Our second Karakal sponsored UK Racketball Series major event is looming on the horizon! The British Racketball Open in support of the Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice, on the 7th & 8th October at Hallamshire Squash & Tennis Club, Sheffield.
This tournament is a full weekend affair, carrying the same ranking point weighting as our National Championships event, and as such has the same age group categories open, from A & B Grade all the way through to Over 75s. There is also Men's, Ladies, Mixed and Over 60's Doubles categories available for entry, so definitely something for everyone to get stuck into. There is prize money for the Men's and Ladies Open, Karakal are providing the prizes for the singles event winners, and the doubles prizes are being sponsored by Abbeydale Brewery so it's great to have a great bunch of sponsors behind us!
Hallamshire has always been a fantastic venue to visit, with a great bar and courts set up. This year there will be an Oktoberfest themed players party on the Saturday night at the club, with loads of food and drinks deals on offer throughout.
This is also the event where we have seen a couple of the best Racketball matches of all time, with Matthew vs Pearson and Matthew vs Vail last year in particular being two of many. Who is going to challenge Nick this year on his home turf? Can the Sheffield man take another British Open crown?
Needless to say it is definitely not one to miss out on so get your entries in and hotels booked ASAP! Entry came be made via Sporty HQ HERE
This is also a brilliant chance to support a great cause in the Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice Charity, who will be there throughout the weekends promoting their cause and collecting for support. To find out more about this set up that we have been keep to promote over the years please follow: BLUEBELL WOOD
THE 2022 BRITISH RACKETBALL OPEN CHAMPIONS
MEN'S OPEN - NICK MATTHEW
LADIES OPEN - MILLIE TOMLINSON
O35S - CHRIS HALL
O40S - DANNY WEIGHTS
O45S - MATT LOWERY
O50S - CHRIS MORRIS
O55S - JIM MUIRHEAD
O60S - PATRICK OSBORN
O65S - STEPHEN JOHNSON
O70S - IAN GRAHAM
O75S - MARTIN DAY
OPEN DOUBLES - WATTS/ARNOTT
O60S DOUBLES - OSBORN/CORDEAUX
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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