Mark Fuller had a similar slog, beating Andy Corben 3-2 in just over 70 minutes. Dom Hamilton came in 3-0 against Neil Chambers, but 3-0 was a flattering score line with all games going right down to the wire.
On the last day in the Semi Finals, Tim Vail comfortably beat Anthony Graham 11-6, 11-5, 11-6. Vail just had too many winners and his racketball speciality shone through, as Vail found angles that Graham just didn’t know existed.
Mark Fuller defeated the 2010 UK-Racketball Series Champion and Racketball Hero, Dom Hamilton, 3-1 in another close match. In the end, Fuller’s fitness was all that really separated the competitors. Fuller pulled away in the last two winning 11-7, 11-5.
Tim Vail capitalised on his early form in the tournament, hitting a tremendous number of winners. Vail played up to the crowd with two very quick games, which he took 11-3, 11-6. Fuller fought back in the third and managed to tighten up, trying to run his way back into the match. Ultimately it was Vail’s superior racketball class that shone through. He managed to find enough winners to see out the game 13-11 and take home his fifth National Racketball title. Vail only dropped one game throughout the event and is definitely top of the racketball game!
Sam Mueller ran hard against both professional squash girls, taking a game off Sarah-Jane Perry. She displayed her usual tenacity that’s be on show throughout the UK-Racketball Series so far, but in the end it was all down to the final between Sarah-Jane Perry and Lauren Selby.
Over the last few years, Lauren has always come second to Laura Hill, but without Laura in the draw, she must have sensed that this was her time to finally take the crown. It was a great final with Sarah-Jane. She has become a fantastic squash player over the last couple of years, taking WISPA titles in both America and Europe. But this was her first time on the racketball centre stage.
Lauren started the final, the better of the two, probably owing to the racketball experience behind her. However, Sara-Jane’s shots and fitness started to show in time to take the third game and draw the match back to 2-1 to Lauren. In the fourth game it was tight all the way with two lucky bounces right at the end deciding the game 13-11 in Lauren’s favour and the match 3-1, giving Lauren her first National Title.
It was a very competitive game throughout and Sara-Jane really gave Lauren a run for her money
Men’s Over 35 Draw
The un-seeded Nicholas Staunton from Lemington Spa, had an amazing run in the top half of the draw. First he had a tough 3-1 against Michael Ypes, the 5/8 seed, before going on to defeat the ¾ seed, Paul Johnson in five games, including two tiebreakers with both of them going Staunton’s way. He then managed to back this up on the semi-finals day with a victory against England Squash’s Matt Baker. It ended 3-1 in another tight game, where again Staunton managed to claim the big points in the tiebreak.
In the other half, last year’s finalist, Rich Davies, came through comfortably in the first two rounds barely dropping a point, before having a tough battle against Devon’s Christian Turner in the semi finals. It was a marathon match but Davies came through, 3-1, looking like the stronger of the two.
In the final, Staunton’s legs started to look a little bit shaky after the brutal matches running up to the final. Davies looked solid throughout and won 11-4, 11-4, 11-4, to take his first title.
Women’s Over 35 Draw
In the Women’s Over 35’s, Karen Bealy played well and fought hard against Gail Stuthridge to take a game. The over 35’s Champion was Sarah Taylor who looked comfortable throughout, taking both games 3-0, and with that, the title.
Men’s Over 40 Draw
It was another big draw in the Men’s Over 40’s with 23 entries. James Powley, at 5/8 seed, came through against Ian Ingram in straight sets before taking on the number one seed, Pete Goodings in the quarterfinals.
It was a brutal match, as Goodings took the first two games, and looked like he was going to go through Powley 3-0. However, Powley fought back, dug in, and chased down every ball, pushing Goodings to start making mistakes. The third was extremely tight, finishing 11-7, the fourth was comfortable at 11-3. In the fifth and deciding game, it could have gone either way, but eventually, Powley managed to sneak it at 12-10. A fantastic victory and the number one seed out.
The next day, Powley managed to back his victory up this time taking down David Lord 3-1 in the semi finals, before facing another un-seeded opponent, Andy McDonald in the final.
McDonald, who made it all the way from the last 64 in the bottom section of the draw, after defeating ¾ seed, Mark Francis, and UK-Racketball favourite, Mark Steedon was on a roll. However, he couldn’t keep up with Powely who won the final relatively comfortably 8-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4 to claim his first National Title!
Women’s Over 40 Draw
This was one of the largest draws in the women’s category. The number one and two seed ended up coming through the draw. Claire Walker in the top half had, by far, a more comfortable run, defeating Jo Shelley 3-0 and then Sam Mueller 3-0, without dropping many points at all.
In the bottom half, Vikki Jarvis had a tough opener against Helen Cann, the first game ending 13-11. Next up, Jarvis had a tough five set battle against Gail Stuthridge in the semi final, coming through 12-10 in the fifth.
