On Saturday 1st July we visited our next venue in the 2023 Karakal UK Racketball Series - Leamington Squash and Tennis Club, for the West of England Open!
This fantastic venue provided us with some of the best court viewing situations we could ask for in the Series, not just because of the brilliant 6 court set up they have there, but also because of the high quality Racketball that was on show! It was clear to see lots of our players were getting well tuned up and ready for the July National Championships.
Kicking off this time with the Over 70s and we had a strong three way playoff between Billson, Lowe and Wright. Billson and Wright went hammer and tongs at each other first up with Wright winning 13/11 in the 5th game! Richard Lowe however proved to be a very capable and impressively mobile competitor, taking (a potentially pretty leggy by that point) Billson and Wright down 3/0 each to take his first Series title of 2023. He looks like one to watch in the O70s Nationals!
Patrick Osborn continued his seemingly invincible run of form by sweeping aside all who came across him 2/0. Taking out other top runners Graham Holmes and Robin Chipperfield on his way to another Series age group title. Chipperfield doing well to come through a busy second O60s group. In the O50s it was the return of the bionic man as Chris Morris playing his first Series event back (after a terrible injury in last year's Series Finals event) managed to come through unscathed himself, winning all his matches 2/0 along the way. His final opponent Nev Buckle did brilliantly to see his way through a strong 50s draw with the likes of Dodds, Wardle and Billington in his way. A very competitive 50's draw here and with all of them plus several other high fliers playing the Nationals it could well be the draw to watch out for!
In another strong category - the O40s, regular Series combatants Alexis Smith and Paul Norton met in a high quality, expansive racket ability match, with Smith seeing out a tight 2/0 win. Norton picking up some very valuable Series ranking points though to extend his lead at the top of the tree going into the halfway point of 2023. The B Grade was a busy event this time round, with 11 entrants in it. There were some great games across the rounds, with the likes of Manson/Melvin, Mcclelland/Symmons and Symmons/Da Costa all going the distance 2/1. In the end though it was the mercurial Nick Jenkins who fought his way to the top of the pile, taking out Tim Melvin 2/1 in a quality final.
Our strongest A Grade and Doubles draws of the 2023 season were a joy to watch all the way through (though not fun to schedule around!) Matches of note were Rawlins and Giles taking close to an hour to battle out a 2/1 win to Rawlins, Manson/Hindmarch vs Strong/Phipps and Norton/Giles vs Smith/Jenkins all also providing some brilliant high class Racketball across the day. In the end though there could only be one winner and Oli Rawlins took the A Grade over Craig Chappell 2/0 (with Chappell unfortunately picking up a slight niggle earlier in the day to hamper his efforts.) The Doubles Final was a brutal 45 minute long exchange between Phipps/Strong and Giles/Norton, in which the former managed to overturn a 4/8 deficeit in the 2nd to get back to 1/1 in games, and then storm through to take the 3rd 11/7! A prime showcase of how classy and intricate Doubles Racketball can be and I highly recommend you go to our Facebook page and watch it back to see how good it was:
You can find all the photos and videos of the day here:
And finally results on Sporty HQ here:
Thanks to all who played and made it such a great day. Also to Leamington and Jason Pike for having us. We hope to be back to such an excellent venue next year!
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