On a hot and sweaty Saturday we headed down to Exeter for our next UK Racketball Series event, the South West Open! It was the second completely packed out entry list we have had in the 2023 Series so promised a plethora of top Racketball matches across all the grades!
Our largest O70s draw this year saw current Series ranking leader Graham Greensall come up against a number of new challengers to his age group dominance. In the end he managed to battle through without dropping a game though was pushed hard by Steve Morrall in the group stage and Francois De Villiers in the final. The O60s was missing a number of the Series regulars, but did have a strong Cornish presence in Nigel Bell & Chris Davey as it’s top seeds. Both of them managed to come through their groups without too much difficulty though Davey was pushed to 3 games by Gary Preston in the group. Bell taking the title in a tight 2/0 final, scores not fully showing the closeness of the match.
A really busy O50s draw (a full 16 entry!) also carried a lot of quality players in it, with 7/8 players all in with a shout if taking the title on the day. It really just came down to who was able to take the tight points on the day! A number of the best of 3 matches went to 2 games to 1 with very little difference separating the winners and losers. In the end Dodds, Rycroft, Buckle and Wardle all made it through to the Semis.From there, both Semi finals also went to 2/1, both lasting at least 35 minutes + long. Rycroft and Dodds just about seeing off their challengers. In the end however Paul Dodds just had too much left in the tank to take the win over Rycroft, both players understandably a bit broken after 5 high quality hard matches in the day.
In the O40s, Adam Giles the top seed made his way through the day seamlessly without dropping a game. Local Newton Abbot players Adam Steer doing really well to finish second in his first UK RB event. The B Grade was also another busy draw with a really good depth of playing ability. A touring trio from Aylesbury - Strong, Takacs & Vasey joined Nick Jenkins in the Semis, where after a couple of marathon matches, club mates Vasey and Takacs met in the final. It was a a real test of endurance, as both had also competed in the Doubles event too meaning this was match 8 of their day! A solid achievement in itself In the end Rob Takacs came through to claim his first Series title!
Finally to the Ladies, Doubles and A Grade. In the A Grade local ex Squash PSA Pro and current O35s British Squash Open Champion James Snell took out several Series regulars to take his first UK Racketball Series title without dropping a game. Beating Alexis Smith in the final. The Ladies was also the busiest draw we have had in that category which is great to see, and Devon Ladies County Captain Karen Bealey managed to see off the rest of the competition to take her first Series win too! Beating Somerset’s Shonagh Butler in a tight 2/0 final. To finish things off we had a really entertaining Doubles final between (a rather tired by this point Rob Takacs & Paul Strong of Aylesbury and Rob Holbrook & Alex Kershaw of Isle of Wight/Hampshire. A well lubricated and vocal travelling IOW contingent roared their men on as they managed to come back from a game down to take the Doubles win.
A really great day of games, thanks to the D&E for hosting us so well and we look forward to being back there next year!
You can find the full results on Sporty here:
The impact of the results on the Series rankings can be found here:
We now look forward to the British Racketball
Open sponsored by Sheffield Autogates on 7th/8th October! Still time to enter for anyone who wants to get involved...
Follow us on Twitter for the latest information and updates