In the final, Jarvis started well, taking the first game off Claire Walker. However, Walker’s strengths came through in the third taking it 13-11 on tiebreak and the match 3-1, crowning Claire Walker Women’s Over 40’s National Champion.
Men’s Over 45 Draw
It was another big draw for the Men’s Over 45 category with half the matches having to take place in the last 32.
The big upset in the draw was when the two seed, Buzby Williams, lost to Jason Fearn in the first round. Jason had made it all the way from the last 64 to overcome Buzby in a heated contest, with plenty of discussion. In the end, Buzby seemed to struggle to keep focus in the final two, with Jason taking them 11-3, 11-3. Jason then went on to battle hard against Marc Thornley, but didn’t appear to have enough in his legs to close Thornley out.
In the top half, number one seed Neil Baldwin came through comfortably all the way to the final, before he was pushed incredibly hard by Marc Thornley in what was a very tough four games for both of them. Baldwin took the final two games with only two points in it, 13-11, 11-9.
Women’s Over 45 Draw
The number one and two seed met in the final, as Lesley Sturgess came though against Julie Lawton in one of the closest finals of the day finishing 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9. All games were incredibly close throughout, but Sturgess managed to always take the key big points and push through right at the end when it mattered.
Men’s Over 50 Draw
In another big draw, series favourite, Gabriel Uttley, came through against Nick Tobin, before losing to Paul Smith in the quarterfinals.
Number two seed Keith Palmer came through very comfortably in both his first and second round, in the bottom half of the draw. He annihilated Kerry Mason 11-3, 11-3, 11-3, before doing the same to Michael English, 11-2, 11-3, 11-5.
However, Palmer came unstuck against series boy Patrick Osborn, who defeated him 11-7, 11-3, 11-5. Osborn went on to face Racketball Legend and National Title Collector, Stephen Wall in the final. It was an epic encounter between Wall and Osborn, with Osborn taking the first 14-12, and the second 12-10 before Stephen Wall’s fitness and experience started to shine through, taking the next three 11-4, 11-5, 11-4. Then it was back to business as usual for Wall, but a fantastic final for all.
Women’s Over 50 Draw
The Over 50’s went to seeding, with one and two seed, Lesley Sturgess and Christine Park respectively, meeting in the final. Park beat off Jo Mosley in the semi finals 3-0, 11-8, 13-11, 11-8. In the top end, Carolyn Linsay met Sturgess in the other semi final, which Sturgess won 3-0.
Sturgess went on to win the final 3-0, having not dropped a game in the tournament.
Men’s Over 55 Draw
Series favourite, James Murphy, made it through against Ricky Smart, finishing 3-2 in the last 16 before losing to local hero, Rob Shay in a very tight 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
Patrick Martin fought ¾ seed, Richard Waller hard, but it was Waller that made it through to the quarterfinals. Waller then lost his match to Lyn Stockham 3-0.
David Manning almost went the same way as the other ¾ seeds, but just about managed to hold on against Jeremy Horrocks, taking it 11-8 in the fifth to make it to the semi finals.
Number two seed, Nigel Millington came through comfortably, finishing 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 against Clive Hickford. In the semis Rob Shay beat Lyn Stockham in the top half, with David Mannings taking down the number two seed, Nigel Millington in the other semi final.
David Manning then went on to back this win up with a tremendous effort in the final, to claim a National Title in five sets against Rob Shay. The final was Manning’s third 3-2 of the tournament, having also played a 3-1 previously. It was a considerable effort by David Manning to keep backing that up throughout the tournament, and it was worth it, finishing with a National Title.
Women’s Over 55 Draw
Linda Smith came through her first round after a really tough encounter with Claire Hambleton ended 3-2. Smith went on to face number one seed, Bett Dryhurst in the final. It was a great first game with Bett taking it deep in the tiebreak 14-12, before then pulling away 11-5, 11-3 to take the title.
Men’s Over 60 Draw
Both seeds struggled in the bottom half of the draw. Alvin Ranson took out the two seed, William Mulholland. Peter Pietruszka came through against ¾ seed, Colin Thompson.
In the bottom half, the semi final was a battle between the seed choppers, with Pietruszka coming through 3-0 to claim a place in the final against number one seed Ian Graham. In the end, Graham was too strong, despite Pietruszka putting up a tremendous battle in the second, but losing the tiebreak. Graham claimed the third game 11-0, and the National Title.
Women’s Over 60 Draw
It was a close battle for second place with Ali Wood just piping Gill Wagner to the post. Bett Dryhurst won all of her games 3-0 to take the title.
Men’s Over 65 Draw
The number one and two seed came through the draw to meet in the final. However, it was a tough battle in the semi final for number one seed, Robert Astbury as he came up against Peter Curwen from Chapel Allerton. Astbury took the first in the tiebreak and then the second comfortably, before Curwen fought back to take the third 11-9, the fourth 11-6. It went right down to the wire in the fifth, but Astbury snuck in the fifth game by three points.
