We had a filled out draw and a busy schedule on Saturday 4th November at Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club for the penultimate Karakal UK Racketball event of 2023 - the South East Open.
It was really great to see a mix of the usual suspects across the draws, but also a lot of new faces / less regular attendees taking part. The Hamsphire/Dorset/Kent/Sussex region has always had a great Racketball community and this was very evident, great work everyone for getting involved!
Kicking off the draws for the day we had the Doubles, which with 12 pairings in, was the biggest draw for a Doubles Series event to date! There were some big battles across the boxs (with many glad it was a best of 3 format and not anything longer!) In the end the powerhouse pairing of Paul Knocker Norton & Alexis Smith took down the 2nd seeds Callum Arnott & Alex Kershaw 2/0 in an entertaining final. We also had a good size draw for the O70s event which is great to see. And we had a big shock, with local player Chris Lock upsetting the seedings and taking down 2023 Series leader and British Open & Closed Champion Graham Greensall to take the title! Clearly one to watch for future Masters events...
Another busy O60s draw saw current British O65s Champ Graham Holmes battle through to face Chichester ex coach & Racketball stalwart Mike Phillips in the final. Phillips (recently turned 65 himself) using his nous and courtcraft to full effect to take the win. (Another to watch out for in Nationals to come!) The largest entry of the weekend was the O50s, featuring many Series regulars and top dogs in the age group battling it out. Inevitably like the passage of time, the two titans of the category came to clash once more in the Final, in a repeat of their British Open Semi Final. Morris vs Wase, doomed to face each other forever, like Batman and the Joker (though I won't say who is who...) This time Morris came out on top with a 2/1 win, 9/11, 11/8, 11/7 so very close as the scoreline suggests. Great battle!
Doubles darlings Smith & Norton made their way through their groups to meet in the Over 40s final, unfortunately the sburden of having to fight it out against his partner was too much to bear for Norton, who had to pull out. (He actually tweaked a previous injury from the B.O. but this sounds better...) A 14 draw in the B Grade event was great to see and there were quite a few new faces here which is fantastic. (We hope to see you all back in future events!) In the end it was a local player in Matthew Compton who came though strong, taking down the mercurial Nick Jenkins in the semi and then Dover's finest Nick Moore in the Final, both 2/0. Registering his first UK Racketball Series title!
Finally the A Grade, featuring an all South Coast Solent vs IOW showdown! Callum Arnott managing to fight off his peers to retake the title he won in 2022 in clinical fashion, not dropping a game throughout his 3 matches.
So a really great day of games for all, a huge thank you to Robert Dunford for taking organiser duties for this one in Mike's absence. Managed to battle through the day and finish pretty much on time which is always a win! Massive congratulations to all our winners.
You can find the full results from the event on Sporty HQ HERE:
And the current UK-Racketball 2023 Series rankings here (up to date as of post Chichester) and it is TIGHT at the top!:
Just one event left - the Series Finals and National Racketball Doubles Championships Grantham Squash and Fitness Centre on Saturday 2nd December and with some top prizes and the coveted 2023 Series Champion title up for grabs, who is going to take it?
To get your name down for our final event of the year enter through Sporty HQ here:
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