On a soggy Karakal sponsored London Open Saturday it was prime Racketball weather at Bexley Tennis and Squash Club, and with one of our largest Series event entries this year it was due to be a busy day of it! With a trial of our new no entry limit Doubles format on the same day too, there was a really vibrant and enjoyable atmosphere to the club, and some quality matches to boot.
You can find videos and photos from the days matchups on our Facebook album here: UK RACKETBALL
We had several players at the top of the Series rankings taking part and looking to gain a bit of a lead or catch up with the pack. None more so than Graham Greensall (2nd) in the O70s who prior to this lay just 5 points off of Paul Knocker Norton (1st). Graham managed to get through his two best of 5 game matches to take the title and give himself the best chance of leapfrogging Norton. John Moore sneaking the runner up spot.
In the Over 60's the draw was wide open without regular top dog Patrick Osborn in the mix, and newly ''upgraded'' into the age group Mark Blake managed to take full advantage. He took out Akhtar Khokar in the final in a tight 2/0, some great rallies in a left/right hand showdown. In the O50's several big names were in the two groups, with the likes of Morris, Banfield, Smith, Wardle and Burton all looking to get stuck in. There were some great group stage games, with Banfield getting past Wardle 14/12, 12/10 one of the highlights of the day. However the relentless pace and physicality of Morris was too much for the rest of the entry to be able to cope with, he took down Steve Smith 2/0 in an entertaining final, looking very strong in the process. (Clearly gearing up for an O50s British Open run!
The O40s had some of the usual suspects in the mix, with the likes of Grilli, Norton and Alexix Smith all champing at the bit. Smith vs Norton was the eventual final once again, unfortunately slightly curtailed by an injury to Norton meaning he couldn't challenge the ever attacking Smith as much as he would like to, going down 2/0 in the process. This means that Graham Greensall sneaks above him in the latest Series rankings!
There was a busy B Grade draw this year, including a couple of Ladies Masters Squash players in Keeley Johnson and Catherine Ruffle, both of whom were also in the Doubles. Great to get some more Ladies players in the mix. In the end it was a battle of youth (Cutting & Elliot Smith) vs (not much older) experience Dean & Lloyd in the semis, with the two (barely) older players coming through to the final. The youth duo however seem to be improving event by event and it won't be long until they are challenging for the B Grade title or promotion into A Grade! Craig Lloyd managed to see his way past James Dean in the final 2/0, both of them doing really well to maintain a high level of quality in their play after 4 Doubles and 4 Singles matches each by this point! Calls for a Lloyd promotion to A Grade are being heard along the grapevine...
Finally to the Doubles and A Grade. The A was mix of the usual suspects (Arnott, Watts, Kershaw and Jones) and a couple of newer local faces (Tinnams and Taffinder.) In the end it was the Hampshire boys Arnott and Kershaw who made their way through, with Callum winning the match 2/0 after both rather drained competitiors needed to sink a well earned pint beforehand to gain some last minute vitality... True Racketball hydration there...
As mentioned we trialled a new ''no entry number limit'' to the Doubles event this year and it was a resounding success with 14 pairs taking part and some really great quality along the way. All the way through the group stages there were some brutal battles and the final was no exception, with a match up of the highest quality between Lloyd/Beel vs Jones/Marshall. After some furious exchanges and some lovely racket work from both sides, it was Billy & Amber who came through a really close 2/0 win (12/10 in the 2nd) to take the title! (This match is up on the live stream on our Facebook page so it is definitely worth checking it out.)
A top day with a brilliant bunch of competitors. Thanks to Bexley for hosting us once again, it is a lovely venue and always really supportive of our Racketball events. We hope to be back next year. Thank you to our Series sponsor partners and to Karakal UK for all their fantastic support.
Full results can be found HERE: SPORTY HQ
Until next time!
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