In the bottom half John Houghton, the number ¾ seed was defeated by un-seeded Jan Cowper. Cowper came through against Jack Clay in the first round and beat Houghton 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-4 in the quarterfinals.
In the semi finals Cowper didn’t have enough against the number two seed, John Cockhill. In another tight encounter, Cowper took the first game 11-7 before Cockhill came back to take it 11-6, 11-9. The fourth went to a tiebreak, which ended 12-10.
In the final, number two seed John Cockhill, overcame the one seed, Robert Astbury comfortably. Cockhill won the match 11-5, 11-5, 11-9, with Astbury suffering slightly from the fiver setter he had faced in the semi final only a short while before.
Women’s Over 65 Draw
It was a four player round robin in the over 65’s, and every player had three games. Audrey Coulson was unlucky against Gloria Saunders in the battle for the title. Both had defeated Ali Wood and Gill Wagner 3-0 before a fight between themselves for the crown. In the end it was 3-2 to Saunders in a fantastic final.
Men’s Over 70 Draw
All seeds made it through to the quarterfinals stage in the Over 70’s. The number one seed, Bev Pegg, made it through to the final in the top half. But in the bottom half, the number two seed lost out to ¾ seed George Aplin in the semi finals, 11-9, 11-7, 119. It was another five setter final, with Bev Pegg coming through. Pegg lost the first game in a tiebreak before coming back in the second and taking the third in a tiebreak. Aplin came back again in the fourth 11-8, but finally, Bev Pegg managed to pull away and dealt a fatal blow to Aplin, to take the fifth game 11-4.
We have received over 260 entries into the competition this year so it is set to be a fantastic weekend. Due to the sheer volume of entries there might be some issues so please check through the sheet thoroughly to make sure that you and your friends are in the correct grade. If there are any problems then please don’t panic, just drop an email to email@example.com and I will sort out everything before we do the draw.
We will be following the ESR recommendation on type of ball for each grade and it can be found by following this web link. Click here to view it...
Please note that this year we will be using the Dunlop Black and Dunlop Blue ball instead of Price. These balls have been approved by the ESR testing team and are deemed to have similar playability to that of the price ball that has been used in previous championships.
If you have any questions regarding the ball please contact Matt Baker the Racketball Coordinator for ESR at Matt.Baker@englandsquashandracketball.com
We will have 8 professional referees at the event over the course of the weekend but due to the quantity of entries it will not be possible for them to referee every match. If you are on a court without a referee and you lose your match then you are expected to referee the next match on that court (please note this is the opposite way round to the UK-Racketball Series where winners are expected to mark). If you play a match that has a professional referee and are asked by a tournament official to referee the next match if you lose, then please do so. With so many entries we will need all the help we can get to make the event run smoothly.
I know that this is a contentious issue each year. This year we have taken all the steps we can think of to get this right. We will be using the finishing position from the past 2 national championships and your National Racketball Ranking (although this is only in place for 4 grades click here to view the latest April rankings). We will also be using knowledge from Rob Shay, Mark Fuller and Matt Baker to try and get the seeding as accurate as possible.
I was really hoping not to have to split the venue as tournaments always work much better from just one centre but we have received more entries than I anticipated so we are going to have to use the Monrow. Directions and a postcode can be foundby clicking here...
I will make sure that it is clear on the tournament schedule which matches will be taking place at Edgbaston and which will be taking place at the University.
I hope that this email all makes sense, that you are all playing well and that you have a good time at the National Championships. I will email closer to the time with any updates, see you all on the 4th, 5th or 6th of May.
The biggest date on the racketball calendar is fast approaching. The British National Racketball Championships will again take place at Edgbaston, Birmingham and promises to build on the success of previous years. Edgbaston has a thriving racketball scene and is the perfect venue to host the National Championships.
Last year saw England No1 Dominic Hamilton knocked out in the Men’s Open semi-finals by Tim Vail, who went on to beat Mark Fuller in a gripping final.
In a repeat match of 2010, Derbyshire’s Laura Hill beat Lauren Selby in straight sets in the Women’s Open.
It was a fantastic Championship consisting of eight grades for the men and four for the women. This year the format stays the same, but with the event run by UK-Racketball we’re expecting a much bigger entry.
The venue itself has recently been refurbished and is now the biggest squash and racketball club in the country with 12 excellent courts.
Hotel Options for the Dunlop National Championships 2012
Follow the link below for all information regarding the tournament and hotels that players will be staying at for the National Championships.
There is an acrobat reader file that outlines all the hotel options. You can book them by clicking on the “book accommodation” button on the right hand side.
Last year’s winners
Men’s Championship – Tim Vail
Women’s Championship – Laura Hill
Check out the links below for The 2011 Dunlop National Championship page on UK-Racketball and our Facebook photo albums:
Also check out the following websites for more information: